82. Information Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Bundy) to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Rostow) and the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Kohler)1


  • Security Consultations with Japan


For some years, we have engaged in a variety of sporadic and largely superficial security and defense consultations with the Japanese Government. These discussions have been undertaken in three forums:

Infrequent meetings of U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee organized under the revised Security Treaty in 1960, composed of the American Ambassador, CINCPAC, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the Defense Agency;
Contingency planning at the tactical level by MAAG/Japan and U.S. Forces Japan with the Japanese Self-Defense Force staffs; and
Informal conversations initiated by the Embassy with senior Japanese officials.

Up to the present time, the security discussions in these forums have been inhibited both by Japanese reluctance to engage in a meaningful dialogue particularly on nuclear matters due to domestic political pressures, and by U.S. resistance to spell out in specific terms our security objectives and strategy in Asia.

Recent Developments

In the past few months, the Japanese, partially stimulated by informal U.S. prodding, have begun to shed their inhibitions on security consultations. Three approaches have been made to us:

At the recent U.S.-Japan policy planning talks a request for more meaningful security consultations was informally made;2
In Paris, the Japanese expressed interest in learning about the NATO Nuclear Planning Group;3 and
The Japanese Chief of Staff made a more specific request to the Embassy for a discussion of Chinese nuclear capability and ABMs.4

These requests reflect a major reconsideration within the inner circles of the Japanese Government of Japan’s defense and security policies, focusing on the crucial issue of Japanese nuclear policy over the next decade. At the present time, the Japanese interest is largely information gathering; the decisions will come later and their timing could depend to a considerable extent on political developments within Japan.

For our part, the Japanese initiatives are welcome and in fact have preempted plans we were developing for proposing broader security consultations with Japan. The new security consultations will require from us considerably greater frankness and specificity in discussing security matters including nuclear weapons, but we are agreed on the necessity for this. The major advantages to us are a major opportunity, first, to influence Japanese defense strategy before it is finally formulated, including efforts to discourage a Japanese nuclear program and encourage a broader regional security role, and second, to develop a closer and more tightly knit security relationship with Japan preparatory to the period when Japan will play a major power role in Asia in security, as well as in economic, terms.

This approach, as well as specific actions outlined below, have been worked out in agreement with DOD. Secretary McNamara has approved the ABM discussion with Japan and the formation of a new permanent U.S.-Japan security consultative forum involving State and Defense.5 He has also offered to visit Japan in this connection at an appropriate time, if it would be helpful.

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Actions Already Undertaken

We have taken the following steps to date:

We have informed Ambassador Johnson of our agreement on the desirability of engaging in regular consultations with Japan on security matters and indicated that we have no rigid views on specific organizational arrangements (Tab A).6
We have proposed and the Japanese have agreed that we send a technical team to Japan to brief Japanese officials on the Chinese Communist advanced weapons program and to discuss technological leakages to Communist China in this area.7
We have briefed the Japanese in Washington on the organizational arrangements of the NPG.
We have informally discussed with Vice Minister Ushiba the adding of an additional day to the May U.S.-Japan Planning talks at which security matters would be discussed with Defense officials attending.
We are informing Ambassador Johnson that we are prepared to undertake discussions with the Japanese on ABM defense following similar discussions with NATO this Spring (Tab B).8

Future Actions

We consider the above as the first steps toward our basic objective of engaging in a meaningful security dialogue with Japan on a regular periodic basis. The pace at which we move to this objective will [Page 164] depend in large part on the Japanese. Our proposed posture is to respond quickly to Japanese initiatives and, on occasion, plant the seed for such initiatives, but not to force the pace too rapidly to the political discomfort of the Japanese Government. We have three specific actions in mind for the future:

Organizing a permanent U.S.-Japanese security group consisting of State and Defense officials at the Assistant Secretary or Deputy Assistant Secretary level and their counterparts in Japan.9
Engaging in gradually broadened security discussions involving such questions as ABMs, the role of U.S. bases in the Pacific, air defense alternatives, regional security strategy, and nuclear weapons problems.
Setting the stage for setting up a U.S.-Japan counterpart to the NATO Nuclear Planning Group, although at the present time this would be premature.10

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 1 JAPAN–US. Secret; Exdis. A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: “Mr. Rostow: of particular interest. Joe” as well as the word “Thanks,” presumably added by Rostow. Joe has not been identified.
  2. Policy Planning Talks were held November 28–30, 1966, in Washington. Additional documents relative to Japan’s increased interest in security matters and the development of approaches to security consultations are ibid., Central Files 1964–66, and DEF 12 CHICOM.
  3. In telegram 9675 from Paris, December 27, 1966, the Embassy in France reported that the First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Paris had inquired into the function, responsibilities, and procedures of the Nuclear Defense Affairs Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group within NATO. A summary of the conversation on those and other matters followed. (Ibid., DEF 12 NATO)
  4. General Amano, Japanese Chief of Staff, requested information “for use in planning anti-missile defenses” for the 1972–1977 period. (Telegram 4120 from Tokyo, December 2, 1966; ibid., DEF 1 JAPAN–US)
  5. McNamara approved of those approaches as set forth in a January 9 memorandum from McNaughton outlining U.S.-Japanese security issues. In that memorandum, McNaughton expressed his view that U.S. “interests in Asia—including our desire to prevent a Japanese nuclear program, to have the Japanese make a greater contribution to Asian security, and to have Japanese policies support our own—require that we respond to the Japanese requests by moving toward a permanent institution for security consultation.” In a handwritten addition to the memorandum McNaughton noted his intention to discuss the matter with Reischauer. According to a January 5 note from Halperin to McNaughton, Reischauer hesitated to encourage such talks in the past out of concern that the U.S. “would use them primarily to browbeat the Japanese to increase their defense budget.” (Washington National Records Center, OSD/OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 71 A 4546, 381 Japan)
  6. Attached but not printed at Tab A is telegram 100598 to Tokyo, December 10, 1966.
  7. The Department of State had ongoing concern that Japanese technology, leaked or otherwise made available by commercial firms in Japan, had aided the advance of Chinese nuclear and missile programs. (Telegram 66787 to Tokyo, October 14, 1966; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 12 CHICOM) High-level briefings on that issue as well as on the status of Chinese nuclear and missile development were conducted in Tokyo on March 1 and 2. (Telegrams 6127 and 6224 from Tokyo, March 1 and 3, respectively; ibid.) The topic was also a subject of discussion at the periodic meeting between the East Asia section of the Department of State and the CIA held on August 31. Reports indicated that “a Japanese had been passing information to the Chinese Communists about Japanese missile development.” While the information did not advance Chinese weaponry, it did give them insight into Japanese space development. And, although Sato opposed the situation, “the Japanese business community did not … and continued blithely to sell sophisticated equipment to the Chinese.” (Memorandum from Trueheart to Hughes, Denney, and Evans, September 1; Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, EAP General, 1967 FE Weekly Meetings)
  8. Attached but not printed at Tab B is telegram 118734 to Tokyo, January 13.
  9. Both sides were prepared to proceed with this step by late March, and the first meeting took place from May 25–26 in Tokyo. The structure adopted for the consultations was the creation of a special subcommittee within the existing U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee. (Telegrams 5471 and 7014 from Tokyo, February 3 and March 31 respectively, and airgram A–1738 from Tokyo, June 27, transmitting memoranda of conversations of the meetings; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 1 JAPAN–US)
  10. At this point appears the handwritten notation “Yes.”