187. Memorandum From Secretary of Commerce Stans to President Nixon 1


  • Trade Policy Discussions in Japan

It has been suggested that I go to Japan, either as an extension of my forthcoming trip to Europe, or shortly after my return from Europe.2 As with my trip to Europe, I plan to discuss trade matters with Japanese Government officials and Japanese participation in a meeting on textiles under GATT auspices.

We have major trade policy issues with the Japanese as we do with the Europeans. These include the Japanese import quotas, which have been a major irritant to us, and the U.S. textile import problem.

In addition, in Japan I wish to take up their stringent limitations on American private investment. According to James Linen of Time-Life, who recently headed up a businessman’s mission to Japan, the Japanese at the highest levels of government now seem really concerned about the desirability of lowering their trade and investment barriers to counter the rising protectionist sentiment in the United States.3 Now is the time to be speaking with the Japanese on their trade and investment barriers.

I am also concerned that if we are to be successful in resolving the textile import problem we need to do this as early as possible. The longer we wait, the greater will be the difficulty of achieving a reasonable international settlement of this issue. The Japanese, who are our major supplier of textiles, are concerned about my trip to Europe. They may feel that the Europeans and we will be joining together in action on the textile import problem to the detriment of the Japanese. Advising the Japanese now that I would be willing to discuss trade policy matters with them, including the textile issue, shortly after my return from Europe, would alleviate their concern.

Secretary Rogers and Mr. Ellsworth concur in the foregoing as do representatives of the Labor Department, the Council of Economic [Page 481] Advisers, and the National Security Council. They also feel that if a trip is made to Japan, I should also include brief stops in Korea and Taiwan.

If you concur, I would plan to return from Europe, spend approximately one week here, and then make a one-week trip to the Far East.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary of Commerce: FRC 40 77 A 84, White House (Misc.). No classification marking. The date is handwritten.
  2. Stans visited Europe in April; see Document 201. Regarding his trip to Asia in May, see Document 203.
  3. Linen’s report has not been further identified.