By David Langbart
In April of this year, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, made a state visit to the United States. In June 1957, Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, then Japan’s prime minister, made a similar visit to the United States. That visit came to symbolize a renewal of the strength of the U.S.-Japan friendship after World War II.
Both President Dwight Eisenhower and Prime Minister Kishi had a passion for golf and as planning for the visit began, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles sent the following telegram (that he personally drafted) to the American ambassador to Japan, Douglas MacArthur II (the famed general’s nephew):
Ambassador MacArthur replied with the following message:
The President and Prime Minister played golf on the afternoon of June 19 at the Burning Tree Club at which time the following photograph was made:
- The telegrams come from file 033.9411 in the 1955-59 segment of the Central Decimal File (NAID 302021), part of RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.
- The photograph is Image 79-AR-4250-H from White House Photographs Taken by Abbie Rowe, 1941-1967 (NAID 520052) in RG 79: Records of the National Park Service.
- A selection of documents about the visit is printed in Foreign Relations of the United States: Japan, 1955-57, Volume XXIII, Part 1.
- For more on the overall U.S.-Japan relationship, see The Clash: U.S.-Japanese Relations throughout History by Walter LaFeber.
I appreciate the assistance of my colleagues Cathleen Brennan and Marcus Martin in securing a copy of the photograph.