Annotated Bibliographies | Archives | Books | Film and Television | Newspapers | Oral Histories

The largest document depository with material about Okinawa is the U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C. & College Park, Maryland, the official record keeping institution of the U.S. government. One of the largest collections in the College Park complex are the RECORDS OF THE U.S. CIVIL ADMINISTRATION OF THE RYUKYU ISLANDS stored in RECORD GROUP 260. This collection contains material on almost every facet of public life on Okinawa from 1945-1972. The problems with this collection is overwhelming size (over 4,000 boxes) and its poor organization. These files contain documents from a variety of other agencies. Often times these items are not yet declassified or available in the files of the agency from which the originated. The STATE DEPARTMENT CENTRAL FILES housed in RECORD GROUP 59 are another massive collection with much information on Okinawa. State Department records are well organized, divided by country, and open up to 1963. The JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF FILES in RECORD GROUP 218 are not as plentiful and not open to as late a date, but contain several interesting items.

The historical research centers of the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps have a number of holdings that are relevant to Okinawa. The material at the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA is the most important. The RYUKYU PAPERS are the research notes of a historian working for the Army who did some writing on Okinawa. This collection holds photocopies of documents from a variety of archives and government agencies that originated between 1945 and 1972. Two High Commissioners of the Ryukyu Islands donated their personal papers to the Institute. The PAPERS OF PAUL CARAWAY document the general's acrimonious confrontations with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Edwin Reischauer. The Caraway papers also contain a number of items from individuals trying to block reversion after the Nixon-Sato summit in 1969. The PAPERS OF JAMES LAMPERT document the final American years and the problems involved in the technical reversion negotiations. The transcripts of phone conversations in the PAPERS OF WILLIAM WESTMORELAND make it clear that the Joint Chiefs of Staff still had grave concerns about Japan as late as 1969. The PAPERS OF MATTHEW B. RIDGWAY are quite limited on Ridgway's tenure as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur's successor in Tokyo. The PAPERS OF FRED C. WALLACE are a modest collection, but show that Wallace initiated a power struggle with Marine Maj. Gen. Roy Geirger for command of the Tenth Army after Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. died in the battle for Okinawa.

Despite the importance the island held to the Air Force, items on Okinawa at the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL are quite limited. The PAPERS OF RALPH STEARLEY and UNIT HISTORIES show how Okinawa became an important forward base of operations during the Korean War. A number individual documents at this center have information about base construction.

The holdings of the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Center, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. are quite strong on the Battle of Okinawa--too vast to list here. The Marines left the island within a few months and did not return until the mid-1950s. Since the Army was responsible for administration of the island, documentation for this time period is quite limited. Researchers should examine the COMMAND CHRONOLOGIES FOR THE 3RD MARINE DIVISION, and CAMP SMEDLY BUTLER; the PAPERS OF MARIUS L. BRESSOUD, JR. and the PAPERS OF CHARLES I. MURRAY, as well as RECORD GROUPS 127-65A-0097 and 127-78-0053.

The Hoover Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA has a number of holdings with about the early days of the occupation of Okinawa. The PAPERS OF JAMES T. WATKINS, IV are thick and detailed about the first year. Watkins, a Stanford University professor, also got other military government veterans to donate their papers to the Hoover Institute. Researchers should also examine the thin PAPERS OF PAUL SKUSE, and the even more modest PAPERS OF JOHN CALDWELL. An important, but under-used collection--at least on Okinawan matters--are the Papers of JOSEPH W. STILWELL. General Stilwell was on the island for an inspection trip in 1945 during some of the heaviest fighting, and then took command of the Tenth Army when Buckner died, and stayed until mid-October.

There are several archives individuals doing research on the occupation of Okinawa and U.S. foreign policy in East Asia need to visit. The most important collection at the Truman Presidential Library, Independence, MO are the PAPERS OF DEAN ACHESON, secretary of state during the second Truman administration. Most of these documents, however, are available in the Foreign Relations of the United States series. The PAPERS OF GEORGE ELSEY and items stored in the PRESIDENT'S SECRETARY'S FILE found in the PAPERS OF HARRY S. TRUMAN record the debate within in the U.S. government shortly after the war on what to do with Okinawa, and the President's effort to avoid a final decision. The PAPERS OF JOHN FOSTER DULLES at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ have documents relating to the Japanese peace treaty. The MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, VA has some useful items on the occupation of Okinawa in RECORD GROUPS 5, 6, 8, 9, AND 10. Most of documents, however, are available elsewhere and contain only modest amounts of information. Researchers interested in MacArthur and foreign policy should consult the PAPERS OF WILLIAM J. SEBALD at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. As the general's political advisor, Sebald essential had to two different roles: U.S. ambassador to MacArthur, and the general's personal foreign minister.

The holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abiline, KS have strengths in two different time periods, reflecting the career of Dwight Eisenhower. Although Eisenhower was in Europe during World War II, the Library has important material on the battle for Okinawa. The DIARY and PAPERS OF LT. GEN. SIMON B. BUCKNER, JR., commanding officer of the Tenth Army, are at this institutions. The Library also has U.S. ARMY UNIT RECORDS, including divisions that served in the Pacific. The 1950s are, of course, the second period in which the Library has strong holdings. The JFD-JMA SERIES in the PAPERS OF JOHN FOSTER DULLES contains material solely on the Japanese peace treaty. The WHITE HOUSE MEMORANDUM SERIES in this collection show Dulles' concern about the impact Okinawa was having U.S.-Japanese relations. A similar concern appears in the DIARY SERIES and SPECIAL ASSISTANT SERIES in the PAPERS OF DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER. The WHITE HOUSE OFFICE FILES also contains interesting items about Okinawa.

In contrast to the Eisenhower Library, the Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, MA contains little on Okinawa and Japan. The PRESIDENT'S OFFICE FILE, and the JAPAN COUNTRY FILE in the NATIONAL SECURITY FILE of the PAPERS OF JOHN F. KENNEDY contain most information on Okinawa at this institution, including the final report of the Kaysen Commission. The PAPERS OF EDWIN REISCHAUER, Kennedy's ambassador to Japan, are in the Boston area at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. There are several interesting items in this collection.

While there is little on Okinawa at the Kennedy Library, there is a good deal at the Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, TX. This institution contains a number of useful personal paper collections. Although a key and influential figure, U. Alexis Johnson did not leave a valuable collection of papers. He did keep an intermittent diary, which is stored in the PAPERS OF U. ALEXIS JOHNSON, but his memoirs are far more informative. The PAPERS OF GEORGE W. BALL contains some items about Okinawan protest rallies that prevented the Air Force from using bases on the island to bomb North Vietnam. The PAPERS OF MORTON HALPERIN, a medium rank bureaucrat in the Johnson and Nixon administration, contain items not available or declassified elsewhere. The PAPERS OF LYNDON JOHNSON, however, are the most important collection at the library. State Department, Defense Department, and CIA documents are available in the NATIONAL SECURITY FILE, particularly the COUNTRY FILES for Japan and Ryukyu Islands, which serve to show which items made their way to the White House. The PRESIDENT'S APPOINTMENT FILE, the WHITE HOUSE CENTRAL NAME FILE, and the AIDE FILES, particularly the FILES OF BILL MOYERS contain interesting items. Available in the AUDIO-VISUAL COLLECTION are photographs of the private meetings between Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Sato Eisaku that clear show the prime minister's discomfort with the president's overpowering and physical style.

The Nixon Museum and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, CA is not a presidential library. Because of the way Nixon left office, the U.S. government did not turn over administration documents to the former president. The Nixon Presidential Project, U.S. National Archives, College Park, MD houses Nixon White House records. The WHITE HOUSE CENTRAL FILES contain many items about opposition to reversion in Congress and the business community. Other foreign policy records of the Nixon administration remain classified.

Congressional collections contain small snippets of useful information. Notes in the PAPERS OF RICHARD RUSSELL at the University of Georgia, Athens show that Russell hoped to delay an agreement to return Okinawa. Items in the PAPERS OF J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and the PAPERS OF BARRY GOLDWATER at the Arizona Historical Society, Arizona State University, Tempe document efforts by senators to force the Nixon administration to submit the reversion agreement to the Senate as a treaty. The PAPERS OF JOHN TOWER at Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX indicate that Tower was quite impressed with a briefing Amb. U. Alexis Johnson gave on Okinawa and U.S.-Japanese relations, while Tower was in Tokyo as part of the official delegation to the funeral of former prime minister Yoshida Shigeru.

A few film makers used Okinawa as a setting for their stories. Despite its cultural significance and relative youth, the film industry is quite bad about preserving its historical record. The Film Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles has a script of the Teahouse of the August Moon, the most successful motion picture about Okinawa, in its SCRIPT COLLECTION and videotape copies of this film and several others about the island in its FILM COLLECTION. MGM STUDIO ARCHIVES are also housed at USC. The Film and Television Archive Research and Study Center, University of California, Los Angeles houses the HEARST NEWSREEL COLLECTION, which has a number of films recording combat scenes from Okinawa.


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