218. Memorandum of Conversation0

SUBJECT

  • U.S.-Japanese Trade and Textile Problem

PARTICIPANTS

  • Japan
    • Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda
    • Foreign Minister Zentaro Kosaka
    • Koichiro Asakai, Japanese Ambassador to the United States
    • Kiichi Miyazawa, Member of the Upper House of the Japanese Diet
    • Shigenebu Shima, Deputy Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs
    • Toshiro Shimanouchi, Counselor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interpreter
  • United States
    • The President
    • The Secretary of State
    • George W. Ball, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
    • Walter W. Rostow, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    • Paul Nitze, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs
    • Edwin O. Reischauer, United States Ambassador to Japan
    • Walter P. McConaughy, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
    • Richard L. Sneider, Officer-in-Charge, Japanese Affairs

The President said that he had informed the Prime Minister in his private meeting of his Administration’s intention to maintain a liberal trade policy. However, he anticipates a very tough fight on this question, particularly since the interests benefitting from exports are quiet, while the protectionist elements are vocal and the textile industry particularly well-organized. The President said he had pointed out to the Prime Minister that the United States recognizes Japan buys more from us than it sells to the United States, that he is conscious of Japan’s need for trade, and that he in particular realizes Japan has suffered from the voluntary quota program on textiles instituted in 1957. Mr. Ball mentioned that he had informed the Prime Minister of our multilateral textile proposals, and the Prime Minister had said that Japan was prepared to cooperate fully with the United States in this endeavor.

The Prime Minister expressed fears that the importing countries would gang up on the exporting countries in the multilateral talks. The President commented that the best protection for the exporting countries would be an effort to provide a mechanism for orderly expansion of their [Page 469]markets. Under these circumstances, individual countries would not be hurt such as Japan had been by its unilateral restrictions. Mr. Ball mentioned that he had spent that morning with representatives of the importing nations in order to get the agreement of these countries, which have not accepted any substantial amount of textiles from Japan, to increase their imports immediately on a phased basis. We hope to get their initial agreement, as a basis for the Geneva discussion, to the accept-ance on a liberal basis of textile imports. This would provide a larger, rather than smaller, market for Japan. The Prime Minister said the Japanese considered such arrangements favorable.

  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149, May-July 1961. Confidential. Drafted by Richard L. Sneider (FE/NA) and approved in S and B on July 14 and at the White House on July 20. A longer memorandum of this conversation, prepared by James J. Wickel (LS/I), is scheduled for publication in volume XXII.