58. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy) to the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs (Thompson)1
Washington, August 20, 1965.
- Japanese Defense Policy
- One of the follow-up actions called for under “The Future of Japan,” a Basic National Security Policy paper approved by the Secretary in June 1964,2 is the preparation of a joint State-Defense study “to define more precisely the appropriate missions of the Japanese armed forces which the U.S. should seek”. A first draft of such a study prepared in Defense proved to be little more than a compilation of factual material which failed to focus the issues.3 The need for the study, embracing the size and composition as well as the missions of the Japanese forces, has recently become increasingly clear with the mounting Communist threat in Southeast Asia, the approach of the time when the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty will become subject to termination, and increasing indications that the Japanese Government would welcome, and may by the end of the year itself propose, confidential, high-level discussions of our mutual security interests.
- We have accordingly prepared in FE the attached paper which analyzes the problem and arrives at a number of conclusions on the position the U.S. should adopt toward the Japanese defense forces. The paper embodies Embassy Tokyo and G/PM staff comments and suggestions and was further reviewed and concurred in by Ambassador Reischauer when he was here August 11–12. If on reading it you agree that the paper represents a sound approach, I suggest that you present it in the Thompson Strategy Group with the recommendation that, after consideration by the Group, the JCS be asked to comment on it preliminary to the development, by a fall deadline, of an agreed U.S. definition of the most desirable (from the U.S. point of view) missions, size and composition of the Japanese defense forces over the next 5–7 years. I suggest that the JCS also be asked to comment, in light of paragraph 19 of the paper, on the desirability and feasibility of enlarging the defensive role of U.S. forces based in Japan.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 1 JAPAN. Secret. Drafted by Fearey, cleared by Berger, and sent through Jeffrey C. Kitchen(G/PM).↩
- Document 15.↩
- Not further identified.↩
- Discussed in paragraphs 5–11 of this paper. This paragraph, as well as paragraphs 19 and 20, mirror the viewpoint of the Embassy in Japan. (Letter from Earle J. Richey, Acting Counselor of Embassy, to Fearey, June 9; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 1 JAPAN)↩
- As the Embassy pointed out in its letter to Fearey of June 9, there appeared little or no possibility of military use of Japanese troops in the foreseeable future. Not only was extensive legislation needed before Japanese troops participated in any military actions, but also “the members of the Self Defense Forces serve only under a contractual arrangement, and there is no legal way for officers to compel their men to fight; the spectre of Japanese troops politely refusing to go into battle, and turning in their resignations instead, would be too much for the government to risk!” (Ibid.)↩
- A working group within the Committee on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, chaired by Llewellyn E. Thompson and composed of members from the White House, Departments of State and Defense and CIA, completed and distributed the report on June 15. The study was commissioned to determine whether Japan would embark “quietly without public knowledge” on a program of nuclear weapons development and, if so, how the United States could intervene to prevent that action. The report concluded that Japan would be capable of producing nuclear weapons and delivery systems by the early 1970s and recommended the U.S. take steps to influence Japan’s defense policies in non-nuclear development. The report and supporting documentation are ibid., DEF 12 JAPAN and Washington National Records Center, OSD/OASD/ISA Files, FRC 330 70 A 3717, 471.6 Japan.↩