131. Editorial Note

On September 26, 1968, Ambassador Johnson and Admiral John

S. McCain, Jr., submitted their report entitled “Review of U.S. Bases in Japan,” which contained recommendations on a total of 54 installations covering approximately 45 thousand acres of land. The recommendations for full or partial release to Japan would realize an estimated reduction of just over $2.6 million in U.S. balance of payments. Proposed changes in the base structure were divided into four categories designating those facilities to be completely released to Japan, partially released to Japan, released to Japan with U.S. joint-usage rights, and relocated within Japan at Japanese expense. The package would be implemented within three years, subject to the terms of bilateral agreements. The report was submitted to the appropriate offices within the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and its recommendations were accepted with slight modification. (Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, November 7, with attachments, including a copy of “Review of U.S. Bases in Japan”; Washington National Records Center, OSD/OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 73 A 1250, Japan 323.3)

On November 9 a Joint State-Defense message was sent to the Embassy and to CINCPAC authorizing Ambassador Johnson and Admiral McCain to prepare a proposal for presentation to the Government of Japan based on their report and the subsequent modifications. (Telegram 269933 to Tokyo, November 9; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 JAPAN–US) The Japanese were already aware of U.S. thinking on the subject of bases since a draft of the Embassy/CINCPAC report was presented to them at the Security Subcommittee Meeting held in Tokyo on September 11 and 12. Papers and other information relative to that meeting are ibid., and Japanese reactions to the meeting and the formal U.S. base proposal are ibid., DEF 1 JAPAN–US.

Out of concern about “gold losses and the size of the Defense budget,” as well as from a desire to reduce the number of military facilities on the Japanese mainland and on the Islands, Secretary Clifford ordered an examination of additional areas of potential reduction. The resulting Department of Defense package, completed in early December, contained proposals intended to streamline United States forces in Japan and Okinawa and achieve annual balance-of-payments reductions of $72 million and budget reductions of $181 million. (Memorandum to Assistant Secretaries of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Clark Clifford, December 6, with Draft Report; Washington National Records Center, OSD/OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 73 A 1304)