342. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


Top priority in NE Asia today is ROK/Jap settlement. This could mean so much more in the way of long-term US dollar saving than a troop cut that there’s no comparison. We’re still spending over $300 million a year on 20 million ROKs, with no end really in sight. So we’ve got to find someone to share the long-term burden, and it’s logically the Japs. Settlement would pump $.6 to 1 billion of public and private funds into ROK, with more later.

But many of us fear that if talks (now on brink of success after 11 years) break down once more, Japs will lose interest. They don’t need ROKs that much. Also, Jap Diet will adjourn soon.

We badly need that extra push which might put us over the top. State/AID have a scheme for packaging $100 million in DL (which we’d spend anyway) to promise ROKs a bait if they’ll sign with Japs (see attached).2 But this should be given oomph by sending a high-level salesman. It would even be worth it to send WPB 3 (though doubtless too busy) or at least Bob Barnett to Seoul and Tokyo. Or how about cranking up Wilson Wyatt?4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Korea, Vol. I. Secret.
  2. Another copy of this memorandum indicates that the attachment was telegram 1029 to Seoul, May 12 (Document 341). Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Robert W. Komer, Japan-Korea, December 1963 to March 1966)
  3. William P. Bundy.
  4. Bundy added three handwritten notations at the bottom of this memorandum: “Anyone but WPB.” “I’d agree to Bob or Wyatt.” “Why not have Bob sell WPB.” Wilson Wyatt was the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky and had served as the President’s Special Emissary to the Government of Indonesia in 1963 to represent the U.S. in negotiations on Indonesian oil.