78. Editorial Note

The United States Government’s examination of questions surrounding the Ryukyu Islands and its military bases on Okinawa culminated in an Interdepartmental Working Group, consisting of representatives [Page 155]from the Departments of State, Defense, and the Army, as well as from the Joint Chiefs and the White House, issuing a report entitled Our Ryukyus Bases. The report, August 24, 1966, concluded that the U.S. role in the Ryukyus was approaching a period of transition necessitating increased local autonomy, the eventual transfer of sovereignty over the Islands to Japan, and at the same time retention by the United States of unrestricted rights to utilize and operate its bases, including deployment of nuclear weapons. On September 13 the report was reviewed by the Senior Interdepartmental Group, which adopted its recommendations “to expand local Ryukyuan autonomy and increase the Japanese role in Ryukyuan affairs without impairing the essential integrity of U.S. administration and the operational capability of the U.S. bases in the Ryukyus.” To achieve its objectives, the United States needed to cooperate closely with the Government of Japan, and both the Embassy and the High Commissioner of the Ryukyus were to monitor continuously events on the Islands, issuing semi-annual reports on their findings, as well as develop specific recommendations to implement the report’s objectives. (Telegram 62978 from Washington, October 10; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 19 RYU IS)

A copy of the report is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Senior Interdepartmental Group, 14th Meeting, September 13, 1966, Vol. I. Additional documentation on the study and implementation of U.S. policy toward the Ryukyus is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 19 RYU IS, POL 19 RYU IS–US, and DEF 15 RYU IS–US.