The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 29, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "Casualty" brings to mind the curious connection between Mexico, oil and American surplus cotton. In early 1936, William Rhodes Davis worked out a complex deal for trading Mexican oil to Nazi Germany--an altered version of which scheme ultimately supplied oil to Germany's war machine between Mexico's expropriation day, March 18, 1938, and Hitler's invasion of Poland, September 1, 1939. Approximately 70% of Mexico's exported expropriated American and British oil wound up in Germany in exchange for German industrial goods, especially tin and steel. The original scheme in 1936, however, involved the Bank of Boston, which had loaned Davis the money to build his Hamburg refinery, buying surplus Southern cotton from the U.S. Government, trading it to cotton-scarce Germany for railroad equipment, selling the German railroad equipment to Mexico in exchange for oil and then selling the oil to Davis (or more appropriately loaning him the oil in expectation of repayment out of the sale of the refined product); Davis then refined the oil in his German refinery, built with Hitler's personal approval, and sold it on the world market--primarily, of course, to Germany, Italy, and Japan. Thus, Mexico, while supplying the oil which powered the Panzer divisions which invaded Poland and later Norway, Belgium, Holland, and France, was able to circumvent the British and American oil companies' boycott of Mexican oil resulting from the failure of Mexico to pay for the expropriation in 1938.

Davis would seek to revive the cotton barter plan in meetings in the presidential suite at the Reforma Hotel in Mexico City in August, 1939, but failed by this time to win Administration approval for the scheme, having fallen into extreme disfavor with President Roosevelt and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Josephus Daniels. The start of the war on September 1 then produced a British blockade of oil to Germany and Italy. Davis's ensuing unilateral efforts to broker a peace plan whereby Roosevelt would act as negotiator between Britain and Germany allowing cession of the Danzig Corridor in Poland to Hitler, plebiscite determination of the remainder of Poland, and leave Hitler in power, were met with icy non-response in Washington after Davis obtained approval for the plan from Germany in late September, 1939. Roosevelt would not abide Hitler remaining in power and knew all too well that "plebiscites" in Nazi-occupied lands meant rigged elections and puppet governments. Davis lost his ability to capitalize on Hitler's need for oil from Mexico. The Mexican oil did, however, continue to flow aboard Japanese freighters and some of it then found its way along the Trans-Siberian railway into Germany until Hitler's invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941 ended that route; at the same time, Davis sat in his Hotel Reforma suite plotting his next traitorous oil deal to supply himself millions of dollars from the worst belligerents the world has ever known. He would, however, never realize the product of his next move; he was dead on August 1. (See Mystery Man, by Dale Harrington, 1999, pp. 40, 80, 82)

Well Chosen

President Parks Politics In Selecting Defense Board

It is going to be hard for the most determined "Roosevelt is always wrong" man to pick any serious flaw with his selection of a National Defense Commission. They have been seeing things all over the place and reporting that he was about to appoint some dreadful New Deal hack politico to run the works. In his column today, General Hugh Johnson takes very seriously the rumor that Harry Hopkins had been broached for the job. Maybe he had been, for all we know. Maybe the "always wrong" boys made the President think better of it. They'll claim as much, anyhow.

But in any case--. Leon Henderson is the only New Deal insider on the board, though several of the others, of course, have more or less sympathy with the New Deal.

Stettinius is the key man in the basic industry for armament, steel--can call up the best brains in the industry for his purposes and speed production at will. In addition, he is also a key figure to the financial structure of the nation.

Knudsen seems to be the acclamation choice as the finest production genius in the country, particularly in the key motor industry. Moreover, he seems to be equally gifted in persuading men to his purpose. Even General Ironpants will have to applaud his choice, for he had already called for it himself.

Hillman is one of this sanest and most intelligent labor leaders of the country, has stood apart from the ferocious Lewis-Green feud, has the confidence of all factions and industry.

Davis and Budd both know their fields as thoroughly as anybody and have done good work in their jobs. Miss Elliott has made a specialty of the consumer and his problems.

And as for Henderson--the appointment of the SEC Chairman to the board is by no means a bad idea. If only to emphasize what nobody should lose sight of, that the country will not stand this time for the repetition of the profiteering of the last war.


Which Is Not Without Present Application

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him the his power, and his seat, and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon that gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying:

Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his voice in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and towns and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

If any man have an ear, let him hear.

He that leadeth into captivity

shall go into captivity:

He that killeth with the sword

Must be killed with the sword.

Here is the patience and the faith of the Saints.


The Cotton Farmer Now Joins Tobacco Grower

The British Government has ordered the suspension of all importing of American cotton after May 30, save under special license for special cases. The reason, of course, is the necessity of conserving British cash resources for buying war materials in the United States. The Government explains that since the war began it has imported more than 1,900,000 bales of American cotton, more than has been used by the mills of England in any one recent year.

Thus the Southern cotton farmer goes to join the Southern tobacco farmer, as the result of a war which the isolationists have assured us is "not our damned business." Last year the total exports of Southern cotton fell to the appalling total of less than 4,000,000 bales. And now at a stroke, one half of that remaining market is wiped out.

But that, masters, is only the starter. If Britain stays in the war and American credits are opened to her, the market may come back after a year. But if she loses the war this year or next year or anytime at all, the market is gone for good. It is no part of Adolf Hitler's plan to buy materials from us, but to lay hands on territory which would produce them under the Nazi flag. And with a victory for Adolf, the fall of the British, French, Dutch, and Belgian empires, nearly the whole of our export trade will be wiped out--a loss representing a minimum of three billion dollars a year, and a loss which will have its repercussions throughout American industry and agriculture.

Nor is there any reasonable ground for believing that we can replace this lost market with Latin America. We cannot buy what Latin America has to sell for the good reason that we already have surpluses of most of it--wheat, beef, and so on. Hence South America cannot buy from us, either. And probably wouldn't, anyhow, for the excellent reason that our goods are necessarily higher priced than those which will come from the new Nazi state if it arises.

But the war, of course, is not our business.

Bad Faith

Bob Reynolds Uses Alarm To Put Pet Bills Across

"A few weeks ago," gloated Bob Reynolds yesterday when the Senate adopted two amendments he sent up. "I cannot have made such proposals without being told that they were unAmerican."

They are unAmerican.

In addition, they are cruel.

And besides that they are stupid--as stupid, in a spuriously plausible way, as their sponsor.

The first of the Reynolds amendments, to bar employment in interstate commerce of Communists and Bund members, we attacked yesterday on the premise that it would place every working man at the mercy of spiteful charges and put employers in a quandary. "Communist" and "Nazi," we said, are terms used indiscriminately to describe a fellow who doesn't think exactly as you do.

But the second amendment is worse and more inept than the first. It would forbid any interstate industry to have more than ten per cent of aliens among its employees.

The gross un-Americanism of this Reynolds brain-child becomes apparent when you translate it into terms of a hard-working family here in this country by our own permission, and quite legally, rapidly and cheerfully Americanizing themselves, already with their first naturalization papers taken out.

For no exception is made in the case of aliens who applied for citizenship, any more than a distinction is made between aliens of good character and bad.

The latent cruelty in the proposal shows up when you combine with it the legislation, already passed by Congress, to forbid relief to aliens. Is it necessary, in order to preserve this fine thing we call democracy, to take a man's job away from him and then deny him and his family succor?

The stupidity of it is most glaring of all. Consider that this country's about to embark on a gigantic defense undertaking which will require heroic efforts of its key industries. Consider that some of those key industries, like steel and machine tools, employ great proportions of skilled alien workers.

In that light, this amendment, which the Senate hysterically adopted, is exposed not as an anti-Fifth Column measure but a measure to play right into the hands of the enemy.

We are not saying that Bob Reynolds has made himself a willing party to any such treasonable plot, but his motive is shabby enough in any event. It is to take advantage of the agitation over Fifth Columns and Trojan Horses to sneak through his cherished bills to exalt Americanism of the Vindicator type at the expense of humble, but equally worthy, people who happened to come later to the land of opportunity.

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