The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 19, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "Green Light?" questions whether the movement of the Pacific Fleet to San Pedro from Pearl Harbor was an inevitable tip to the Japanese that their aggression in Indochina would not be disturbed, and then issues the remonstrative caveat that allowing such unimpeded movement would produce a good embarkation point for attack on the Philippines and Dutch East Indies.

And, by the following July, the advice not having been too much heeded except by pressure exerted through trade sanctions, the Japanese would indeed, after being given the green light, not just by omission of active resistance from the United States, but, more to the point, by marionette Vichy, fully occupy French Indochina; and of course by December, with the Fleet then back in Pearl, would commence the move to the Philippines and Dutch East Indies.

The mention by both Raymond Clapper and the Raleigh News & Observer of the Coffeyville speech by Wendell Willkie to kick off his campaign was something we did not have in mind, nor by name of which were we at all even aware, when, four years ago, we made comment whimsically on the vice-presidential debate.

The 2008 vice-presidential debate of last Thursday, we are happy to report, had neither coffee on the table, nor a table at all, nor anyone clutching themselves. We suppose, without denigrating either of the last two vice-presidential candidates, that is in some manner to be considered progress. In any event, there it was, Willkie in Coffeyville.

Anyway, it's all probably somewhat like the Savoy Truffle, not quite a potato, but close. Or maybe Apple scruffs falling out of Billopp's tree, in which, we think, no one is.

And, looking laterally, that's kind of funny. We didn't know Doc could read. He's not reading one of those cat magazines again, is he? Such as Time of your Life. What do you think, Chester?

We ain't done canning berries. The berries keep a-comin'. O mercy. Most of the time...

For more on Judge Sims, go here.

They Laughed

A Man's Reputation Turns Cruel Charge Into Jest

The value (beyond gold) of a good reputation founded on genuine character was never better illustrated than in the proceedings yesterday at the Littlejohn hearing. A woman witness, long-time operator of bawdy houses, cooly made the statement that she and Judge Frank Sims and a former City policewoman had cooked up a deal whereby she was to open up a place and in return for protection split her profits three ways.

This sort of testimony would be sensational on its face anywhere. In a place like Charlotte, where the people are befuddled by dark rumors about what is going on in low and high places and where nobody knows whom to trust and how far, it was calculated to blow the roof off the City Hall. But what happened?

Why the whole assemblage, possibly with one or two exceptions, just threw back its collective head and laughed. Even the Civil Service Commissioners had to laugh. And the reason they all laughed was that Frank Sims, in his years of residence here as a private citizen and as judge of City Police Court, has proved beyond any doubt to be a person of unassailable integrity and a court official clearly entitled to the designation of His Honor.

In a turmoil such as this besieged city is now undergoing and for some months and years has been undergoing, it is well for the public to take notice of trustworthy landmarks by which it can occasionally reorient its judgment of humanity. Honest men must have honest officials to swear by. Without becoming too heroic about it, The News would like to take this opportunity of saying that for it Frank Sims is such a one.

Curve Ahead

Excess Profits Levy Had Best Be Made Genuine

According to observers as far apart as General Hugh Johnson and Messrs. Pearson and Allen of the Washington Merry-Go-Round, the so-called excess profits tax bill cooked up by Congress is not an excess profits tax bill at all but a measure for new levies on corporations all around. Small business, they say, will suffer while the big boys get the gravy. And the war industries will have no genuine ceiling to their gains from the common necessity of the nation.

There is no reason, of course, that war industries should be penalized or forced to take smaller profits than the average of other industries. And there is every reason in the national need and the temper of the people why profits in all lines of industry shall be held to a sober level. But one thing which will certainly be demanded is that the war industries themselves shall create no millionaires.

That calls for a genuine and strict excess profits tax to apply to them. For that matter, they themselves would do well to demand it.

It is not only democracy which is on trial in the world, it is also the capitalistic system. And whether or not that system is capable of exercising restraint in its pursuit of the profit motive is probably going to be the ultimate test as to whether or not it can survive. Its failure to exercise such restraint in World War 1 laid the ground for the disaster which has happened in Europe and America since--for the disaster the shadow of which now lies heavy upon us.

That it cannot survive another orgy of that kind is virtually certain. For any workable system must in the end serve the common need before all else.

Green Light?

Japan Is Likely To Take It That Way, Anyhow.

That the Administration at Washington has no notion of getting into a fight in the Pacific so long as there are elections still to be settled--and perhaps not at all--seems to be pretty clearly testified to by the fact that a third of the fleet at Hawaii is now on its way to the West Coast for re-conditioning.

The move coincides with increasing Japanese pressure on French Indo-China, and is more or less at odds with the strong tone taken toward Japan by Secretary Hull immediately after the destroyers-for-Atlantic-bases deal was concluded with Britain.

That Japan is likely to take the sailing of so large a part of the fleet as tacit acknowledgement that we are not going to resort to force to block her intention to seize Indo-China is a foregone conclusion. And she is not likely to let slip the opportunity to make good her hold on the rich province before Washington has time to reconsider.

The decision may be the only sensible one which can be taken. There have been vague rumors of peace talks in London. And if Washington judges that there is still any possibility of the Nazis laying hands on the British Navy or any great part of it, we shall need the fleet in the Atlantic. But it involves its serious consequences. Indo-China is an ideal leaping-off point for the conquest of the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines--for the creation of a Japanese slave empire which may eventually menace us quite as certainly as Hitler's now does.

One Down*

GOP Bags Wisconsin but Other Primaries Are Vague

In view of the fact that the Republicans polled more votes in the state primaries than the Democrats and Progressives combined, Wisconsin seems to be pretty well in the bag for the Republicans in November.

Whether that means anything in terms of general trends in the Middle West remains to be seen. The La Follette (Progressive) power, which the Democrats always had to have in order to win in the state, has been dwindling since 1936. Moreover, the La Follettes themselves have been increasingly at odds with Mr. Roosevelt. And probably most important of all, Wisconsin, as a dairy state which must compete with butter, etc., imported from abroad, has been particularly bitter against the Hull reciprocal trade agreements.

For the rest, the primary returns seem fairly inconclusive. In Massachusetts a newcomer, Attorney General Paul Dever, surprised by capturing the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination over Francis K. Kelly. But the campaign is reported by the Associated Press as virtually devoid of national issues. The Republican candidates for the Governorship and the Senate are unopposed. And so there is no test available as to relative Democratic and Republican strength.

In New York City bitterly anti-New Deal John J. O'Connor was knocked down nearly two to one by Frank Fay, New Dealer, for the Democratic nomination from the Sixteenth district. And in the American Labor Party, important as perhaps holding the balance between Republicans and Democrats, Roosevelt candidates won a slight majority of the nominations.

Apparently Mr. Roosevelt has the edge in New York City. But whether by a great enough margin to overcome the normally Republican up-state vote is another thing which remains to be seen.

About Face*

A Complaint Balances Out A Splendid Principle

The Southern Governors' Conference was obviously dealing in unconscious humor. It went on record as believing that the location of war industries ought to "be chosen without regard to political subdivisions or community pressure."

Then it turned right around to complain that "the wishes of President Roosevelt and National Defense Council to establish vital war plants in secure and defensible sites throughout the nation are being hindered and impeded."

By pressure, the Governors darkly intimated, from other sections of the country which have robbed the South of its just share of the factories.

The only way that they know that, of course, is by the way of suspicion, itself prompted by civic patriotism. All the sections of the country have been doing themselves less than proud by rushing in to grab as huge a chunk of the pork as possible. And each section obviously believes that its fair share is the lion's share.

As it happens, the Middle West has had the biggest portion, partly because its pressure was better organized and more militant, but mainly for obvious reasons of national defense.

We should like to see the South get all the factories it can get without hampering the national defense, of course. Trouble is the civic zealots too easily convince themselves that their particular spot is better for national defense than any others.

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