313. Memorandum From William R. Smyser of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1

    • Japan at the Energy Conference

I have seen countless papers telling you and the rest of us about Japan’s positions with regard to the upcoming energy conference. I hope you have not had to read all of them.

The fundamental reality is the same as it was four weeks ago, when I wrote you that Japan would be helpful in moving toward the conference.

The Japanese are fundamentally on our side in energy matters. They are nervous about the Arabs, and they are nervous about the domestic impact of the energy crisis just before an election (as we would be). But they recognize, much more clearly than the Europeans, that in energy as in other matters they really cannot play a lone hand.

Of course, the Japanese may quibble about conference format and duration. They may be wary of participating in “working groups.” Our intelligence community will pick up newsy little tidbits from the Japanese bureaucracy, where it plugs in, stressing differences with our views.

But in your total concept of the objectives of this conference you will find the Japanese to be with us much more often than against us, and where they do oppose us it will not be irreconcilably, for the sake of being different (like the French), but for real reasons that we can handle.

I think this means they will be easier working partners than the Europeans, and that at times we can use Japan’s readiness to cooperate as a lever with the Europeans.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 165, Geopolitical Files, Japan, Chron Files, June 26, 1972–April 23, 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Urgent; sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum.