UNTIL three years ago, the island of Formosa was of little concern to the United States or to the world at large. For several centuries prior to the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, it was an integral part of China. Thereafter, for fifty years it was a colony of Japan. At the conclusion of the Second World War, it reverted to China.
Late in 1949, however, the island suddenly acquired a world-wide importance and came within the sphere of active interest of the United States. This happened when the National Government of China, defeated on the mainland by the Chinese Communists, followed the precedent of the defeated Ming dynasty of three centuries earlier and took refuge in Formosa. As a result of this and other far-reaching developments in the Far East, the fortunes and the future status of the island became inextricably enmeshed with the problems of the United States in relation to China as a whole, to Korea, to Japan, to the Far East in general, and to global power relationships.
At the present moment, the problem of Formosa is relatively quiescent. The urgency of finding a satisfactory solution has been temporarily relieved by the neutralization of the island by the American Navy and by the fact that American public attention is fixed on the critical situation in Korea. But the problem has by no means been solved. The unresolved elements in it can become pressing at any time and in many ways.
The present study has been prepared with this possi-