The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the U.S. Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102-138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, extablished a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102-138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the U.S. Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: The Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. The subseries presents a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of both Presidents. This volume, which documents U.S. policy toward Japan from 1969 until 1972, is Part 2 of a [Page IV] larger volume that was to have included a compilation on U.S. bilateral relations with Korea and Japan.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XIX, Part 2

The 1970s marked a rebalancing in the close relationship between the United States and Japan, as the two countries responded to the phenomenal growth of Japanese economic power and the necessity of a shift from Japanese dependence toward mutual interdependence. Although President Richard Nixon was well disposed toward Japan, the alliance would sustain a number of blows during his first term in office. This was partly because Japan was peripheral to the major foreign policy priorities of the Nixon administration when it entered office—most notably the effort to reduce U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, the attempt to improve relations with the Soviet Union, and the desire to explore a less hostile relationship with Communist China. While pursuing these priorities, the administration showed a willingness to take allies for granted as it attempted to broker agreements with U.S. adversaries. Moreover, neither Nixon nor his chief foreign policy advisor, Henry Kissinger, was particularly interested in international economic issues, which were central to the U.S.-Japan relationship, but which they saw primarily through the prism of Cold War diplomacy and domestic politics. Add to this a contentious battle between the Japanese and U.S. textile industries, and it becomes easier to understand the difficult condition reached in U.S.-Japan relations during 1971, when the United States announced with little warning dramatic shifts in policy towards Communist China and the international economy. Following that period of instability, the remainder of this documentary compilation records the efforts of officials in both countries to adapt the relationship to changed political and economic circumstances.

The Nixon administration achieved the two principal goals it set for itself regarding Japan. First, it reached an agreement on the future status of Okinawa, which required placating both the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concerned that Okinawa not return to Japanese control at the expense of the U.S. ability to meet its political and military obligations in East Asia, and Japanese opinion, which contained powerful currents of anti-militarist, anti-nuclear, and anti-U.S. sentiments. As would be expected, the most important U.S. documentation on Okinawa reversion was produced by those parts of the U.S. Government that specialized in issues of national security and foreign policy. Second, with considerable effort, the administration reduced Japan’s contribution to the growth of foreign textile imports into the United States. This issue proved difficult to resolve in part because the textile industry was politically influential in both countries, and both industries felt increasingly [Page V] threatened by other low cost textile producers. Much of the U.S. documentation about the textile dispute, as well as other economic issues that affected U.S.-Japan relations, was produced by or reflected the concerns of U.S. agencies such as the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury that were primarily concerned with domestic and international economic issues, although those parts of the bureaucracy primarily focused on foreign policy were also involved.

The preferred foreign policy methods of the Nixon administration likewise shaped the documentation selected for this volume. The Nixon administration’s fondness for back-channel negotiations was sometimes matched on the Japanese side. Consequently, key initiatives in the conduct of foreign policy on both sides during this period were not always understood even by relevant cabinet secretaries, let alone their bureaucracies, and the story of U.S.-Japanese relations cannot be adequately told without access to records produced for the President by his aides. An additional tactic favored by Nixon and Kissinger was “linkage,” whereby concessions in one area could be used to gain advantages in another. Through the adoption of these two practices, the United States and Japan secretly linked policies that otherwise appeared disconnected. While such an approach possessed advantages, it could also mean that government bureaucracies and the public had not been persuaded into accepting the views of top leaders. Kissinger noted the problem of trying to convince bureaucrats to support policies that “must seem pretty ridiculous to them” because the policies only made sense in the context of secret agreements about which the bureaucrats had been kept ignorant. (Footnote 3, Document 39) This volume thus considers diplomacy across multiple issue areas—diplomatic, military, and economic—and on two levels: relatively typical negotiations within and between the governmental bureaucracies of Japan and the United States, and occasional secret bargaining between the highest political authorities on both sides.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The original document is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document in[Page VI]cluded in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original document are so identified by footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

[Page VII]

Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act (PMRPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Project are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Nixon White House Tapes

Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the Presidential Records and Materials Preservation Act and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon Estate. In February 1971, President Nixon initiated a voice-activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House, and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, Members of Congress, and key foreign officials. The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editor made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts produced here. Through the use of digital audio and other advances in technology, the Office of the Historian has been able to enhance the tape recordings and produce significantly more accurate transcripts. The result is that some transcripts printed here may differ from transcripts of the same conversations printed in previous Foreign Relations volumes. Even more accurate transcripts, however, cannot substitute for listening to the recordings. Readers are urged to consult the recordings themselves for a full appreciation of those aspects of the conversations that cannot be captured in a tran[Page VIII]script, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2003 and was completed in 2017, resulted in the decision to withhold 1 document in full, excise a paragraph or more in 3 documents, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 4 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume, and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate and comprehensive account of the Nixon administration’s policy toward Japan from 1969 until 1972.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editor also wishes to express gratitude to the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access. Thanks are due to the Historical Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, who were helpful in arranging full access to files. John Haynes of the Library of Congress was responsible for expediting access to the Kissinger Papers. The editor was able to use the Kissinger Papers, including the transcripts of telephone conversations, with the kind permission of Henry Kissinger. The editors would like to thank Sandy Meagher for her valuable assistance in expediting the use of files of the Department of Defense and David Keegan for shepherding the volume through the Department of State declassification process.

[Page IX]

David P. Nickles collected, selected documentation, and edited the volume under the supervision of Erin R. Mahan, Edward C. Keefer, and Adam M. Howard. Steven E. Phillips also collected documents. Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman and Carl Ashley, Chiefs of the Declassification Division. Kristin Ahlberg, Aaron W. Marrs, and Heather McDaniel did the copy and technical editing under the supervision of Mandy Chalou, Chief of the Editing and Publishing Division.

Adam M. Howard, Ph.D.

Acting Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
June 2018