MAX SAMUEL POLIN (1886 - 1958)
(American Director of CNAC)
(CNAC 193? - 19??)

From Wings for an Embattled China by W. Langhorne Bond, page 152, "I met the two American directors of CNAC who were in Shanghai at the American Club for Lunch. They were George Sellet, who was also attorney for Pan Am, and Max Polin, president and founder of the Cathay Oil Company who had negotiated the original contract setting up CNAC."

(From "Wings for an Embattled China")

Best guess is Hong Kong sometime in the late 1940's or very early 1950's
Max Polin on the left, uninown on the right

August 8, 2004
The following e-mail came from Max's nephew, Packard Polin.

He was born in the Ukraine, probably in Kiev, and as a young child, emigrated to Philadelphia in the early 1890's. With his parent's and siblings, he relocated many times, living in Kansas City, Missouri; Cripple Creek, Nevada; Goldfield, Nevada; and finally, in San Francisco; where he became an employee of the Associated Oil Company. He was assigned to Shanghai as the company's representative about the time of World War I; resigning in 1925 in order to found his own firm; The Cathay Oil Company. In addition to this business, he eventually became a representative of aircraft manufacturers, and sold planes to the Chinese military. He is the father of two son's; Tom; who resides in Hong Kong; and Bob; who lives in the United States; as far as I know. He was interned by the Japanese (Santo Tomas) at the beginning of World War II, but was selected by fellow American internees to be repatriated to the States on the Swedish American Liner "Gripsholm", to represent their financial affairs. As you are aware, he was the American Director of the CNAC in the 1930's and as such, and as a business man, it is said that he traveled more air miles in Asia than any other passenger or his era. Because of his extensive knowledge of China and the Chinese, he was recruited as a CIA Officer and returned to Asia for the balance of the war after completing the financial affairs for the internees. After the war, the Communists appropriated the oil company's holdings in China, so he conducted Cathay's business from offices in Hong Kong and in San Francisco; travelling by Pan American Clipper Ships between the two. On January 22, 1958, Max S. Polin died suddenly of a heart attack on Hong Kong Island, and his body was returned to San Francisco for the funeral and burial at the Home of Peace Cemetery, Colma, California.

Best regards,


September 10, 2007

Last week I attended the CNAC Reunion in Burlingame, California. On the way home I stopped at the Home of Peace Cemetery and left flowers and a stone at Max's grave site. It's very quiet and peaceful there.

Tom Moore

Max's parents

If you would like to share any information about Max Polin
or would like to be added to the CNAC e-mail distribution list,
please let the CNAC Web Editor, Tom Moore, know.

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