176. Memorandum From John Froebe of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, July 5, 1973.1 2


July 5, 1973

FROM: JOHN A. FROEBE, JR. [JAF initialed]

SUBJECT: Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka's Visit: A Proposed Focus

In preparing for the Tanaka visit on July 31-August 1, the bureaucracy needs guidance as to what the substantive focus of the meetings the President will have with Tanaka should be.

We have no pressing specific bilateral U.S.-Japan problems that deserve attention at these meetings. The U.S.-Japan trade imbalance is now well on the way to solution, and, to the extent it remains a problem, will be dealt with at ECONCOM IX on July 16-17. The results of ECONCOM IX could be confirmed during the Tanaka visit.

I would recommend, therefore, that the substantive focus of the President's discussions with Prime Minister Tanaka be to explore the main theme advanced by the Japan chapter of this year's Foreign Policy Report: how can we move Japan toward a broader, less narrowly economic, approach toward her roles in Asia and the world at large. I would suggest that strengthened U.S.-Japan cooperation on specific multilateral problems in which we have a common interest offers an effective vehicle. Such specific problems include:

  • — Regionally: Indochina rehabilitation, the Korean Peninsula, Siberian economic development, and Pacific basin economic cooperation. (China policy and a possible Japanese regional security could be reviewed briefly.)
  • — Globally: The Atlantic partnership, energy (which would overlap with Siberian economic development), and trade and monetary policy (reaffirming or expanding on the discussion at ECONCOM IX)

Although we have no formal indications of Tanaka's substantive preferences for his meetings with the President, CIA reporting has indicated that his inclinations are definitely in this direction. Ambassador Ingersoll has strongly (See TOHAK 361) [Page 2]recommended such an agenda, and the Departments are in agreement.

The specific objectives of the Presidents discussions with Tanaka could be to exchange views on the dimensions of the individual problems, to seek at least preliminary agreement on common U.S.-Japan objectives in each, and to delineate problem areas for further work by our two bureaucracies. We would agree with Tokyo in advance what multilateral issues would be taken up.

To prepare for the discussions, I recommend that we segment out of the Japan NSSM—which cannot in its present shape be ready in its entirety in time—the issue of Japan's regional and world roles. The IG paper would treat this immediate issue by describing the dimensions of these specific multilateral problems, and U.S. and Japanese interests and objectives in them, and would offer alternative sets of objectives which we could try to pursue with the Japanese. If necessary, this IG paper could be considered at an SRG meeting in about two weeks.


That you approve the focus of the Presidents discussions with Prime Minister Tanaka being that of strengthened U.S.-Japan cooperation on multilateral problems of common concern, with the specific problems to be worked out with the Japanese in advance of the Tanaka visit.

Approve [HAK initialed]

That you authorize me to ask for an IG paper as described above.

Approve [HAK initialed]

Concurrences: Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Eagleburger
Mr. Hormats

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–197, NSSM Files, NSSM 172 (2 of 3). Secret. Sent for action. Concurred in by Kennedy, Eagleburger, and Hormats. Both recommendations were marked approved with handwritten notes that read, “HAK per phone call from Jon Howe to RTK. 7/7/73.” In a memorandum to Kissinger, June 30, Froebe noted that the Department had delayed NSSM 172 by requesting Presidential affirmation of the primacy of the U.S.-Japanese alliance before considering other aspects of the study. Kissinger commented in the margin, “Stupid theological point.” (Ibid.) On July 12, Scowcroft sent a memorandum to Eliot asking the NSC Interdepartmental Group for East Asia to prepare an interim study. (Ibid.) On July 27, Richard Sneider, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Group for NSSM 172, submitted a paper titled“US-Japan Cooperation on Multilateral Problems of Mutual Concern” in response to Scowcroft’s memorandum. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 1056, NSC Institutional Materials, NSC Institutional Papers, July 1973 [1 of 3])
  2. Froebe recommended that Kissinger ask for an interim response to NSSM 172 focusing on Japan’s regional and global role.