The Standard-Vacuum Oil Company and United States East Asian Policy, 1933-1941

The Standard-Vacuum Oil Company and United States East Asian Policy, 1933-1941

IRVINE H. ANDERSON
Copyright Date: 1975
Pages: 274
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0sxn
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  • Book Info
    The Standard-Vacuum Oil Company and United States East Asian Policy, 1933-1941
    Book Description:

    Oil was a basic source of conflict between the United States and Japan. This book examines the role played by the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company in the crisis that led to Pearl Harbor. "Stanvac" was the largest American supplier of oil to Japan and represented the single largest American direct investment in Asia before the war. In the context of Stanvac's relations with various governments, the author examines the ways in which United States petroleum policy was formulated and the arrangements by which Japan sought to increase its oil reserves. He provides new insight into the impact of the financial freeze of July 1941, the origins of the Pacific War, and the complexities of oil diplomacy.

    Originally published in 1975.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6700-4
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-14)

    In the decade before Pearl Harbor, the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company occupied a position unique in the Asian oil trade and in that portion of Asia threatened by Japanese expansion.¹ With marketing outlets in both Japan and China and supplies drawn largely from the Netherlands East Indies, “Stanvac” had good reason to be apprehensive of Japanese intentions. Its position in the Asian oil trade also enabled the company to involve itself effectively in the regulation of Japan’s oil supply whenever a policy could be agreed upon with Royal Dutch-Shell and the American government. Since the immediate causes of World War II...

  6. ONE THRUST, PARRY, LUNGE, AND COMPROMISE
    (pp. 15-38)

    No better term describes the evolution of Standard Oil’s position in Asia prior to 1933 than “metamorphosis”—the gradual transformation of its role into something totally different from its original form. When Standard’s predecessors first entered the China trade in the 1860s they did so as merchants of kerosene, a product whose chief value was household illumination. Step by step over the next seventy years, as a result of competitive pressure and the emergence of petroleum as a military fuel, Standard Oil’s role was transformed into something quite different. By 1933 the newly formed Standard-Vacuum Oil Company shared with Royal...

  7. TWO THE PRINCIPLE OF THE OPEN DOOR
    (pp. 39-70)

    During the 1930s, problems in China and the specter of Japanese expansion accelerated trends toward closer cooperation between Stanvac, Shell, and the Anglo-American diplomatic corps, especially in cases that involved defense of traditional Open Door treaty rights. From a business point of view, the problems faced by Walden and Parker were straight-forward, but the entanglement of commercial issues with treaty rights created a complex situation, and careful analysis of the period sheds considerable light on how different but intersecting institutional interests could prompt businessmen and diplomats to develop an informal but smooth-working defensive team.

    In Canton, along with Asiatic Petroleum...

  8. THREE AND JAPAN’S “QUEST FOR AUTONOMY”
    (pp. 71-103)

    By far the most serious East Asian problem faced by Walden and Parker in the early 1930s was the possibility of losing all or part of Stanvac’s extensive Japanese market as a result of mounting pressure within Japan to decrease dependence on foreign refineries. The problem centered on the interpretation and implementation of the Japanese Petroleum Industry Law promulgated in March 1934. Understanding the extent and complexity of the forces with which Walden and Parker had to contend requires a brief examination of the mood of Japan in the early 1930s and the specific origins of the troublesome law. The...

  9. FOUR CONFLICT IN CHINA
    (pp. 104-125)

    The undeclared Sino-Japanese war, which began in the summer of 1937, sharply increased the friction between Japan’s drive for autonomy and America’s Open Door policy, and Stanvac again found itself caught in the vortex of the conflict.

    With a distribution network spread throughout the area where most of the fighting took place, Walden and Parker went into an almost full-time alliance with Shell, the Department of State, and the Foreign Office to cope with repeated Japanese violations of treaty rights. The teamwork that began in the early 1930s in response to the Manchurian monopoly and the Petroleum Industry Law thus...

  10. FIVE HULL PROTECTS THE INDIES
    (pp. 126-157)

    In the early summer of 1940 Asian specialists in general and Stanvac management in particular became convinced that some type of Japanese move against the Indies was imminent—especially if the United States responded to the growing clamor for an embargo on oil.¹ Although their concern derived partly from rumor and partly from the logic of the situation, it was by no means groundless. Unknown to Westerners at the time, pressure for just such action was building within the Japanese government as the war in Europe created drastic shifts in the world balance of power. In mid-July, the government of...

  11. SIX UNTIL PATIENCE RUNS OUT
    (pp. 158-192)

    Although it appeared to be a sudden reversal in policy, thede factoembargo on oil created by the freezing of Japanese funds in the United States in July 1941 actually came as the result of a long period of gestation in British and American bureaucracies dedicated to restraining Japan but riddled with disagreement over the most effective means. It is true that the Japanese occupation of southern Indochina triggered economic sanctions, but pressure for a partial or complete oil embargo had been building all spring from a variety of sources. And contrary to the impression created by the manner...

  12. EPILOGUE AND CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 193-200)

    The shock of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor diverted the attention of the general public from Japanese strategy in the opening days of the Pacific War. Americans were conscious of Japanese advances in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya, Sumatra, and Java, but the loss of American lives and ships at Pearl Harbor proved so traumatic that the fate of the Indies oil fields received only passing notice amid the unrelenting gloom of early 1942. Japanese troops had begun landing at Kota Bharu on the Malay Peninsula two hours before the strike at Hawaii,¹ and the Malay campaign moved so swiftly...

  13. APPENDIX A STANVAC’S INVESTMENT IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
    (pp. 201-216)
  14. APPENDIX B STANVAC’S ASIAN TRADE AND JAPAN’S OIL SUPPLY
    (pp. 217-231)
  15. ESSAY ON SOURCES AND SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 232-256)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 257-260)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)