Pat Buchanan unmasked as a Kissingerian internationalist? The opening sentence of this White House memo from the Nixon Papers Project at the National Archives caught my eye when Dr. Robert Wampler, our U.S.-Japan specialist, brought it in this month (it was just declassified in August 1995).
Presidential speechwriter Buchanan was clearly the low man on the totem pole, and thus the notetaker, at the "Legislative Leadership Meeting" on 17 February 1970, which included the key Republican leaders in the House and Senate, with President Nixon and National Security Adviser Kissinger. Buchanan wrote: "The bulk of the leadership meeting was devoted to discussion of the State of the World message which Dr. Kissinger outlined in extensive and brilliant detail"!
Was this sycophancy? or sarcasm? or simply a notetaker's dodge? None of the "brilliant detail" is included in Buchanan's five-page memo, which is devoted almost entirely to the President's comments in the ensuing discussion. And fascinating comments they are. I can almost imagine Oliver Stone staging the scene recounted on page 3, where President Nixon "said he indicated to Golda Meir when she was in the country that he had only gotten 8% of the Jewish vote and he was supporting the Israelis not for political reasons for the first time in recent history."
On Japan (the subject Dr. Wampler was searching for), the memo has Nixon pronouncing that despite the previous "reluctance on the part of the Japanese to involve themselves in world affairs, he wouldn't be surprised if 'in five years we didn't have to restrain them."' (page 2) Some 25 years later, Buchanan says as President he'll unilaterally end the trade deficit with Japan, among other distinctly non-internationalist measures.
Next month, we'll take a closer look at the Nixon era's Japan policies, specifically the effect of the two "Nixon shocks" of going off the gold standard and going on to Beijing, both without prior warning to our erstwhile partners in Asia. In a March 10-12 conference the Archive is co-sponsoring with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (with funding from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the Yomiuri Shimbun, and the Compton Foundation), a distinguished group of Japanese and American scholars and former officials will discuss the latest archival evidence on the shocks, and the ways in which they served as the crucial turning point in post-World War II U.S.-Japan relations towards a more independent Japan.
I would have invited Pat Buchanan to be our luncheon speaker. But we don't exactly qualify as talk radio, and he is a little busy these days. Enjoy your reading.
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Last Change: January 17 1996 / by Reza Rafie/ firstname.lastname@example.org