Americans in Sumatra by James W. Gould

By James W. Gould

There is a typical trust that until eventually lately american citizens have most well-liked isolation to curiosity in distant parts equivalent to Southeast Asia. This thesis should be confirmed by way of analyzing the historical past of yank kin with a spot at the contrary aspect of the globe from the us. this sort of land is Sumatra. it's one of many greatest islands on the planet. Its I66,789 sq. mile quarter exceeds that of the 3rd greatest American nation, California, and is bigger than Italy. mendacity midway world wide from the us, its I050 mile size is sort of divided through the equator, which runs throughout it for 285 miles. Sumatra's strategic value is two-fold. to start with, it's the first island stepping stone from the Asiatic mainland into the Australasian archipelago. This was once validated in I942 while the U.S. stationed planes on Sumatra in an try and stem the japanese increase southward. Secondly, it lies athwart the shortest sea routes from jap Asia to Europe and the japanese usa. Sumatra's southern tip kinds one facet of the Straits of Sunda which guards the entry to the Java, China and Philippine Seas. on the island's northern tip is the doorway to the Straits of Malacca, the shortest sea lane be­ tween the close to and much East. the hole of the Suez Canal in I869 shifted the shortest path among the a ways East and the Western global from the Sunda to the Malacca Straits.

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4488-4499). 73 House amendment II20, Congo Rec. Vol. 72, p. 7867, April 28, 1930; Vandenbosch, Amry, The Dutch East Indies (Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Press, 1941), p. 291; Lasker, Bruno. Human Bondage in Southeast Asia (Chapel Hill: Univ. of N. Carolina Press, 1950), pp. 223. 374· 74 Oct. 8, 1931; Boeke, J. , The Structure of Netherlands Indian Economy (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1942), pp. 149-150. 76 Thompson, Virginia, Labor Problems in Southeast Asia (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1947), p.

V, p. 590. INTERDEPENDENCE OF SUMATRA AND THE UNITED STATES 29 York, who went to Deli in late I885 and returned in early I886. In the same month as Fischer's departure, a Philadelphian, I. Gardinet died at Panteh Perak. 68 The occupations of these Americans is not known but it is possible that they were tobacco buyers, since this was five years before the era of American oil drillers or missionaries, and during an era when there was virtually no American shipping in the area. These were isolated visits in the "nadir" of American interest in Sumatra.

Sumatra thus directly supplied 15 percent of the value of imports of tin in 1959. Remembering that domestic sources are negligible, this means that the United States is still heavily dependent upon Sumatra for this very important and irreplaceable resource. Closely related to tin are American imports of bauxite, tungsten and monazite. The last two occur in small quantities in association with tin ores. Tungsten is a metal of which the United States is critically short, and which it needs for hardening steel.

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