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


  • Okinawa

As you know, State has proposed to tell Sato that we would be prepared to give up our nuclear storage rights on Okinawa in return for free conventional use with respect to Korea, Taiwan and (while the war lasts) Vietnam.

I take your view to be as follows:

1. While you recognize that this may turn out to be our ultimate position, you do not wish to have it presented at the outset.

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2. You wish at this stage to have only a general discussion and to reserve for yourself the possibility of breaking a deadlock later.

3. You also wish to reserve the nuclear issue to help other issues such as textiles.2

4. You want to proceed in the manner outlined by Alexis Johnson to the NSC of giving in on the nuclear issue only after the Japanese have shown their hand.3

5. You feel you owe it to Defense not to present such a proposal without discussing it with them.

6. You will recall that we know that Sato is willing to settle for better than this from his private emissary.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 554, Country Files, Far East, Okinawa, Vol. I, 1969 and 1970. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. In the right-hand margin Nixon wrote: “1. U.S. political—Defense—Congress 2. Japan—Hard bargainer—3. We must not give up more—therefore offer less now—”.
  2. Nixon circled the word “textiles.”
  3. Nixon underlined “issue only after the Japanese have shown their hand.”
  4. Nixon initialed the approve option.