14. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Current Status of the Okinawan Negotiations

You will be seeing Foreign Minister Aichi for a brief courtesy call on June 2. As background for this conversation, the current state of play on the Okinawan negotiations and other key U.S.-Japan problems is summarized below.

Okinawan Negotiations

During the past month, the opening skirmishes in the Okinawan negotiations took place in both Washington and Tokyo. The Japanese Foreign Office sent two senior officials to Washington to test the ground for Aichi, and Aichi tried out his Washington script tentatively on our [Page 55] Chargé in Tokyo.2 I have also had two conversations, one with Aichi’s advance man and the second with Ambassador Shimoda.3

These opening skirmishes have served to draw the battle lines more clearly—in the following broad terms:

1. The Japanese now know that they are faced with some very tough negotiating demands on our part; they are worried and are already beginning to soften some aspects of their position to meet our requirements.

2. The principal give in the Japanese position is on freedom for conduct of conventional military combat operations with respect to the Korean area. The depth of our concern about Korea, particularly, is fully appreciated and the Japanese are prepared to go fairly far to meet our requirements—even to the extent of considering a strong public commitment. The Japanese are also pretty well down the road to granting similar rights with respect to Taiwan and perhaps the Philippines.

3. The Japanese will wish to negotiate any special arrangements for Korea and Taiwan within the framework of the current Treaty arrangements; this is possible and also helpful to the Japanese since they can then say that reversion of Okinawa is on the “homeland level”.

4. We have detected absolutely no give on the Japanese side with respect to retaining nuclear weapons on Okinawa; however, they realize this is a very difficult pill for us to swallow and are right now very well disposed to making compensatory concessions in other areas of the Okinawan negotiations.

5. It virtually goes without saying that the pressure for a reversion agreement this year is intense in both Japan and Okinawa.

The Impact of Okinawa on Other Issues

While nobody is directly linking Okinawan reversion to the other major problems between ourselves and Japan, the Japanese are making this calculation time and time again.

There are clear signs of Japanese recognition of the need for significant concessions, likewise, in the economic area—to avoid “complicat [Page 56] ing” the Okinawan reversion issue. The major problem for the Japanese is that they are now uncertain as to what economic issues have the highest priority for us. They have been presented with requests for immediate action on such a broad array of trade and investment issues that they are not sure which direction to turn. As a consequence, they are developing their own sense of priorities based upon the internal difficulties involved; Embassy Tokyo reports that the Japanese are more likely, therefore, to move ahead with capital liberalization rather than textiles, and a joint venture involving Chrysler has recently been announced. The problem of our priorities in the economic field will have to be dealt with before the Joint Cabinet Committee meeting at the end of July, if we are to reap the maximum dividends from the current situation.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Subject Files, Confidential Files, Box 7, F, CO 75 Japan, 1969–1970. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. Fumihiko Togo, Chief of the American Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited Washington at the end of April. Before Togo’s trip, the Embassy reported on his negotiating position in telegram 3311 from Tokyo, April 26. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 533, Country Files, Far East, Japan, Vol. I) The second senior official to whom Kissinger is referring was probably Ambassador Hiroto Tanaka, a special advisor to Sato on the Okinawa talks, who met with U.S. officials before Aichi’s visit. (Telegram 83845 from the Department to Tokyo, May 24, ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 JAPAN) Japanese Foreign Minister Aichi met with the U.S. Chargé in Tokyo, David Osborn, on April 22. A report of the conversation is in telegram 3156 from Tokyo, April 23. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 533, Country Files, Far East, Japan, Vol. I)
  3. See Documents 6 and 12.