Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1971


Special Functions

Administration of the Ryukyu Islands

The United States continued during fiscal year 1971 to administer the Ryukyu Islands, under the provisions of Article 3 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan; the largest island of the Ryukyuan archipelago is Okinawa, where the United States maintains a large military base. The responsibility for governing this area had been assigned by the President to the Secretary of Defense, who further delegated it to the Department of the Army. The agency which carries out this responsibility in the field is the U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR), which is headed by a high commissioner appointed by the Secretary of Defense with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and the President's approval. An indigenous government exercises broad legislative, executive, and judicial authority in performing day-to-day governmental functions, under the leadership of an elected legislature and chief executive.

Negotiations between the United States and Japan, which had been initiated in April 1970 to prepare the Reversion Agreement pursuant to the Nixon-Sato understanding of November 1969, continued at an intensive pace throughout most of this period. These negotiations culminated in the signing of the agreement on June 17, 1971, by Secretary of State William P. Rogers and Japanese Foreign Minister Kiichi Aichi—the former in Washington and the latter in Tokyo. The simultaneous ceremony was given extensive television coverage, via satellite, throughout Japan, Okinawa, and the United States. Following the signing of the agreement itself, a number of related agreements were signed or initialed in Tokyo by U.S. Ambassador Armin H. Meyer and Foreign Minister Aichi.

As the reporting period closed, preparations were being made to submit the agreement to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent, and to the Japanese Diet for its approval. After it receives the necessary legislative support in both countries, ratifications will be exchanged on a mutually agreed date, and reversion will take place two months thereafter. The agreement is believed to be a reasonable compromise between the objectives sought by the two countries, and its eventual enactment will be an important milestone in furthering U.S.-Japanese relations.

Although reversion will mean that the responsibility for govern-


ing the Ryukyus will be returned to Japan, it will by no means result in the abandonment of the U.S. base on Okinawa, which has provided major support during both the Korean War and the present conflict in Vietnam. The Okinawa base will be maintained after reversion, when it will be subject to the same arrangements that now apply to U.S. military forces in Japan under the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.

While the Army is about to lay aside its responsibility for governing the Ryukyus, it has not lessened its efforts to further the economic and social advancement of the Ryukyuan people, which continued during fiscal year 1971 with a rise of the per capita income to an all-time high of $770, 18.2 percent over that of the previous year. Private consumption expenditures continued to rise, reflecting the upward surge in the Ryukyuan economy. Confidence in its continued strength was revealed by a 14.3 percent increase in private investment by Ryukyuans and foreigners. Although the Ryukyuan balance of trade continued to show a wide disparity between imports and exports, the gap was greatly offset by U.S. expenditures, estimated at $329 million. The largest part of this total ($221 million) came from local base expenditures. There were also U.S. grants and loans amounting to $33 million ($12 million in appropriated aid, $19 million from the USCAR General Fund, and $2 million of aid in kind). The balance came from U.S. investments of $48 million and Ryukyuan exports in the amount of $27 million to the United States.

Although U.S. administrative rights in the Ryukyus will remain intact and unimpaired until the time of reversion, continuing efforts were made during the reporting period to prepare for a smooth transfer of governmental functions to Japan. The U.S.-Japan Preparatory Commission (established in Naha pursuant to the 1969 Nixon-Sato understanding) worked out a number of important arrangements whereby USCAR would progressively disengage from a number of governmental functions, even before reversion. Thus Japan will gradually take over the task of providing advice and assistance to the government of the Ryukyu Islands, of supervising the administration of Japan's own economic aid program, and of restructuring certain Ryukyuan social and economic institutions to conform to those in Japan.

The Okinawan economy is thriving, and the destruction caused by the last great Pacific military campaign has been erased from the landscape. Many public utilities, hitherto virtually unknown, have been developed with American funds. An area that was once predominantly agricultural has undergone an economic revolution, and an emerging industrial and commercial society has evolved. The standard of living now is at an all-time high, being exceeded in all of Asia only by that of Japan itself.


Administration of the Panama Canal

By authority delegated to him as the personal representative of the President, the Secretary of the Army has special responsibilities for Panama Canal matters which include operations of the Canal Zone government and Panama Canal Company. The Canal Zone government is administered under the supervision of the Secretary of the Army by the governor of the Canal Zone who is appointed by the President. Management of the Panama Canal Company is vested in a board of directors appointed by the Secretary of the Army as "stockholder," representing the interests of the United States as owner of the corporation. The Secretary of the Army has appointed the Under Secretary of the Army as a member and the chairman of the board.

In fiscal year 1971, 14,617 oceangoing ships, including 503 United States government vessels, passed through the canal. Toll revenues were approximately $97 million, which included credits for transits of United States government vessels. Panama Canal revenues are applied against operating and capital expenses of the canal enterprise. Detailed financial statements are published in the annual reports of the Panama Canal Company and Canal Zone government. The toll figure for 1971 represented a decrease of approximately $4 million from 1970.

Interoceanic Canal Studies

Determining the feasibility of building a new sea-level canal to accommodate the increasing number of ships desiring to use such a waterway was the task of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission. This commission terminated its five-year study and forwarded its report to the President on November 30, 1970. The Department of the Army represented the Department of Defense on this presidential commission, with the Chief of Engineers acting as the engineering agent for the commission and directing the engineering feasibility portion of the study. The Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (International Affairs) chaired a study group which prepared the Defense annex to the commission's report.

With the submission of its final report, the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission terminated its work and closed its offices. The President directed that the Secretaries of State and the Army would be jointly responsible for handling future queries and correspondence of the commission—the Secretary of State in regard to foreign policy questions and the Secretary of the Army in other matters. Within the Department of the Army, this new responsibility was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army (International Affairs).


Promotion of Rifle Practice

A reorientation of the Civilian Marksmanship Program was completed during fiscal year 1971 and the number of clubs supported by the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) appeared to have stabilized. On June 30, 1970, 3,183 clubs and 192,172 individual members were supported by the program. By December 31, 1970, these figures had declined to 3,093 clubs and 185,494 individuals. Some fifty clubs were awaiting enrollment, and by the end of the fiscal year the totals were little changed from 1970.

Under the Civilian Marksmanship Program, 300 rounds of caliber­.22 ammunition are issued to eligible members of newly enrolled junior rifle clubs for each of the first two years of affiliation, followed by free issues based upon availability of resources. Ammunition may be purchased by clubs at any time. Newly affiliated clubs are also issued .22-caliber rifles on indefinite loan.

Appropriated funds to support this program in fiscal year 1971 were increased to $102,000. The program could thus be supported at the level authorized by Army regulations.

In 1970, as in previous years, the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice granted authority to the National Rifle Association of America to conduct four of the five National Trophy Matches at the 1970 NRA National Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. A total of sixty teams, including thirty-two civilian teams, and 1,114 individuals competed for service rifle and service pistol trophies and medals in the NBPRP National Trophy Matches. Since 1967, due to budgetary considerations and operational requirements involving Southeast Asia, the decision to provide Army support for the National Matches has been made on an annual basis.

During the past year 300 National Match .30-caliber M1 rifles were authorized for sale to competitive high power rifle shooters, representing a return to the U.S. Treasury of $46,000.


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Last updated 9 August 2004