Treaty Ports

Treaty Ports

Treaty Ports

Treaty Ports

Excerpt

SINCE IT WAS OUR national policies toward China and Chinese affairs which finally and inevitably precipitated the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor and dragged the United States reluctantly into the second World War, those who relish a mystic interpretation of history may delight in reading a certain symbolism into the fact that it was George Washington, the first President of the United States, who signed the appointment for the first American consul ever to go to China.

This first American trade and diplomatic representative accredited to the mainland of East Asia was Major Samuel Shaw, soldier, mariner, and adventurer, the colorful aspects of whose character have not been entirely obscured by the deepening shadows of the 160 years since he first sailed for the Far East. But Shaw himself, although he entered the Revolutionary Army as a lieutenant of artillery and fought for seven years before the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, would be of no particular importance if he had been only the second or the fifth or any succeeding American consul to China. He merits more than a footnote or two in the fabulous tale of America in Asia not because of any striking achievement, but because he was the first of a host of Americans, some mean and some genuinely great, who during more than a century and a half unconsciously led the United States into the position it occupies today of being committed to the greatest naval and military enterprise of all time, and to the freeing of hundreds of millions of human beings from the fetters of a political and economic slavery fastened upon them by the most savage and most powerful military organization known to Asia since Genghis Khan flourished and conquered seven centuries ago.

The origins of American diplomacy in the Far East were based at first almost entirely upon commercial considerations. The little newcomer amongst the nations of the world, the United States of America, suffered . . .

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