46. Editorial Note

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Walter Stoessel addressed the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on April 24, 1981. Stoessel began his remarks by emphasizing the “four basic elements” of the Ronald Reagan administration’s foreign policy and how U.S. efforts must be consistent, clear, and “focused within a framework which permits actions and policies in one region to be mutually reinforcing in another region.” After providing an overview of U.S. interests in Asia, Stoessel spoke specifically about Japan: “Our relationship with Japan is not only the cornerstone of our policy in Asia but one of the most close and vital relationships in our global alliance structure. As the relationship has matured, we have forged a productive partnership to deal with many of the most serious challenges of our times.

“As part of our security agreement with Tokyo, we maintain a credible deterrent force in East Asia. The Japanese have undertaken an increasingly larger contribution to the costs of maintaining these forces. Together, we have worked out guidelines for joint defense planning and continue to consult extensively on defense issues.

“Our economic ties are no less important. Bilateral trade between our two nations exceeded $51.5 billion in 1980. Japan is our largest market after Canada and our best customer for agricultural products, as more acreage in the United States is devoted to producing food for Japan than within Japan itself.

“No relationship, no matter how solid, is without some rough spots. Our large bilateral trade deficit and the auto import question are two economic issues which both countries will need to resolve. On the trade deficit, I might note that a positive trend has emerged, which will contribute to a more balanced relationship. So far in 1981, our exports to Japan have risen dramatically—46% since 1978—while our imports rose by only 8% during the same period.

“Our two nations are firmly linked as equal partners in a full spectrum of regional and global interests. We have welcomed the emergence of a more active Japanese foreign policy and Japanese initiatives in dealing with many different issues of global concern. In addition to its involvement in Asian and Pacific questions, Japan has demonstrated its willingness to play an active and constructive role in the [Page 160] Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Japan has made a commitment to provide greater amounts of economic assistance to developing countries, accepting the responsibilities of the world’s second largest economic power.

“We welcome and encourage a major Japanese role in world affairs. We will look to Japan to exercise leadership in dealing with the complex challenges confronting the international community. In this regard, we welcome the visit to our country in early May of Prime Minister Suzuki as a unique opportunity to take stock of our mutual interests and to devise common strategies.” Stoessel also discussed U.S. relations with China, Taiwan, South Korea, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (Department of State Bulletin, June 1981, pages 33–34) The complete text of Stoessel’s address is ibid., pages 33–35.