69. Editorial Note

National Security Study Memorandum 122, dated April 15, 1971, had called for a new review of policy toward Japan, taking account of the 1969 NSSM 5 study and developments in the bilateral relationship since NSDM 13 was issued on May 28, 1969. Text of NSSM 122 is in the National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, NSSM 122. Regarding NSSM 5 and NSDM 13, see Document 20.

A response to NSSM 122, dated August 2, was sent to the Chairman of the NSC Senior Review Group under cover of an August 2 memorandum from Winthrop Brown, who reported that it had been approved by the Interdepartmental Review Group for East Asia and the Pacific. Because of the interest in the study, particularly the economic aspects, throughout the government, he recommended that representatives from interested agencies be invited to attend the Senior Review Group meeting on the study. (National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, NSSM 122)

A revision of the “Economic Options” section (pages 16-25) of the summary of the response to NSSM 122 was distributed to the Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the JCS Chairman, the DCI, the Under Secretary of the Treasury, the Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, the OMB Director, and the CEA Chairman under cover of an August 5 memorandum from NSC Staff Secretary Davis. She also provided comment on the “Economic” section from the State Department and CEA. (Ibid.) The revision of the “Economic Options” section proposed, among other things:

  • “Option 1. Take prompt, multilaterally-directed measures to eliminate or alleviate US trade and balance-of-payment problems, without directing actions at Japan in particular.
  • “Option 2. Increase pressure on Japan, in bilateral and multilateral forums, to stimulate its domestic economy (in order to achieve a better international balance) and to follow internationally-agreed rules of trade and investment. (This is in addition to the measures in Option 1.)
  • “Option 3. A CIEP-directed strategy for the negotiation, including the measures of Option 2 plus additional measures and a time schedule and targets.

The paper also listed several arguments for and against each of the three options but did not recommend approval or disapproval of any of them. A note at the end of the “Economic” section reads: “All of the above options assume a continuation of U.S. efforts to obtain satisfactory solutions to the textile and steel import problems.”

In an August 5 memorandum to Under Secretary of State Irwin, Assistant Secretary Trezise and Deputy Assistant Secretary Brown summarized and analyzed among other things these three economic options [Page 167]and recommended that Irwin “set forth the case for Option 2, and urge an early Presidential decision in favor of this approach.” They attached talking points for this presentation. (Ibid.)

The SRG met on August 6, August 27, and September 7 to take up policy toward Japan. At the August 6 meeting, “Kissinger made it clear from the outset that he wished to run the economic-trade section of the response [to NSSM 122] through the CIEP machinery, primarily to develop the kind of action plan envisaged by Treasury, Commerce, Labor and Agriculture in one of the options.” Much of the discussion dealt with speculation about possibly loosening ties with Japan and the risks inherent in an independent Japan in Asia. At the close of the meeting, Kissinger said that the next SRG meeting would consider the paper being developed by the CIEP as well as one being written in the State Department on how the Asian situation might develop with an independent Japan. (Memorandum from Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs U. Alexis Johnson to Secretary Rogers, August 10; ibid.) The CIEP meeting took place on August 10; see Document 70.

The SRG meeting of September 7 focused directly on preparations for the bilateral ECONCOM meetings on September 9-10 in Washington (see Document 75). Papers for and resulting from these SRG meetings are in the National Security Council, Box 98 SRG Meetings, Japan 8/6/71, 8/27/71, and 9/7/71.