80. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson1

Secto 21/1716. Eyes Only for the President and the Acting Secretary.

I was pleased with the talk I had with Prime Minister Sato.2 I drew him aside for private discussion of the great importance of additional Japanese assistance in Viet-Nam. His response was constructive and he immediately suggested the possibility that he could build more Vietnamese assistance on the Southeast Asia Agricultural Development Conference then in session in Tokyo. There is a wide range of opportunity for Japanese personnel to pitch in in South Viet-Nam and their immediate problem is to sort things out in Saigon so that we can be quite specific about who is needed where and for what. A qualification is Sato’s own weakened political position and the possibility of national elections in the weeks immediately ahead.

On other subjects, Sato was helpful and relaxed about Okinawa, indicated clearly that they would move on the Prek Thnot project in Cambodia, was very pleased with the UN result on Chinese seating,3 and appreciated my private assurance that we would keep in touch [Page 159]with him on non-proliferation, Chinese missile developments, and the ABM problem. On the last, I indicated that we had not yet come to any firm conclusions on a very complicated matter.

[Omitted here is brief commentary on foreign assistance to Vietnam by countries other than Japan.]

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL JAPAN–US. Secret; Nodis; Eyes Only. The President’s copy of the telegram, which indicates he saw it, is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country Files, China, Vol. VIII.
  2. Rusk visited Tokyo from December 5–7 to meet with senior Japanese officials.
  3. Resolutions to seat the People’s Republic of China were defeated. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1966, pp. 133–138)