336. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Korea1

716. From Secretary to Ambassador Berger. Barnett expressed to Ambassador Reischauer opinion, formed on basis talks in Embassy Seoul, that if Japanese would (1) move closer towards Korea’s desire for adequate financing modernization its fishing industry and (2) announce intention exercise effective restraint Japanese fishing operations in area between 12-mile limit and Rhee Line, a settlement could be concluded immediately, and no other or new demands would be advanced by Koreans. Provided this present Embassy judgment, Dept would be willing depart from past policy non-involvement in details of negotiations, and instruct Ambassador Reischauer to urge Prime Minister Ikeda or Foreign Minister Ohira to make generous offer in manner best designed help President Pak overcome Korean opposition. Perhaps you—without consulting Koreans—would wish formulate with greater precision formula which would meet Korean economic desires and political sensitivities, while taking account Japanese interests and sensitivities (Tokyo’s 2390 and 2400).2 Believe Japanese both flexible and sincere in declared desire complete negotiations, and would welcome deliberated judgment of U.S. Embassy Seoul that such offer would bring it off. Embassy Seoul should not lend its support to this tactic unless confident that it would be our only intervention in negotiations, and be successful. Request immediate reply.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 33–4 JAPAN–KOR S. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Barnett; cleared by Davis, Bacon, Green, and Harriman; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Tokyo for Reischauer.
  2. In telegram 2390 from Tokyo, February 11, Reischauer reported on Ohira’s “firm determination” to reach an agreement with Korea. Ohira told Reischauer that he “was prepared to be amply flexible on fishing zones, conservation measures, and financial aid to Korean fisheries” and that he believed “if the Koreans ready to take action, normalization can be achieved before summer.” Reischauer concluded from his comments that Ohira had presented “ROK with golden opportunity that may not soon return.” Telegram 2400 from Tokyo, February 13, set forth the Japanese position on fishing issues currently being negotiated with the Koreans. (Both ibid.)