28. Notes of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Japanese Scholar Kei Wakaizumi 1

K indicated that everything went perfectly and it is all settled. Y thanked K. Y wanted K to make quite clear, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, [less than 4 lines not declassified]. K said we would understand what he will say.2

Y said it would be of a great help if they could talk about the morning’s meeting. He wanted to know the minimum requirement from K’s side.3 K asked—what he should say or what he has agreed to? Y said both; and K should make it quite clear.

K said Y’s friend should say that bilateral discussions on this item4 will be held to complete an agreement. Y asked, by the end of the year? [Page 83] K said a comprehensive agreement—and he must mention the word comprehensive. And that he should use all his influence for this agreement to be reached by the end of the year, but it will be kept secret until “you know when.” Y said March or April? K agreed, but that soon after the event, there will be a call in which both friends jointly call for a multilateral meeting, at which the two sides will take a common position and your side will do its utmost to assist us to achieve the agreed solution with other nations. Y’s friend will say he will try to get it done in the present forum, or if not that one, then some other.5 K’s friend6 will expect that. K said we understood this means this is to be a comprehensive limitation. Y added, rather than selective? K said yes, a comprehensive limitation to a level not to exceed the level up to June 30, plus annual growth factors. But he doesn’t have to mention any of this. Y understood that as did his friend. K said he has to go into the procedure though. K assumed Y’s friend will say the existing forum should continue. Y said he thought his friend felt that would be the best way. Y’s friend had already given instructions to his representative and perhaps not in that detail but he will do that. K said his friend would raise the issue and explain the importance to Y’s friend. K said that would be the first item on the agenda. Then Y’s friend should say, let me make this proposal that we have bilateral discussions to reach an agreement and to reduce to a precise understanding in writing. We will keep the understanding confidential. Right after, you and we together will call for the multilateral thing. Y was confused on who would ask for the multilateral and K clarified by saying that we would ask for it. Y asked him to make it clear. K said we would call for one soon after Y’s thing. Then at the meeting you will support us along the lines of the understanding and do your utmost to assist us to achieve a similarly acceptable solution with the others. All of this Y’s friend should say. K said we understand that what we will arrive at are those figures that we will not mention. Y asked if the figures will be raised in other places. K said no, unless you want us to. We will instruct our negotiators to hold out for these figures, but that is natural. Y said perhaps K’s negotiators will have much tougher line. K agreed and then they will come in with softer one. Y wanted clarification again on who would call for the multilateral and K said we would.

Y was confused since K’s proposal gives the impression somewhat different. K thought we would continue with what is already going on. Y was not talking about the procedure. K said the substance remains the same, the procedure differs. Y understood and said all his friend [Page 84] has to say is what K has told him. K asked if Y minded if he sat in for those few minutes to make sure everything is clearly understood. Y didn’t see any problem and asked if that would mean someone on their side would come in. K said he would be coming through a different door.

K said as long as Y’s friend says exactly what we have agreed to, he didn’t think he needed to be present. He should not deviate. If he does, K’s friend will not accept. Y asked if K would repeat it again.

K said (1) bilateral discussions should be held to complete an agreement, and they in fact already have begun; (2) this agreement should be reduced to writing in all the particulars; (3) that he makes himself personally responsible that there will be a comprehensive agreement; (4) that after the event, the U.S. should call for a meeting in multilateral form under GATT that at this meeting Y’s friend will do his utmost to assist us to achieve similarly acceptable international solution along the lines of our basic understanding. In accordance with our confidential understanding it would be kept secret until those meetings and then, of course, that the matter should not be linked in any way with what went on today. K said if Y’s friend says all of this, K’s friend will accept. But he must say it precisely because K’s friend is not sufficiently briefed of the details so if there is a deviation, he will have to interrupt and that would be difficult. Y asked K to repeat the final point again. K said that this would be kept secret until GATT meeting and that he should not mention this item in any way. K said we would agree to that. Y asked if he was right in understanding that this particular _______?7 would not be used or mentioned in the joint communiqué. K said that was correct. If everything else is done as we have discussed, Y said his friend would make specific request to K’s friend about that. K said his friend would agree.

Y said K had no idea how grateful his friend was with respect to Item 28 and asked if there were any other topics. The only other thing was Item 3 and K said we are assuming Y’s friend will make concrete suggestion. It would be very well received if it was suggested that some of the import restrictions “you know what I mean.” K said his friend would raise the suggestion of post-Vietnam. Y agreed. K said we would not require prior agreement on this. This is just for Y’s [Page 85] information so that his friend is prepared. K said the only agreement that we have is that before June 1, something is done on Item 3. K’s friend has already agreed with Y’s friend on Item 4. Y asked if Item 3 would be mentioned in the joint communiqué. K said only that it was discussed. He said we would phrase it as generally as possible. With regard to the wording of Item 3, Y asked again if it would be inserted in the joint communiqué. K said he understood Y’s problem and we will try to live by it. Y thanked K and said he would give this to his friend and will make it clearly understood so his friend would proceed as K suggested. K asked if we could count on that. Y said certainly. K thought we were in good shape and looked forward adding that this is only the beginning of long cooperation.

Y asked if K would see that his working people have no idea so . . .??? K said he would take a look at the final communiqué. Y asked him to do it at the very last moment. K said he would have to wait until after the morning session since he was not supposed to know what was going on. Y said he was sure K would handle this in a very discrete way and asked K to keep his eye on it.

Y asked K to call if anything happened and K told him to relax about it.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1030, Presidential/HAK Memcons, Memcons Textile Telcons 1970 [Sept. 1969–Jun. 1970] [2 of 2]. No classification marking. Wakaizumi provides his own account of this conversation in his book, The Best Course Available, pp. 278–281. Kissinger was in Washington; Wakaizumi was in Tokyo, where it was November 20, 8:30 a.m. Wakaizumi used the alias Yoshida during conversations with Kissinger, thus the “Y” used in the text.
  2. [text not declassified]
  3. The “morning’s meetings” is a reference to the discussion of textiles and other economic issues that was planned for the next day. Wakaizumi wanted to know the “minimum requirement” for the United States when it negotiated a textile agreement with Japan.
  4. “This item” refers to the textile dispute. Wakaizumi’s “friend” is a reference to Sato.
  5. “The present forum” is a reference to the textile talks in Geneva.
  6. Kissinger’s “friend” is a reference to Nixon.
  7. Omission in the original. Sato did not want the issue of textiles to be publicly linked with that of the reversion of Okinawa.
  8. The “items” in this paragraph refer to planned topics of discussion between Nixon and Sato, not to items in their final joint communiqué. In this conversation between Kissinger and Wakaizumi, item 1 appears to refer to the textile dispute, item 2 to Okinawa reversion, item 3 to Japanese trade and investment liberalization, and item 4 to post-Vietnam.