The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 21, 1940



Now Or Never

If England Is To Get Ships, It Should Be At Once

Winston Churchill took care to insist that England had made no demands of her own in return for her offer to the United States of 99-year leases on bases extending from Newfoundland to the Caribbean. But it goes without the saying that we cannot expect to take and not give, and that what he really counts on is the sale or loan or gift of those old destroyers of the World War vintage.

If it is to be done, however, it will apparently have to be done by an act of the President as commander-in-chief of the Navy, and in the teeth of a storm kicked up by the isolationists. The Congress at present makes the late Assembly of France look like a brave and unified body by comparison. And the isolationists seem determined to land us in a bitter break with Britain if they can.

Apparently the President has the power to carry through the measure without further legislation from Congress. Lawyers for the isolationists triumphantly found the clause in an old act of 1917 which they interpreted as making it illegal for the President to dispose of the ships, but lawyers for the other side stick by a contrary interpretation.

But if the thing is to be done, it should be done at once if it is to have full effect on the outcome of the critical struggle now in progress. The opponents of the measure have cooked up all sorts of objections to prove it would be useless in any case. For instance, Navy Expert Hugh Johnson, who trained for his duties by riding a horse on the Mexican border, has declared happily that it would take at least two months to get the destroyers ready to be delivered to England--which, as he said, would be too late. But the Navy Department now says it will take a week.

And Johnson and others gladly pointed out that the ships are not equipped to do much with airplanes and so would not be of much use in the Channel. That was true. But then, it is not proposed to use them in the Channel. What is proposed is that they shall relieve modern British destroyers now on convoy patrol duty in areas outside the range of bombing planes.

These modern British destroyers can operate very effectively in the Channel. And also they are badly needed in the Gulf of Aden, to smash any attempt of the Italians to transport troops and seize Aden--control of which would enable them to cut or at least greatly obstruct Britain's naval life line through the Red Sea.


Rash Censor

Fiorello Forgets His Own Philosophy in This

Perhaps we were over-naive but we never thought to see it happen. Now it appears to be Little Flower La Guardia who is out to play the Law on his own account.

Fiorello's hot under the collar about the "obscene" magazines on the newsstands of New York, and he has picked out 43 of them to put under the ban--of the detective, confession, and love story type. He'll have the city trucks cart them off as garbage wherever he finds them, he says.

So far as the nature of these publications go, he is right. The newsstands have, not 43 but literally hundreds of them filled with writings and pictures obviously meant to stir salacious ideas and emotions in their readers--particularly the ignorant young and susceptible. And that is what obscenity truly is. Fiorello at least shows discrimination in picking the right subject for his attack instead of picking on some entirely innocent and serious book, as most censors have done.

Nevertheless, Quincy Howe, chairman of the National Counsel of Freedom from Censorship, says that the Mayor is taking "a detour around the due process of law." And it seems to be the case. The Little Flower cites no legal authority for his action, and has apparently taken no steps to have the offending publications duly condemned as obscene by some properly constituted tribunal but Fiorello is setting up to make his own judgment the sole test and requirement.

The desirability of an end cannot justify such a course. If La Guardia can set up to play censor against what is evil, without specific authority, due process, and safeguards, some successor of his who is a fool or vicious man can set up to do exactly the same thing for what is not in fact evil, and New York will end with complete censorship.


A Proud First

The South Is No Problem In This Regard, at Least

Interesting were those figures for recruiting from May until the end of last week. To recapitulate, they show the following number of men enlisted in each of the nine corps areas for (1) the whole period, and (2) last week:































The states are distributed among the nine corps areas as follows:

Fourth--North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi (eight of the former Confederate states).

Eighth--Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado (two of the former Confederate states).

Fifth--Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Sixth--Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Third--Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (one of the former Confederate states).

Seventh--Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Ninth--California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada.

Second--New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

First--New England states.

Total population of each of the corps areas according to the 1930 census was:



















Highest absolute score was made by the Eighth Corps Area, which had well over one volunteer for each one thousand population. Next highest was made by the Fourth, our own, which had approximately one volunteer for every 1,250 people. Lowest absolute score was made by the Second Corps Area (New York, New Jersey, and Delaware) which had less than one volunteer for every 5,500 of population. Second lowest was made by the Ninth, the Far West. And the third lowest by the Seventh, the Mid-West.

Several correlations immediately suggest themselves. For instance, it might be thought unsurprising that the Far West and the Mid-West were less excited about Hitler than the East, seeing that they are farther away or at least imagine they are farther away from him. But how are you going to reconcile that with the fact that it is the South which is apparently most aroused, the New York area the least aroused, the New England area only casually interested? Both these would be far more likely to be primary targets than the South.

Again, you might think it had something to do with questions of farm as against urban populations or of native stock as against alien elements. Certainly, the South is rural, but what about the Middle West, which is even more rural if anything? Certainly, the South is the section with the highest native population, the New York area that with the largest alien population. But how did it happen that the Chicago area, swarming with aliens, turned in a good deal better showing than the corn state area, which is largely inhabited by native stock?

For our own part we carefully and modestly refer the South's fine showing to the old fighting blood and the loyalty which almost won the hopeless cause of the Confederacy on a July afternoon at a place called Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. In sum, if the South is the Nation's Economic Problem No. 1, it plainly is the least of the nation's patriotic problems.


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