The Charlotte News
Monday, October 28, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "'Scuse, Pliz" derives from a News story appearing October 22 from the Associated Press, indicating that Mexico, to further enhance hemispheric solidarity with the U.S., had announced a policy of no longer selling oil and scrap iron to Japan. The move came in the wake of an amendment to Mexico's constitution forbidding such concessions. Said a spokesman for President Cardenas, "To demonstrate Mexico's adherence to the hemisphere policy of solidarity before the world crisis threatening the continent across both oceans, the President desires that what was actually not only an error in judgment but an illegal act, be rectified immediately. We did not want it to appear that Mexico would sell scrap iron that Japan might conceivably use against the United States should the present crisis in the Orient end in open hostilities." But the source also indicated that it was not clear when actual cancellation of the oil concessions to Veracruzana company, a Tokyo-based organization drilling 247,000 acres of oil fields in the state of Veracruz, would actually end.
In fact, it didn't end, not only in Mexico but also via a supply route from California's oil fields, until the following summer, by which time the Reich and Japan had sufficiently supplied themselves with oil from the Japanese marus, traveling to Vladivostok and then via the Trans-Siberian railway to Germany, to enable both the advance into Russia by the Nazis and the attack on Pearl Harbor, actually what appear from the broad view of history to have been consolidated actions to try to force America and Britain to appeasement terms. Hitler had a six month oil supply as of June, 1941, so… (See "Oil for Foe", editorial of April 28, 1941.)
I read The News today, oh boy…
Before Long the Jitters Will Make Him Extinct
There was a time, within that arbitrary space defined by the memory of man, when pedestrian had a chance-- at least a reasonable one--to cross at street intersections with a comparative degree of safety. Ah, but those were glorious days.
To throw out your chest and lift your head, to stride purposefully across tire-marked asphalt confident that the little green light facing you would protect and safeguard you--it made a man feel good.
But those very stop-go lights which (theoretically) are timed to keep the Charlotte traffic moving in an orderly stream make life hard for the poor, unwitting pedestrian. He starts across Tryon Street at the intersection of Fourth. The light is with him. Suddenly, as he moves into the north half of Tryon, one car, heading north, turns to the left. And then another and another. Whiz, zowie, zoom--the pedestrian dances back and forth until the light changes and then he's caught smack in the middle of the traffic moving up and down Tryon. It's a tough life, but there's nothing he can do about it.
It's the same way on dozens of Charlotte corners, due not so much to the fault of the system as to the complete disregard of motorists for the pedestrian's peace of mind and safety of body. It's reached the point when the man on foot has just three safe crossings: (1) at the Square, where (theoretically) no turns are made and where traffic stops short (theoretically) at the change of lights; (2) in the middle of a block where he knows they can come from but two directions; (3) at intersections where there's no movement of traffic at all.
Mexico Suddenly Snuggles Up to Despised Uncle Sam
Mexico would never think of selling scrap iron to the Japs, oh, no! They would convert it into munitions which they might aim against the United States, Mexico's dear good neighbor. So a $400,000 offer has been turned down cold.
Mexico would never think, either, for a minute, of granting oil concessions to Japanese interests. It could be against the interest of Pan-American solidarity and co-operation. So Mexico has revoked a large oil concession which was granted only last week to the company controlled in Tokyo. Viva the United States and the Western Hemisphere!
How the oil concessions deal ever got put through in the face of such a warm feeling in Mexico towards its big neighbor does not appear. It was a mistake, they explain volubly; an error of judgment. Not only that, it was illegal, in violation of a constitutional provision which was recently ratified by the majority of Mexico's state legislatures. President Cardenas is humiliated that anybody in authority ever briefly considered selling oil and scrap to the Japanese which they might use against the U.S.
This marked change of Mexican attitude and the refusal to do business with Japan may have been purely voluntary on Mexico's part, but we don't think so. We don't at all think so. Somehow old Cordell Hull and his State Department managed to apply pressure where it hurt. What it was is anybody's guess--discontinued silver purchases, political pressure or something.
Mexico, in short, has too suddenly seen the light of Pan-American partiality not to have had it pointed out in a pretty forceful manner.
Move on Greece May Bring New Forces into War
As is usual when war breaks, all is confusion about the situation in the Balkans as this is written.
That Italy had invaded Greece, is apparently attempting a blitzkrieg to Solinika, with a view to cutting Greece in two, making Turkish aid to Greece impossible, and getting control of the western entrance to the Dardanelles--this and the fact that Greece has formally declared war is about all that is clear for the present.
Turkey is still silent, though there are rumors in Bucharest that the she also has declared war on Italy, in fulfillment of her treaty obligations. There are also rumors in Bucharest that Russia will "occupy the Dardanelles protectively. " But there is no confirmation of that from Moscow, and it is impossible to say what it would mean if it were confirmed.
However, it is possible to conclude several things with some certainty. One of them is that Greece hasn't decided to resist without confidence that aid will be forthcoming which will be sufficient to stop the Italians. That she is counting on the British Navy going far to do that is manifest. The greatest sea battle since Jutland should be forthcoming in short order, with a good prospect that the Italians will take the count. But Greece has almost certainly not acted without the backing of Turkey. And it is impossible to believe that Turkey, in turn, is acting without Russian consent--hard to believe that she is acting without the promise of active Russian collaboration.
However, the latter would still not necessarily mean the full entry of Russia into the war on the side of England. So far the Russian game has been to grab all that she could grab without actually getting herself in the war with Germany, to the end of getting herself into a constantly better position for the eventual showdown with Germany which she knows is coming if England loses to the Axis. And it is quite possible that she may be planning to move in and occupy the Dardanelles with a huge army, and then merely to sit and wait to see whether Hitler presses the issue or not.
As for the Axis, its aims in this move are pretty clear. Maximum objective is the possession of the Dardanelles, the cooping up of Russia, the control and conquest of Turkey, according as she fights or does not fight, and eventually the seizure of the Mesopotamian oil fields. Minimum objective is the turning of the whole eastern Mediterranean into an Axis basin, with Suez, Alexandria, and Malta, the remaining British bases, hemmed in from all sides. That has already been partly accomplished by Traitor Laval's "lending" of the Syrian bases to the Axis. The conquest of Greece and the mobilization of Turkey would complete it.
Moreover, with the eastern Mediterranean safely in their hands, the Axis partners would be in position to strike Mesopotamia from Syria, and to move against Suez through Palestine at the same time they were moving against it through Egypt.
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