Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1969


Special Functions

In addition to conventional military functions, the Army is assigned certain special functions that have national implication and importance. Those related to the execution of the civil defense program have been discussed in chapter two. Other responsibilities include administration of the Ryukyu Islands and the Canal Zone government; operation of the Panama Canal; participation in certain aspects of the sea level isthmian canal investigation and study; and supervision of a national rifle practice program.

Administration of the Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Islands are under U.S. jurisdiction, pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan. Due to the strategic location of the islands and the advantages afforded by exclusive jurisdiction, the United States has developed a most important Western Pacific base on Okinawa, the largest island in the Ryukyuan archipelago. The responsibility for administering the Ryukyus has been assigned by the President to the Secretary of Defense, who has delegated this responsibility to the Department of the Army. The governmental structure for the island group consists of a U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, headed by a high commissioner who is appointed by the Secretary of Defense, and an indigenous government of the Ryukyu Islands, with legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

This was an extremely important year for the islands politically, because it saw the achievement of a long-standing Ryukyuan goal of full autonomy in the selection of the chief executive. As a result of the President's authorization under Executive Order 11395, Chobyo Yara was elected Chief Executive on November 10, 1968, by direct popular vote instead of through parliamentary election as previously. The new administration has continued to operate in the established pattern of co-operation with the American authorities in promoting the welfare and well-being of the Ryukyuan people.

Since the United States has recognized Japan's residual sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, the question of reversion has been a key political issue in the administration of this area. The reversion movement itself has gained momentum, in part motivated by the expectation that this long-desired objective of the Ryukyuan people would be realized at


an early date. As a result, widespread interest has developed in the fundamental socio-economic issues that would be involved in reversion, such as the contribution made by the U.S. base on Okinawa to the local economy and to the security of Japan and other countries in East Asia.

The long record of co-operation on the part of the government of Japan in furthering the economic and social development of the Ryukyuan people was further enhanced by the activities of the tripartite Advisory Committee to the High Commissioner, whereby representatives of the United States, Japan, and the Ryukyus develop recommendations for bringing Ryukyuan institutions in the social and economic fields into closer identity with those in Japan proper. The advisory committee has made a number of recommendations associated with the development of practical programs in health, education, welfare, and the general economy. It is believed that these steps, coupled with others presently under consideration in related fields, will help materially in minimizing the stresses and dislocations that might arise in the Ryukyuan socio-economic structure at the time of reversion.

Increased attention also was given to improving the condition of Ryukyuan employees of the U.S. forces by increasing their wages and enlarging their fringe benefits.

October 15, 1968, marked the end of the 2-year period for settling all claims against the United States resulting from the activities of U.S. troops in the Ryukyus during the seven years of the occupation (1945-52). During those two years, payment was made to Ryukyuans for validated claims in the amount of $17,728,118.73. The total amount appropriated by Congress for this purpose was $21,040,000, and the remaining amount will not be used. Although these claims had been extinguished by the Peace Treaty of 1952, the Congress supported the Army's view as to the desirability of making appropriate payment and accordingly provided the necessary funds to settle them on an ex gratia basis.

Although the basic costs of running the Ryukyuan educational system are financed from Ryukyuan revenues, the U.S. government has provided expanded educational opportunities for the Ryukyuan people through a steady improvement in the physical plant of their schools, in teaching equipment, and in the quality of the teaching. U.S. funds are used to assist in the important task of improving educational facilities, and the civil administration also gives special attention to developing programs designed to raise the level of human resources in the islands and to insure the availability of trained persons to provide leadership. Substantial amounts of U.S. appropriated funds are allocated each year for the advanced education and training of many Ryukyuans, including


graduate and undergraduate students, national leaders, physicians, and technical trainees. Almost all of these are sent abroad for their education or training, about half of them to the United States. Thus about 190 Ryukyuan youths studied at American universities under either full or partial scholarship grants. The program whereby the Army has for many years made available American academic personnel to advise the faculty and staff of the University of the Ryukyus was greatly broadened. Ryukyuan professors were able to undertake advanced graduate work in the United States, and American professors were sent to Okinawa to consult with their Ryukyuan colleagues on specialized fields of study.

The civil administration has made significant progress in guiding the activities of the indigenous government in the field of public health. The strides taken by the combined efforts which have been exerted in this field are indicated by the fact that malaria has virtually been eliminated and other diseases have been brought under various degrees of control. The lifespan of Ryukyuan women has advanced from 52 in 1935 to over 75 in 1968, and that of the men from 47 in 1935 to nearly 69 in 1968.

The Ryukyuan economy continued its record upsurge. The gross national product rose to $644.4 million in fiscal year 1968, an 18.7 percent increase over the previous year. Prices rose less than 5 percent, reflecting the growth in real terms as slightly better than the 13 percent recorded in the past two years.

The full amount of the new $17.5 million authorization for Ryukyuan economic aid was appropriated by the Congress for fiscal year 1969. However, $1.8 million of that amount was placed in reserve pursuant to the reduction in fiscal year 1969 appropriations under the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968.

The two largest foreign investments ever to be made on Okinawa were consummated in the fiscal year. Pacific Gulf Oil Corporation began construction of a crude oil storage terminal on Henza Island. The civil administration awarded a contract to Esso Standard (Okinawa) Ltd. on February 10, 1969, for the establishment of an 80-thousand-barrel-per-day oil refinery on Okinawa which, when completed, will be the largest industrial activity in the Ryukyus.

It was agreed at the 17th meeting of the U.S.-Japan Consultative Committee held in Tokyo on January 13, 1969, that a Japanese aid program to the Ryukyus of $63.2 million would be carried out in Japanese fiscal year 1969 (April 1, 1969-March 31, 1970). The program includes $48.5 million in grant aid and $14.7 million to be used for loans to the Ryukyuan government for industrial development and other activities. This is the second consecutive year for such loan assistance.


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 serves on the board of directors and has appointed the Under Secretary of the Army as a member and chairman of the board.

In fiscal year 1969, 14,602 oceangoing ships, including 1,376 U.S. government vessels, passed through the canal. Toll revenues were approximately $96 million, which includes credits for transits of U.S. 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 1969 represents an increase of almost $3 million over 1968.

Interoceanic Canal Studies

Determining the feasibility of building a new sea-level canal to accommodate the increasing number and size of ships using the waterway is the task of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission. The Department of the Army represents the Department of Defense on this presidential commission, with the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for International Affairs chairing the National Defense Study Group and providing membership on the Foreign Policy, Shipping, and Finance Study Groups. The Army's Chief of Engineers acts as the engineering agent for the commission and directs the engineering feasibility portion of the commission's study. The engineer work is performed in co-ordination with the Atomic Energy Commission; the Environmental Science Services Administration; the Panama Canal Company; elements of the U.S. Forces, Southern Command; and other federal agencies.

Five alternative routes are under consideration, two for construction by conventional methods and three by a combination of conventional and nuclear excavation. During the year the data collection effort for the engineering feasibility study was completed. All field facilities used in this data collection effort have been turned over to the host country. The government of Colombia will continue to operate the Alto Curiche weather station and six of the hydrology stations on Route 25 and will


furnish all collected data to the United States, contributing to a broader base of knowledge of the weather conditions in that area.

Collected data is still being evaluated; however, drafts of some portions of the final report have been prepared and are under review. This work will continue in the coming year, with the draft report scheduled for completion by July 1970. Further evaluation of the nuclear aspects of the study were aided by the Atomic Energy Commission's successful detonation of the 35-kiloton device that produced a crater approximately 850 feet in diameter and 200 feet deep.

Promotion of Rifle Practice

Because of budgetary restrictions, the Civilian Marksmanship Program during fiscal year 1969 was reoriented towards the support of junior shooters between the ages of 12 and 19 whose service obligation lies ahead of them. All support for pistol activities in the form of pistol loans and free ammunition was withdrawn; 5,000 pistols were recalled from approximately 1,100 pistol clubs. All senior clubs which did not support junior divisions were advised that they must support a junior division or their equipment would be recalled and they would be disenrolled from the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Twenty-four hundred clubs failed to meet the December 31, 1968, deadline and were given shipping instructions; by the end of fiscal year 1969 more than 10,000 rifles had been returned. The disenrollment has reduced the total number of clubs to approximately 4,733. Membership has dropped to approximately 312,292.

The civilian marksmanship sales program now allows only the sale of National Match M-1 rifles. Three hundred of these were released to qualified applicants in February 1969, resulting in a return of $45,600 to the U.S. Treasury. Army support for the 1968 National Matches was withdrawn because of budget austerity and commitments in Southeast Asia. The decision to support the matches will be made on a yearly basis.


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