ASSIGNMENT: TOKYO: An Ambassador's Journal by Armin H. Meyer

ASSIGNMENT: TOKYO: An Ambassador's Journal

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Even by the standards of diplomatic memoirs, this is a remarkably bland book -- especially since, as Ambassador to Japan, Meyer rode out some world-historic storms. Above all there came the crisis of August 15, 1971, when the U.S. announced the New Economic Policy. Japanese export levels and Japanese hopes of postponing a yen revaluation fell overboard at once. Meyer says that neither he nor Tokyo was informed ahead of time. He reviews American-Japanese discussions before and after this economic Schwerpunkt with a rather dismal prosaicness and a censure of popular protest -- both of which seem to have endeared him to his authoritarian-minded Japanese counterparts like Kiichi Aishi. Meyer, whose previous Iranian assignment indicates that he is no dope even when he writes like one, describes his ""lifelong creed"" thus: ""Accentuate the positive; don't accept the negative."" This disposition came in handy for soothing Japanese worries about Nixon's China policy, although the Japanese seem to have been less upset than some reports indicated. Bilateral ""discretion"" explains both the difficulties and the successes of these 1969-1972. rounds, whose merely tenuous connection with real decision-making is what Meyer's tizzy in August 1971 signifies. But he's obviously told us only a fraction of what he knows.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1974
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill