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18. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Letter from Bob Strauss to Carry to Prime Minister Fukuda

The State Department and STR believe that the 2.5 million restraint figure on Japanese color TV exports to the US, which you told Prime Minister Fukuda was acceptable to us,2 would in fact be seen by domestic industry and labor as too high. The ITC finding, which (by raising tariffs) implies an import level of 2.5 million for all countries, would probably mean a 1.9 million level for Japan. At Tab A is a letter to Fukuda, which Strauss would like to deliver personally;3 it indicates that after your examination of the International Trade Commission’s report and the most recent trade figures (roughly 25% above comparable months last year), you believe that the figure which you mentioned to Fukuda would prove unrealistic in the US, and that the problem needs a fresh look to arrive at a figure below this level. It expresses the hope that this can be worked out on Strauss’ visit to Tokyo.

In seeking to reopen these discussions, we are, of course, going back on the figure you proposed to Fukuda as a US position. But failure to reduce this number would likely provoke a hostile domestic reaction, which would be harmful to our longer-term trade policy and Japan’s interests as well.

RECOMMENDATION

That you sign the letter at Tab A.4

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 11, Japan: Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, 2–12/77. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 12.
  3. Tab A, attached but not printed, is an undated and unsigned letter from Carter to Fukuda. Strauss visited Tokyo April 6–8 for talks with Japanese officials.
  4. A handwritten notation at the bottom of the page reads: “signed revised letter 4/4/77.” According to the memorandum’s NSC Correspondence Profile, Carter signed a revised version of the letter; a handwritten note on the profile reads: “Sorry. Copies are not available in the NSC/S [NSC Secretariat]. It was [signed] & is being hand carried by Strauss.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 11, Japan: Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, 2–12/77)