172. Memorandum From the Special Representative for Economic Summits (Owen) to President Carter1


  • Tokyo Summit

My Japanese opposite number has inquired informally my view about a two-day Summit in the period June 24–26. I told him, after checking with Phil Wise,2 that you were free during this period. He now wants to know whether you would accept an invitation, if one is forthcoming, to attend a Summit during those dates. The Japanese would like an affirmative answer, so that logistic preparations for the Summit and your bilateral visit can begin now (even though the FRG did not begin these preparations until three months before the Summit).

I believe that we should respond as we did in preparing for Bonn: that we agree in principle to the Summit, will keep open your schedule for the time that the host country has in mind, and suggest deferring a final commitment to a specific date until preparatory work has progressed sufficiently to provide a clearer view of what is likely to be accomplished. You will recall that Schmidt suggested this approach in his [Page 527] initial Summit invitation to you, and you responded in terms that emphasized the undesirability of agreeing on a specific date before preparations had progressed further. That emphasis gave us bargaining leverage: You did not agree to a specific date until Schmidt privately indicated to us that he would take further economic stimulus action, if it proved necessary.

Now, as before the Bonn Summit, there are important actions we want the Summit host country to take. Now, as before Bonn, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether these actions will be taken: Japan is not doing as much as it should to reduce its external surplus. If the Japanese believe that we are unlikely to fix a Summit date until there is some evidence of further progress, they may react as Schmidt did—by trying to produce that progress.

State (Dick Cooper) and Treasury (Tony Solomon) concur.


1. That you authorize me to advise my Japanese opposite number (and my opposite numbers in other countries) that you agree in principle to a Tokyo Summit, that you are free in late June, and that you believe that now—as in preparing for Bonn—it would be well to avoid a commitment to a specific date until preparations for the Summit are more advanced.3

2. That you take the same line with Ambassador Mansfield, when you see him Friday.4

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 24, Japan: 8–12/78. Confidential. Sent for action. Both Carter and Brzezinski initialed at the top of the page.
  2. Phillip J. Wise Jr., was named the President’s Appointments Secretary in May 1978.
  3. Carter indicated his approval of this recommendation.
  4. Carter indicated his approval of this recommendation and initialed “J.” A memorandum of conversation of Carter’s meeting with Mansfield on Friday, October 27, is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 24, Japan: 8–12/78.