The Charlotte News

Monday, October 14, 1940



In Mufti

Only an American General Would Pass Up Such a Chance

General George Catlett Marshall, Chief of Staff, came to Charlotte Saturday to see a football game. In the Stadium beforehand he reviewed the cadet corps of the Virginia Military Institute, his alma mater, and a very colorful piece of pageantry it made, too.

The Army's No. 1 man stood at attention as the gray-clad cadets marched by in precise alignment, snappily returning their officers' salutes. It looked as military as you could want except for one circumstance. General Marshall wore civilian clothes.

General Marshall's rank in the United States just about corresponds to that of Field Marshall Goering in Germany. And if this were Germany and it had been Hermann who reviewed this elite corps, he not only would have appeared in full regalia, he would have designed a special uniform for the occasion and added it to his enormous wardrobe.

Or if the ceremony had taken place in Italy, the reviewing stand would have been so full of epaulets and gleaming swords as to dazzle the sun. And the inevitable dog who paraded with the cadets would have been executed for conspiring to humiliate the military.

The European love of martial show is notorious, of course, as notorious as our own Army men's preference for the undistinguishing civvies. And we shall see enough of uniforms before this year is over. All the same, the appearance of General Marshall in mufti indicates a fundamental indifference toward military show.


The Horseman

Tom Mix Summed Up Dreams Of the Past for Millions

It was ironic that Tom Mix, the movie cowboy, had to die in a commonplace automobile accident.

Mix had survived not only ten thousand fictional dangers but hundreds of real ones. Unlike some of the other movie horsemen, he was actually a great rider. And he had performed all the most dangerous stunts of the saddle before circus and rodeo audiences all over the country.

More even than William S. Hart, he had become the incarnation of the old-time cowboy of the West in the popular mind. And not by accident. He had been a real cowboy and a Western sheriff--could act out the life of the old West because he knew it perfectly.

Ultimately he represented modern man's yearning toward the simpler and perhaps more human past. Between a man and his horse in the old days there was a community of feeling and sympathy which is impossible as between a man and a machine. The desire for that sort of contact undoubtedly explains the city dweller's eagerness to keep dogs even in apartment houses.


Mexican Iron

It Furnishes Washington With a Nice Little Problem

The Japanese, barred by Presidential order from getting any more scrap iron from the United States after Oct. 16, are now turning to Mexico as their source of supply. They are offering $18 a ton for it, as against $16.50 offered by United States buyers. A Mexican business man explains, "We will sell to the highest bidder, though we would prefer to sell to the United States or Canada."

Plainly we cannot tolerate this flow of war supplies from a neighboring state to a nation which Vincent Sheean correctly designates "an enemy."

At first thought, it seems that we ought to be able to squelch it fast. The Senate this year turned out a measure to end the buying of foreign silver by the Treasury, despite the fact that it cost us large sums annually for something which is virtually worthless to us. And the main reason that was done was precisely the fact of Mexico's economy, precarious at best, mainly hangs upon our purchase of her silver--upon what amounts to an outright subsidy. Hence it might be supposed that all we have to do to bring her to terms is to threaten to cut off that subsidy.

The threat alone might work. If it did not, the cutting off of the subsidy would cause Mexico's economy to collapse, and that might and probably would result in a revolution which could bring Nazi-sympathizing elements into power, would certainly result in wholesale disorders calculated to aid Nazi purposes. Moreover, withdrawal of the subsidy would probably set up the cry of "imperialism" and "dollar diplomacy," with unpleasant repercussions throughout the Latin-American world. These are the reasons the silver purchase plan was retained by the Senate. We simply can't afford that sort of thing in Mexico now.

So, it is possible that we may be driven to paying a subsidy to cover the difference between Japanese offers and our own iron dealers' bids, an order to keep the stuff in America


Bear Growls

Hitler Plan for Turkey Draws a Plain Warning

For Britain and the United States the news from the Black Sea is very good. For Hitler it is ominous.

The Nazi purpose in going into Rumania is clear enough. Object has been the heat on Greece and Turkey and get the right to march through them unopposed for attack on the oil fields of Syria and Mosul--the primary British source of supply and great enough to end all Hitler's worries about fuel.

But what Hitler takes he never voluntarily relinquishes, as Stalin well knows. And Russian foreign policy for centuries has been based in the Dardanelles.

Never able to seize the strait for itself, Russia has always insisted that it should be held by a power which was weaker than itself and which was reasonably friendly with the Kremlin. Not even Britain has dared to challenge that. But ever since Bismarck the Germans have been trying to get control of the strait. It was that, more than anything else, which moved Russia to fight on the side of the Allies in the last war.

From the time Japan formally joined the Axis, it has been clear that, logically, Russia was bound to swing to the other side, for if the Axis were victorious she would be caught between two enemies, both more powerful than herself. But it has been a question as to whether Stalin would choose to go on pretending for awhile longer or act now. He seems to have given a hint of the answer.


English End

A Common Little Soul Keeps Her Chin Up

A tisket, a tasket.

My little yellow basket,

I went trucking on down the avenue,

Without a single thing to do.

Just that, peck, peck peckin' all-around


I lost it. I lost it.

My little yellow basket.

Somehow, and without meaning levity, the passing of Lydia Cecily Hill, girlfriend of the Sultan of Joore, puts us in mind of that foolish old song.

Merely another pretty baggage of a show girl who preferred pretty things, she had small share of the world's respect. Her frame was all of the notorious order. And sober England was not proud of her.

Yet about her passing there was a pathetic insouciance which pretty well sums up the calm of the the English nation before sudden death, its refusal to place too high a value on fragile life, its cool insistence on business as usual.

She had taken some little precaution for herself perhaps, in going down from London to the once-quiet old cathedral town of Canterbury on the Dover Road. But not much. Canterbury lay directly in the path of the hordes of Nazi planes swarming to London hour after hour. Night and morning the sky over the town was alive with them. They had bombed the place before, and it was plain that they liked nothing so much as the destruction of fair old towns and lovely monuments like England's most celebrated church.

But Lydia Cecily was not trembling in any cellar the morning death came for her. Instead she had sallied blithely forth to indulge her favorite sport of shopping. And when the bomb found her she was in a shop absorbed in trying on fur coats.

Cheap common flashy--all these epithets probably apply correctly to the poor girl. But in her small way she had something, too, of the quality that has made England.

I lost it. I lost it.

My little yellow basket.

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