133. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State1

12589. Personal for the Secretary. Ref: Tokyo 12504.2

Re para 5 C reftel,3 I hope that in your talks with Miki4 you will be able to say just a word on Japanese protectionism including a statement that you may want to be in touch with him later on this matter so as to leave basis for possible future approach which now being considered between Embassy and Washington agencies. Although we do not yet have agreement on exact form approach should take, I would hope that what you say to Miki could be of such nature that it could provide basis for approach to GOJ within framework of cabinet-level [Page 306] economic committee if agreement is reached between Embassy and Washington to recommend this course of action.5
For your background, Washington agencies are pressing to bring action against Japan in GATT under Article 23.
I entirely agree situation is serious but what I am proposing is at least initial step attempt of high-level formal bi-lateral talks with GOJ. As you know, I have several times hit Miki hard on this whole question of protectionism and GOJ foot-dragging and publicly and privately preach here on subject every opportunity pointing out importance of Japan taking initiative to improve its own record before being paced with massive protectionist pressures in the U.S. next year. A word of reinforcement from you to Miki would be most helpful.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 JAPAN. Confidential; Exdis. Repeated to the USUN. Rusk was in New York to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly.
  2. In telegram 12504 from Tokyo, September 30, Johnson outlined the topics, such as Okinawa, security issues, and economic and trade questions, he expected Miki to raise in his meeting with Rusk at the United Nations and suggested issues, such as NPT, Korea, and ADB, that Rusk should raise. Johnson also discussed Miki’s future political plans. (Ibid.)
  3. Paragraph 5C of telegram 12504 from Tokyo September 30, listed the economic issues between the U.S. and Japan, namely, “civil air transport problems, log experts, protectionism, tariff preferences for LDC’s, economic aid.” (Ibid.)
  4. Rusk met with Miki in New York on October 5. Their discussions focused on Chinese representation in the United Nations, Japan’s role in Southeast Asia, defense matters, Okinawa, and general U.S.-Japan relations. A summary of their conversation was transmitted in telegrams 6886 and 6888 from New York, October 6. (Ibid., POL JAPAN–US)
  5. The Bureau of Economic Affairs agreed with Johnson’s suggestion that Rusk raise the issues of Japanese protectionism and import quotas during his meeting with Miki, but recommended that no course of action be mentioned at that time. (Telegram 249671 to New York, October 3; ibid., POL 7 JAPAN)