30. Briefing Paper Prepared for President Nixon1


Prime Minister Sato proposes to President Nixon: (a) that bilateral textile discussions be held to complete an agreement between the two countries and to reduce it to precise understanding in writing as to all particulars; (b) that such meetings use the existing conference at Geneva; (c) that the meetings and the detailed agreements be kept confidential; (d) that the commitments to them would be newly expressed in multilateral meetings held under GATT and this meeting to be called by the U.S.; (e) that Japan would do its utmost to assist the United States to achieve similarly acceptable solution with the principal interested nations; (f) that the matters in this proposal not be linked publicly by either government with Okinawa negotiations.


The proposal is understood to mean: (a) that the initial bilateral agreement and the multilateral agreement that follows are to provide for comprehensive limitations as to all textile products made of man-made fibers and wool and their blends; (b) that the level of such limitations will not exceed the level of such imports into the United States in a twelve months’ period ended no later than June 30, 1969, plus an annual growth factor approximately equal to the growth of United [Page 88] States market; (c) that the specifications of the final multilateral agreement are to be similar to those now existent in the long-term cotton agreement; (d) that the multilateral agreement is intended to be in effect for a period of at least five years; (e) that the bilateral meetings will result in agreements as to how the two countries will proceed in the multilateral discussions; (f) that the bilateral understandings will all be concluded approximately by the year end; and (g) that it be the joint objective of the two countries to conclude the multilateral arrangements by March 31, 1970, their conditions to be effective beginning with full year 1970. The Japanese Government respectfully requests that American Government take a stronger position than this in the talks at Geneva.

Sequence of Actions

Bilateral discussions between the two countries should use the Geneva forum and should result in a precise agreement as to all particulars by the end of the year. Prime Minister Sato holds himself personally responsible for achieving this comprehensive agreement at Geneva. If the Geneva talks are unsuccessful, he will ask they be recessed. Confidential talks could then be held in another forum to reach comprehensive agreement, which will then be fed back into reconvened Geneva talks.

The United States should pursue similar bilateral discussions with Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, preparing the way with them for the intended multilateral agreement, but without disclosure to them of any understandings with Japan.

At an appropriate time, the United States should issue a call under Article XXII of GATT for a multilateral meeting to negotiate an agreement covering all products made of man-made fibers, wool and their blends, such meeting to be held at as early a date as possible.

The United States, with “utmost assistance” from Japan, should conclude a multilateral agreement, along the lines intended, by the end of March or April.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, TS 63, Memcons, Presidential File, 1969. Top Secret. Nixon received this document before his November 20, 10 a.m. meeting with Sato. Kissinger sent it to him under a November 19 memorandum that states: “The section on textiles must be handled with great care as it has been pre-arranged with Prime Minister Sato.” (Ibid.) In an October 29 memorandum Kissinger informed Nixon: “On September 30 with your approval I provided Wakaizumi with a statement of our minimum conditions for emergency use of Okinawa in support of nuclear operations after reversion. Concurrently with your approval Wakaizumi was furnished our minimum conditions for regulating imports from Japan of the two textile categories not covered under the present Cotton Agreement.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–210, National Security Decision Memoranda, NSDM 13)