17. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State 1

77. During my call on PriMin July 7 he brought up the question of Okinawa and said that he would be in for difficult questioning in the Diet on political situation there. He said (with reference to local autonomy) Kennedy policy statement of 19622 was not being implemented but that on contrary situation had retrogressed or at least had not progressed. He felt General Caraway’s administration had not shown proper understanding of situation and that there was difficulty of real communication between Tokyo and Okinawa. He said that Defense Agency Director Fukuda had been speaking for him when he told Secretary McNamara that the United States ought to show greater respect for the feelings of Asian people.3

With a smile but with some force PriMin told me that GOJ complaints would have been stronger had I not been in hospital.4

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I told PriMin that I could assure him that the policy of the United States towards Okinawa was that discussed by him and President Kennedy5 and reflected in Kennedy policy statement. I noted progress might have been slow but I felt that new HICOM who would soon arrive was excellent man for job and I was confident regarding future.

PriMin indicated he wanted closer contact with HICOM and said “of course” when I asked if I should bring General Watson to call on him when Watson is in Tokyo on way to Okinawa.

While conversation took place under friendly circumstances I must emphasize that the PriMin seemed very serious in urging that forward steps be taken soon in Okinawa. He used the phrase “this situation must be cleared up” and it is evident that political unrest in Naha has caused him and GOJ great concern.

In parallel conversation Defense Agency Director Fukuda told DCM his raising of Okinawan question with Secretary McNamara had been at express request of PriMin who considered unrest might have an adverse affect on Japan’s own security.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 19 RYU IS. Secret; Exclusive Distribution; No Distribution Outside Department.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 14.
  3. See Document 16.
  4. On March 24 a man wielding a long kitchen knife attacked Reischauer in the Embassy and inflicted a deep wound in his thigh. The injury required surgery and a 3-week hospital stay. Soon after being released, however, Reischauer fell ill, was hospitalized for about 2 months, and began part-time work on July 3. (Reischauer, My Life Between Japan and America, pp. 262–75)
  5. Ikeda visited Washington June 20–23, 1961, and discussed the Ryukyus with President Kennedy on June 21. A summary of their conversation is in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXII, Document 338. Reference to the Ryukyus is also made in the communiqué issued at the close of the visit; see Department of State Bulletin, July 10, 1961, pp. 57–58.