The Charlotte News

Sunday, August 13, 1939


Site Ed. Note: This editorial appears as a harbinger for Cash's September 28 entry, "Pearl Harbor" in which he coyly indicates his confidence in the Navy Department's assertion that the move of the Fleet to Pearl Harbor from the east coast had nothing to do with Japan or its recent pact with Russia. The likelihood that a blockade of Japan might trigger an attack on Hawaii, which Cash believes would result in swift and decisive victory by the U.S., is precisely the reason Roosevelt forbore from any such action.


The Quicker We Make Up Our Mind, The Better

The case of the Kaifeng missionaries again brings us up against the question of what we need to do about staying in China--and perhaps more pointedly than at any time since the Panay incident. As this is written, there is no evidence that they have been injured, but it seems plain that they are being held prisoners, or virtual prisoners, while the Japanese army authorities blandly profess to know nothing about it.

What all this adds up to, of course, is a move to deprive us of the "face" so precious in the East, and to prepare the ground for hustling us ignominiously out of China for good.

And faced with that, we need very decidedly to make up our minds to a definite policy. If we want to stay in China, it probably can be managed by decisive action. A blockade laid down, in co-operation with the British, at Singapore and Panama, would give Japan no choice but to give in or to risk either an attempt to break the blockade or attack on Hawaii.

In either case she would have to take the offensive and operate many thousands of miles from her bases. And in that case unless the American navy has gone utterly to seed, the outcome ought to be certain, swift, and sweet.

However, it can very reasonably be argued that the thing wouldn't be worth the cost in blood and treasure--that American investments in China are too small. But if that is the position we mean to take in the end, it ought to be taken at once, so that we can get out quickly and in good order. For if we drift and allow the Japanese to appear at least to kick us out, we should probably be in for trouble everywhere that we have interests and everywhere that our ships ply. For "face" is important not only in the East. And to allow itself to be jockeyed into the position of seeming to be kicked around at an aggressor's will is a perilous business for any nation.

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