The Charlotte News

Friday, January 10, 1941


Site Ed. Note: Had Cash known the extent to which later history would prove William Rhodes Davis's hands dirty, he would assuredly not have given him the benefit of the doubt he so characteristically did to those of Davis's ilk. (See editorial note preceding "Bad Defense", January 7, 1941, and note that Cash is applying far greater heat to his stamp on Davis in "A Buyer", below, than in the earlier editorial in which he cast Davis as a mere silly dupe of the Nazis.) The matter of materials being shipped via Japanese marus from Mexico to Valdivostok over the Trans-Siberian Railway to Germany was not confined to mercury, tungsten and molybdenum, but involved oil, and mighty shiploads of it.

It is ironic that mercury is the subject of the dispatch discussed by Cash, and it is also ironic, and bitterly so, that Cash would grant the benefit of the doubt to a man who may have had, and probably did have, an oil-poisoned hand in Cash's death a mere six months later in Mexico City. Davis, the greasy little Traitor of traitors from Alabama and Texas, was responsible as well for the deaths of millions upon millions, as surely as was Hitler; were it not for the viscid millionaire's efforts in supplying the Reich with Mexican oil, the Panzers could not have plowed into Poland in September, 1939--and the war which followed might not have been.

Vile slanders? The preponderance of truth is always a defense.

Trial By M.D.

Many Accused Killers Never Face a Prosecuting Attorney

A case which strikingly illustrates something The News has been talking about was concluded yesterday with the acquittal of Mrs. Nell Bacote on a charge of having killed Paul Miller. Both Mrs. Bacote and her husband, as we understand the law, have come clear of jeopardy, and the law has no more business with them.

Understand, now: this editorial is not designed to get either of them any further prosecution or any further publicity except as their names and the circumstances in which they were involved are necessary to fill out the particulars.

Miller was killed--that much at least is indubitable. The coroner's jury was impressed into service to determine who killed him. Bacote said he did it in self-defense. The coroner's jury so found, called it justifiable homicide. Bacote went free, and that would have been the last heard of it except for this surprise turn whereby Mrs. Bacote was tried and duly acquitted.

But the man himself never has been prosecuted. Oh, to be sure, the Coroner (the late Dr. Austin) ruled on the case with the assistance of a jury of six men, who are usually regulars. But he has never faced prosecution by a trained prosecuting attorney and a court of justice, with cross-examination and all the usual appurtenances of criminal trials. He appeared, rather, before one trained in anatomy, not in the law.

Whether trial-by-coroner is legal or not, the lawyers will have to determine. But as this case strikingly illustrated, such trials could hardly be called thorough-going. And when you consider that a large proportion of homicide cases are disposed of by the coroner without ever being heard in court, you begin to get an idea of one of the things wrong with the system of administering justice in Mecklenburg County.

The Deserter

Rome Has Good Reason To Insist That He Is Dead

The English announce regretfully that General Electric Whiskers Bergonzoli escaped capture at Bardia by deserting his army. And Rome promptly counters by saying that Bergonzoli died a hero on the field of battle at Bardia.

But there is no reason to suspect that Electric Whiskers is a coward. The record, indeed, shows otherwise. He is a poseur and a showman, but many of the brave, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Jeb Stuart, have been these things.

Hence, it is probable that he quit Bardia under orders. It is permissible for a general to abandon a lost army, on the theory that he can best serve his country by saving his brains for its use. That is in odd contrast to the naval notion that the captain must not abandon a lost ship until all give up the ship. But there it is.

Nevertheless, the Italians have reason to make the claim that Bergonzoli died at the head of his men. Italian morale is obviously in desperate condition, and for the simple soldiers in the ranks, the simple men and women in the streets, a desertion for any reason will still be nakedly a desertion and so cause for great resentment and bitterness.

Electric Whiskers will have to stay out of sight for awhile.

A Buyer

His Mexican Activities Call for an Inquiry

Mr. William Rhodes Davis bitterly and loudly demanded an investigation by the Wheeler Committee when Senator Josh Lee impugned his patriotism in connection with the claims of Davis and Verne Marshall that Davis had brought an agenda for a "just and honorable peace" from the Nazis to Washington--only to be spurned by Roosevelt.

But Davis is in for having his patriotism questioned by people of heavier calibre than Josh Lee if the inferences in a special cable to the New York Times from its correspondent, Arnaldo Cortesi, in Mexico City are borne out.

Cortesi reports that Davis is expected in Mexico shortly to negotiate for control of mines yielding such essential war metals as mercury, tungsten, and molybdenum. And he quotes one informant as saying that Davis has been in the Mexican market for one ton of mercury--a vast amount--per week. And goes on:

The ultimate destination of the metals that Mr. Davis is said to be in the market for is unknown, but it is no secret that in recent months considerable quantities of war materials have been finding their way to Germany via Manzanillo (Mexico) and Vladivostok (Russia) in Japanese vessels and thence by Trans-Siberian Railroad. The traffic has been especially heavy in mercury...

This is not proved on Davis, mind you. And until it is, he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. But the matter is obviously so serious that it deserves to be investigated thoroughly, and by somebody who is not the bitter-end isolationist Burton Wheeler is. There is only one possible word which could be used to describe any American who would sell the Nazis essential war materials now, with the national policy of this country and our relations with the Nazis what they are. That word is the antithesis of patriotism.

Two Men

Whose Views Get Along Together Famously

Mr. Bart Logan of Greensboro, is greatly exercised. Mr. Logan knows that there is a wicked plot to get us into the war in order to fatten the pocketbooks of the rich. Roosevelt, he says, "lies," and goes on:

"WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THIS WAR? As in 1917, two rival groups of powers are fighting for empires, colonies, and profits. Hunger and bombs seek their victims as the wealthy on both sides rake in profits in safety and comfort... Both Hitler and Churchill represent the big bankers and profiteers in their own countries... We must not be fooled by the sweet talk of 'saving civilization,' 'defending democracy' and the like... Aid to Britain will bring fat profits to a few but it will never bring peace and democracy to the American people... NO LOANS? NO MUNITIONS? AND NO MEN for either side. KEEP AMERICA OUT OF THE IMPERIALIST WAR!!!"

This is all quite natural enough, of course. Mr. Logan is head of the North Carolina State Committee of the Communist Party. He is lying on his own account when he professes fondness for democracy, which he hates and wants to destroy like any good Stalinist. But one expects to find him yelling that this is an imperialist war. That is the official line from Moscow, which is busily using the Logans in America to paint Hitler as not half as bad as Churchill and the English and so to aid a Nazi victory.

And we set it down merely by way of observing its remarkable similarity in tone to a remark made recently by Burton Wheeler. Of the President's message to Congress Wheeler had to say that it "was intended to frighten the American people to the point that they would surrender their liberties and establish a wartime dictatorship in this country."

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