184. Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting, Washington, January 7, 1974.1 2

In Attendance, Mon., 1/7/74

  • Secretary of State Kissinger
  • Mr. Rush
  • Mr. Porter
  • Mr. Casey
  • Mr. Donaldson
  • Mr. Ingersoll
  • Mr. Newsom
  • Mr. Brown
  • Mr. Stoessel
  • Mr. Kubisch
  • Mr. Sisco
  • Mr. Weiss
  • Mr. Lord
  • Mr. Maw
  • Mr. Pickering
[Page 02]


(The meeting convened at 12:10 p.m., Secretary Kissinger presiding as Chairman.)

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I thought it was very illuminating.

MR. RUSH: Very good.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Ever since the Joint Chiefs had figured out that disarmament negotiations can be used to increase arms —


— we have been in never-never land in the Verification Panel meeting.


We are going to discuss a number of items — overseas bases, U.S.-Japan planning, air-to-air missiles.

We'll start with Winston on the Japanese planning.

MR. LORD: We met a couple of weeks ago, so it's a little bit dated now, but I think it's timely in light of the fact that you're going to see several Japanese in the next couple of weeks.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I can protest! (Laughter.)

MR. INGERSOLL: I want to talk to you about that.

[Page 03]

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Nobody should have to deal with the Israelis and the Japanese at the same time.

MR. INGERSOLL: I thought it was the South Vietnamese.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: But I don't have to deal with them anyway.

MR. LORD: In this memo, that you may have had a chance to read a couple of days ago —

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Can you avoid making snide comments when you speak?


MR. LORD: I'll avoid that.

(Discussion off the record.)

MR. LORD: That should be struck from the record!

I don't want to repeat myself: The basic thing that comes across then, I guess often with the Japanese, is the insecurity and their sense of vulnerability — even more so now because of the energy crisis. No matter where they looked around the world, whenever the subject was discussed, they obviously felt they didn't know where they were going.

For example, in Southeast Asia they feel they've [Page 04]got to be reserved and very well profiled because of their economic dominance, so they feel they don't know what to do in Southeast Asia.

With Russia they're extremely distrustful and disliked, I would say. They're extremely distrustful of our detente policy, and they sounded like the Chinese, when they talked about the Russians.

With China — which had great appeal domestically a few months ago, a year ago — the boom was over. They've got normalized relations now. They are getting down now to concrete problems, constructive negotiations.

There's even backlash from the government — giving away too much from Taiwan.

In Western Europe it was very clear they have had very few meaningful contacts — they had almost nothing to say about their contacts with Western Europe.

So in each of these areas they don't feel they've much of a relationship, and they still look to us as an anchor of their foreign policy. But they're wondering what we're up to in China.

All of this has been compounded, of course, by the energy crisis and the staggering implications for them.

[Page 05]

SECRETARY KISSINGER: And, of course, their policy is so reliable and trustworthy that they have every right to make these comments!

MR. LORD: This is one of the explanations for it. They don't have a world view; they don't have a real global perspective of where they're going. And whenever they want to look at prospective areas they don't know how to proceed.

It's had an impact on the economy now; but it's an impact across the board, given their great dependency on markets. So their one long view on the economy over the last few years—that seems to be withering away from them.

So these are off-the-record, unofficial talks, but nevertheless from authoritative people — that the Japanese are a very easy situation, to say the least.

Now, the kind of topics they're going to be hitting you on when they're going to see you in the next couple of weeks — as I mentioned in the paper, is the energy situation and our initiative.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Unless they can give something concrete, I'm not going to see them at all except for ceremonial meetings. I'm just sick and tired of being the [Page 06]straight man for their —

MR. INGERSOLL: Well, there's a misunderstanding, Henry, and I have some information for you. It was printed.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: We have to go by what's printed. I'm tired of that too.

MR. INGERSOLL: Well, you must realize that the Japanese newspapers are out to get that government and our Government because through getting our Government they're getting that government. They're always in opposition to our Government.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: We'll get to that in a minute.

MR. LORD: On a personal level, each time that you see them communication is getting better; and they were distressed about certain press reports which they again claimed undercut their own substantive view, and also they were embarrassed. The mood, I might say, was a very good mood for them; and I think it was a very successful three days in that respect.

On the trilateral declaration, they still want to proceed in trilateral fashion, they told the OECD; and they'll be pressing you on this.

[Page 07]

They did float a possible compromise — namely, that we should pocket the NATO declaration — which we understand looks pretty good — keep that, drop the one — go to a bilateral one — including Japan — which we might be able to sell to the Europeans. So the tradeoff would be getting that and the trilateral one — which, of course, the Europeans have been resisting.

They are also discussing with you, I'm sure, the Presidential visits coming up. They may probe you on China in the recent trip and they may probe you on Viet-Nam, based on recent talks.

These are the basic highlights.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Yes, but what did you accomplish in your talks? You know, you can't have paranoia as a national policy. I mean, wherever they look they're being fouled up. And yet, when you watch them in their behavior, whenever they have an opportunity they try to double cross us.

MR. LORD: Well —

SECRETARY KISSINGER: You know, there are not many areas where they have the opportunity. But certainly, in the Middle East, they're taking the public position. And in [Page 08]their incompetent way, privately, they're trying to get a preferred position on the Middle East. They're doing just about everything wrong. So their incompetence is our best ally. And to offer Faisal a billion dollars in order to give him an inducement later on to produce oil is just about the dumbest thing you can do. (A), he doesn't need the money. But, if he did need it, you certainly wouldn't get him to increase oil production by paying a billion dollars just to start increasing it.

MR. LORD: Well, I stressed what they said to us, thinking it would be of more interest to you. But I think we made some very useful representations to them. On the Middle East, in effect, we said they're going to undercut our efforts to get an oil boycott lifted by the policy they were pursuing. In Russia, we explained the hard-headed approach to detente. With China we saw that there was no competition between us and we could have better relations on both sides. So I think we got same useful themes across to them and we were quite hard-headed. For example, on the use of our bases in Japan and Viet-Nam, should it flare up again, we made them aware that we have certain treaty rights. So I think we took a fairly firm line on what policy to pursue.

[Page 09]

SECRETARY KISSINGER: But our basic position vis-a-vis all of these allies has to change. They're getting us in a position where we are not selling them out. Where have we sold out any ally? Where, in each of them, haven't they the freedom of maneuver? I insist they have total freedom of maneuver. We are totally tied, and they have total freedom of maneuver—and this is just an unhealthy position.

MR. LORD: Well, we played to that theme. We tried to make clear we'd stress partnership with them for us and U.S.-Japan relations in Asia. But we tried to make sure they'd pursue a responsible policy in the Middle East, the energy group, and in China.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Actually, on the Middle East, my view is we should tell them next to nothing because, obviously, their strategy is to present themselves to the Arabs as having made a great sacrifice about running the risk of our displeasure by adopting a more pro-Arab policy than we want. And the more we tell them they should stay in line with us, the more they would go to the Arabs. And I believe our policy is to tell them to consult their own interests, if they ask what they should do in the Middle East.

[Page 10]

When I was there, I had to, in one way or another with the Arabs, prove that they had separated from us. Whatever interpretation you have of whatever twist was given to the Tanaka statement, that is what he was attempting to accomplish—to prove that they were separating from us, that we did not want them to pursue a pro-Arab policy. They were closer to the Arabs than we were. And if they're going to play that game, we should not give them ammunition. And I think we should tell them that they should pursue their own course. It is senseless to try to get them to follow our line. They'll simply use it to pursue their own policy.

MR. INGERSOLL: But they are following us on the consumer —

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Because that is in their own interest.


SECRETARY KISSINGER: I'm not saying—obviously, we'll invite them to that consumer group—certainly—because it's suicidal for them not to.

MR. INGERSOLL: Yes, I know.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I'm not saying we shouldn't cooperate with them where their own interest dictates they [Page 11]should cooperate with you. But, you know, they're making themselves the laughing stock of the Arabs, the way they're going around.

Didn't you have that impression, Joe?

MR. SISCO: Yes. They're very aware of this thing.

MR. INGERSOLL: But they didn't do anything until they were short. That's the real problem.


SECRETARY KISSINGER: Not only that, but the manner in which they're approaching the Arabs is just about the worst possible tactic for appealing to the Arabs.


SECRETARY KISSINGER: But that's their problem. That strategy is, obviously, to convince the Arabs that they're more pro-Arab than we are — that they're risking their American relationship. Therefore, you have to assume that every time they ask us for advice, in part they're doing it so that they can tell the Arabs they disregarded our advice. And all the intelligence we've received has been in that direction. I know not a single instance where they followed our advice. In fact, they [Page 12]disregarded it. And in retrospect I made a mistake getting sucked into long discussions with them. Ever since we understood it, we've avoided it. And I think we should strictly stick to that course — let them. There's nothing we can do about their Middle East policy. I think it's extremely short-sighted. Maybe within the context of this consumer group we can get some handle on it, but otherwise it's a mistake to try to influence them.

MR. INGERSOLL: I think Ohira understands our position — your position. He's got a political problem —Tanaka and Nakasone.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: He understands it completely and would like to carry it out. Tanaka understands it but doesn't have the guts to carry it out. And Nakasone understands it and wants to use it to overthrow Tanaka in, I understand, the political lineup there. So it's a total waste of time to talk to Nakasone. I know him for a long time as a student.

TanakaTanaka is so frantic because he knows we are right.


SECRETARY KISSINGER: He knows it would be in his political interest if we would vote for [Page 13]him for four months. But he doesn't have the guts to see it through. If he had stuck with us, he'd get some political benefit out of lifting the embargo; and, as it is, we're going to get the embargo lifted.

MR. RUSH: Does the lifting of the embargo include the lifting of the 10 percent increase in production too?

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I think we'll get the 10 percent increase in production too. It depends how it is put.

MR. SISCO: We've put it in terms of both. That's very important.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: We have said we don't want them to increase the embargo unless they want to increase the production because if they don't increase the production we would have to damage some allies in order to get some additional oil.

MR. RUSH: That's the point.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: And that seems to me to be the lineup. I was very well impressed with Ohira.

MR. INGERSOLL: Right. And he has gone out of his way to —

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I have no problem with Ohira. But the basic policy — this conviction of paranoia — I mean, [Page 14]take the Soviet Union. They have tried a helluva lot harder for no return with the Soviet Union and with Red China and with North Viet-Nam than we have.

MR. LORD: This is the point. I think this is coming home to them. There are parallels with the Europeans, but in designing overall strategy with them I think they honestly feel they have no other choice with us — whereas the Europeans may feel they have other options.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Our basic relationship with Japan is not unhealthy, as long as we call them; but when they step out of line —

MR. STOESSEL: Just a question on timing on this trilateral declaration. As I recall, Von Staden asked you when could we work out this trilateral. Could it be later than with the Europeans?

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I think it should be simultaneous.

MR. STOESSEL: Well, I think for the Japanese it should be because, if it's later, they miss all the fanfare and they're not treated equally.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: No, no. I think it should be simultaneous. And I think when you go over to the [Page 15]Directors' Meeting —

MR. STOESSEL: I won't be going.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: When your successor goes over — if we can de-Europeanize him —


— he should make a strong point.

MR. STOESSEL: Yes. As I recall, to von Staden you said slightly later.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I think that's wrong. In fact, you might correct that.

MR. STOESSEL: I think it should be at the same time.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Yes; I agree with you.


SECRETARY KISSINGER: I don't mind saying it publicly. Vest on earlier occasions said he believes Japan must be a part of this.

MR. LORD: The Japanese might say it.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: The Japanese can't tell us what to do.

MR. LORD: They might float this.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: That's not their business. They have a right to declare a trilateral negotiation [Page 16]simultaneously.

MR. LORD: They might say, "Keep a bilateral on the NATO."

SECRETARY KISSINGER: But that's none of their business. They have a right to participate in a trilateral declaration. They can't tell us not to make a bilateral with the Common Market — though we might at some point go to the Common Market one, if that doesn't turn out good.

MR. STOESSEL: Well then, I guess as far as the procedures are concerned, if the President were to go and sign it there in Brussels — and this would mean the Japanese Prime Minister coming and doing the same thing —


[Omitted here is material unrelated to Japan.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, E5177, Box 2. Secret. In this meeting, Lord orally presented the contents of a paper that he had sent to Kissinger on December 22. Lord’s paper is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Country Files, Far East, Box 539, Japan, July 1973–December 31, 1974 (sic), vol. 10.
  2. Lord presented on U.S.-Japan planning talks. The discussion focused on energy policy and the trilateral declaration.