8. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Smith) to President Johnson1

Japanese Foreign Minister Ohira told Secretary Rusk yesterday that there was strong public support in Japan for coming to an understanding with Mainland China.2

Secretary Rusk replied that the U.S. could pull out of Southeast Asia and still survive, but that other Asian states could not. He suggested the Japanese talk to their Asian neighbors about relations with Communist China rather than worrying about what our reaction would be.

On defense problems, Secretary Rusk said:3

The U.S. is not stationing or withdrawing troops in foreign countries for balance of payments reasons. Force adjustments are being undertaken solely because of the tremendous increase in U.S. military power during the last three years.
The U.S. did not believe it should supply manpower to countries with adequate manpower reserves. It is difficult to draft boys from Kansas farms and Pittsburgh factories to send as riflemen to Japan which has a population of 95 million people.

B. Smith
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Japan, Vol. I. No classification marking. The memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. Memoranda of conversation report Rusk’s discussion of China with Ohira on January 26 and 28. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL CHINAT–JAPAN; and ORG 7 S) A follow-up conversation was held in Washington on February 29, when Rusk met with Takeuchi to discuss China policy. (Ibid., POL CHINAT–JAPAN) As the discussions made clear, the Japanese were not prepared to extend diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China at this time or in the foreseeable future, but were interested in improving Sino-Japanese cultural and economic relations.
  3. In separate meetings, Rusk discussed defense matters on January 28 with Ikeda and with Ohira. U.S. concerns toward Japan focused on balance-of-payments problems, Japanese defense expenditures, and U.S. redeployment of troops in Asia. (Memoranda of conversation, January 28; ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Memoranda of Conversations File, January 1964)