53. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson1


  • Visit of Japanese Cabinet

You are entertaining at lunch on Wednesday, July 14, seven leading members of Prime Minister Sato’s Cabinet.2 They will have completed substantially three days of consultation with us on trade and economic matters.

There have been four of these Joint Cabinet meetings. The first took place in Japan in 1961, the second in Washington in 1962, and the third in Japan in January 1964. The Japanese Government, business community and public generally attach great importance to these meetings.

Southeast Asia, civil aviation, and economic protectionism have been the principal issues upon which there has been lively discussion this year.

Southeast Asia

Prime Minister Sato has given you prompt and vigorous support for U.S.-Viet-Nam policy, notwithstanding widespread Japanese public condemnation of U.S. bombing of the North. The Japanese Government was more forthcoming than any other in responding to your Johns Hopkins Southeast Asia proposals.3 During Eugene Black’s recent trip Japanese officials indicated readiness to give leadership in forming the Southeast Asia Development Bank, to study participation [Page 103] in the Southeast Asia Development Fund, and to explore other means for accelerating economic development in the area. On the other hand, Japan is reluctant to become involved in support of the military aspects of U.S. policy in Viet-Nam.

Of your guests, Foreign Minister Shiina has performed conspicuously well in handling the Korean settlement. The most prominent political personality is Minister of Trade and Industry Miki. Miki arrived in Washington after visits with de Gaulle and Kosygin and is believed to be a likely future Prime Minister.

Civil Aviation

The Japanese have been informed of your civil aviation offer. Japan’s desire for round-the-world rights is strong. The Japanese hoped to get it without substantial loss in Japan’s present rights and without making concessions.

I have made it clear to the Foreign Minister that there is no significant room for haggling over detail. Notwithstanding some anxiety over the expectation that rights they grant us may expose them to new, different, and possibly heavy competition in the near future, Japan may agree to our proposals for a new civil aviation agreement between our two countries.


The overwhelming impression made by our discussions on trade and economic matters has been one of vitality of the two economies, harmony of interest in the context of world economic trends, and success in dealing with common problems. The Japanese are putting on record their dissatisfaction with various protectionist features in the handling of our economy, particularly the buy-America Saylor Amendment and informal pressures we are putting on them with respect to exports to the United States, e.g. woolen textiles. We have expressed sharp dissatisfaction with Japan’s treatment of Americans desiring to make direct investment in Japan, reviewed with them their protectionist policies and discussed the wisdom of Japan’s showing some restraint in hitting the American market too hard in narrow vulnerable sectors. Our give and take on these matters has been constructive.

[Page 104]

To generalize, the Cabinet sessions this year reveal a readiness of the two countries to proceed from focus upon bilateral problems to mutual consideration of joint and multilateral opportunities for improving the world economic community, i.e. by examination of the liquidity problem and mobilizing increased aid resources for the less developed countries.

Dean Rusk 4
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 JAPAN. No classification marking. Drafted by Barnett and cleared by Reischauer and Solomon.
  2. The luncheon was held at the White House from 1:20 p.m. to 2:35 p.m. (Johnson Library, President’s Daily Diary, May 1, 1965 to September 30, 1965, Box 4) The Japanese Cabinet members were in Washington to attend the Fourth Meeting of the U.S.-Japan Joint Cabinet Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs held from July 12 to 14. The texts of Rusk’s opening remarks, President Johnson’s remarks at the luncheon on July 14, and the Joint Communiqué issued at the close of the meeting are printed in Department of State Bulletin, pp. 243–249. Briefing memoranda and similar documents relevant to the meeting are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 JAPAN and POL JAPAN–US.
  3. In his address at Johns Hopkins University, “Peace Without Conquest,” April 7, President Johnson reiterated the U.S. commitment to continue to fight in Vietnam and to seek peace simultaneously. Realizing that a peaceful end to the conflict was not yet in sight, Johnson called for cooperative efforts among the countries of Southeast Asia to >develop the region. The President intended to ask Congress to support “a billion dollar American investment in the effort” and urged other industrialized nations to join as well. Johnson proposed developing the Mekong River Valley, providing modern medical care to the populace, establishing schools, and expanding food and material assistance. He also announced the formation of an American team, headed by former World Bank President Eugene Black, to initiate U.S. involvement in those programs. The text of the speech is in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson , 1965, pp. 394–399.
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.