81. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State1

4531. Personal for Bundy, Kohler and McNaughton from Ambassador Johnson.

MAAG Japan has been informed that Japan is not to be included in FY–68 MAP budget request. This means that, unless other action is taken, the orientation/influence training program for Japan will be terminated next June 30. I most earnestly feel that this would be a mistake and urge that a way be found to permit the continuance of this program which is so important to our long-range interests here.
I am of course not opposed to the termination of MAP program as such for Japan. This country is admittedly capable of financing its own military needs. Orientation/influence training, however, is not “assistance” to Japan. It is a calculated action taken by the U.S. for its own purposes and in its own interests, and for this purpose Japan should not be bracketed with Western Europe or the U.K. I can well understand why this kind of training may not meet the qualifications for “military assistance” to other countries. However that does not mean that the program itself should be terminated. Rather, I would hope we could exercise ingenuity to find the small amount of necessary funds from another pocket if it is not possible to continue to fund it from MAP.
Left to themselves, Japanese self-defense forces will continue to finance those trips to U.S. and training programs which they believe desirable from their own point of view. Understandably they will tend [Page 160] to use their money to send senior officers and those who have reasons of prestige or position for wanting to go. There is nothing wrong in this and we will welcome these officers. On the other hand, we have a positive interest in providing U.S. influence over the younger officers who are still in the lower and middle grades and who will be in positions of high command a generation from now. This new generation of younger men will not have had the long and broad contact with the U.S. forces in Japan which many of their elders had. It may be a long time before they qualify under Japanese requirements for training in the U.S. By that time their attitudes on broad questions of strategy and international affairs may have been hardened beyond our ability to influence. In long-range terms, we cannot afford to neglect this opportunity to see to it that the next generation of Japanese professional military men is oriented towards the U.S. Our experience with the way our training programs for the Indonesian Army had paid off ought to be a lesson to us in this regard. The fact that the Japanese military forces do not now play a decisive role in the affairs of this country does not mean that we can be complacent about the long-range future. I have long been convinced that the money that we put into bringing foreign military officers to the U.S. pays as big if not bigger long-range dividends than any other funds we spend. The day will come when the professional military men in this country, with all of its potential for good or bad, will have a much stronger voice than they now have. It will be important that that voice have been influenced toward our point of view. We spend considerable sums doing this on the civilian side.2 We must find some way to assure that the military side is not neglected. The amount of money involved now is not great, but the principle is important. If we agree on the principle let me know how I can help.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 19–9 US–JAPAN. Secret; Limdis. Also sent to the Department of Defense and repeated to CINCPAC, COMUSJAPAN, and CHIEFMAAG.
  2. Reference is to the approximately $400,000 budgeted for [text not declassified] indirect advancement of U.S. views within Japanese society. [text not declassified] (Report through 1966; Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files; EAP General, EA Reviews, 1964–66) Such resources were used, for example, in an attempt to influence public and political opinion in Japan in the spring of 1966 after a nuclear detonation by the People’s Republic of China. [text not declassified] (Memorandum from H.L.T. Koren to Hughes and Denney, May 13; ibid., 1966 FE Weekly Meetings, January–July)
  3. The Embassy received a Joint State-Defense message advising that no alternative means had been found to fund the program for FY 1968. The question was left open for reconsideration for FY 1969, if necessary. (Telegram 152080 to Tokyo, March 9, 1967; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–9 US–JAPAN)