The Charlotte News
The Neutrality Bill given 16-to-7 approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday lays down the much better, safer policy than (a) the Hull Bill, which the Senate committee killed 12-to-11 in the last session, or (b) the existing law. Hence the committeemen's action is not such an about-face as it might first appear, since they were voting on different measures.
But it is interesting all the same to list the switching Senators. They are:
George (D) of Georgia, Van Nuys (D) of Indiana, Reynolds (D) of North Carolina, Gillette (D) of Iowa and White (R) of Maine.
Three of these Senators--Reynolds, Gillette and White--are said to have voted to report the bill out while reserving the right to vote against it on the floor. In other words, not liking the legislation, they are guiltless of inconsistency in the first and second committee actions because they only want to give the Senate as a whole a chance to pass on it.
But hold! That first committee vote was not on the merits of the neutrality bill proposed but to postpone consideration of the question altogether--in fine, not to let the Senate take it up. And in that light they are shown up as completely inconsistent.
Mr. Hitler's dizzy war of words goes steadily on. From Berlin we are told over and over in a constantly rising uproar that Nazi planes have destroyed British warships, and that the German air force is about to take the mastery of the sea away from England's ironclads. In England, the British Admiralty shrugs it off as mere poppycock.
What the truth about this may be we don't know, but it is possible to guess. The British have hitherto steadily followed the same policy they followed in the last war, of immediate announcement of all sea disasters they have suffered. And so when they tell us that they have suffered no damage at the hands of the Nazi planes, we are inclined to accept it in the absence of clear proof to the contrary.
What is stranger than these air stories, however, are the stories Mr. Lochner of the Associated Press has been sending out from the Siegfried Line. The Associated Press is a great stickler for accuracy, and Lochner's professional reputation is at stake; hence it seems incredible that he would willingly lend himself to German propaganda. Is the man working, as it were, with a gun in his ribs? Or is he being shown a carefully prearranged stage exhibit?
In any case, his stories are certainly incompatible with all the dispatches we have got from elsewhere, including Luxembourg, and Switzerland. That soldiers who are not engaged in active fighting should trade across the lines is not unbelievable; they did the same thing in the last war. But that the whole Western Front is absolutely quiet, and that no damage is to be seen anywhere--that simply cannot be fitted with the picture we have been given.
It's considerably more than an honorary, hand-shaking job Robert M. Hanes has got in his elevation to the presidency of the American Bankers Association. By ordinary, banks go their separate ways and handle their separate businesses with a fine disregard of the tie that binds them into an association representing astronomical assets. But these, of course, are not ordinary times.
To the contrary, they are gravely extraordinary, and before President Hanes' one-year term is up it may be that the question of banking policy will be quite as momentous as the question of standing armies and fleets, say, or the question of war or peace or whatever.
If it should so devolve, then the ABA would become a policy-making agency of the first importance, its president a man on whom much responsibility fell. And though it is the ABA's law of succession that brings Bob Hanes to the top at this particular juncture, no better choice could have been made.
As the classicists would put it, "he is eminently qualified," but a more familiar expression, which we may use just among ourselves, is that he's got what it takes.
Our columnist, General Ironpants Johnson, in his column for Wednesday delivered himself of the following blanket pronouncement:
They [the American soldiers in the last war] were told that they were fighting for international decency as boiled down to Mr. Wilson's Fourteen Points. They [the American Legionnaires in session at Chicago] look abroad and see every one of those points repudiated by their associates, as well as their enemies, in the World War.
The Fourteen Points were:
1 -- Open covenants openly arrived at. (Record: Regularly violated by everybody.)
2 -- Freedom of navigation for all nations on all seas. (Record: Observed by everybody saving case of war. Not observed by the United States in last war.)
3 -- Removal of economic barriers and establishment of equal trade conditions. (Record: Immediately repudiated by all nations after last war, with the United States showing the way by establishing highest tariffs in history. Attempt by Mr. Hall to reverse trend since 1933. England and France originally uncooperative. In last two years have shown increasing willingness to make concessions.)
4 -- Reduction of national armaments. (Record: Applied only to Germany at Versailles. But some honest efforts to cut down and limit made later, as in Washington Naval Treaty. England knifed more recent proposals by U.S. and Russia, because of fear of Germany, Russia. Is today weak in comparison with Hitler because she long played along with us on this idea.)
5 -- Impartial adjustment of colonial claims. (Record: Went into ashcan at Versailles.)
6 -- Settlement of questions affecting Russia, then in the middle of revolution. (Record: Discreetly abandoned by everybody, including U.S., after some highly painful experiences.)
7 -- Restoration of Belgium, then occupied by German army. (Record: Belgium was restored.)
8 -- Restoration of invaded portions of France and return of Alsace-Lorraine. (Record: Duly fulfilled.)
9 -- Readjustment of the frontiers of Italy. (Record: Readjusted with large additions of territory and population, though she failed to get all she had expected under secret agreements with England and France.)
10 -- Autonomy for Austro-Hungarian peoples. (Record: Creation of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, independent Hungary, revision of other boundaries, partly aimed at this problem. Success not great.)
11 -- International guarantees for the Balkan states. (Record: Czechoslovakia and others got guarantees from the League of Nations, and France--which proved worthless in the showdown.)
12 -- Sovereignty for Turkey, autonomy for the non-Turkish Syrians, Mesopotamians, Arabs, Egyptians, under Turk rule. (Record: Turkey retained sovereignty. Other peoples taken over as "mandates" or "independent states" by England and France.)
13 -- An independent Polish state. (Record: Made good to the hilt. Poland established as independent state. England and France now fighting Germany for restoration of that status, among other things.)
14 -- Formation of an international association of states. (Record: The United States turned thumbs down on the League of Nations. Result: it never functioned as intended, collapsed into a mere shadow, useful only as a stalking horse for Realpolitik. Whether it would have worked had the United States gone in, no one knows. Plainly, however, it had no chance to work without the United States, since its primary weapon, the application of the economic blockade to an aggressor, was impossible to use without the participation of this country.)
So those old boys at Chicago can "look abroad and see everyone of those points repudiated by their associates... in the World War," eh? If they can, their vision must be nearly as thaumaturgically cockeyed as General Ironpants' own.
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