REVIEWS of Diplomacy & Enterprise: British China Policy
CHOICE, November 1975:
"An important scholarly work...has
examined the never-never land between business and diplomacy and the impact
of the former upon British foriegn policy in the Far East.
Christopher Thorne, International Affairs, April
most competent and useful piece of work. Above all, it makes use
not only of official archives in London but of the papers of various firms
which were active in China at the time. ....show[s] up well the high-handed
and indeed devious way in which Chamberlain set about shaping British policy,
for example by initiating secret communications with the Japanese behind
the backs of the Foreign Office in a manner which anticipated his handling
of foreign policy as Prime Minister."
John F. Melby, letter of appraisal for UBC Press,
"I must confess
that I started reading Mr. Stephen Endicott's manuscript with a certain
sense of wondering why he had bothered. I finished it with a real
feeling of enthusiasm for a first class piece of work....The range of the
original source material he has used is impressive, and if there are private
collections or official sources which may yet come to light, I would be
surprised if they would make any significant changes in what he has written.
His use of this material must classify him as an uncommonly sound scholar.
He, of course, has one tremendous advantage in that he was born in China
and like the other members of his family has maintained a kind of continuing
interest in that fascinating country which gives his work a sense of reality
which would be lacking from a comparable study by someone without the background.
Incidentally, he writes extremely well. I have no hesitation in recommending
subsidy for this piece of work."
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, October 1975:
study, based on new sources, of the political and business roots of British
policy towards China. It is also intended as a forceful contribution
to the current debate on the nature of imperialism, and the author has
a strong inclination to see the evidence of his study as giving considerable
support to Lenin's views."
Neville Thompson, International Journal, v. 34-2, 1979:
"This is an important book for an understanding
of the origins of the Second World War, British foreign policy in the 1930s
- which despite the many specialized studies still lacks a full-scale integrated
account, the British in Asia, and the process of imperial decline."
David A. Wilson, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars,
v. 9, no. 1, January-March 1977
book is a study of how British financial and commercial interests in China
affected the direction of British government policy toward China and East
Asia during the crucial years before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese
War. The author traces British policy as it wavered in contradictory
efforts to reach understanding with Japan while simultaneously seeking
to revive British economic interests in China -- interests which clashed
with Japanese activities. Endicott finds direct connections between
the evolution of a British government policy promoting the interests of
British capital in China and the China Association, at the core of
which were the `big China firms': the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation,
Asiatic Petroleum Company [North and South China Ltd.], the British American
Tobacco Company [China] Ltd., Imperial Chemical Industries [China] Ltd,
Jardine, Matheson and Company Ltd., and John Swire and Sons Ltd.
"The big firms...were opposed to Japanese
encroachment on China. They advocated the strengthening of a Chinese
government that would welcome their investments and protect their property....the
book tells an important story and utilizes a broad range of British archival
material, making it an important source for anyone doing research or preparing
lectures on Asia and/or foreign policy questions of the 1930s."
Nicholas R. Clifford, Pacific Affairs, v. 48-4,Winter
"Not everyone will agree that the gradual
predominance of economic over strategic interests will suggest "the continuing
relevance of Lenin's basic insights into the subject of modern imperialism"
(p. 175); the story, which Endicott sets forth so clearly, is more
complicated than that. But he by no means dwells on this interpretation.
We are all in debt to him not only for his illumination of the main course
of events but also for a variety of other points, such as the ways in which
the China Houses sought to come to terms with the post-May 4th nationalism
while essentially retaining their privileges intact, or the ways in which
personality influenced policy (as Endicott points out, Chamberlain's secret
diplomacy -- secret, that is, from his colleagues) -- was a foretaste of
what was to come in 1938 and 1939. And finally he emphasizes the
importance of the Far Eastern question in British thinking in the 1930's,
a point still largely unrecognized by historians of the period. His
book must be read not only by those concerned with the Pacific, but by
all those interested in British policy in the 1930's."
Ian A. Andrews, The Canadian Book Review Annual 1975:
"Endicott's lucid and
scholarly approach succeeds in showing the difficulty of separating the
British foreign policy toward China from the economic sphere of events,
and how a powerful business elite can direct or at least strongly guide
their government's major policy decisions. This provides interesting
reading in view of current American and Soviet involvements."
Bill George, Quill and Quire,
"...uses unpublished sources...to draw back the curtain
on British Far East diplomacy in the 30's. What he reveals is almost
incredible. The patchwork quilt of British diplomacy was in fact
whole cloth, of a sort, spun out by that master of unsuccessful compromise,
Neville Chamberlain. ...Though there is much in that period to tempt the
incipient witch hunter, Endicott accurately portrays the balance of confusion,
timidity, and rashness on which British policy was founded."