36. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State1

Secto 25. This message based on uncleared memcon, noforn, FYI and subject to revision.

Secretary called on Japanese Foreign Minister Shiina morning December 5. Following subjects discussed:2

[Page 53]
Secretary congratulated Shiina on constructive speech December 4 to General Assembly and said he heard reaction among delegates had been good.

China. Shiina reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to present policy on Chinese representation but said GOJ’s information indicates future pessimistic. GOJ, therefore, would like mutual and highly confidential study this question.

Secretary replied U.S. policy on Chinese representation intimately related to peace in Pacific and said that this would not be appropriate time for UNGA “place crown on Peiping’s head.” He said U.S. would be agreeable to confidential study and exchange of views conducted either through Japanese Embassy Washington or U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

South Viet Nam. Shiina said Japan recognized necessity and importance military action in promoting stability Viet Nam, but believed greater efforts should be made in field “peaceful construction.” He felt Japan’s present technical assistance program SEA and medical team recently dispatched Viet Nam typical of effort that should be made. Shiina said GOJ hoped U.S. agreeable to joint exploration of additional efforts Japan might make in field peaceful construction. The Secretary welcomed Japan’s interest in providing such assistance, stressing that it has political as well as practical value. Secretary said he was sure that President Johnson would welcome Japan’s move in this direction.
Shiina said he discussed Japan–Korea relations at length with Assistant Secretary Bundy in Washington a few days ago.3 He believes domestic political conditions both countries now conducive early settlement although he does not share optimism those who believe normalization will be realized by March. Secretary said that he had previously heard both sides optimistic and stressed cost that “missed opportunities” or delay entail. U.S. at disposal of GOJ if it can in any way assist settlement.
U.S.-Japan Bilateral Relations.

Okinawa. Shiina said Japan realized great importance Okinawa military bases to security Far East and Japan as well as close relationship between optimum utilization and administrative control. Nevertheless, twenty years have elapsed since war and longing of people in Okinawa and in Japan for restoration Japanese sovereignty well known. Shiina believed we should jointly consider what steps U.S. and Japan can take together to (1) promote development of islands; (2) promote public welfare; (3) enlarge self-government to degree possible. Foregoing steps should lead toward eventual integration with Japan, [Page 54] but without prejudice to position Okinawa in strategic and security aspects.

Secretary replied that we should clearly recognize whether purpose discussions would be to improve administration Okinawa or bring about basic change in status of and responsibility for Okinawa. He recalled that President Kennedy had told Prime Minister Ikeda U.S. prepared examine ways improve conditions on Okinawa but that question status should not be taken up piecemeal. Secretary suggested President Johnson might discuss question with Prime Minister Sato during forthcoming visit,4 but said in light present situation in Pacific, U.S., quite frankly, would find it difficult subject its requirements on Okinawa to possible changes in government or policy.

Bonin Islands. Shiina said if U.S. could allow former residents of Bonin Islands to visit graves deceased relatives there5 and noted Soviets now allow such visit to Habomai and Shikotan. Secretary agreed explore matter with Secretary Defense McNamara.6
Japan-U.S. Civil Aviation Agreement. Shiina hoped talks could be renewed ASAP and that Japan’s position would be fully considered. Secretary believed preliminary exploration should be made so that negotiations could succeed and said we would be making suggestions this regard before end of year or early in January. He also affirmed U.S. interest in speedy resolution this question.
Economic and Trade Problems. Shiina reiterated Japan’s “deep interest” in revision North Pacific Fisheries Convention and said Japan would be making specific proposals on various trade problems in coming weeks. He hoped these matters can be taken up constructively. Secretary believed that many trade problems can be fruitfully discussed in joint cabinet committee meeting next year, in OECD and GATT, but believed air and fisheries problems should be resolved prior joint cabinet committee session.
Shiina reaffirmed Japan’s adherence to Mutual Security Treaty saying Sato government considered it cornerstone Japan relations with U.S. He said there may be active conflicts of interest between Japan [Page 55] and U.S. but believed they can be settled without prejudice in light of basic Japan-U.S. policy of cooperation.
Sato Visit and Japan’s World Role. Secretary expressed pleasure that Sato visit had been successfully arranged and said he wished assure Foreign Minister in broadest sense U.S. happy remain in closest touch at all times on major issues in world affairs. U.S. is tremendously encouraged at way Japan has taken hold in international affairs and especially recognizes major role Japan uniquely fitted to play in Asia. The Secretary said that, while he did not wish interfere in GOJ internal affairs, he hoped he would have pleasure of meeting Shiina again at time forthcoming Sato visit.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL JAPAN–US. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to the Embassy in Tokyo and CINCPAC. Rusk was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.
  2. Rusk also met with Shiina, Takeuchi, Matsui, and others on December 3 in New York. They discussed the new Soviet regime, the situation in Vietnam, Chinese representation in the UN, Japanese aid to Southeast Asia, and Sato’s visit to Washington. (Secto 17 from New York, December 3; ibid.)
  3. A memorandum of the ShiinaBundy conversation, which was held on November 30 at the Japanese Embassy Residence, is ibid., POL JAPAN–US.
  4. Sato visited Washington from January 12–13, 1965.
  5. In telegram 1986 from Tokyo, December 18, Reischauer pointed out that “this matter has been brought up by high level Japanese visitors on a number of occasions over [the] past seven years,” and Sato was expected to raise it again in his upcoming meetings with the President. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 JAPAN)
  6. On December 11 Rusk wrote to McNamara recommending that the question be reviewed in light of the expectation that Sato would likely discuss it with the President. In the letter Rusk stated his belief that “a reasonable number of visits might be allowed,” as long as U.S. security interests were protected. (Ibid., POL 19 BONIN IS)