94. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Johnson1

You have asked for my views on the positions we should take during the Japanese Foreign Minister’s visit next month.

I believe we should:

Listen to Foreign Minister Miki’s proposal for the reversion to Japan of the Ryukyus, Bonins and other Western Pacific islands.
Explain to Miki that the issues to be discussed are much broader than the narrow subject of “reversion”—they relate to fundamental issues of U.S. and Japanese foreign and defense policy. The basic question is not “should the Ryukyus ‘revert’ to Japan,” but rather “will the U.S. Congress and the U.S. public support:
Extension of the ‘one-sided’ U.S.-Japanese security treaty beyond 1970.
Retention of U.S. military bases in the Ryukyus for the protection of Japan.
Retention of stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the Pacific for the protection of Japan.”
Ask Japan to permit us to compete on equal terms with her own manufacturers for the sale of military equipment to the Japanese government. The objective should be to increase Japanese purchases of U.S. military equipment from the current level of approximately $60 million per year to approximately $200 million per year. $200 million would represent only 40–50% of the expenditures we are currently making in Japan in support of our joint defense.

[Page 204]

I would base our approach to the Japanese, both in September and in the next two or three years, on the propositions that: our people will never again allow our nation to “stand alone” in the far Pacific; our bases in that area are there at least as much for the protection of the Japanese as they are for the defense of the United States; and, it will be impossible for us to maintain those bases unless the Japanese move gradually to share the very heavy political and economic costs of providing security to the area.

Robert S. McNamara
  1. Source: Johnson Library, Confidential File, CO 141. Confidential.