Understanding the American Past: American History and Its Interpretation

By Edward N. Saveth | Go to book overview

Myth versus Reality in the Far Eastern Policies of the United States

by RICHARD W. VAN ALYSTYNE [From International Affairs XXXII ( July 1956), 287-97. Reprinted by permission.]

In recent years, China has been a major factor in American foreign policy. Mindful of the current situation, Professor Van Alstyne has explored the development of American policy in this area.

There are other possible viewpoints, some of which find expression in the materials cited in the bibliography of American-Chinese relations prepared by Robert L. Irickand his associates.1Valuable analyses are those by Paul H. Varg2and Charles Vevier,3who deal respectively with the religious and economic aspects of American interest in China. Approaches that are roughly similar to Van Alstyne'sinclude those by Kennan3and A. Whitney Griswold. The latter's The Far Eastern Policy of the United Stateswas published first in 1938and, although unfortunately not revised when reissued in 1962, remains a valuable treatment.

NOT long ago Sir Anthony Eden, then Foreign Secretary, declared that the problem of Formosa was the most difficult he had encountered in his long experience in foreign affairs. Without

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