The Charlotte News
FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 1941
It Involves All Risks of Full Convoy Sans Advantages
Mayor La Guardia is too close to the White House for his indication that convoy (disguised as naval "patrol") of supplies to Britain to a line a thousand miles at sea is to be undertaken, to have been an uninformed guess. And the speeches of Secretary Hull and Secretary Knox yesterday bear out the impression that something of the sort is planned.
But about all that can be said for such convoy is that it would be of some value as a stop-gap until the so-called Neutrality Act could be repealed.
Obviously, it would aid Britain to some extent. Just as obviously, it is virtually certain not to give her the aid she must have to survive. The news from Europe grows increasingly gloomy. The infamous Vichy regime is plainly getting ready to go all out for the Nazis, probably with Pierre Laval in command. There is evidence that Weygand is already co-operating with the Nazis in Tunisia and allowing supplies and perhaps troops to pass to Libya.
More, Hitler appears to have about brought Spain to joining the Axis.
The result of all this is likely to be that we shall swiftly see the Nazis in control of North and West Africa, with the French fleet joining the Nazi and Italian fleets in such an all-out attack on British shipping in the Atlantic as will dwarf anything which has gone before.
The Washington Merry-Go-Round said flatly yesterday that the new trade pact between Germany and Turkey contains secret clauses allowing the Nazis to use Turkish railroads for the transport of troops to Syria. If that is so, then Hitler has an excellent chance to seize the oil fields of Mesopotamia and to attack Suez from the east while his army in Libya attacks from the west.
Merry-Go-Round said also that the recent bombings of London have been appallingly effective. And many commentators believe that the attempt at invasion of Britain, after an unprecedented bombing, is now close at hand.
In front of all that the proposed convoy policy is timid, ineffectual and downright silly.
It involves every danger of all-out convoy to Britain herself without a single one of its advantages. Hitler has promised to sink anywhere on sight any ship engaged in convoying supplies for Britain. That he will not apply that to ships proceeding halfway in the Atlantic, to ships proceeding all the way into the Red Sea, is an insane hope. Or if he did fail to act upon it, it would be for the simple reason that he prefers to fight us alone at his own chosen time instead of with Britain.
Our one ally and one bulwark is in the-deadliest danger of falling. We have committed ourselves to seeing that victory is eventually won for her and ourselves. Our only way out of that commitment is by the road of appeasement--and certain humiliation and disaster. But if we are going to live up to it, with any hope of success, it is time to have done with the idea that we can avoid shooting and still win by half-hearted measures.
If we are to have convoy, for heaven's sake let's have effective convoy. Let the Neutrality Act--in absolute conflict with the Lend-Lease Law--be repealed, with short shrift for Wheeler & Co., or any others bent on giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
Let not only British but American merchantmen be set at once to speeding supplies to Britain. And let them go under convoy of the Navy in force, with orders to begin firing in return the moment Hitler dares fire the first shot.
Any other convoy policy is a weak absurdity which is very likely to end by leaving us to face the enraged Nazis--alone.
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