The Charlotte News

Friday, June 14, 1940


Our Prospect

The Decision Will Not Wait on Our Pleasure

Premier Reynaud's heart-breaking plea puts the choice squarely up to us and states the issue.

We have been deluding ourselves in talking about "defense" of the hemisphere. It is impossible, for the very good reason that Latin America is not another United States but the child of Spain--which long ago became merely a stooge for Mussolini and so for Hitler.

No great revolution is necessary to change it over to a Nazi system. Many of the countries are ruled by dictators now, all of them have lived under dictators for most of their history, none of them has ever really grasped the democratic idea.

All of them have swarming Nazi and Fascist organizations--German, Italian, and, above all, native. And the great part of the population in every one of them worships power, hates the U.S. and is undoubtedly set to swing over with enthusiasm to the Nazi idea the moment England is conquered.

Indeed, it has already begun. Vargas, the dictator of Brazil who calls himself a "President," has already made plain that he is aligning himself with Mussolini, which is always to say with Mussolini's master, Hitler.

To stop this, if England follows France, we should have to hurl an army of occupation into every one of these countries and keep it there--an army we have not got and which we cannot have in time to meet the situation if we have to face it this Summer, which we certainly will have to do if England falls. But if we allow it to happen, we are at the mercy of Nazism.

The Panama Canal would be cut at will, for that it can withstand bombing planes in large numbers nobody claims. The enemy would be at our backdoor in Mexico. And he would be all around our front yard in the Caribbean. That under these circumstances the American Navy, adequate, even with the Canal open, to the defense of only one ocean, could save us--that this navy, in conjunction with our woefully weak air force and microscopic army, plus millions of brave and unarmed men, could save us, is not probable.

It might be possible if we could lay our hands on the British and French navies, but to count on that is to indulge in wish-thinking. Probability is that they would be largely destroyed before England fell. But granting that we use them successfully to stay out of the Nazi hands on our own account, our future would be a dismal one.

To be safe we should have to turn ourselves into a totalitarian nation for good. And once that happened, the tendency of the greater totalitarianism--Nazism--to pull us into its orbit simply by its impact upon our economy and our minds would be almost irresistible. The best we can hope for would be to shut ourselves up about as tightly as Japan was shut up before Commodore Peary fatally opened it, accept a staggeringly lower standard of living, and live in perpetual fear and watchfulness.

The probability is that we cannot live in the world with Nazism. Either it will be destroyed or we will be destroyed. The fates of France and England are at last bound up with our own. If we live they will live, by token of the fact that Nazism has been extirpated from the earth.

The first line of our defense is crumbling fast. And it is not probable that it can be saved--save perhaps as a fragment fighting a rearguard action. The battle approaches the second and last line--England. The taking of that citadel promises to be a task incomparably greater than any that Hitler has yet accomplished. Contrary to the general notion, the attack cannot be launched from the ports of Calais and Bologne directly across the Channel along lines only twenty-odd miles wide. For the English coast facing these ports is the famous chalk cliff coast. The attack will have to come from a distance of 75 to 200 miles by water, at least, and the landing will have to be made against the combined weight of the air, naval and coastal fire.

It is quite possible to hope that a couple of million Nazis may be killed in the Channel and civilization saved. But it is mad to sit still and hope that England will do it for us. We shall have to move with energy and thoroughness which will make what we have done so far done seem picayune. And we have no time for indulgence in Chamberlainism--for backing and filling and talking over decisions forever. The time is now--or never.

Hard Words

Fayetteville Lawyers Must Believe They Know Their Man

Of D. Lacy McBride, Fayetteville, the least that may be said is that he believes everything. And so when Berlin put out the report that Great Britain was scheming to sink American steamers bringing home refugees, and lay it to the U-boats in the hope that it would fetch this country into the war, D. Lacy swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

He appeared to, at any rate, for he went to the trouble and expense to put the British Embassy in Washington on notice by wire that their Government would be held responsible if a ship went down.

McBride is a lawyer and labor counselor from Fayetteville, now stationed here. Yesterday the Cumberland County Bar Association held a special meeting, condemned his attitude as--

"... not only unjust and un-American, but as pure, unadulterated and deliberate pro-Hitler, pro-Mussolini and pro-Stalin propaganda."

That's strong language to a man's face, mates, even in these times. It would never have been used, we may surmise, unless the Fayetteville lawyers were sure that they knew their man, or thought that they were sure, anyhow.

And the whole incident becomes of far more than local importance by reason of the fact that McBride, in addition to being one identified with organized labor, is attorney for the Wage-Hour Administration in North Carolina. The wonder is not how long he will keep this job but by what merit he ever got it in the first place.


Explaining Her Relation To the British Empire

A good many people ask us what the relationship of Egypt to the British Empire is. The answer is a little hard to give, but it will be more readily understood if we begin with a little history.

Down until the 1880's Egypt was a part of the Turkish Empire, enjoying more or less autonomy under the rule of a Khedive. But in the eighties the British and French intervened and set up what they called "dual control" to protect British and French holders of Egyptian bonds--without entirely detaching the country from the sovereignty of Turkey. Sometimes their hold on the country increased, sometimes it relaxed and fell back but it was never entirely given up in the period between the original occupation and the first World War. With the outbreak of that struggle and the entry of Turkey on the side of Germany, the British deposed the Khedive and took charge, the French fading from the picture.

In 1922, however, the British relinquished their political hold and Egypt was proclaimed an independent kingdom under the rule of a hereditary monarchy and a bicameral parliament elected by popular suffrage.

The British nonetheless continued to enjoy certain powers. In the course of the occupation, Egyptian finances had been hedged out to the financial powers in London, which continued to exercise control over them through the usual commercial channels. British advisers were much used by the Egyptian Government. Britishers had a strong hand in the so-called "mixed commissions"--courts which would settle all cases involving foreigners. In the years of occupation, too, British officers had trained the Egyptian army--and most of the higher officers continued to be Britishers. Finally, the British kept a garrison in the country which was almost as large as the Egyptian standing army.

In 1924 rioting broke out over the status of Sudan, and the British Government of the province was murdered. Britain served an ultimatum, and in the settlement increased her military hold and got a joint defensive-offensive agreement with Egypt. That is the status today.

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