The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 7, 1940



For Once, We Agree With Old Cotton Ed Smith

By ordinary, Cotton Ed Smith leaves us colder than zero, but he probably told a good deal of truth when he explained the President's veto of the Fulmer Bill for extending crop insurance to cotton by saying: "Cotton is in the South, wheat is in the doubtful states."

Not that the veto was wholly unjustified. What the President says, that this scheme has not been proved by experience to be a success as yet, is clearly so. And when even the limited scale on which it has been tried out cuts into the capital of the corporation set up to administer it to the tune of a million and half, it is reasonable to suspect that "crop insurance" isn't really insurance at all but merely another handout added to the long list of handouts which the farmers already get.

When you come down to it, there's no more reason why farmers should be protected against the ordinary hazards inherent in their occupation than other people. And the whole scheme is as dubious as the President pretty plainly infers it is.

Nevertheless it is worth observing that he did not go the whole hog and suggest that it might be as well to withdraw these schemes altogether--to deprive wheat farmers of it also. And the fact that the wheat farmers live in the doubtful states may be suspected to have something to do with that. If the South had been doubtful, it might well have got its crop insurance, however unworkable.

Paid At Last

Old Men Get Bonus Uncle Sam Promised Youngsters

The Congressional Record containing the word-by-word proceedings of the Senate on last Thursday throws new light on the bill, which Congress passed over the President's veto, to grant travel pay and food allowances to volunteers who re-enlisted for service in the Philippines.

It happened 40 years ago. During the War with Spain several U.S. regiments of volunteers were sent to the Philippines. After the Treaty of peace with Spain had been ratified, they were still on duty there when Aguinaldo and some thousands of his little brown men, who had been actively assisting this country's campaign against the Spaniards, staged an insurrection on their own.

In April, while conditions in the islands were anything but safe for our imperially-inspired democracy, enlistment terms of American volunteer troops ran out. An old Army custom in signing on for another hitch is first to get your hands on the bounty travel pay and subsistence allowance to the place of prior enlistment. And from the Philippines to the States would command a pretty penny, enough for a fling in all the sporty places of Manila and points east.

But these men were still badly needed to preserve Uncle Sam's order in the Philippines. And so a cable went from the Adjutant-General to General Otis, commanding, which read:

"If we are not able to get you sufficient forces to replace volunteers under your command ... will you be able to enlist your present volunteer force ...?"

In reply, General Otis cabled:

"Believed after inquiry majority volunteer organizations willing to re-enlist for six months ... provided that upon original discharge are paid traveling allowances to places of muster-in and that after expiration of second enlistment they are transported to those places by United States."

The Adjutant-General's reply has been lost in the obscurity of the 40 years that have gone by since that exchange. There is no record, but the fact is that the volunteers were mustered out of service and immediately mustered in again, and the assumption is that they consented with the understanding that they were to receive their travel pay bonus for doing so, even though they did not move off the spot.

It looks, that is, like a bargain between volunteer troops and their superiors, and bargains ought always to be kept.


Britain Should Head This Off at Any Cost

The German decision to send troops overland for the relief of Narvik puts it right squarely up to the Allies again. What Adolf Hitler intends is plain enough. He is out to convince the neutrals that the Allies and particularly Britain are too clumsy and indecisive to stop him from doing whatever he pleases. And if he succeeds in taking Narvik back from the Allies, after having announced that he means to make it a Nazi Alcazar, he will have taken another long step toward achieving his purpose.

He ought not to succeed. The British control the air base which commands Narvik, and the trek of the German soldiers must be made through two hundred miles of narrow mountain passes, which are not even supplied with roads. Breaking that up and turning the risky Nazi enterprise into a rout ought to be quite within the power of the British air force however heavy the Nazis may attempt to cover the advance with their own planes. Else the British air force is a total loss.

Furthermore, there seems to be no good reason why the Allied forces shouldn't smash the Nazis now in the Narvik region before the reinforcements can get there in any case. The Allied troops are supposed to out-number their opponents by three or four to one and to have them surrounded.

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