177. Memorandum From Robert Hormats of the National Security Council staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, July 19, 1973.1 2


July 19, 1973



ECONCOM IX, held in Tokyo on July 16-17, was extremely constructive. Japan was most concerned about restrictions on the export of soybeans. Under Secretary of Agriculture Campbell explained the domestic problems which gave rise to such restrictions, and these seemed to mollify the Japanese. A major discussion on energy took place, without any commitments other than to begin expert level consultations. The Japanese evinced great interest in your "Year of Europe" speech and the Atlantic Declaration.

The most useful aspect of these meetings was the opportunity it afforded me for private discussions with Japanese officials. The most important points raised in these several meetings were the following:

  • Ohira wants to discuss the "declaration" idea with you at the Summit. Japan has no specific suggestions at this point but is primarily interested in determining U.S. motives, in participating in the preparation and in having a security section which is general enough so that Japan can adhere. (One compromise here might be to have one paragraph of a general nature to which Japan can adhere, with following paragraphs of a more NATO-oriented nature.)
  • — One ranking official informed me that Japan was enthusiastic about the idea of a declaration, but that their primary reservation resulted from their doubts about the American motivation behind this. Four years ago they would have jumped at the idea because they had confidence that the U.S. saw its interest in broad terms and would utilize this declaration for constructive ends. Now, in light of America's recent chauvinistic approach to monetary and trade issues, Japan suspects that a broad charter would be used as a framework for applying greater pressure on Japan to make non-reciprocal economic concessions.
  • — The soybean issue has raised very real questions in Japan as to how much it can rely on the U.S. as a future supplier. The Japanese government has in the past gone out of its way to increase imports from [Page 2]the U.S. That policy is now coming under criticism. The government is under intense pressure to reduce reliance on the U.S. and diversify its purchases. There are those that are firmly convinced that manifestations of the unreliability of the United States as an agricultural supplier is part of an overall lack of unreliability in the political and security areas as well. They see a highly nationalistic America compromising international rules and friendships when doing so suits its purpose.
  • — In the energy area there is recognition that Japan and the U.S. should pursue mutually compatible objectives, but here again there is lack of confidence in the U.S., which having its own domestic resources and controlling the major companies can afford to pay insufficient attention to Japan and utilize its advantage to gain leverage over Japan. If there is one area in which we can demonstrate our reliability and desire to cooperate with Japan in the future it is energy. Joint research and development, exploration and exploitation in Siberia, equitable sharing arrangements are important to the Japanese and to us as well. Japan is interested in pursuing the possibilities of a joint uranium enrichment project and will pursue this further. On research and development Japan agreed to provide us with some concrete research suggestions in preparation for a meeting of the experts of both countries. If Japanese-U.S. cooperation is to mean anything over the coming decade, it must manifest itself in the energy area.


Japanese lack of confidence in U.S. motives, while not a new phenomenon, in this case has considerable justification as the result of recent U.S. performance in the economic area. The best way to deal with this is to convey to Tanaka a better appreciation of what we intend to do with the "declaration." One major point worth emphasizing is that our relationship with the Japanese means more to us than merely resolving a few contentious economic issues, and that the "declaration" is designed to demonstrate the importance of an across-the-board revitalization of our relationship with Europe and Japan so that economic issues do not assume so great an importance and can be dealt with more constructively by the U.S. and its partners. It is not designed to permit us to apply additional leverage on Japan or any other country.

Concurrence: John Froebe

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 539, Country Files, Far East, Japan, July 1973–December 31, 1974 (sic), vol. 10. Confidential. Sent for information. Concurred in by Froebe. Kissinger initialed the memorandum on August 8.
  2. Hormats described the recent ministerial talks held in Tokyo between the United States and Japan.