47. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Japan1

100695. For the Ambassador from Alexis Johnson. Following is text of letter from President to Sato, which being given Aichi prior to his departure:2

[Page 138]

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

“Thank you for your letter of June 193 and for the spirit which prompted you to have Foreign Minister Aichi and Minister of International Trade and Industry Miyazawa visit Washington in an effort to settle the textile problem, which has so long been outstanding and which you and I discussed last November.4

“Needless to say, I am deeply disappointed that it has not been possible to arrive at an agreement.5 However, I remain convinced of the importance of developing those broad relations in the political, social and economic fields between our two countries which are of such crucial importance to both of us and to peace and harmony in the Pacific.

“Secretary Rogers will be looking forward to discussing these and other matters with you during his forthcoming trip to Tokyo. Sincerely, (signed) Richard Nixon

2. Following is text of letter from PM Sato to the President delivered from FonMin Aichi upon his arrival Washington June 22:

“Dear Mr. President,

“Since Mr. Maurice Stans, Secretary of Commerce of the United States, visited Japan last year, the problem of restraints on exports to the United States of wool and man-made fiber textile articles has been continuously and earnestly discussed between our two Governments. The problem is most difficult and complex, but it has been my strong conviction that no problem between our two countries is too difficult to solve, if approached in the spirit of mutual trust and friendship, as has been demonstrated in the past.

“I have given serious thought to the course of discussions that have taken place for more than a year, and to various difficulties in your country, as well as to the positions taken by the Diet and by the industries concerned of my country. Considering that further delay in solving this problem is not desirable for both countries, I have now come to a conclusive thought for the solution of this problem.

“I am now sending Mr. Kiichi Aichi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Kiichi Miyazawa, Minister of International Trade and Industry, [Page 139] to your country to hold thorough discussions with representatives of your Government.6

“In these discussions, I sincerely hope that you would give your full understanding to the following two points, in particular.

“First, the textile problem is to be considered a special and exceptional case, and similar solutions should not be extended to other commodities in the future.

“Second, the export restraints should in no case be extended beyond the period of duration to be agreed upon in these discussions.

“I would like to emphasize that, in view of the current position of the Diet and other domestic situations, your understanding and favorable consideration of the above points is of the utmost importance for the final solution of this problem.

“Accept, Mr. President, my warmest personal good wishes. Very sincerely, (signed) Eisaku Sato Prime Minister of Japan.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, INCO FIBERS 17 US–JAPAN; Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Monjo; cleared by Brewster and Finn; approved by U. Alexis Johnson. According to a June 25 memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon, the letter was coordinated with Rogers, Johnson, and Stans and cleared by Special Assistant to the President Keogh. A signed original of Nixon’s letter to Sato is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 924, VIP Visits, Sato Visit, Vol. II, Textiles [1 of 3].
  2. Aichi and Miyazawa met with high-ranking administration officials in Washington June 22–24.
  3. See below.
  4. See Documents 31 and 35.
  5. On June 24, Bergsten wrote a memorandum to Kissinger in which he warned that the collapse of the textile negotiations could “unleash broad protectionist efforts” in the United States that, if left unrestrained, would produce a foreign policy “disaster.” Bergsten called for Nixon to lobby Congress in order to “combat the pressures for widespread import restrictions.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 399, Subject Files, Textiles, Vol. II, 1970)
  6. On June 22, Aichi met with Rogers to discuss the textile negotiations and other subjects. Their discussion is summarized in telegram 98759 to Tokyo. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, INCO FIBERS 17 US–JAPAN) At this meeting, Aichi gave Rogers a “Memorandum on the Textile Problem.” Bergsten forwarded the Japanese memorandum to Kissinger under a June 24 memorandum in which he noted it “simply reiterates the standard Japanese principles on textiles.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 399, Subject Files, Textiles, Vol. II, 1970) On June 24, Stans and Miyazawa met in the morning and agreed that it was impossible to negotiate a textile agreement at this time. Telegram 100903 to Tokyo, June 25, briefly described that discussion and summarized another meeting, during the afternoon of the same day, among Rogers, Stans, Aichi, and Miyazawa. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, INCO FIBERS 17 US–JAPAN) During this discussion, Aichi said that a few days of negotiations did not provide sufficient time in which to close the large gap between the U.S. and Japanese positions. Miyazawa noted that the Japanese government lacked the legal authority to enforce its decisions on the textile industry. On July 21 Stans sent a memorandum to Nixon briefly describing his three private meetings with Miyazawa on June 22, 23, and 24. (Ibid., FT 4, JAPAN–US)