The Charlotte News

Friday, May 3, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Reading "Mexican Bet", one has to wonder aloud whether some careful reader, paying special attention to Mr. Cash's dailies, and reading this day's column with special care for mention made of certain luminaries, read carefully also a year or so later The Mind of the South, and had attention drawn to remembrance of a childhood tale, by its oblique mention 'round about page 390 in Book III, Chapter III, section 13, wherein the reference is put to "Mrs. Partington", the one with the erstwhile importunate cat. And would this someone with close ties to Mexico and personal acquaintanceship with its presidents, both during and post 1940, and having paid the Ambassador several visits, visits which the Ambassador later recounted in his memoirs that he didn't even desire or particularly accord with reverence, it being the case that the poor wretch of a visitor caused as much embarrassment to himself and his native state and country with his pro-Nazi tendencies as he did anything else to the positive--would this someone have somehow fixed on this little notion of the nosy cat and fancied himself as "Ike" ... ? Well, curiosity.

But surely even the slowest to learn among us must realize by now that dropping the cat, or even throwing the broom at it and then anointing that broom as a most special broom with magical powers, leads only on chaos, and is rather foolhardy to boot--for the broom is always a Jack Cade. Which is why we wisely played the diplomacy game with a recalcitrant and spy-friendly Mexico, kept its peso strong, and thereby maintained its strong alliance after December, 1941. For more on Mexico, see "China Shop", May 8, 1940, "A New Grab?", June 23, 1940, and read especially Cash's July, 1940 editorials, "Trouble Spot", July 7, 1940, "Squirrel Cage", July 21, 1940, and "Latins Balk", July 31, 1940, as well as other editorials in the spring of 1941.


A Claim Against England Turns Out to Be False

Ever since the Nazis invaded Norway and the British and French took up the challenge, the Nazi propaganda agencies have been flooding this country with the claim that there was not a proper Englishman in the Norwegian Expeditionary Force--that it was made up only of territorials (that is, men from the British dominions), mainly Canadians.

They have had a good deal of support from sympathizers among American publicists and politicians. Robert Rice Reynolds gave tongue to the story, and so did Paul Palmer--who trained for his present job of "war expert" in some newspapers by serving as book editor of The New York World for awhile and as editor of The American Mercury (after Mencken's time) until its readers revolted against its obviously Fascist-inclined policy.

On the face of it, the story was a flat falsehood. For it simply echoed what British-baiters have often alleged against the English in the World war, and those allegations have often been exploded by the figures.

But yesterday Norman Lodge, American Associated Press man, reported from the vicinity of Namsos that the unmistakable broad Yorkshire dialect was spoken by the overwhelming majority of the troops in that region. And a Yorkshireman is as English as--well, as Yorkshire pudding.

That ought to settle the question for everybody but the Nazi sympathizers, who of course don't want it settled that way.

Mexican Bet

Thinks Crisis in World Makes Her Safe Enough

Mexico these days is very much in the position of a cat in the cream pitcher and well aware that if you heave the broom at him, you not only break the pitcher but hit the cook, with the result that she'll quit and you'll have to eat hardtack for awhile. And indeed, that you may well bring down the stove and set the house on fire.

According to the advance reports, the Mexican Government has turned down the State Department's note suggesting arbitration as the solution of the impasse over the Mexican oil seizures which is to say that Mexico is entirely unwilling to submit her claims (to which many Americans have been willing to grant as having sound basis) to dispassionate examination, but intends instead to have all her way, rights or no rights--and what are we going to do about it?

Theoretically, we can do much. We can, for instance, stop paying Mexico a staggering subsidy and buying her silver at an absurdly artificial price--a move which would be calculated practically to wreck Mexican finances, and might bring about a change in government.

But practically, we are faced with the fact that if we attempted any such move the results might be highly unpleasant for us. For one thing, Mexico would quite likely immediately snuggle up to the Red-Nazi combine in Europe and open her doors to their ideology. Moreover she would certainly begin to scream dollar diplomacy at the top of her lungs. And that cry would be very likely to convince most of her Latin-American compatriots who remain darkly suspicious of us. And these Latin-American countries generally are already too inclined to flirt with the Nazis and the Fascists...


Guilty or Not, Chamberlain Gets the Blame for This

Who is responsible for the complete Allied debacle in Norway we do not know. Perhaps no one when you come down to it. Before we wax too contemptuously critical on this side of the water, it is well to remember that it took us fourteen months to begin to put troops into action in the last war. And the British, at least, were as completely unprepared when this war began as we were in 1917.

A case can be made out against her politicians for Britain's plight of course: for they remained inactive in the face of the most complete evidence that England was probably going to have to fight. But exactly the same case can also be made against our own politicians at the moment.

It is one of the weaknesses of democracy that politicians continually prefer their own interest to that of the nation, and that sentimental thinkers are apt to keep the people blind to facts until they are upon them.

But whatever the facts about the Norwegian disaster, there is no doubt at all that the popular mind ascribes the defeat directly to Mr. Chamberlain. Such is certainly the case in the United States, and there is plenty of evidence that the British people are beginning to see the matter the same way, as well as the French. So long as he remains in power, an increasing part of the Allied peoples and their sympathizers is going to believe that the war is not being prosecuted with the energy and daring which is necessary if the Nazi sweep is to be beaten back.

So long as that is true, reaction is inevitably going to be one of frustration and defeatism on the part of both the civilian population and the armies themselves. It is not at all impossible that such a reaction entered directly into the result in Norway.

Times Change

This Probably Couldn't Have Happened Ten Years Ago

Time was when the unions could charge that municipal governments in the South were always actively hostile to them, an attitude which in many cases was demonstrably so. And it certainly used to be true that such was always the case when violence had been used by the strikers, as it has been used by some few of the unionized employees now striking at the Nebel Knitting Mills in the city.

But so far as Charlotte goes, it plainly isn't true nowadays, for Wednesday the City Council voted to grab the Nebel strikers the use of the City Armory-Auditorium at cost for a benefit dance May 18, evidently to raise funds to continue the strike.

The main ground for protest against that would of course be the violence, though it would perhaps be unfair to hold the whole group responsible for the action of a few individuals--and it does seem that the union might be more careful in picking its pickets. For the rest, the strikers are citizens, and their group is entitled to use the Auditorium on the same conditions afforded others.

Nevertheless, the action does represent what we noted in the first place, a far cry from the attitude once universally ascribed to Southern municipal authorities.

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