251. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Chancellor’s Visit to Japan; Economic Portion of the Communiqué

[Here follows the same list of participants as Document 249.]

The Chancellor indicated he would like some advice concerning his visit to Japan. As everyone realized, he was proceeding from the United [Page 668] States to Japan. He mentioned this plan to the President in Paris who had at that time expressed his approval. Prior to leaving Bonn, the Chancellor had seen the Japanese Ambassador, who had acquainted him in some detail with the Japanese economic situation and he had been able to see from this that US-Japanese relations were proceeding very satisfactorily. The Ambassador had told him, however, that Japan’s hinterland was Red China and that Japan was forced to cooperate with Red China in order to be able to survive. He planned to discuss this point with Kishi1 during his stay in Tokyo but he felt that the United States would have to make a decision with reference to Japan to strengthen the Japanese economy to such an extent that Japan would no longer have to look toward Red China as a means for survival.

The President assured the Chancellor that there was no topic that had been given any greater consideration and concern than the question of how to help Japan to make a living. This brought him right back to what the Chancellor himself had said about coordinated effort. Japan was forced to trade in order to survive. The United States had greatly liberalized its trade policies to assist Japan. But Japan needed more than a market in the Philippines, Formosa, other areas in the Pacific and in the United States; Japan also needed a market in Europe. This, the President realized, created serious problems because of Japan’s cheap labor. However, a solution had to be found through a coordinated effort by a coalition of Free-World nations. Those in a position to help must help.

Later in the conversation, the President took up the question of the communiqué to be issued after the meeting, stating that he was agreeable to the references to economic endeavors which had been added to the earlier draft,2 specifically the final paragraph.

The Chancellor immediately stated that he felt this statement was too weak (re cooperation among Atlantic countries). To explain his point, he argued that Khrushchev is doing all he can to strengthen the Soviet Union to the point where it will be a decisive economic power. And no doubt he will in time succeed. This type of power, in Mr. Adenauer’s opinion, can be countered only by the joint and coordinated efforts of the combined economic strength of the US and Canada, the Free European continent and Britain. He wondered whether Japan should not also be included—which was a question also in the President’s mind. The President then solicited suggestions for strengthening the text, asking Mr. Dillon just what his definition of “Atlantic” was. This appeared to coincide with NATO countries.

[Page 669]

Mr. Adenauer, asked for suggestions, placed the burden on Mr. Dillon by stating that Mr. Dillon was the father of the idea, let him name the child. Mr. Dillon then suggested a wording approximately as follows: “They welcomed the prospect that the US and Canada would soon join more closely with a reconstructed OEEC.” As regards inclusion of Japan, Mr. Dillon stated that there existed great sensitivity in England and the rest of Europe concerning any closer linking of Japan and Europe with respect to trade. In other respects, as regards development, for instance, Europe was prepared to accept Japan. The other, however, posed a real problem.

The Chancellor replied that sensitivity was, of course, a fine thing. However, it was necessary to face facts, and the fact remained that there was, in Japan, a strong pro-Red party which sought rapprochement with Red China. If the group was afraid, however, to include mention of Japan in the communiqué, the Chancellor begged President Eisenhower to permit and authorize him to state in his talks with Kishi that he and the President had discussed the Japanese situation sympathetically. The President suggested that a statement to the effect that “the views and cooperation of Japan will be considered” might be incorporated in the communiqué.

Mr. Dillon then elaborated that in order to get the European countries to agree to inviting Japan to the recent economic talks,3 he had had to promise the British that this concession would not be used as a means of exerting further pressure on them with reference to Japanese economic matters. Hence his great reluctance to mention anything about Japan in the communiqué. The President thereupon told the Chancellor that he might tell Mr. Kishi that the President believes in closer cooperation between Japan and the Free World.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 559, CF 1610. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Lejins and approved by the White House on May 31. The conversation took place at the White House. See also Documents 249250 and 252.
  2. Nobusuke Kishi, Prime Minister of Japan.
  3. Not found. For the final text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, p. 363.
  4. Reference is to the talks at Paris January 12—14, which led to the creation of the OECD.