The Charlotte News

Sunday Morning, November 24, 1940



Way Out?

With Fingers Crossed, We Hazard a Suggestion

The growing number of big strikes in key defense industries is a serious business. The best opinion seems to be that our airplane production for Britain must be quadrupled by next Spring if that country is to have fair chance of again successfully encountering the German attempt at invasion.

It is idle to leap to the conclusion that labor is solely to blame. The Aluminum Company strike in Pennsylvania does look like a puerile piece of business.

But in cases like those of the Vultee workers, it is to be remembered that the plants are making greatly expanded profits and that it is natural for the workers to want their cut.

In the Vultee case, the strikers also have the argument that Boeing workers not far away from them, are now being paid the wage they (the Vultee men) asked.

But there should be some way to adjust these matters, to settle disputes between labor and management over the distribution of the gravy, and at the same time keep the needs of national defense paramount. It occurs to us that the solution might lie in public opinion courts set up in various sections of the country. Let Labor appoint one member, say, management another, and then let the Government name a third man acceptable to both Labor and management. Then let the court inquire into the facts and make its recommendations, strikes being held off in the meantime. And then, if either side refuses to abide the decision, let the court state the facts to the nation. Nobody, we believe, is going to stand out for long against any informed and rational public opinion.

This scheme would require a high degree of voluntary and civilized co-operation of both sides, but anybody who isn't willing to give that in these times deserves no patience on the part of the public.


Two Men

But the Tale Lacks Its Really Fitting End

Over in the letter column today there is a pleasant tale about a Negro employee of the Southern Railway in Charlotte. Diogenes could have retired to his tree at Corinth and spent the rest of his life in the shade if he had found him.

From Jacksonville comes another tale to set beside that one. A man turned up at the Florida State Welfare Board's surplus commodity distributing point. He had walked two miles in the wrong direction, he explained, and two more miles before finding the surplus depot. He wanted groceries until he could draw a pay check on a job he had found. He got them, 40 pounds, and trudged off wearily to the place where his family was camped.

But a few hours later he was back, with the whole 40 pounds of groceries. He had found a fellow worker, he said, who had agreed to stake him until the pay check came through, and so he had brought the groceries back for somebody who might need them more. Then he started again on the long trail back to his camp.

There is only one thing wrong with that story-only one thing lacking to make it completely heartwarming. Somebody about that welfare agency looks to have been awfully tight. Else that fellow would have been sent back to his camp riding in state.


The Defenders

The Italian High Command Clears Up Something

Now we know how it all happened. In its communique acknowledging the fall of Koritza, the Italian High Command explained:

"Our protective troops formed by two divisions which took up defensive positions on the Greek-Albanian frontier at the beginning of the war, have withdrawn after eleven days of fighting to a line the west of the city, which has been evacuated." (Italics ours.)

What Italy has been engaged in, you see by that, is purely a defensive action against the wicked aggression of the wicked Greeks.

To be sure, there is that little matter of the Italian drive toward Phlorina, about which the Italian High Command was so proudly telling us three and a half weeks ago. Then, if we recall correctly, the High Command was saying that Phlorina, and for that matter, Salonika itself, was practically in the bag. And if you get your map and look up Phlorina, you'll see that it isn't on the Greek-Albanian frontier but deep in Greece.

Then there is the puzzling fact that Koritza isn't on the frontier either, but ten miles inside Albania. And the additional puzzling fact that the Italians had piled up huge stores of war supplies there, which seems ill-advised for a purely defensive position right on a frontier.

But anyhow, we are glad to have the facts straight. And to have our attention directed to the problem of these small aggressors again. Poland hopped Germany, so did Norway, and so did Holland and Belgium. Finland hopped Russia. And now Greece wantonly attacks poor Italy and slaps her around something awful. It's the nature of the runt, we guess-the uppity little things!


Wrong Place

But Someday an Oil Truck Will Find the Right One

The oil truck burned quietly on the road just outside Lumberton. Nobody, including the driver, was hurt. There was no collision. It just took fire suddenly, the driver scrambled out, and then it burned-truck and 4,100 gallons of gasoline.

It was a tremendously great blaze. But because there was no inflammable property at hand, there was no property damage save the loss of the truck and its cargo.

But suppose it had caught fire in a city-Charlotte, say. Suppose it had caught fire while it was passing along streets lined with inflammable wooden houses set close to the curb, in the Negro districts for instance. Suppose the burning fluid had flooded over everywhere, or that the wind had been high.

All of this, we submit, is quite within the bounds of probability. Gasoline burns. Transport trucks have been known to take fire in Charlotte, and to go out of control. And if the thing ever happened under the right (wrong) set of circumstances, it would have the making of a disastrous fire, a fire which could get under way so quickly that its control before it had swept the whole district might be in doubt, and a fire which might well cost lives.

So long as trucks are allowed to transport oil at all, the danger plainly cannot be utterly obviated. But at least precautions can be taken to reduce the risk to a minimum. At present the City's ordinance, passed in self-protection, is before the courts for decision upon its legality.



Our Man White Retails Criticism of RAF Pilots

William L. White, now in England for the second time during the war, whose masterly reporting has appeared in The News ever since he left off being Father William Allen's hired man and set up in the correspondent business himself, has made two sapient first-hand observations about warplanes. The experts may already have known about them, but to us they were something to think about.

The first came months ago when Germany was using its air force to mop up Western Europe and Scandinavia. The Nazi method, White explained, was to produce stock-model planes and stock-model pilots, but to produce both in overwhelming quantity.

In a dispatch last week White passed along criticism from American pilots in the RAF about American planes. They were things of beauty, indeed, and responsive as could be wanted. They would fly rings around the Fritzes and the Ice Cream (Italy's air force).

But their landing gear was designed for smooth concrete runways, and the RAF takes off and lands in any old cow pasture. They were fine for shows of aerial might, but this was the real thing. They were under-armored in places where armor meant the difference between living or dying, and they lacked firepower. These were good airplanes but not yet warplanes.


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