79. Letter From President Nixon to Japanese Prime Minister Sato 1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I have just completed a very fruitful round of discussions with Ambassador-at-Large David M. Kennedy regarding the current textile negotiations in the Far East which he is conducting as my personal envoy. As a result, I would like to personally reaffirm to you the very great importance which I attach to settling the textile issue. I must, as well, reluctantly express my regret upon learning that progress toward reaching accord with Japan has been delayed.

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While I recognize that the decision which you must make involves far-reaching political considerations, I would like, nonetheless, to emphasize the fundamental importance to the future course of U.S.-Japanese relations which resolution of the textile issue between the United States and Japan now entails. This is a matter which I know you appreciate as fully as I do, and I am happy to see this appreciation reflected in your recent cabinet realignment and the public statements which members of your cabinet have made emphasizing the importance of materially improving U.S.-Japanese economic relations. I am confident, therefore, that your decision on the textile issue will afford us the opportunity to make great strides in this direction.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Box 1, Peter Peterson, Subject Files, Textile Negotiations, April–July 1971. Nixon signed this letter after receiving it from Kennedy during a meeting at the Western White House that started at 10:08 a.m. At the same time Nixon signed a similar letter designated for Korean President Chung Hee Park. (Ibid.) Kennedy also gave Nixon a memorandum describing the course of the textile negotiations in the Far East. He noted that the negotiations were at a “make-or-break point” and “the key is Japan.” (Ibid.) Richard Kennedy and Ernest Johnston of the NSC staff prepared a July 15 briefing memorandum for Kissinger in anticipation of this meeting. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 400, Subject Files, Textiles, Vol. IV, Jan–Dec 1971) From 10:35 to 10:40 a.m., Kennedy remained behind to speak with the President, as others in the room departed. At this time, Nixon probably offered Kennedy the ambassadorship to Japan, a proposition that he made at some point on July 16. On July 19, Kennedy sent a memorandum to the President declining this post. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, Box 14, Peter Flanigan, Special Files, 1971)