The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 6, 1940



Site Ed. Note: The following non-bylined article, not by Cash, on Nazi spies and the editorial by William Allen White on Charles Lindbergh, appearing on the editorial page of this date, are included for comparison to the editorials often offered by Cash on the same subjects, more often on Lindbergh than on Nazi agents in the United States, the latter being deemed by Cash less a threat to domestic security than the likes of Lindbergh and the America Firsters, the Burton Wheeler gang in Congress, and their isolationist rhetoric.

The Cliveden Set, mentioned in "A Nazi Agent", was a group of wealthy aristocrats in England who regularly met at Cliveden, the country home of Waldorf Astor, grandson of John Jacob Astor, and his wife Nancy, known as Lady Astor, originally from Virginia and the first woman in Parliament. They became well known for their appeasement stands during the 1930's which were labeled treasonous by many in Britain. The term "Cliveden Set" originated in 1937 from Claud Cockburn, editor of the pro-Communist The Week. Cockburn included in this pro-German group, besides the Astors, Lord Lothian, Lord Halifax, London Times owner John Jacob Astor II, brother to Waldorf, and its editor Geoffrey Dawson, among others. They were, according to Cockburn, as well as other editors in Britain who subsequently culled from Cockburn the Cliveden label, derivative of the earlier Milner Group, with similar dramatis personae, which in turn owed its heritage to Cecil Rhodes's Secret Society formed in 1891 and dedicated to impressing ideas of British empire upon the country. The Set's political influence was said at the time to have been prime in Chamberlain's decision to enter the Munich Pact in 1938.

As with many such appeasers, their views appear to have stemmed from both a belief that Germany had been unfairly treated under the Versailles Treaty and an overarching fear of Communism, that Germany would balance off Russia's power in Europe and thus prevent the advance of the Bolzehviki to western Europe.

Lady Astor was considered primus inter pares within the group and thus it might well be ventured that this Virginia-born aristocrat had much to do with the promulgation of a policy which resulted eventually in World War II, a position which largely came from her own oversentiment and lack of understanding of the vicious dangers of Nazism. A lesson might thus be drawn that the novice attempt at supporting one group of thugs to counterbalance another does not work but to ruin for all.

The Set was the semi-fictionalized backdrop of the 1990's film, "Remains of the Day".

A Nazi Agent

New York-- Charging that Captain Fritz Wiedemann, German Consulate General at San Francisco is Hitler's most important agent in the Western Hemisphere, out-ranking the entire staff of the German Embassy in Washington, The American Magazine in its December issue gives a detailed account of his activities since the days when he was Hitler's commanding officer in the first World War.

"Today this debonair but tight-mouthed henchman probably knows more Nazi secrets and executes more vital missions than any other diplomat except Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop," the article states, and adds that "the Fuehrer placed his old friend in San Francisco because he regards it today as a clearing-house for the espionage and intrigue that extends from the Argentine to Washington."


Wiedemann, who is credited with having won the Cliveden set in England over to the defeatist attitude that paved the way for the Munich settlement, is quoted as saying that he could not indulge in propaganda if he wished, because propaganda costs money and "as for as money is concerned Germany is a poor country."

However, the magazine reports that on the day Hitler moved into the Low Countries, Wiedemann withdrew $100,000 in $100 bills from a San Francisco bank, and that his accounts in several banks average around $4,500,000. It adds that Wiedemann reportedly was praised by Hitler for helping to spike American legislation to aid the Allies in 1939.


 Wiedemann, who was almost the first person for whom Hitler sent after seizing power in Germany, assumed his present post in San Francisco, which affords him diplomatic immunity, in March, 1939. Since the British blockade cut off German traffic across the Atlantic, German agents have been entering this country through the Golden Gate, and most of them head immediately for the modest office of Captain Wiedemann, before spreading out across North and South America. They also report to him before turning homeward.

"Such prominent German agents," the magazine reports, "as Dr. Gerhart Alois Westrick, who tried to contact leading industrialists around New York, and Frederich Reid, ousted from Brazil for directing Nazi espionage throughout South America, took time out to visit Wiedemann before they headed back to Berlin on Japanese boats."


Explaining how the Nazi official gets away with such activities in a nation actively preparing itself for any military crisis, the article states:

"One means is through diplomatic immunity. The other is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation prefers to have known agents of foreign powers remain in this country, so all their contacts can be studied. And in Wiedemann the FBI may have a subject to keep busy."

Busted Hero


It is curious to note how completely Charles Lindbergh has ceased to be an American hero. He is as honest as he ever was, which is rather above the American average. He is as bright as he ever was. But the folks just don't follow him. Crowds fall away from him. It is obvious that he is not in the current of American thought. His recent speech calling for appeasement is one of a series of public utterances that have found him on the unpopular side of the great issue of the hour. It began a year ago when he advocated taking Canada.


In Monday's speech he complained because we did not begin to arm when what he calls "Europe was arming." Why doesn't he say frankly "when Germany was arming?" Because only Germany was arming five years ago. Obviously, France, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Holland and Belgium were caught unarmed by the Hitler war machine. It was not Europe that was arming. It was Germany. And because Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium and France five years ago held the same high views of Germany that Charles Lindbergh holds today, those countries are now in ruins and slavery. For exactly the same reason that we did not arm against Germany ten years ago, Great Britain did not arm five years ago.


Charles Lindbergh would get further with this public if he would be a little more frank and say: "Why didn't we arm against Germany?" And then ask: "Why are we arming against her now?" Because the voracious ambition of Hitler to rule the world menaces this country and there can be no diplomatic arrangement that he will not disavow, no treaty that he will not break, no alliance with him is safe. The saddest part of it is that for some strange reason, certainly not his German distinguished medal, for Lindbergh can't be bought that easily--yet for some strange reason, he is blind to the fact that Germany is the world menace and only Germany. Also, he is blind to the fact that the longer the United States can arm Britain and keep her fighting, the more time we shall have to prepare to meet Germany.

If Britain defeats Germany, we can slow down our armament, but if Germany defeats Britain, we are in the devil's own fix. It will not be because we have armed Britain that we shall have to fight.


Consolation, We Trow, To Both Democrats and Republicans

 Well, at any rate the country got rid of John L. Lewis.


His Strength

Bitterness of Campaign Should Now Disappear

 Many factors probably enter into Mr. Roosevelt's victory, apparently by overwhelming odds in the electoral college and by a comfortable margin in the popular vote. The judgment of many people that his experience better fitted him to handle the foreign situation, for one thing.

 But the primary and decisive factor in it was, we believe, quite simply that he retains a body of his original following. That following, to begin with, probably voted more against Herbert Hoover than for Mr. Roosevelt himself. But it moved into direct enthusiasm for him in the first month after March 1933, and that enthusiasm added steadily until after the 1936 election and the beginning of the Supreme Court fight.

By that time it had far overflowed the boundaries of the original following. But with the Supreme Court fight it began to recede. Since then it has ebbed and flowed, but the total movement has certainly been one of recession--as the falling off in the popular vote clearly proves.

Nevertheless, when all is said and done he retains the body of those who found enthusiasm for him in his deeds from 1933 to 1937. The masses of the American people believe profoundly though unanalytically that he is the champion and a friend of the poor man. And that was the decisive element in his victory yesterday.

In any case, it is time now to put away the bitterness which distinguished the campaign in its last stages. The majority of the American people has spoken, as well is their right under our system of government, and for the next four years Mr. Roosevelt will be President to all the American people. Critical times lie ahead; decisions must be made which are perhaps the most important ever made in the history of the Republic since the Constitutional Convention decided to abandon the Confederation and turn to the Federal system.

These decisions cannot be made properly in an atmosphere of hatred and obstructionism.

That is not to say that criticism ought to be abandoned or that everybody is bound to agree with what is done. But it does mean that partisan and personal spitefulness are out of place in the scene--that every measure should be considered, as nearly as is humanly possible, purely with regard to its merits, not to its sponsorship.

Mr. Roosevelt himself has his duties in the premises and should show the way by casting aside the vindictiveness which has sometimes distinguished him, to the dismay of many people who profoundly agree with him in fundamentals.

But unity must we have, if the nation is to be safe in the coming years. And that, ultimately, is something which rests, as did the election, with all the people.


Man to Admire

He Lost, but He Fought The Brave and Fair Fight

It was characteristic of Wendell L. Willkie that he did not concede his defeat even after midnight as the evidence of another Roosevelt victory continued to pour in. Undoubtedly he knew that he was taking a terrific licking, but he was still in their with "the champ" and nobody was going to throw in any towels if he could prevent it.

It would be foolish to pretend that Mr. Willkie in his amazing and dynamic sortie into the Presidential campaign has "captured the fancy of the country" or even stirred his followers to the necessary pitch of enthusiasm. To the contrary, he has labored under the most painful handicaps.

He isn't much of a public speaker. He lacks the politicians' facile dissimulation. He knows how to talk hard sense to his equals in intelligence, but when it comes to talking large generalities to people of all kinds, he is strangely unconvincing, and must be even to the orator of the occasion.

But as Wendell Willkie has characterized himself in these past strenuous months, he is a man to admire. He has pride, courage and sincerity in his beliefs. Better still, he has humility, the humility that so frequently goes along with greatness.

And he is a patriot whose impact upon the country has been wholesome, whose uses to the country in some other capacity remain in spite of his defeat. Out of considerations of patriotism, he declined to make the sort of campaign that might conceivably have elected him. He chose instead to define the limits of national unity in which it must be confined, and therein to hammer as hard as he knew how.

He went down, to be sure, but fighting and smiling.


Non Sequitur

Injustice To Littlejohn Doesn't Alter Crime Record

Nothing "in connection with" the inexplicable verdict handed down by the Civil Service Commission in the Littlejohn case, whereby he was not convicted of any of the charges against him but his dismissal sustained nevertheless, should be allowed to obscure the fact that this city, for all of Mr. Littlejohn's long connection with its Police Department, has been among the most crime-ridden in the land.

Out of 310 places with population of more than 30,000, Charlotte stood 34th in robbery (in 1938, latest figures available) eighteenth in crime against property, and first in murder.

It may well be argued that the duty of the detective division of a police department is not to prevent crimes but to solve them. We concede the point. At the same time, the effective detection and punishment of crime is certain to act as a deterrent upon criminal activity in the long run.

There has been no such deterring force in operation here, from which it follows that the detection and punishment of crime has not been effective.

That cannot in fairness be charged wholly or largely against Mr. Littlejohn. Truth is, we suspect, that the lack of anything like a competent directing head of the Police Department for all these years principally explains that department's inability to cope with crime.

But neither can it be said of Mr. Littlejohn, to console him for shabby treatment, that he and his detective division overcame the handicaps of the department as a whole and functioned as they should. As an investigator in big cases he is tops, but for ordinary run-of-mill crime the record pointedly shows otherwise.


Trouble Spot

British May Have To Attack The Spanish Before Long

The British probably wish now that they had held onto Tangiers. They had from the opening of the seventeenth century until 1684, when they voluntarily abandoned it because of its high upkeep cost.

After that it knocked around at loose ends until 1925, when it was made an international protectorate under the rule of a commission composed of Britishers, Spaniards, Italians and French.

The place is important only for its strategic location, which dominates the approach to Gibraltar from the Atlantic. And Spain has not added any wealth to her holdings by taking it over. Most of the people who live in the town, which is about the size of Charlotte, are desperately poor. In more happy times thousands of them picked up a living from the tourist trade, but that is gone now and the exports of the territory, which extends over 225 square miles, do not begin to pay for its imports, which have come mainly from Britain.

The seizure of the place by the Spaniards may, however, prove very embarrassing to the British. They are reluctant to do anything which would draw Spain openly into the hostility. Yet it is about as certain as anything can be that the territory was taken over at the instance of the German and Italian masters of Franco and that it is going to be used as a base for the Axis destroyers and submarines, bent on hampering the passage of British warships and transports through the strait.

Britain may be forced to deal with the Spanish at Tangiers as ruthlessly as she dealt with the French at Oran.


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