The Charlotte News
Sunday, July 14, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Cash had followed the case of Fred Beal and the results of the riot at Gastonia during the textile workers' strike quite closely eleven years earlier and wrote his third article for the Amercian Mercury, "War in the South", about it for the February, 1930 issue. He also wrote of it in The Mind of the South, Book III, Chapter III, section 1, p. 346, section 4, p. 355, and section 13, p. 388. Whether Cash actually meant precisely as callously as it sounds to regard it as appropriate that Beal should sit in prison for two years regardless of probable innocence of the underlying crime because of his jumping bail while his case was pending appeal is not subject to proof, but more than likely Cash was playing a little psychology with his once-upon-a-time Shelby neighbor, Governor Clyde R. Hoey, who in 1954 would be buried not fifteen feet from Cash.
British Action Will Have Its Effect on Us
The decision of the British to bow to Japan's demand and close the Burma road to China is of the utmost importance to the United States, and again emphasizes our lack of any definite policy with regard to the Far East--the total impossibility of our having a vigorous foreign policy anywhere.
The closing of the Burma road carries Japan a long way toward ultimate victory over China. Only remaining source of arms for Chiang Kai-Shek is Russia, and that is a very precarious one.
But if we are going to try to stay in the Far East, an ultimate Japanese victory over China will be a catastrophe for us. For it would bring a fourth of the population of the earth under Japanese rule, to be made into slave labor. And products of that slave labor would give us far more terrible competition in Latin American markets, the markets of the world, than even Mr. Hitler ever hoped to do--a competition we cannot possibly meet.
Moreover, the military threat of the new Japanese empire is likely to be incalculably great in time.
The British make it quite plain that they took the action because they could not count on the United States to back them up if they refused. They had to have their hands free for Hitler.
But the State Department does not dare to back them up or to take any definite stand about anything. The moment it did, Congress would resound with shouts about plots to get us into war. Our foreign policy is now at the mercy of 500-odd Representatives and Senators, most of them interested mainly in their own political fortunes. And a country whose foreign policy is made that way is not likely to do anything but drift.
Governor Should Act on His Own Judgment
Governor Hoey's reported decision to show clemency to Fred Beal will have the approval of most fair-minded people.
Some newspapers are crying that he ought not to be sprung at a time when the forces he "once epitomized" are rampant in the country and imperiling its existence. But that is simply to say that a man ought to be kept in jail, not only because of his present political opinions but because of some he once held.
The fact that Fred Beal was once a Communist has nothing to do with the case. As a matter of fact, he is now about as anti-Communist as a man can be. Rather than stay in the Russian Utopia, he came home and gave himself up to stay in a North Carolina prison. But if he remained a Communist, it would still have nothing to do with the case. Beal has been imprisoned because of a conviction for conspiracy to murder the Gastonia chief of police, Aderholdt.
But many people, including many who watched the trial, have been convinced all along that Beal had nothing to do with the killing of the police chief. Rationally, the murder was about the last thing he could have wanted, supposing that he wanted his Communist strike at Gastonia to have any chance of success. As everyone knows the strike blew up immediately after the death of Aderholdt.
Certainly, there was grave doubt of the guilt of Beal, who was not even present at the scene of the killing. And the trial was conducted in an atmosphere of passion which made sober judgment almost impossible.
Beal himself closed the door to re-judgment of his case by running away while appeal was pending. And if as a result he had to spend some two years in prison, it was his own fault. Moreover, in view of the trouble he caused it grieved nobody particularly, even among those who were sure of his innocence of murder. But the persisting doubt as to his guilt in conspiring to murder Aderholdt makes it too much to demand that he serve the whole seventeen years imposed on him by the court. And Governor Hoey should ignore the uproar and go ahead with the parole. North Carolina wants no Mooney case on its hands.
F. O. B.
British Seem To Want Us To Come and Get Children
The decision of Britain not to attempt further removal of children from England to this country will dash the hopes of a great many people who had been thinking about taking the children.
It may be, indeed, that the decision is a good deal less than final. And that really represents an effort by the British to persuade us to send over a convoy of ships to get the children, thus leaving the British merchantmen free to bring in needed supplies and the British Navy entirely free to work on Mr. Hitler and on Mr. Mussolini, who presumably is not as happy these days as he might be.
Even so, the question might be considered if the people who want the children are prepared to raise money to help pay the expenses.
It is unnecessary to repeal the Neutrality Act ban against American ships entering the war zone, in order to get the children. For they can be cleared through Galway, on the western coast of Ireland, which as yet at least is a neutral port.
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