128. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Japan1

198179. Joint State/Defense Message.

In view of continuing problems relating to US bases in Japan and most urgent need to reduce balance of payments drain from US overseas bases, believe further overall review US military base facility structure there would be useful. Objective of review would be to reduce or eliminate low priority and potential trouble-spot bases to extent feasible while maintaining those bases absolutely essential to US interests.
Request CINCPAC and Emb Tokyo undertake review and submit by 1 September 1968 recommendations on possible changes in US base structure to be undertaken in near future.2 For purposes of this [Page 293]review, assume continuation of Viet-Nam War and current missions assigned to CINCPAC.
Following guidelines should be taken into account in base review:
Particular attention should be given to bases of greatest political sensitivity, including possibility of relocating activities or entire bases from heavily populated Kanto plains and other areas, preferably at GOJ expense.
Balance of payments considerations, including possible personnel reductions, should be given heavy weight.
Consideration should be given to joint use between two or more services and with Japanese Self-Defense Forces.3
Facilities underutilized but held for contingency purposes or for present or future use of Japan Self-Defense Forces should be examined for possible return or consolidation with other activities.
Possibility should be considered of relocating functions or activities out of country taking into consideration budgetary and BOP implications.
Base closure actions already proposed should be examined to determine whether other, politically sensitive facilities in urban areas could be moved at same time to less sensitive vacated facilities.
Proposals should exclude base closure actions already proposed, and associated reductions in functions.
Budgetary and balance of payments implications should be specified.
We would particularly wish CINCPAC’s judgment on impact on command’s capabilities for carrying out current missions, and effective dates and time phasing of proposals. Insofar as possible, data should be provided for installations or facilities at which an action is proposed to confirm with I and L (installations and logistics) format which will be sent septel.
Base review should be kept on close hold basis and should not be discussed with GOJ at this stage. It is anticipated that findings will be useful to special State/Defense study group.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 JAPAN–US. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Seligmann (DOD/ISA) and Sneider (EA/J); cleared by Halperin and Steadman (DOD/ISA), Adm. Vannoy (J–5), Wolf and Gammon at the Department of State; and approved by Sneider. Also sent to CINCPAC and repeated to COMUSFJ.
  2. For a summary of the CINCPAC/EMBASSY study, “Review of U.S. Bases in Japan,” September 26, see Document 131.
  3. COMUSFJ completed an examination of the possibility in mid-August and determined that joint use was not an option under the current Status of Forces Agreement. In a State/Defense message, however, Washington indicated that a broad interpretation of the agreement would allow joint use if Japan agreed. (Airgram A–1933 from Tokyo, August 21, and Telegram 233292 to Tokyo, September 5; both ibid.)