The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 28, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Perhaps, Cash intended no connection between this date's "Squirrel Cage"--about Senator Robert Rice Reynolds's pronouncement, amid the laughter of his colleagues, regarding the marksmanship of Southerners, the ability to hit a squirrel's left or right eye at the will of the aim, thus at the ready should Hitler invade--and that of July 21, regarding California supplying oil to Japan while the United States put pressure on Mexico not to build a pipeline which would supply oil to Japan as Japan curried favor from the Axis to threaten the United States against trying from Pearl Harbor to prevent Japan from obtaining the British, French and Dutch possessions in the Pacific.

Perhaps, Cash did intend the pair as two sides of the same coin. Perhaps, he had gleaned inside information on North Carolina's Reynolds. Whatever the case, Reynolds did have a friend who was a Nazi Abwehr agent and Reynolds provided him at one point with valuable French shipping data. Whether from stupidity, a true sympathy for the Nazi cause, or simple hatred for the British, as was manifestly evident, and hence the Allied cause, no one knows. Cash had his ideas on the matter though as to the Senator's general fitness for service...

For a supplement to the July 21, 1940 editorial, see a memo prepared for Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau and immediately forwarded to FDR on December 6, 1941. The memo, based in part on New York Times articles published in August and on December 5, 1941, showed that between the June 22, 1941 invasion of Russia by Hitler and November 1, Germany had gone from an estimated 5 to 7 million tons of oil on hand to 3.5 to 3.9 million tons, at a net consumption rate resulting in a monthly loss of between 400,000 to 900,000 tons, varying between higher Russian and U. S. Treasury estimates than British. Thus, by December 7, the German account was probably down to between 2.6 and 3.5 million tons, with about three to six months of supply remaining. The attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor to debilitate the U.S. Fleet and enable the drive south for oil, tin, rubber and mercury was therefore likely not only for the benefit of Japan.


South Carolina Decides To Try a Bad System Again

A number of things tend to complicate the results of the liquor store referendum in South Carolina. One of them is that the poll tax and property qualification for the ballot restrict the voting to a small fraction of the population of the state. And that fraction is largely made up of the solid citizenry which has always stubbornly clung to prohibition as a religious dogma.

Another factor is that the prohibitionists have been hard at work to turn out every possible voter for their cause while the wets have drifted along in the complacent assumption that prohibition would not come back. It is always so. The attack on the status quo is generally better organized than its defenses. Even the wets, always a poorly organized group, put up a much better fight in South Carolina when they themselves were assaulting prohibition than when they were being assaulted.

Yet when all this is said, it seems obvious that there has been a real shift of sentiment in South Carolina. If the body of the people have not voted, it is still probable that the outcome of the referendum indicates the prevailing feeling among at least the better elements of the state.

The shift is not startling. South Carolina is essentially a rural state, and the record shows clearly that rural states are naturally inclined to prohibition. There are a number of reasons for that. But perhaps the most cogent one is that the country people never lose an opportunity to impose their ideas of behavior on their city cousins.

Moreover, South Carolina had a very poor system of liquor control. Far too many dealers were licensed, and far too many of dubious character at that. Further still, prohibition brought the buying of liquor out in the open and concentrated it in the towns so that the staggering volume of the thing could be plainly and dramatically observed. And it is one of the laws of human psychology that present evils are magnified, past evils minimized.

South Carolina seems definitely headed back to prohibition. But it may be said with confidence that she is not headed toward the cure or even the amelioration of the liquor evil. What she is headed back to is the bootlegger, with all the graft, corruption, and perilous racketeering involved in his dominance of the alcohol trade.

No Thank You

Mr. Willkie Tells Coughlin He Doesn't Want His Support

Mr. Willkie was in character when he told Father Coughlin to go jump in the lake. The Republican nominee has got where he is largely for the reason that he has been a refreshing change from mealy-mouthed politicians who sought unjustly to give offense to nobody.

His outspokenness has appealed to the American people, who like nothing better than for a man to say what's in his mind and damn the torpedoes.

Father Coughlin's support, to be sure, would be an albatross around any candidate's neck at a time like this. The radio priest is suspected of being about nine parts Fascist and one part crackpot. His unwelcome approval of Mr. Willkie's "nationalism" could be acutely embarrassing to a man who wants it understood that he stands for the same foreign policy Roosevelt has stood for, but stands for carrying it out more discreetly and effectively.

Mr. Willkie, at any rate and for whatever reason, promptly rebuffed the Father's proffer of fellowship. He said he didn't want the support of anybody in this country who was "opposed to certain people because of their race or religion."

A Man's Colors

Senator From North Dakota Inherits Borah's Advisors

We trust--we do most earnestly trust--that Senator Gerald Nye's sources of expert military opinion are more reliable than the late Senator Borah's sources of expert international opinion. Senator Borah 's advisors hadit almost up to last September that there wasn't going to be any war.

Senator Nye has been assured, upon "the best of military authority," how little force could` be moved against us "by a victorious Hitler," holds our dependence on the survival of the British Fleet is "silly palaver," and the transfer of those 50 destroyers would be nothing short of an act of war.

Something doesn't jibe here. We want Britain to win, don't we? We want her to win for the sake of our security as well as hers--isn't that so? And if we could help her to win without weakening ourselves or exposing ourselves to retaliation, we'd do it in a minute, wouldn't we? Especially if the force that could be moved against us by a victorious Hitler were nothing to be afraid of?

Public opinion's answers to all these questions are in the affirmative. Wherefore it logically follows that the only reason, according to Senator Nye's diagnosis, for not sending the 50 destroyers is that they might do Britain good and Germany harm. Is that what actuates the Senator?

Squirrel Cage

Robert Explains How Republic Is Entirely Safe

Yesterday we made some casual reference to the remarks of the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds on the floor of the Senate with regard to the prowess of Tar Heels at shooting squirrels--or Hitler. But such a deathless contribution to the theory of national defense deserves more attention than that. Here it is in all its native glory, straight from the pages of the Congressional Record:

"As the old fellow said, 'I'm not afear'd.' And I will tell you why... In the United States of America, virtually every man you see--I know it is so down home in the mountains of North Carolina; I know it is so throughout the South, and most portions of the West, and many portions of the North--most of our boys learned to shoot from the time they put on the pants. The American people can handle guns...In that respect they are different from the peoples of many other countries in the world.

"For instance, down in my State of North Carolina, as well as in the State of the chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the House, who sits in this Chamber now and who comes from Kentucky, our mountaineers have been accustomed to handling rifles since the time they were big enough and strong enough to balance them on their arms. Is not that true? Certainly. Down there, if our mountaineers draw a bead on a squirrel a hundred yards away, and aim at the right eye, if they hit anything but the right eye of that squirrel a hundred yards away and kill him they think it is unsportsmanlike. (Laughter.) Down there we kill squirrels by shooting them in the right eye or the left eye. (Laughter.) We do not a shoot at the body of a squirrel a hundred yards away...

"I am not, as the old fellow said, 'afear'd' of Hitler coming over here, because if he does he will get the worst licking he ever had in his life, because our boys have been trained to shoot... When he comes I want to tell the Senate that the squirrel hunters of North Carolina and Kentucky can keep him off until we get ready to defend ourselves otherwise."

Maybe that was where Robert was after he resigned that captaincy in the National Guard in 1916--acquiring that uncanny skill in shooting squirrels.

Whose Ox

Lundeen, Silent on Westrick, Suddenly Grows Voluble

The Hon. Ernest Lundeen, Farmer-Labor Senator from Minnesota, is greatly exercised just now over a menace to this Republic.

Occasion for his excitement now is one Sir George Paish, a British economist now sojourning among us. According to Burt Wheeler, another Senator greatly exercised about the menace of Britain, Paish once upon a time committed the enormity of suggesting to him that information he (Paish) furnished to the American Government in 1917 influenced Mr. Wilson's decision to go to war.

And confronted with that terrible crime, the Hon. Ernest is even more righteously indignant than Senator Wheeler. Paish, he announces loudly, ought to be deported instanter.

All of which is somewhat curious in view of the fact that the Hon. Ernest never once peeped about the presence of Dr. Westrick, the German propaganda agent, in this country. Dr. Westrick was over to seduce fat cats without much sense into fighting for an "appease Hitler" policy for this country and into leaving ourselves totally unarmed--by the promise of profits for themselves. He was making headway, too, until patriots began to turn the light of publicity upon him and his dupes. But the Hon. Ernest Lundeen has never yet raised his voice in the matter. It seems to be only Britishers he wants to deport.


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