The Charlotte News
Friday, August 16, 1940
A Film Hero
Concerning the Deeds of A Noted Military Man
In the University of North Carolina Alumni Review we come upon the following, clipped from the University Tar Heel for October, 1915.
"Bob Reynolds has written a scenario and put on the screen a five-reel drama entitled 'Captain Bob of the National Guard.' It is a romance in which our old friend Bob is the dashing hero. Prominent figures in this photo-play are General Leonard Wood of the U. S. Army and the Honorable Josephus Daniels of the Navy. An effort is on foot to bring this live photo-play to the Pickwick, the real home of good pictures in Chapel Hill."
The Bob Reynolds referred to is a gentleman listed in the War Department records as Captain Robert Rice Reynolds, of the National Guard. In those days he dwelt in Asheville, and it was a common but a splendid sight to see him, mounted on a fine black charger, parading through the streets at the head of his cavalry company. Everybody agreed that he was a magnificent spectacle, and so we assume that the spectators at that old movie were duly and fully gratified with heroic feats of cannon-charging and the like.
But, alas and alas, the hero's deeds of derring-do were to be confined to the streets of Asheville and the crumbling celluloid. Even in October, 1915, there was already trouble brewing down in Mexico and next Summer would see it flair forth. Along in 1916, as it drew to a head but before the National Guard was called out, Captain Robert Rice Reynolds thoughtfully resigned his commission. From that day forth he was rigidly to eschew the military career.
But perhaps it was just as well. In time the great hero would be translated into a great statesman, representing the proud state of North Carolina in the United States Senate. And it would never have done if he had been slain on a battlefield.
For who, then, would have organized the Vindicators and rendered the republic the priceless service of being its Senator from North Carolina?
The Admirals Are the Men To Make This Decision
The British offer to lease the United States island bases in the Caribbean Sea in return for 50 of the old destroyers of the Navy, brings the scheme to turn over vessels to the Royal Navy nearer reality. It at least cuts the ground from under the isolationists who have been squalling that the transfer of the ships would be an act of war, for many of them have also been roaring that we must have the bases that England now offers--without much regard whether it got us into war with her or not.
The President is now plainly feeling out the Senate, with a view to discovering if the deal can be made without hydrophobia breaking out in that quarter. Apparently, he already has the legal authority to close the case, provided Admiral Stark certifies that the destroyers are naval "surplus."
If the Admiral is agreeable, that ought to settle the matter. It is, of course, nonsense to say that the Navy doesn't need these destroyers or that their sale would not weaken its total striking power. The whole question is whether they will serve us more effectively in the defense of England or in these waters.
That is a problem which is properly to be answered only by naval men. We have our own notion that the ships ought to go to England. But we don't know, and neither do Hugh Johnson, Burke Wheeler, Arthur Vandenberg, at al.
Light on the Argentine's Behavior at Havana
Light on the bulkiness of the Argentine at the Havana Conference is furnished by the militant announcement of Tom Connally, Senator from Texas, that nothing either the Argentine Government nor the Roosevelt Administration can do will budge the resolution of Congress not to allow Argentine beef to enter this country.
It all comes down to plain self-interest. Texas is the chief beef-producing state of the nation. Hence Connally and his clients are dead against allowing Argentine beef to compete with U.S. beef. By themselves, of course, the beef-producing states couldn't keep the Argentine beef out. But logrolling with other states which have other pet interests achieve the result just the same.
In general, that is natural enough and it would be useless to blame it. Importing Argentine beef into the United States on a big scale would be carrying coals to Newcastle, and would not be economic.
The United States does, indeed, import some beef. The total is small enough--coming only to $167,000 in 1938. But such as it is, there is every reason that the business should be given to the Argentine so far as is possible. At present, however, even that is impossible. For the device used to keep Argentine beef out is to bar it on the ground that the country has no sanitary inspection agreement with the U.S. and then to refuse to ratify such an inspection agreement!
You can hardly blame the Argentine then for not feeling enthusiastic about us in view of that.
Politics Triumphs in the Fight Over the Draft
The "private acknowledgment" by Administration sources that the draft is probably going to be put off until January simply means that politics has won--as usual.
No more disgraceful spectacle than that which has been on exhibition for the last month has ever been enacted in Congress. The plain fact is that this nation is in deadly peril from the advance of Hitlerism. The plain fact is that England may fall within 30 days--that the chances are still against her holding out. And if England falls, her navy will go to Hitler. So Lord Lothian has said and so common sense says. But if England's navy goes to Hitler, our own will no longer be adequate to the defense of our own shores, to say nothing of this hemisphere. To have any chance at all, we imperatively need a great army as a secondary line of defense.
But in face of that Congress has stubbornly dodged action. There is an election coming on. And there are in this country highly developed pressure groups, some of them treasonable, some of them merely stupid, which are clamoring against any sensible preparation to meet the danger. And Congressmen are afraid of what these minorities may do to them come election day.
So we are to try the "voluntary system" until after election day is passed and though it means a loss of six months in getting ready--a delay that may well seal the doom of this nation. This passion for the "voluntary system" is a fraud. Outside of a few congenital sentimentalists and peace-at-any-price boys, every man in Congress knows that it has already failed. And every man in Congress knows that the only way it can be made to "work" is by coercing the unemployed, CCC boys, etc. to join up under threat of being starved--a mad scheme which is certain to split the country wide open with class hatred and honeycomb the army itself with sullen bitterness.
But it is not only Congress which is disgracefully playing politics with this matter. Both the Administration and Wendell Willkie, who is supposed to be above politics, are doing it also.
The Administration can drive the needed legislation through without trouble if it chose to crack the whip as it has cracked it many times in the past. But it will not do it because the Republicans in the House and the Senate have been trying to jockey it into the position of having to the that so that--so that they could go rushing to the pressure groups which oppose conscription with the charge that it was the President who is wholly to blame for the measure, and to the country generally with the charge that the whole Hitler peril is a false bogey cooked up by Mr. Roosevelt for the purpose of getting himself re-elected.
Mr. Willkie could clear the air of that if he would come out flatfootedly for conscription. But he has so far refused to do any such thing.
But the final responsibility must rest on Mr. Roosevelt. He, better than anybody else, knows the peril and has set himself up as the prophet warning of that peril. And he is in office. Upon him rests the final duty of making sure, so far as he can, that the country is made safe, leaving the common sense of the people to judge his motives and to punish men who attempt to make political capital of the need.
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