186. Memorandum From W.R. Smyser of the National Security Council staff to the Secretary of State Kissinger, Washington, February 8, 1974.1 2



February 8, 1974

FROM: W.R. Smyser [WRS initialed]

SUBJECT: 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.” [text not declassified]

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, that at times we can use Japan’s readiness to cooperate as a lever with the Europeans.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 539, Country Files, Far East, Japan, Vol. 11, 1 January 1974–. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for urgent information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum. On January 14, Smyser produced a similar memorandum, which Kissinger initialed, that stated, “the Japanese, though subject to some constraints, are prepared to react positively to our proposals for an Energy Action Group and for greater cooperation among the oil consuming nations. Their position arises from the general desire to work with us as well as from their awareness that they can be destroyed more quickly than anybody else if the oil producers get the upper hand.” (Smyser and Froebe to Kissinger, January 4; ibid.)
  2. Smyser informed Kissinger that Japan basically supported the U.S. position on energy matters.