The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 24, 1940



Maine Law

A Decision and No News Adds Up to a Conclusion

At Alfred, Maine, the sect called Jehovah's Witnesses, whose only offense seems to be that they idiotically refused to salute the flag because of a crazy notion that it is "idol-worship," had a meeting place which they styled "Kingdom Hall." That is, they had it until last June.

Then they began to have trouble. The Alfredians generally didn't like this sect, took to molesting it, eventually began to break up its meetings by mob action. They appeared at the place on the evening of June 9, eventually went on their way, promising, however, according to testimony at the subsequent trial, to return later and burn their hall and "finish these damned Jehovah's Witnesses tonight."

The Witnesses' scouts, according to the testimony, reported that a new mob was forming downtown. The cops had ignored their request for protection. And under those circumstances, their leader, one Edwin Bobb, passed out guns to his followers. While they stood on guard, an automobile drew up and men piled hastily out of it.

The mobsters usually came that way. So Bobb and others blazed away. A man named Dwight Robinson was wounded. He and his companions maintained at trial that they had only stopped to change a tire. Later on that evening, the mob burned the hall as promised.

Tuesday at Alfred, a jury found Bobb guilty of assault with intent to kill. But no news comes out of Alfred of the trial of the mobsters who burned the hall, for rioting and arson. Maybe Bobb had it coming. The use of firearms is a serious business, especially when an innocent bystander, if the fellow was such, gets hurt.

But as nearly as we can make it out, the law in Maine is that if you belong to an unpopular sect you must take it and like it, and that among friends little matters like arson don't count.


Slow to Learn

Man on a Spot Pathetically Grasps Empty Air

For a curious mixture of realism and naiveté, the former Minister of the Rumanian Palace Ernst Urdareanu seems to be the man for the fur-lined loving cup. For seven years he had lived in intimate touch with the Nazis and for sixteen in intimate touch with the Italian Fascists. Yet when he was arrested at Seville, Spain, yesterday, along with King Carol and his old girlfriend, Magda Lupescu, he raised trembling hands and in a faltering voice exclaimed:

"They'll kill me if we are sent back to Rumania. How is extradition possible?"

The first sentence is perfectly clear-sighted. But the second plainly indicates a childish capacity for self-deception.

How is extradition possible? It isn't possible, it may be said with confidence, under the law of nations. These three persons are political refugees. And the claim that they have committed felonies and so are properly returnable--already emanating from Bucharest--is simply the old brazen Nazi line in preparation for another crime. None of the few remaining civilized nations would pay the slightest attention to it or refuse Carol and his companions haven under the ancient law.

But Minister Urdareanu knows very well that Rumania is now a Nazi stooge of Nazi Germany and that Spain, again, is a Fascist the stooge of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. And he ought to know by now that when the Nazi and Fascist masters set their heads down to have some good clean fun by murdering somebody, nothing like a law of nations is going to keep the little Fascist stooges from co-operating with alacrity. Extradition is not only possible, it is as good as accomplished right now.


His Gains

What Hitler Would Get if France Joined the Axis

What would be the concrete consequences if Laval did succeed in taking France into the war as an active ally of the Axis?

One thing is certain. It would mean no great French armies put at the disposal of Hitler. Neither the French stooges nor Hitler himself would dare arm even so many as half a million Frenchmen, for if it ever happened that Hitler began to reel, such an army would be almost certain to fall under the direction of patriotic Frenchmen and turn to slaughtering Germans and Nazi Frenchmen with fanatical zest.

Something called a French army might appear, in order to carry out the pretense that this is a France which acts of its own free well and not a handful of traitors, but it would be a tiny core made up entirely of hand-picked French Nazis, and without an honest Frenchmen in it.

Hitler would gain little in industrial co-operation. For he already has nearly all the important factories of France. He would perhaps make it a little more easy to pass German and Italian troops into Spain, but not much. About all the Vichy Government could do now would be to protest. He would gain the open use of the French Mediterranean naval bases for the Italian navy. But the latter seems to be using them overtly already.

The major things he would gain boil down to two: The first would be the psychological effect on nations like Greece and Turkey of another demonstration of his success in absorbing everything in his path. And the second, of course, would be the full use of the French navy.

France has a good many powerful ships still, despite the action at Oran. And by an appalling blunder, six or seven of the fleetest and most powerful of them have been allowed to escape into the Atlantic and are now in Dakar, where the Atlantic reaches the narrowest point as between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

Operating from there, this squadron could do enormous damage to British commerce. And more than that it could force the retention of British naval forces in the Atlantic just when they might be most desperately needed in the Mediterranean. And of course, the ships in the Mediterranean would greatly help Mussolini there.

There is the hope that in the showdown, the French officers and sailors would revolt and take the ships over to the British. But it is an outside one. Most of the men capable of such action seem already to have gone over. And it is probable that most of the present officers have been hand-picked for their Nazi and Fascist sympathies.

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