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5. Letter From Secretary of Defense McNamara to Secretary of State Rusk 1

Dear Dean:

In our recent exchange of letters (mine of 16 November and yours of 6 December)2 we have agreed that Japan should make a more vigorous effort in its defense buildup and modernization and that it would be desirable to raise this matter with Japanese officials during your trip to Tokyo now scheduled for late January.3

I would leave to your judgment and your interpretation of Japanese receptiveness at the time of your visit whether we can achieve our objectives in Japan with or without introducing the proposed Memorandum of Understanding.4 Japanese approval of the proposed Memorandum would be a valuable evidence of Japanese willingness to make a greater effort but it is of course the realization of the objective rather than the means of achieving it that is more important. We should, therefore, use whatever approach appears to be the most promising.

I agree with you that a visit of my representative to Tokyo should await the results of your trip. Your suggestions as to follow-up action that we can take after your trip would be appreciated.


  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 19–3 US–JAPAN. Secret.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXII, Document 383 and footnote 4 thereto.
  3. Rusk was in Tokyo January 24–28 to attend the meeting of the Joint U.S.-Japan Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs; see Document 7.
  4. McNamara included a draft Memorandum of Understanding with his letter of November 16, 1963; see footnote 2 above.