Special Trade Representative Robert S. Strauss, in an unexpected "additional comment" yesterday said, that he and Japanese negotiators "have come very close to a conclusion" on agricultural trade isues.
After three days of talks that ended Thursday, both Strauss and Japanese Minister of Agriculture Ichiro Nakagawa had said no agreement had been reached.Strauss on Thursday said, "We did not achieve our basic negotiating objective for American agricultural exports - and until we do, there's no deal."
The brighter tone Strauss sought to put on the situation was a result of an unannounced and unscheduled visit Strauss paid to Nakagawa at his hotel, just before the japanese minister departed Washington yesterday.
Nakagawa was reportedly upset by Japanese news accounts of the "failure" of his mission here. Strauss then suggested the brief meeting, followed by a more optimistic statement.
"There was no substantive change in our offer," a Japanese source said, "but just a question of atmosphere. Mr. Strauss didn't want Nakagawa to leave Washington feeling frustrated."
The Japanese appreciated not only the warmth, but skill of Strauss' gesture. "It was very Oriental," one said.
Both men were said to have been disatisfied with the way the situation had been left the day before, when the deadlock was publicly described by both sides in terms that appeared to spell a delay for the multi-lateral trade negotiations in Geneva.
In point of fact, some progress was made, merely in the japanese willingness to abandon an earlier position that there could be no further increase in citrus quotas.
Nakagawa came here with a new offer an agricultural issues, insufficient yet to satisfy Strauss. In his "additional comment" yesterday. Strauss said that be and Nakagawa had agreed that U.S. and japanese representatives would renew discussions in Geneva before the end of this month "for what we hope will be the last preparatory meeting necessary" before the final settlement of the agricultural negotiations between our two countries."