The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 13, 1940


Weather Vane

The Cries from Berlin Do Not Influence Turkey

The action of Turkey is a good deal more significant than the frenzied clamor from Berlin about victory for the Axis now being certain.

The Turkish Government is composed of realists of the coolest kind bred by European power politics. They heartily hate and fear Italy. And they have no desire to belong to a Nazi Empire. Nevertheless, if they were confident that the Nazi-Fascist gang was pretty certain to win, there is no doubt that they would hasten to bid for the best possible terms while the bidding was good.

Instead they openly dismiss Mussolini's assurances of the safety of Turkey as obviously worthless, reaffirm their intention of living up to their alliance with Britain and France, and get ready for war.

What is to be noted about this also is that Turkey's foreign policy is closely bound to that of Russia. The stand Turkey takes in all likelihood has at least the tacit consent of Moscow.

Is that to say that Turkey and Russia have finally concluded that the Allies are sure to win in the end, that Turkey is certain to come in to aid them, and that Russia is at least preparing to draw away from Hitler, perhaps even to enter the war, as against Italy at any rate?

Hardly. It is to say, however, that Turkey seems fairly confident as yet that she bet right to begin with, that Russia is no longer so sure that she did. Or at least that both are presently reserving judgment. Their final decision probably depends upon the United States more than upon any other factor.


A View of the Kind of Catch Robert Is After

The inevitable cruelty of Robert Rice Reynolds' bill--which seems headed for passage--to deport all aliens who cannot prove they are in the country legally is well illustrated by the case of twenty-odd aliens from North Carolina who are now besieging Congress with alarmed pleas.

None of these aliens is German or Italian or Russian. None of them has Nazi or Red sympathies. Most of them are Greeks, Lithuanians or Jews. All of them are reported to have good law-abiding records, and all of them are self-supporting--a number of them very prosperous. All have been here for years, some of them 30 years.

True enough, they broke the law of the United States if they entered it without the permission of the authorities. However, at least some of them claim that they did come in legally and afterward lost their papers. That is quite understandable in the case of an alien who has been here a long while.

But the Reynolds Bill puts the burden of proof on the accused, in contradiction to our ancient legal policy, and so will catch any innocents as well as the guilty who don't have the papers to prove legal entry.

And in any case, and however true it may be that in general those who come into the country illegally ought to be made to suffer for it--look at what is involved in many of these cases. The Greeks can't get back now without passing through the Mediterranean infested with Mussolini's highly indiscriminate submarines, and their country may be at war before they can reach it. As for the Jews, to send them back to Hitler's Europe is tantamount to a death sentence.

The Blame

Quaint Nazi Theories Will Not, However, Bar a Reply

The Nazis have discovered why it is that Paris, the world's fairest town, is menaced with destruction. Their so-called newspapers are bellowing loudly that it is due to the "crime of fortifying the city."

"I'm really dreadfully sorry," says Mr. Neanderthal, on robbery, rape, and murder bent, "I'm really dreadfully sorry to have to smash up as fine a house as this in order to get in. But you must see that it is your own fault. If you had left the door unlocked and hadn't kept a shotgun in the house to shoot at people like me--in short if you had been reasonable and let me have my way to begin with--it would never have been necessary."

Meanwhile at Rome the Italians busy themselves with ardently proclaiming Rome an "open city." And the Germans have long been proclaiming that about Berlin.

But it will do little good. Legalisms of every sort are rapidly vanishing in this war. The Nazis and Fascists began it, and they cannot and will not be allowed to destroy whatever legalisms they please, keeping the ones useful to themselves. If Paris is destroyed and the Nazis do not after all succeed in winning the war at once--something increasingly unlikely--Berlin and Rome will be destroyed also.

Jap Move

Treaty With Siam Is Not So Innocent as It Looks

It was crowded off the front pages by the news from Europe, but the treaty between Japan and Siam is anything but reassuring for the United States.

Ostensibly this is just a "friendship" treaty, under which the two parties agree not to attack each other. But Japan of course never feared that in the first place. Nor would Siam be of any great use to Britain or France or the United States in case of war. The real core of this treaty lies in the clause under which the two nations agreed to consult on all matters of mutual interest.

It is reasonable to guess that what Japan is up to is an attempt to get a foothold in Siam with a view to using it as a base. Against whom? Against French Indo-China, for instance. It would be easy to grab that rich province by launching an attack simultaneously from Siam and China, between which two countries it lies.

But it is not likely that Japan merely has in mind Indo-China. The Gulf of Siam is only a few hundred miles from the Dutch East Indies, and the gulf has several excellent ports quite fit to use as bases of naval operations against these islands--including Bangkok, the capital of Siam.

Furthermore, Siam is the best of all possible bases for operation against Singapore. From its ports a naval attack may be launched frontally, while at the same time a land army is sent along the Malay Peninsula to strike the great base from the rear. The terrain offers some difficulties, but they are far from insurmountable.

All of which, of course, is of the most immediate interest to us. Singapore is the base we would use should we decide to keep Japan from grasping the Dutch islands.

It is indeed entirely possible that this is a move designed by Japan and her European cronies to test out the intentions of the United States. Japan herself would like to feel sure that she could seize the islands without the necessity of fighting us. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy would like to see a Japanese attempt to seize them result in war with United States--thus using up the navy in the egging and insuring that it will not turn up in European waters.

It points up the dilemma which has already become apparent. And the question we are going to have to decide shortly is whether our interests in the outcome of the European case do not call for reaching an agreement with Japan--or if necessary abandoning the Dutch Indies to her, for the time at least.

That means abandoning our present chief source of the two essential war materials, tin and rubber. But sufficient tin can be got from Bolivia. And it now appears that the rubber situation could be solved, to meet the necessities anyhow. With scrap, we have about a year's supply on hand. And Goodrich has developed a new synthetic rubber which apparently can be produced as cheaply as the natural product. A year ought to be long enough to put it into quantity production if we had to.

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