13. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 6 May 1964

Mr. Bundy presided throughout the meeting.

[Omitted here is discussion of unrelated subjects.]

Okinawa. The press articles on Okinawa have aroused some White House interest, although not from the President himself yet. Forrestal,2 who claimed responsibility for Okinawa, told Bundy things were in pretty bad shape out there. He said what should be done was that General Carraway should be replaced by a civilian, some ex-Democratic governor, for example. The Army does not want to do this, and the State Department will not fight on this issue. Bundy mentioned [Page 13] that perhaps the White House should ask for a report on Okinawa at the NSC meeting next Tuesday.3 Forrestal seemed to think this was moving a little fast. He wanted to work through State, but Bundy didn’t like this idea, saying that would take too long. The upshot of this part of the discussion was that it was evident that Okinawa would soon be discussed with the President, although exactly when remains uncertain.

After some back and forth, in which generally everybody favored a civilian governor for Okinawa, Forrestal said the ideal solution would be to have a civilian governor with a military deputy. The civilian will report to OSD (rather than the Army), and the military would report through the JCS. Bundy seemed to endorse this type of arrangement.

I commented that although the military had certainly not been blameless, the problem in Okinawa seemed to run deeper than just that of the military nature of the government. The Okinawans wanted out from under US rule. Bundy agreed, but not enthusiastically, and commented that a farsighted civilian governor who thought in civilian terms could do a lot to meet the needs of the Okinawans.

The matter was left with Forrestal being responsible for deciding how best to handle this problem and to come up with some proposed program for moving in the direction of greater civilization of Okinawa.

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 25, Chairman’s Staff Group, May 1964. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by William Y. Smith.
  2. Michael Forrestal, member of the NSC staff with expertise in Far Eastern matters.
  3. Okinawa was not discussed at the next NSC Meeting on Friday, May 15. (Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Council Meetings, Vol. 2, April 1964 to July 1964)