There is a common belief that until recently Americans have preferred isolation to interest in remote areas such as Southeast Asia. This thesis can be tested by examining the history of American relations with a place on the opposite side of the globe from the United States. Such a land is Sumatra. It is one of the largest islands in the world. Its I66,789 square mile area exceeds that of the third largest American state, California, and is larger than Italy. Lying halfway around the world from the United States, its I050 mile length is almost divided by the equator, which runs across it for 285 miles. Sumatra's strategic importance is two-fold. Firstly, it is the first island stepping stone from the Asiatic mainland into the Australasian archipelago. This was demonstrated in I942 when the United States stationed planes on Sumatra in an attempt to stem the Japanese advance southward. Secondly, it lies athwart the shortest sea routes from Eastern Asia to Europe and the Eastern United States. Sumatra's southern tip forms one side of the Straits of Sunda which guards the access to the Java, China and Philippine Seas. At the island's northern tip is the entrance to the Straits of Malacca, the shortest sea lane be tween the Near and Far East. The opening of the Suez Canal in I869 shifted the shortest route between the Far East and the Western World from the Sunda to the Malacca Straits.
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Table of ContentsI / The Growing Interdependence of Sumatra and the United States 1873 to the Present.- Political Interests at the start of the Atjeh War.- West Coast Exports to the U.S.- Cassia.- Rattan.- Nutmeg and Mace.- Damar.- Benzoin.- Other West-Coast Products.- Eastern Sumatra Imports to the United States.- Native Agricultural Products Imported From Sumatra’s East Coast.- Gambir.- Sago.- Patchouli.- Dragon’s Blood.- Other Native Products of the East Coast.- Modern Plantation Crops of the East Coast of Sumatra.- Palm Oil.- Hard Fibers.- Tea.- Naval Stores.- The Interdependence of the United States and Sumatra.- II / Black Gold The History of American Enterprise in Indonesian Oil Development.- Americans Establish the Kerosene Trade.- Americans Develop the First Sumatran Oil.- Standard Tries to get Sumatran Production.- Dissolution of Standard and Founding of N.K.P.M.- The American Government steps into the Djambi Oil Dispute.- Prewar Development by American Oil Firms.- World War II.- The Americans Return after the War.- The Development of Central Sumatra.- Benefits to Indonesia.- Activities of Other American Firms.- Prospects for the Future.- III / Wealth from Trees The History of American Enterprise in Indonesian Rubber.- Early Imports of Rubber from Sumatra.- Earliest American ventures in Rubber.- U.S. Rubber creates the World’s Largest Plantation.- U.S. Rubber Pioneers in Scientific Production of Rubber.- Rubber during World War I.- Four Other American companies join U.S. Rubber in Sumatra.- The Flag Follows Trade: A Consulate opened at Medan.- Rubber Restriction.- The Great Depression.- World War II.- Postwar Re-Establishment.- Since the Korean War.- Prospects for the Future.- IV / American Contributions to Education, Religious and Secular.- The Martyrdom of Munson and Lyman, 1834.- Reopening of American Mission Work in Sumatra.- The Seventh-Day Adventists Start the First Permanent Work.- Methodist Educational Work before World War II.- Non-Religious Educational Work by Americans.- Pre-War Work of Other Religious Groups.- World-War II and its aftermath.- Since Independence, 1949.- Recent Non-Religious Education.- V / Scholar Adventurers.- Thomas Horsfield.- American Navy Exploration Expeditions.- First American Exploration of the Interior.- The Great Animal Collectors.- Astronomers in the Antipodes.- Americans in Batakland.- Interwar Researches.- Postwar American Scholar-Visitors.- American Writings on Sumatra.