11. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State 1

1862. For McClurkin, NA.

I strongly urge NSC review Japan policy be postponed at least until after Manila Chiefs of Mission conference,2 to profit by results those discussions, and preferably until new Japanese Government settles in after elections, indicating pattern we have to deal with in next period. If delay not obtained, I suggest changes in NA January 7 draft3 as follows:
While I appreciate extent to which NA draft corresponds recent Embassy thinking, and realize draft also had to be tempered for purposes inter-agency negotiation, I believe NSC policy should come more radically to grips with (a) Japan’s objectives and her estimate of world in which she lives, (b) resulting differences which seriously impair US-Japan relations and could become disastrous. If “general considerations” revised accordingly, “objectives” should be framed to match our capabilities and “courses of action” then adapted to adjust basic differences and draw Japan into genuine alignment as favorable to US interests as realities permit. Here I would emphasize: [Page 18]
Breaking through present haze of misunderstanding by undertaking frank discussion of all fundamentals with the Japanese on a high level, insisting each side lay its cards on the table.
Treating Japan as potential first-class power and now making real our talk about treating her as equal partner, taking her into our confidence, consulting her as indicated NA draft paragraph 7a(1).4
Destroying myth of “absolute indispensability” of Japan to US.
Maximizing US bargaining power, e. g., by waiting for Japan to request aid instead of pushing it on her.
Phasing our policy to match evolution of Japanese strength: political stability, then economic viability, then military capability, although in some measures these can be promoted simultaneously.
Among specific courses of action I would include:
Institute high-level bi-lateral (and possibly tri-lateral with UK) discussions based on mutual willingness to adjust policies on Communist orbit, SEA development, and long-term plan for strengthening Japan. As outcome such discussions be prepared to launch a program of economic aid to Southeast Asia large enough, coupled with Japanese reparations, to support our major objectives there and at same time give Japanese real chance to put own economy on its feet.
Intensify efforts to bring Japan into UN and major international conferences outside UN, even if such steps involve adjustment US policies toward other countries considered less vital to US long-term interests.
Maintain US naval and air bases but announce intention commence gradual withdrawal ground forces.5 Key officials should also be informed privately that total withdrawal possible if internal weakness negates usefulness US bases.
Restrain intensive efforts to push Japanese defense buildup at substantially greater rate than Japan wants but continue private encouragement to continual gradual increase.
Bargain for quid pro quo in terms specific desired performance by Japanese in return for specific forms of assistance. Preconditions to further aid should be limited to those considered of basic importance to US interests. They could include:
Positive cooperation with Free World’s program to promote economic development and expanding trade and to stem Communist aggression, including eventual participation regional security arrangements;
A serious austerity program comparable to England’s to put economy on its feet;
Free acceptance of foreign private investment in Japan when such investment would serve to strengthen economy.
Reasons for the above plus detailed suggestions on draft forwarded by pouch.6
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.94/2–255. Top Secret; Limited Distribution.
  2. Held at Baguio, Philippines, March 2–5. Secretary Dulles attended the meeting and addressed the group. A verbatim record of the proceedings, entitled “Chiefs of Mission Conference”, dated March 2-5 and prepared by James D. Bell, who served as rapporteur for the Conference, is ibid., S/P Files: Lot 66 D 70, Far East.
  3. This draft policy statement, entitled “United States Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Japan”, is not printed. (Ibid., S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Japan, US Policy Toward, NSC 5516, 5516/1)
  4. According to this paragraph, the United States was to “Consult fully with the Japanese Government on matters of mutual interest, such as Communist strength and intentions in the Far East; countermeasures to be taken by Japan, the US and the other free nations; Japan’s defense planning and US military assistance; and general international developments.”
  5. On this point, paragraph 7(C)(8) of the January 7 draft reads: “Reduce US forces in Japan, in particular ground forces, to the extent permitted by the international strategic situation in order to stimulate Japanese efforts to provide for their own defense and to ease frictions connected with the presence of large US forces.”
  6. Despatch 954 from Tokyo, February 11. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.94/2–1155)