59. Memorandum From John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • 12th U.S.-Japan Planning Talks

Our semi-annual planning talks with the Japanese were held November 2–3. The Japanese delegation was headed by Takashi Suzuki, Director General of the Research and Analysis Department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. William I. Cargo, Director of State Policy Planning and Coordination Staff headed the U.S. delegation; Herbert Levin of the NSC Staff attended most sessions. Following are highlights of the talks:

The Nixon Doctrine: The Japanese expressed concern that if the Nixon Doctrine results in too rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Asia, the resolution of weaker non-Communist countries to cope with Communist power and influence will be insufficient. The Americans stressed that the Nixon Doctrine emphasized strengthening indigenous [Page 172] forces and that U.S. withdrawals were taking place cautiously as local strength developed.

Japanese Role in Asia: The Japanese took great pains to make clear that the U.S. should not anticipate Japan playing a military role in Asia, for which Japan was unprepared. The Japanese reflected extreme sensitivity to public comments predicting a resurgence of Japanese militarism. The Japanese stated that we could anticipate substantially larger Japanese economic assistance extended to Asia over the next five years.

China: The Japanese concern toward China as a diplomatic problem, not as a military threat, was evident throughout the talks. The Japanese attached special urgency to the need for early U.S.-Japan agreement on a U.N. strategy in order to safeguard the GRC’s right to remain in the world organization as a majority of its members move closer to favoring Peking’s entry. The Japanese also wish to reach agreement with us as to how to handle the bi-lateral relations aspect of the China problem as the 1972 reversion of Okinawa nears and provides them with a common sea border with Taiwan.

Indochina: The Japanese showed little interest in discussing the current situation in Indochina. They noted improvements in both Vietnam and Cambodia, as evidenced by their increased willingness to provide economic assistance to these countries.

Korean Troop Withdrawal: The Japanese expressed interest in U.S. troop withdrawals from Korea, but did not manifest the same concern on this topic as was apparent early last summer.

Environment: The Japanese want international cooperation in this area. However, they wish to avoid attempts to impose international standards and solutions on what their rather isolated island situation suggests are national problems, particularly if they affect trade.

Indian Ocean: The Japanese remain concerned over any suggestion that the Soviets could achieve a position of naval dominance in the Indian Ocean. The security of the Indian Ocean will be a topic on the agenda for the next Planning Talks, in six months.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 535, Country File, Far East, Japan, Vol. III, 7/70 to Dec 70. Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the document, indicating he had seen it.