This paper studies the activities of American enterprises, technology, and related business organizations and engineering groups in China from the outbreak of World War i to the Pacific War and explains how these activities helped establish connections between China and the world. It borrows the concept of “networks” from Professor Sherman Cochran’s extraordinary book titled Encountering Chinese Networks, but broadens the scope of the term to include activity at the level of management and competition, as well as placing Sino-American relations in transnational perspective. Using a multi-archival approach to examine China’s major attempts at internationalization, this article focuses on the cases of the American Asiatic Association, the American Chamber of Commerce of China, and the Association of Chinese and American Engineers to show how these networks played important roles in the development of Chinese-American relations. It also discusses the issues of standardization, “scientific management,” and professionalism of entrepreneurs and engineers in influencing network making.
The possibility of oil reserves under the seabed of the East China Sea created competition between Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to claim ownership of these natural resources. The dispute marked the start of international cooperation in maritime East Asia and introduced the United States into this power game due to its exploration techniques and financial power. While Taibei, Tokyo, and Seoul put sovereignty-related disputes aside in an attempt to explore resources jointly, the change in international politics in East Asia and Washington’s perception of the western Pacific rim led to the failure of cooperation. This article argues that this international power game over natural resources management epitomized the dynamic politics between the United States and its East Asian allies. The roles of sovereignty, local interests, and U.S. international security created a dynamic scenario revealing how oil reserves were never the issue, but instead the embodiment of the actual concerns of these players behind their diplomatic language. Situating the 1970s oil exploration in the context of the Cold War, this article provides a historical lens to understand the contours of the shifting geopolitical structure in maritime East Asia.
Secretary of Navy Frank Knox declared a week after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that fifth columnist activities were partly responsible for the success of Imperial Japanese forces. Who and what he meant when he used the phrase “fifth columnist activities” is subject to debate. Most assume he was referring to all Japanese Americans or Japanese nationals residing in Hawai’i. But this essay, based on Knox’s personal correspondence, supplemented with the Pearl Harbor Attack hearings’ published reports, Judge Advocate General records, and the 14th Naval District Intelligence Officer reports, finds that Knox was referring to the Japanese Consul-General Office and a small handful of Japanese American assistants who voluntarily carried out the task of keeping the U.S. Fleet and military installations under surveillance, thereby contributing to the success of the Imperial Japanese attack.