23. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1


  • Sato Visit—Main Issues

Prime Minister Sato of Japan will meet with you on November 19, 20, and 21 at ten a.m. each day. The main business of these meetings will be to agree on a communiqué and other arrangements connected [Page 71] with Okinawa reversion and to review the range of our common interests and relations, in particular textiles and other trade issues.

There are two principal matters to work out with Sato—nuclear storage on Okinawa and textiles.

The Japanese have been rather forthcoming in our intensive negotiations on Okinawa. They are willing to take real political risks by agreeing to positive communiqué language and a unilateral statement by Sato regarding post-reversion use of bases on Okinawa and Japan to meet an armed attack on Korea or Taiwan and for continued use for Vietnam if needed. While that language does not assure us completely free use of the bases on Okinawa, it does represent a considerable advance with respect to our bases in Japan proper and we consider it satisfactory. However, Defense feels you should seek in addition a secret understanding with Sato on this matter.2 On the financial side of Okinawa reversion, the Japanese have agreed to a settlement of about $685 million in payments and budgetary savings to us, which Treasury, DOD and ourselves consider to be very satisfactory and somewhat beyond our expectations.

The question of continued nuclear storage on Okinawa remains to be worked out.3

On textiles the Japanese have despite tough political problems shown a willingness to consider some remedial measures.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 JAPAN. Secret; Exdis. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates that U. Alexis Johnson hand-delivered the signed original of this memorandum to the President. Attached but not printed are a paper on “Background and Objectives” and talking points.
  2. The Department of Defense argued in favor of a secret understanding with Sato allowing the United States free use of bases on Okinawa for the purpose of responding to a military attack on Korea or Taiwan. The Department of State resisted the idea of a secret written commitment, as expressed in a November 12 memorandum from Green to U.A. Johnson (Ibid.)
  3. A handwritten notation just above this paragraph reads: “Until locations of US nuclear weapons is no longer protected info.”