The Charlotte News
Friday, November 29, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Almazán had been heavily backed by Nazi-Fascist sympathizers during the election in Mexico. He received about 40% of the popular vote.
It Was Just No Time for Conflict in Mexico
General Almazán sounded a bit peeved in his announcement that he was withdrawing his claims to the presidency of Mexico because Washington had formally recognized Camacho as the duly elected President, as signified by the commissioning of Wallace to attend the inauguration. And that was natural enough.
For all that, he has no real ground for complaint. Whether the General was really elected President of Mexico and counted out by the Cardenas regime, which had backed Camacho, we don't know of course. Mexican elections have immemorially been full of skullduggery, and the laws load the dice heavily in favor of the party in power.
On the other hand, the General weakens his own case when he says that there are only four and a half million voters in Mexico and that four million of them voted for himself. In view of the great popularity of the Cardenas regime with the masses, that is obviously nonsense.
Moreover, it is no proper business of the United States to inquire into that. And the United States, like all other nations, is entitled to consider its own interests in making decisions like this one. The clear fact was that the General was heading toward armed conflict with the Camacho group. And that promised a chaotic state of affairs, with both sides seizing aid from any quarter they can get it-the opening up of a perfect opportunity to Nazi, Fascist, and Communist agents in Mexico. Manifestly, the United States cannot afford to have that happen now.
Build-Up Interests Dies More Than the Evidence
The President's rebuke to Martin Dies was strictly in order and should have been delivered long ago. For months Dies has been whooping up the tale that his committee had in its possession knowledge which, if revealed, would make the nation's hair rise on its head. But the mountain labored and brought forth-if not precisely a mouse, at least something a great deal less spectacular than had been promised. The so-called "White" and "Red" papers make pretty dull reading, and to the casual eye will seem to say little that is not already well-known.
The psychological effect of that, as the President infers, is very bad. The people, having been led to expect something out of E. Phillips Oppenheim and having been let down, are apt to dismiss the whole business as merely another invasion-from-Mars scare and to ignore the very real menace which exists from the activities of Nazi, Fascist, Communist and Japanese agents in the country. Worse, the activities of Dies and company undoubtedly do serve to give the enemy advance warning and to gum up the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We have sometimes said that a committee like the Dies Committee might conceivably be useful. But, as the President points out, it is primarily the constitutional business of the Executive branch to track down subversion. And no Congressional committee has any business trying to usurp that function.
Martin Dies is primarily an exhibitionist interested in keeping himself in the limelight before everything else. And so are some of his associates like Joe Starnes-the man who once wanted to summons Kit Marlowe from the grave in which he had lain for three hundred and fifty years, as a member of the Communist Party! Men like that can only do the country harm in times like these.
Italian Naval Claims Mean Victory for England
Dispatches from Rome yesterday quoted the Italian High Command as reporting two British heavy cruisers seriously damaged by the Italian navy in a brush off Sardinia, in which the rest of the British fled. Also hits on a British battleship, another cruiser, an airplane carrier by Italian bombers. Italian casualties: one destroyer damaged.
Which reminded us of the record to date:
July 9. Italian High Command announced battle with British off Punta Stilo, said British battleships, battle cruiser of Hood class damaged. British fled. A week later British reported an inability to engage Italians off Punta Stilo save at extreme range, for reason Italians hurrying home. One Italian cruiser crippled, no British casualties. Italian cruiser case later confirmed by movies released by Italy.
In August, Italian High Command announced sinking of British battleship, crippling of Hood class cruiser, in Western Mediterranean. After usual delay, British announced sinking Italian cruiser Bartalomeo Colleoni, in Western Mediterranean, no British damage. Italian High Command later confirmed.
October 13. Italian High Command announced that, on October 11, Italian destroyers had boldly attacked heavier British squadron off Malta, sunk one heavy British cruiser of Neptune (Ajax) class, crippled airplane carrier, another heavy cruiser of York class. Italian loss: one destroyer, two torpedo boats. "Clear success" for Italy, said Fascist Editor Ansaldo. October 14, Larry Allen of the Associated Press reported on battle off Malta October 11, which he witnessed from Ajax. True score: three Italian destroyers sunk, British York slightly damaged, Ajax and all cruisers of Neptune class and airplane carriers unscathed, battle refused by heavy Italian squadron sighted after action.
October 21. Italian High Command announced British heavy cruiser, attempting to defend British convoy against Italian attack in Red Sea, seriously damaged, perhaps sunk, by Italian shore guns, six merchant men of convoy sunk. October 22, British announced 1,058-ton Italian destroyer, Francesco Nullo, destroyed in said battle in Red Sea. British damage: steam pipe on destroyer Kimberley broken by fire from Italian shore guns, no convoy losses. Italians acknowledged.
Hence we were not surprised when last night the British announced that in the action reported by the Italians yesterday what actually happened was that an Italian battleship, three Italian cruisers and two destroyers were damaged while the British damage was one cruiser hit twice but still in fighting condition. The only startling thing about it all was that for once the British had abandoned their slow way about announcements.
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