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May 10, 1960

Record of Conversation: Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR N.S. Khrushchev with the Minister of Farming and Forestry of Japan T. Fukuda and Chairman of the Association of Fisheries T. Takasaki May 10, 1960

This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation

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Copy No. 3

Record of Conversation


Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR N.S. Khrushchev

with the Minister of Farming and Forestry of Japan

T. Fukuda and Chairman of the Association of Fisheries T. Takasaki

May 10, 1960


[Handwritten at the bottom of page one] The conversation notes were not reviewed by Comrade Khrushchev.


The photographer asks the attendees to stand closer.

N.S. Khrushchev says to the Japanese guests: do not be afraid, stand closer to the Soviet Union. You will not lose from this. The Japanese Government is sticking closer to America now, but we are neighbors and should stand together.

Takasaki gives N.S. Khrushchev a painting by Japanese artist Tanyu Kana.

N.S. Khrushchev thanks him for the present and says that he welcomes the representatives of an eastern neighbor – Japan. Relations between our countries are in an unsatisfactory condition, but we would like these relations to be good.

Fukuda says that they came for a courtesy visit and understand that in the remaining days before the summit meeting N.S. Khrushchev is very busy and therefore they are especially grateful to him for carving out some time for their reception.

He and Takasaki visited Moscow for fishery negotiations. These negotiations have been ongoing for 96 days already. Usually, fishery negotiations take 100 days. We think that during the remaining four days we will come to an agreement, but if this does not happen, we will ask for your assistance.

Trade between Japan and the Soviet Union is developing all right. At the beginning of this year a long-term trade agreement was signed – for three years. In the summer, a Japanese industrial exhibition will be organized in Moscow. We aim step by step to move in the direction of improving good-neighborly relations between the USSR and Japan. We have every opportunity for such an improvement of relations.

Takasaki says that he envisions an association of Japanese fisheries that includes 7.5 million members.  It is already his second time in Moscow; the first time was in 1958 with Okagi. In current negotiations regarding fishing, he (Takasaki) and Fukuda are heading the Japanese delegation, and Ishkov, who is a good expert in the sphere of fishing, [is heading] the Soviet side. There are disagreements between our delegations, but we are taking measures to come to an agreement. But, obviously, for the successful conclusion of negotiations we require your assistance, which we are asking about.

Using this meeting with you, we would like to raise another question – relating to permission for Japanese fishermen, who were removed from Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands, to fish and gather sea kale by the shores of the Soviet Union. The total number of such fishermen reaches 55 thousand. All of them are now living in the northern part of Hokkaido. Fishing is the sole source of their existence; they cannot do anything else. However, the Soviet authorities continue to detain these fishermen’s boats. Lately, around 700 boats and 5 thousand people have been detained. In March 1957, there were negotiations between Japan and the Soviet Union regarding this issue, and at that time the Soviet side promised to favorably consider the issue, taking into account the interests of the Japanese fishermen. Meanwhile, this promise remains unfulfilled. Japan requests that the Japanese fishermen are permitted to fish by the Soviet shores.

Japan [illegible] great importance to the development of trade with the Soviet Union. There are opportunities for the development of such trade. Every year Japan buys, in large part from the US, 14 million tons of oil, and in the future, it will demand still more oil. Pursuant to a trade agreement with the Soviet Union, Japan should buy 2 million tons of oil for three years, but we could make purchases of oil from the USSR of up to 10 million tons. If the Soviet side lays oil pipelines from Irkutsk to Vladivostok, Japan could take on the supply of pipes of this pipeline for an approximate total amount of up to 700 thousand tons.

Japan is interested in concluding an agreement with the Soviet Union on direct air service. Right now, the flight through Europe to Moscow takesapproximately 30 hours, but Japanese know that Soviet planes cover the distance between Moscow and Beijing in 11 hours. If Japan possessed IL-18 planes and had direct service with the Soviet Union, then the distance between the Soviet Union and Japan could be covered in 15 hours.

Mr. Khrushchev said that Japan is being pulled toward the US and that it is far from the Soviet Union. But if the USSR drew Japan to itself, then Japan would not be in such connections with the US, and would stand somewhere between the US and the Soviet Union.

N.S. Khrushchev answering Takasaki, says that the proposal relative to the development of economic ties is interesting and it impresses us. Especially noteworthy is the idea regarding the supply pipe for transporting oil from Irkutsk to Vladivostok for Soviet supplies of oil for Japan. We could give Japan wood. The Far East is rich in wood. Wepoorly develop it, but this is because there is not a particular demand in this. If Japan wanted, we would develop the production of wood in the Far East for trade with Japan. At some point Japan was interested in Soviet iron ore. We have it in the Far East and we could supply it to Japan. We will develop our merchant fleet now and could order ships from Japan. We know that the Japanese are good shipbuilders. We are ready to trade with Japan for other goods, in particular, we would be interested in Japanese hydro turbines. It seems that we had discussions with Japan regarding these issues. I do not know now, their status. We highly value appliances manufactured by you. At one point, we received equipment for railroad transport from you.

We have great opportunities for developing and expanding economic ties with Japan. But what hinders this? I do not want to offend you and undermine your national pride, but I cannot not say that our relations are hindered by the USA’s pressure on Japan. We and the Chinese are your neighbors, and it is known that the best thing for developing trade is low transportation costs. Why do you [illegible] goods from us, but buy in the USA? I do not want you to answer this question. You cannot answer it and I do not require your answer. Everyone, who is more or less versed in politics, understands that America is putting pressure on you, using its position in Japan.

On the issue of an airline agreement. We are not against the conclusion of an agreement between us and Japan regarding air service. Right now, we are conducting successful negotiations with the USA and soon we will fly directly to America. We already have agreements regarding air service with many different countries. Obviously, in the end, Japan remains the only country, with which the Soviet Union does not have such an agreement. We understand that in this case the USA does not want Japan and the Soviet Union to conclude an agreement on air service. We made a proposal to Japan on this issue, we agree that you fly from Tokyo to Khabarovsk, and we – from Moscow to Tokyo. However, you want Japanese airplanes to fly to Moscow, but this is not an equal condition. We will never come to this. We are now putting an airplane on line which can fly Moscow-Vladivostok without stops, and could also fly Moscow-Tokyo without stops. But because the Japanese lost their independence, obviously, they are meeting difficulties in the issue of concluding an agreement relative to air service.

Now about the fishing matter. We understand how important fish are for Japan. In general, we are surprised and marvel at how multigenerational Japan feeds itself on its islands. We are ready to meet Japan in relation to fishing. The dispute for us now is about the quota, and we should approach this issue as parties interested in the preservation of fish resources.A situation could be created wherein we will have good quotas with you, but will not have fish. I think that if both sides come from the perspective of developing fisheries, then current negotiations can be concluded favorably.

The issue about fishing by our Kurile Islands and Sakhalin. This is a different and more complicated issue. If we allow you to fish by our islands, then to some extent, we abandon our sovereignty, but in the absence of trust between our countries this is not possible. Japan concluded a military agreement with the USA, which is directed against the Soviet Union and China. American military forces are located in Japan. American airplanes fly from Japanese islands, the same kind as the American airplane that was downed over the Soviet Union’s territory in the region of Sverdlovsk. We know that four such American airplanes are based in Japan. The question is, in such conditions, who can vouch that a Japanese fisherman will fish and gather sea kale by Soviet shores, and not an American spy? Neither of us can know this.

We really regret that the good beginning, initiated by Japan’s government when the late Premier Hatoyama was around, did not develop. On the contrary, after Hatoyama, the Japanese government came to pursue another policy. We cannot say anything good in relation to Premier Kishi, since his policy is directed against the improvement of Japanese-Soviet relations. But we believe that the time will come when the Japanese people will win their independence and Japan will become a fully sovereign nation. Then, naturally, we will have better relations with Japan, and we will be able to resolve such issues differently, like allowing Japanese fishermen to our shores. But right now, understand our position: Americans spy on us, send airplanes, and they are still in your country. In such circumstances, if we were to allow your fishermen to our shores, this would cause serious suspicions for us. We will wait for better times. We believe that the Japanese people will understand that we want friendship with them. It is hard to say when this will be, but it will. For governments are not eternal, butthe people are eternal, and it is in their interests to strengthen friendship with the Soviet Union and China, because we are Japan’s neighbors, and also because we desire friendship with Japan. We believe that a new Japanese Hatoyama will come, who will value relations with us and this will open the way to friendship between our countries. And if it will further be Premier Kishi, then our relations will completely sour.

Fukuda. I understand you very well, but you speak about Kishi prejudicially.

N.S. Khrushchev. Very prejudicially. We have a basis for this.

Fukuda. But what Hatoyama did, he did at the direction of the same party that Kishi belongs to. Takasaki sits here – a member of Hatoyama’s cabinet.  

N.S. Khrushchev. A lot depends on the party’s leadership. We have one party in the USSR, but after Stalin’s death we took a slightly different line in both internal and foreign spheres, and you especially understand this. Hatoyama moved ahead in the fight for independence, but Kishi climbs into the jaws of the USA. This is how Hatoyama differs from Kishi, even though they make up the same party. But I do not want to delve into this issue, since this is your internal matter. You will probably accuse me of interference. This is your matter. Live how you want.

Fukuda. When Hatoyama headed the cabinet, Kishi was the secretary of the party, and now he heads the cabinet.

N.S. Khrushchev. This is true, but there are different politicians. Kono belongs to the same party, but if he were the head of the Government, he would pursue a different policy. You, Mr. Fukuda, adhere to the same line as Kishi. I know this. And Kono adheres to another line. I also know this. You are pursuing a non-independent policy right now. Here, for example, we pursue an independent policy in relation to the USA. An American plane flew over our territory, and we shot it down. Still another plane will fly from your territory – we will also shoot it down. This is policy independent of America. But you have it differently: American airplanes lift off from your land. This means that you are dependent on American policy.

Fukuda. The number of American military forces is gradually declining. For example, we do not haveAmerican ground troops, few military-marine, and the number of air forces is declining.

We would like the Soviet Union to understand us better and relate to Japan witha big heart.

N.S. Khrushchev. We would like to relate to Japan “with a big heart” but right now the Japanese heart is a pawn of the USA. We believe that the people will kick out the Americans in their time. The South Koreans kicked out Syngman Rhee, the Cubans – Batista, and the Japanese will kick out the Americans. We will wait for this time. Right now, many countries are fighting for their independence. Keep this in mind, otherwise it will be bad for you. The Japanese will attribute this to you.

Fukuda. The Americans occupied Japan for seven years and we cannot do everything immediately. But the last cabinets did everything to return Japanese independence, and accomplished a lot. We would like the USSR to relate to Japan with a big heart.

Now, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to you for carving out time and welcoming us.

N.S. Khrushchev. I want to assure you that we are ready to trade and support good friendly relations. We respect the Japanese people – hardworking, capable, talented people – and we want good, friendly relations. I would ask you, Mr. Takasaki, to tell the Japanese fishermen that we understand their urgency to fish by our shores. But understand our position. When the Americans leave, then we will be able to treat the Japanese fishermen’s wishes differently.

Fukuda and Takasaki thank N.S. Khrushchev for the conversation.

The conversation lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. Pushkin G.M. recorded the conversation.


Signature: G. Pushkin

May 12, 1960


Correct: [signature]


MB N 2489/gs

May 12, 1960

The leaders discuss possibilities to improve the Soviet-Japanese relations. The Japanese delegation inquires about the permission for Japanese fishermen to use the Soviet fishing grounds and a chance to establish aerial communication between Japan and the Soviet Union. Khrushchev affirms the Soviet-Japanese friendship and expresses willingness to conduct trade. 

Document Information


RGANI, f. 52, op. 1, d. 596 , ll. 101-109. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Allison Smith.


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