The Death of W. J. Cash:

Caso de Homicidio or Felo de Se

Additional Facts and Circumstances

Surrounding the Death of the Author of The Mind of the South









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THERE is no proof of the suicide of W. J. Cash: Let us start with that singular premise and work from it rather than the other way about, as has been universally the case since his death, save one lone article in the Wake Forest student magazine in 1959.

Writers on the death of Cash for the most part either take for granted the suicide premise without questioning it at all or start from the conclusion of suicide and seek then to explain why it occurred--malnourishment, delirium tremens, brain tumor, thyrotoxicosis, "acute brain syndrome", inexplicable "suicidal fit", concern about Nazi advances in Europe--take them as you please. It is no shame on any of these well-intentioned writers, mind you, that this is the state of the case on the "suicide" of W. J. Cash. For their emphasis for the most part has been, from an academic point of view, Cash's broad theses--continuity or discontinuity between the Old and New South, separate but contiguous region from the rest of the United States or as much like the rest as homogenized milk--and the import of his book to the South since 1941 and its continued viability as a source of understanding.

In those laudable academic endeavors, there has been left some room, but understandably not much, to examine how Cash died. Yet, to many who read Cash, the way he died may speak volumes in a manner which colors all of what he said in print--for better or ill. Thus, though probably not central in the abstract to understanding Cash and how his work is perceived, it is nevertheless practically important to have a better, more focused understanding of how W. J. Cash died and whether it is clear that his death was suicide.

Understandably, neither Professor Morrison in his first biography, nor Professor Clayton in the second set out to talk about the death of W. J. Cash. As with the other writings on Cash, these were largely literary, academic biographies designed to be read primarily by scholars interested in Cash. So, naturally, neither had the resources or the reason to spend very much time exploring the topic of how he died. Nevertheless, we are indebted to both books for providing us with the starting point at least for analysis of Cash's death; both of these biographies provide facts which are sine qua non for any rational look at Cash and how he died. Yet, though both books treat of his death in some sensitive and intriguing detail, it is still little more than an ancillary issue in either work. Thus, not surprisingly, each biographer, in seriatim, concluded the matter to be suicide--just as the Mexico City police did on July 2, 1941.

But what is the proof?

There were no eyewitnesses to Cash's death or anyone who was around to testify of Cash's actions within six hours of the time he was found dead at around 10:00 p.m. on July 1, 1941 at Hotel La Reforma. There is only a set of facts told by one witness, his wife of six months, about a period of time constituting roughly 24 hours before he disappeared into the Mexico sunset forever at around 4:00 p.m. that fateful, tragic Tuesday. By Mary's own admission, she only glanced at the death scene for an instant and, understandably, looked away. (W. J. Cash: Southern Prophet, Joseph L. Morrison, Knopf, 1967, pp. 136-37) And then, of course, there is the manner in which he was found--hung by his own necktie.

But there are also many troubling non sequiturs surrounding these circumstances. There is no suicide note or writing of any kind. There is no prop on which Cash could have stood to hang himself. (Morrison, p. 137) The necktie was tied to a hook on an open bathroom door, (Morrison, p. 136-137; "The Suicide of W. J. Cash", Mary Cash Maury, Red Clay Reader, Vol. IV, spring, 1967, p. 11)--a hook made for towels and bathrobes, not human bodies weighing 200 pounds or more, to which had to be added the inexorable thrust of a sudden tug on the hook.

Now, while one may surmise that perhaps this is a mistake in the recounting only and that in fact the only proper assumption therefore is that the necktie was tied to the doorknob on the opposing side of the door and slung over top, try it and see how silly that looks. The average necktie is 58 inches long; the average doorknob is 45 inches from the top of the door (and potentially more in a Forties-vintage hotel in downtown Mexico City where ceilings were apt to be higher than the norm). After tying a couple of strong knots in the tie around the doorknob, one is left with all of about two inches of necktie to supply a noose, not a very likely scenario.

The other potential scenario for self-hanging is that Cash used the rim of a nearby bathtub or toilet from which to swing. Morrison tells us that Mary described first observing Cash's shadow on the bedroom wall. (Morrison, p. 136) Mary tells us directly in 1967 that the bathroom door was open. (Maury, p. 11) Such a scenario indicates that the bathroom door could have either swung out into the bedroom or into the bathroom. If the door swung out into the room, Cash is without any prop in his immediate vicinity. And, of course, even if the door swung into the bathroom, the problem remains glaring at us that any swing off a nearby bathroom appliance would inevitably place a sudden 200 pound thrust on the relatively weak hook made for robes and towels, not people hanging themselves. Moreover, no one suggests that Cash swung himself off of any prop in or outside the bathroom--and had there been an opportunity reasonably to so account, one would think it would have been stated rather prominently by the Mexico City police at the time. Luxurious hotels of that era, as the Reforma was, tended to have over-sized bathrooms in any event and thus we have no way to speculate as to whether it was even conceivable that Cash had such an appliance within his immediate proximity; the likelihood, given the absence of any mention of it, is that he did not. Thus we are left with one--and pretty much only one--likely scene if this death was a suicide.

Visualizing that scene, then, one cannot help but speculate how Cash could have possibly tied himself with his necktie to a relatively flimsy door hook and then, as Morrison perforce posits, lifted his own legs from the floor to hang himself--a passive hanging, if you will, as opposed to a downward thrust. Intuition suggests that the normal autonomically irresistible instinct for survival would have prevented such a scenario. The legs would have fallen quicker than later--long before the ninety seconds or so it would take to render the subject unconscious. And Cash was overweight, weakened from both "Montezuma's Revenge" from which he had been suffering for two weeks and a B-1 shot earlier that same afternoon, (Maury, pp. 10-11), was never athletically inclined and therefore not an exemplary physical specimen at age 41 in any event. (And anyone who has ever visited Mexico and consumed enough of the native water to acquire the condition afore noted knows that it completely drains its victim of energy, much as would influenza with high fever.) Moreover, given common experience with towel and robe hooks, especially those in hotels, how would the hook itself have survived even this more limited but still substantial "passive" sudden force and weight, supporting a man's entire body weight long enough to die, without bending or breaking?

Professor Morrison tells us plaintiffly that "authorities explain" that the usual method of such strangulation is for the suicide to curl up the legs in such a way until consciousness is lost and then autonomically to relax, but offers no example anywhere in the annals of coroners' records of such a documented case--and certainly not one involving a necktie hung from a bathroom door. (Morrison, p. 137) One is pressed to see in the mind's eye what he describes.

Too, one should consider why Cash in any event would have used such a rather strained method for hanging himself as to utilize his own necktie. Presumably the "then-new" Reforma had some form of curtains or blinds with pull cords which could have been readily utilized to afford the length necessary from the opposing doorknob on the door to do the job. Professor Morrison's speculative comment that Cash simply chose the only "lethal agent" for suicide available to him in an "unfurnished hotel bathroom" is quite strange indeed, (Morrison, p. 149); obviously, the hotel room itself--and the bathroom, for that matter--were amply furnished with plenty of lethal agency if one had such in mind. There are other methods of suicide, presumably quicker and less painful, than hanging. Of course, that is not to say that sad and depressed people do not sometimes hang themselves; obviously they do. But the reader is defied to show a single example in the entire history of the world of hanging in this manner--from a single necktie tied to a towel hook on an open bathroom door. (And please don't cite Phil Ochs; he used a different method entirely.)

So, then, is it not completely consistent with the death scene scenario to assume that Cash was first strangled with his own necktie and then his already dead body simply hung up on the bathroom door hook with his feet touching the floor? (Whether Cash's feet were touching the floor, incidentally, has long been a source of contention. Just where the allegation came from is unknown--Mary, the Mexican authorities, or plain rumor. Yet Morrison concludes that most such suicides wind up with their feet touching the floor because their legs inevitably relax after they have lifted their feet from the floor. But to show how convoluted the past reasoning has become, Morrison also says that there was no evidence of Cash's feet touching the floor and Mary did not look long enough to know; he thus dismisses the notion as just another rumor. (Morrison, 137) But then, how does Morrison's curling-up-of-the-legs scenario transpire? And if not that, how did Cash hang himself without a prop? The only options left to enable suicide are utterly ridiculous.) There is of course still the problem of too much apparent weight on the weak hook for even a prior-strangulation scenario, but at least there is no compounding active thrust from swinging off of an object or even a passive thrust from pulling the legs up completely off of the floor and then relaxing.

And with prior strangulation, the body could have been "propped" against the door in one of two ways, the first being to utilize the rear of the belt loop over the doorknob to afford midline support. That would not help the weak hook to act as a hanging device as the necessary force for strangulaion would still not be present without breaking or bending it, but would explain how the body could be hung on the door after strangulation without bending or breaking the hook.

But it is also entirely conceivable that Cash's body was at least partially in rigor mortis under such a scenario and thus would have provided a static standing phenomenon, effectively helping to support its own weight, rather than having to rely entirely on the strength of the hook. If Cash was first strangled and his body then stretched out on the bed, the resulting rigor mortis would have supplied the more or less stiff standing position.

The entry of the dead body into the condition of rigor mortis varies as to time from several minutes to several hours, depending on temperature, body condition, and other such factors. Mary tells us that Cash had been dead for "several hours" upon discovery. (Maury, p. 11) As she had last seen him at around 3:00, however, and discovered his body at another hotel at around 10:00, he had been dead at the most around six hours. It is not entirely reasonable to assume, of course, that two or three accomplices in murder would have waited around the hotel room for several hours just to await the condition of rigor mortis and also thereby risk being caught. But if one or more of such murderers, however, was staying at the Reforma and another accomplice was actively keeping watch of the street or the lobby, one can readily see a scenario where such could have been accomplished over a period of several hours with two entries into Cash's room, the latter being finally to make the scene look as a suicide. After all, it would only take a few seconds to transfer the body from the bed to the hook after the evil deed had been accomplished hours earlier on the first entry in the course of a few minutes.

There is a way in fact to determine whether death by strangulation results from hanging or by another means. In the course of an autopsy, the medical examiner can look at the naturally occurring post mortem edema or bruise marks surrounding the neck of the deceased. If the marks form an unbroken circle, flowing completely around the neck, death is by strangulation by means other than hanging. If, on the other hand, they only extend around roughly two-thirds of the neck and fail to make closure in the rear, death is by hanging. Such was an analysis done at Spandau Prison in the aftermath of the putative 1987 suicide of deputy Reichsfuehrer and Nazi war criminal (and occasional editorial target of W. J. Cash in 1941), Rudolf Hess.

We are deprived of this analysis in the case of W. J. Cash, however, because Cash's remains were cremated at the suggestion of Josephus Daniels and with Mary's acquiescence, over the objection of Cash's parents. (Morrison, p. 133; Maury, p. 12; W.J. Cash: A Life, Bruce Clayton, L.S.U. Press, 1991, p. 187) It seems that when Ambassador Daniels suggested cremation to Mary, she "[f]or the first time, remembered that Cash had once remarked sourly that he preferred cremation to embalming, as the lesser of two evils". [Emphasis supplied.] (Maury, p. 12) Query does one not suspect the hint of dissembling, maybe even intentionally obvious dissembling, in Mary's almost childlike reference in 1967 to "for the first time"? Cash's sister Bertie often remarked that Wilbur had several times from his early days stated his fear of the "cold, cold grave". Mary confirms this notion. (Maury, p. 13) While such a statement seems consistent with Mary's recounting of his remark on cremation, it also equally negates the notion, as Mary herself recognizes, that he would have gone to that grave "by his own contrivance". Regardless, however, such much earlier offhand statements of a deceased suspected suicide who had complained within hours of death of being followed by Nazi spies in a foreign country known to be a domicile for such spies seem hardly adequate ground to override the wishes of the deceased's parents not to have the body cremated--especially when the person making that final decision had only been his wife for six months and had only known him for three years. Obviously, one would risk henceforth both obloquy and suspicion in making such a decision for such a relatively frivolous reason.

But Mary perhaps had also adopted originally another ostensible reason (though she did not explicitly offer it in the final published version of her 1967 article); that she could not stand the long train ride back to North Carolina under such circumstances to carry Cash's body. (Clayton, p. 187; see Maury, p. 12, viz., "Another problem Mr. Daniels solved was the one of my return trip with Cash's body.") While understandable on its face, on closer analysis, this appears only to be a rather flimsy, though as we shall see, probably not sinister, excuse for the cremation. For there is no explanation provided as to why Cash's full remains could not have been flown back on the same TWA flight which Mary eventually took on July 5. The Guggenheim Foundation paid for her fare (letter from Josephus Daniels to his family, July 7, 1941, as reprinted in Southern Prophet, p. 134); obviously, they would not have refused to pay the airfare for Cash's full-body casket. (In 1932, another Guggenheim Fellow, poet Hart Crane, committed suicide by jumping overboard ship on the return voyage from a year spent writing in Mexico. There are no parallels, however; Crane was destitute, was at the end of his year and his creative strength, and had written a poem which, though actually destined for greatness, he was afraid would be rejected by his New York literati friends. He had been engaged in fights and fracuses in Taxco and banned from the town only days before his death. He had told companions onboard ship of his intent to kill himself and became disorderly and drunk just prior to his plunge into the deep. But this episode provides all the more reason why the Guggenheim Foundation would have been as cooperative as possible under the circumstances.)

Moreover, Cash's parents had told Mary in their telegrams prior to cremation that they would pay whatever expenses were necessary to return Wilbur's body. (Cash family records; Clayton, p. 187) Too, though stuck temporarily in a safe deposit box in Mexico City, most of the $2,000 still remained from the Guggenheim grant; not to mention the fact that Cash had a $10,000 life insurance policy with his parents named as beneficiaries. Thus, there were ample means available to enable such transportation by air back to North Carolina. Nevertheless, the body returned in an urn, as ashes. Perhaps, the absence of logic to the "long ride" excuse explains why Mary, in consultation with Professor Morrison, decided, on reflection, not to offer it expressly as such in 1967, resting instead on the recollection of Cash's earlier statement regarding cremation.

Morrison tried and failed through the State Department in the mid-Sixties to acquire Cash's autopsy records. No explanation appears in Morrison's papers in the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina as to why he failed to obtain these particular records. He wrote for them and no response is present; only an indication that a copy of the death certificate and consular report could be obtained. He did obtain the consular report of Cash's death which was only an echo of the putative Mexico City police report and states cursorily, "Remarks--Applicant's mind became impaired and he hanged himself." (Morrison, p. 139 and examination of Morrison Papers, Univ. of North Carolina Southern Historical Collection) He also obtained a copy of the original death certificate from Mexico which states even more cursorily, "Asfixia por ahoracamiento," translated, "Asphyxiation by hanging". Remarkably, the certificate also appears to make a contemporaneous admission, rather unusual for any civil authority, especially one contained in an official public document: It asserts that the "place of interment" was "Panteón Civil Incineración previo el permiso correspondienta", translated by Morrison's source as, "Mausoleum of Civil Incineration prior to suitable permission". (Incidentally, if the reference were literally to the place of interment rather than the cremation itself, it would only make sense if it indicated, rather than a specific place, generally that place of interment was subject to the wishes of next of kin, as Mary is mentioned in the certificate as widow, along with the Cashes as parents of the deceased. "Interment", therefore, in this context, has to refer to the place at which the corpse was actually cremated, not where the ashes would ultimately be buried.) It is conceivable, however, that the proper translation is "subject to suitable permission". But the certificate was prepared at 4:00 p.m. on July 3, at least 24 hours after Mary's consent to the cremation; thus, the latter translation or its equivalent would make little sense. The former translation would also make little sense, of course, especially in light of the bald admission, unless it so happened that "suitable permission" was irrelevant in light of the assent of high government officials of both Mexico and the United States.

But here we should also pay attention to the facts that both Mary and Josephus Daniels had telegrammed Cash's parents the previous afternoon of July 2, Mary's at 3:40 p.m. and Daniels' with no time manifest, indicating that cremation had occurred before Cash's parents had telegrammed their insistence that cremation not take place. Mary stated to Morrison in 1966 that in fact she had received the Cashes' telegram before cremation. Such then leads to a definite logical dilemma: If the death certificate is accurate and cremation occurred "prior to suitable permission", then such indicates that it was prior even to Mary's consent given after the Cashes' insistence otherwise. Thus, by the afternoon of July 2, were Daniels and Mary actually placing a best face on a usurpation of authority by the Mexico City police acting either on their own or in concert with other Mexican government officials to effect the cremation--and before any "suitable permission" had been obtained from Mary? Or was it performed, as Mary contended in 1966, merely at the suggestion of Daniels? Was the lack of "suitable permission" merely a reference to Mary's then stateless predicament because of the lack of a proper passport? But if so, why not make brief mention of that problem in the official death certificate, viz., "prior to suitable permission because decedent's widow is without passport"? No such reference appears.

In 1965, though the original investigating officer was still living, the Mexico City police refused the American Embassy's request to cooperate with Morrison to the extent of at least providing a copy of the police report, something which in the United States would be routine with the consent of next of kin or at the request of a lawyer representing next of kin. In short, to the knowledge of anyone who has ever investigated and publicly commented on the matter, neither the police report nor the coroner's records have ever been examined by anyone in or associated with the United States, either medically or legally trained or not. As the Hospital Juárez, where the autopsy was performed, wound up a tragic pile of rubble in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, it is not known whether the autopsy records still exist.

Regardless, on July 2, 1941, the Mexico City police, said Mary, "took some convincing" by her that Cash's story of being followed by Nazis was "only hallucination". (Maury, p. 12)

And so, primarily relying on Mary's story, the police concluded that Cash had a mental break and committed suicide. The United States Consulate in Mexico and Ambassador Daniels then concluded that Cash committed suicide based on the Mexico City police report. Then Professor Morrison concluded from the same sources in the mid-Sixties that the matter was suicide and then sought to explain it as such. The remaining conclusions by scholars on suicide have followed entirely from that background, largely relying on the assumptions made by Morrison. Some form of cursory autopsy was presumably performed (but even this is not known to be fact) but neither any member of the Cash family, Mary, nor either of Cash's biographers has ever had the novel experience of clapping eyes on any such report.

The more recent biographer, Professor Clayton, candidly and quite accurately states, "Anything said about the cause of Cash's death is only speculation." (Clayton, p. 189) But armed with no more from which to work, Professor Clayton also appears left with only a 1941 suicide conclusion and an attempt then to explain why Cash committed suicide based on the usual suspects.

Professor Clayton, incidentally, speculates at limited but greater length than Morrison that Cash was suffering from delirium tremens. (Clayton p. 191) Mary stated that neither of them had been able to consume much of anything, including alcohol, during most of their three weeks in Mexico. She says that "[e]ven the excellent beer did not taste right" to Cash. (Maury, p. 10) Morrison, with a less cold trail from which to work in the Sixties, debunked readily the considerable myth that Cash had a serious drinking problem. Cash's personal physician, Morrison tells us, confided to him that Cash did not have any drinking problem. (Morrison, p 145-146) This statement was made after the deaths of both of Cash's parents and thus there was no reason to make this statement just out of kindness; he could have rested on the physician-patient privilege and simply declined to speak to Morrison. Instead, he stated what he apparently truly believed as Cash's doctor. Morrison moreover tells us correctly that delirium tremens typically transpires during a period of three days, not over the course of three weeks, as it would necessarily have to have occurred in this instance. (Morrison, p. 146) And indeed, all of Cash's close relatives confirm this notion, indicating only that Cash had a problem hiding the effects of even slight alcohol consumption. And that probably accounts for rumors--malicious or innocent--that he had some drinking "problem". It is highly unlikely that the plethora of cogent, considered writing within the pages of The Mind of the South, the American Mercury, and the Charlotte News, could have been accomplished over the course of a decade from within some alcoholic haze. Moreover, common experience indicates that alcoholics will in no wise be deterred from "a taste" by the fact that the alcohol does "not taste right"; likewise, even so, the mails and wires did run between North Carolina and Mexico and so how hard would it have been for Cash to wire one of his buddies at the News to send him some "busthead" if absence of potable liquor was a problem for him?

It is an unreasonable leap to suggest that Cash was suffering from delirium tremens on June 30-July 1, 1941. There is simply no evidence to suggest alcoholism; so one cannot get to the delusional state associated with withdrawal from alcoholic toxicity. (It is unknown, incidentally, what the source is of Professor Clayton's assertion that Cash was consuming "hard liquor, much of it bootleg" during the last year of his life. (Clayton, p. 191) Whatever the source, it is of doubtful validity and completely unsupported by Mary or anyone else close to Cash; indeed, bootleg liquor had largely disappeared, as in most places, from the North Carolina landscape ("The Real McCoys" and "Thunder Road" notwithstanding) after the end of Prohibition in 1933.) Again, with due respect to the feeling of flailing in fifty year old darkness, these well-meaning attempts by Professor Clayton are simply the frustrated effort to explain an otherwise inexplicable suicide.

And that is the "evidence" for suicide. A journalist who has written a widely critically acclaimed book on the South and who has a Guggenheim Fellowship from it to have a year in Mexico to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing a novel on the South, delivers a cogent, thoughtful, and largely extemporized address at the University of Texas four weeks earlier, suddenly has a mental break within the course of 24 hours, delusionally claims to his wife that he has been followed by Nazis who wish to kill him in a place where, as we shall see, real Nazi spies and agent-provacateurs and saboteurs exist in greater numbers than anywhere in the world at the time outside of Germany itself and were there, though in diminished financial straits, through the summer of 1941--and then and there this suddenly cracked brilliant man "went stumbling into eternity" by gathering up his feet under him while hanging himself with his own necktie strung from a flimsy hook on a bathroom door, leaving no note and using no prop. It would likely not stand up in a United States coroner's inquest, at least not without a thoroughgoing incontestably valid coroner's report based on a complete autopsy. Yet, Cash remains indubitably labeled a suicide to this day, nearly 60 years later, after questionably authorized cremation of the only forensic evidence within less than 24 hours after his death.

Is it for want of another reasonably acceptable conclusion having been placed on the table of history that suicide is presented as the only valid option? Probably. Cash obviously died either by suicide or by the hand of another. So if by another, then who and why? No one has offered very much to answer those questions. The Wake Forest Student , in its November, 1959 issue, primarily concerned over the alleged fact that Cash's feet were touching the floor when he was found, asserted that he may have been murdered because of his superbly schooled intuition which enabled him to "predict", almost with clairvoyant accuracy, on numerous occasions, the next Nazi movements in Europe, or, the worthy student of history hypothecated, it could have been his probing statements penetrating the Klan mindset and excoriating them and lynching from his earliest formal writing in the late Twenties through the writing of The Mind of the South. Cash's parents and siblings believed the truth to lie somewhere in these two explanations. But most find these explanations, standing on their own, to be riddled with improbability. Why Cash and not others?

At least one other Southern author--Clarence Cason--had perished by his own hand in 1935 in the waning days before publication of his courageous and controversial book criticising the South, 90 Degrees in the Shade. But that was due to his misgivings about how the book would be received among his colleagues on the faculty at the University of Alabama. (Morrison, pp. 161-163; Mind of the South, pp. 326, 338) Cash obviously had no such concerns now in July, five months after publication and almost universal critical acceptance of the book. Indeed, Morrison dismisses this sort of speculation as a non-starter. (Morrison, pp. 142-144)

Morrison, himself, early in his research correspondence, expressed doubt on the suicide premise, especially after being told in 1964 by John Daly, one of Cash's colleagues on The Charlotte News, that Josephus Daniels had personally spoken to Daly about the matter prior to Daniels' death in 1948 and had expressed doubt himself of the suicide theory, that he felt indeed Nazi spies may have killed Cash. Morrison followed on the murder trail a short distance but got nowhere. He asked the Associated Press reporter who Mary had summoned to aid her on the afternoon of July 1, and who was the only other U.S. citizen to see Cash's body hanging by the hook at the Reforma, to detail the death scene; the reporter, by 1964 still working for the A.P. but in Washington, having been initially generally forthcoming in a letter to Morrison on the matter, balked when Morrison asked for specifics and asked politely to be left alone. (Correspondence in Morrison Papers, August 11, 19, 20, 1964; Morrison interview notes with John A. Daly, August 18, 1964)

So, without a witness or a likely scenario for murder, Morrison, as nearly everyone else, was left with but one conclusion. And that has been pretty much the state of things for 57 years.

But, at this point--perhaps, for the first time in 57 years--you are asked to suspend disbelief in murder as a possibility for awhile. Throw away the old worn preconception of suicide. Sit in the box of jurisprudence for once in this matter and view the evidence from an objective viewpoint, filtered through the lenses of time and history. Your author grew up in North Carolina, has spent nearly twenty years as a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, and parts of the last seven years investigating the death of W. J. Cash; while what follows will have some advocacy inevitably in it, just as do, however unwittingly, the suicide theories, every effort is being made here to stick "just to the facts ma'am" and leave the thinking and the conclusions to you, the reader--but with a far fuller picture of the times and the circumstances then existing at this death than has ever before been brought forth in the context of W. J. Cash.

Let us look then at the murder scenario with the advantage of a "new" set of facts, not speculation, most of which have been independently known for decades, but never linked to Cash, even though some of these facts transpired within a few hours of his death and lead inexorably to other major events occurring on the world stage in the months preceding and following his death. For brevity and ease of digestion, the principal facts appear below in a list, together with the source of the information. Further analysis of these facts follows.

(If you have not already done so, you may wish to take a few minutes at this point to read and digest the short article by Mary Cash Maury from the 1967 Red Clay Reader, "The Suicide of W.J. Cash", available at this site. (Link below) As you read, pay close attention to the type of phraseology used by Mary. Remember that Mary was a book reviewer at one point in her life, sometimes writing during the late Thirties under a pen name, "Tillie Eulenspiegel", (from the Richard Strauss tone poem on a German clown, "Till Eulenspiegel", who played merry pranks and generated such confusion among the populace that he was finally hung for his endeavors). And Mary even wrote an unpublished novel sometime in the latter Forties. Read her article with the question in mind: Is she hiding something from us, just below the surface? If so, is her purpose to deceive or is she doing so in order to guard herself from something while hoping ultimately not to deceive? Pay close attention to such phrasing as: "The mysterious vegetables I dubiously threw into a pot with a few bones, and the brew turned into a delicious Everlasting Soup that was added to but never grew less" (p. 10); "Our neighborhood, deserted at night, was patrolled by policemen who signaled one another (for reassurance, we thought) by whistling in a minor key eerie little scalp-prickling tunes on what sounded like reed pipes" (p. 10); "We did climb pantingly up to the Palace under trees that awed us, past old stone gods being eyed by small still people whose lids never blinked. . ." (p.10); "I called him The Terrible Turk, Wild Bill Hickok, Joan of Arc" (p. 10); "And so I read to him of there being a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die: a time to kill and a time to heal. He fell asleep listening to the mighty rhythms" (pp. 10-11) [Remember, in this particular context, that during the same year Mary wrote this article for the The Red Clay Reader, 1966, the Byrds had a radio hit of the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" by Pete Seeger, the lyrics of which embody these very lines from Ecclesiastes, and remember also that Cash called the backward sentimentalist small town Southern mentality "Cloud-Cuckoo Town" in The Mind of the South, a phrase he culled from the Aristophanes political farce, "The Birds"--and then do not neglect to recall that the Byrds' first hit, in 1965, was Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man"]; "While I was brushing up on Spanish grammar and vocabulary I would hear a peck, another peck, then a jangled chord of pecks as the keys jammed when he speeded up . . ." [Emphasis supplied.] (p. 10); "His was the only brown-wren gown on the platform . . ." (p. 9) "I was wearing a red hat so had to crouch down on the floor of the cab because it made too good a target" (p. 11); "The hotel manager standing in the van of what I recall as a horde of silent people . . ." (p. 11); "I think their wisest and most charming gesture was to seat me among the orchestra musicians--in plain view and therefore invisible--at the Embassy reception for the global diplomatic corps and Mexican officialdom . . ." (p. 12); "He first called the plush then-new Reforma, where Cash had approved the barber shop . . ." (p. 11); "With its gaudy rosettes and inordinately fancy script it looked like my idea of a diploma from a barber college" (p. 12); "I only know for certain that he never, in any conscious sense, intended to commit suicide" [Emphasis supplied.] (p. 13). Furthermore, as you read, ask why Mary did not make her call to the Associated Press offices from the lobby of the Geneve rather than leaving the hotel, knowing, according to her uncorroborated story, that her husband was extremely upset at the time--so emergently so that she felt compelled to summon outside help. Ask why it was that on the way to the Geneve, to accommodate Cash's "delusions" of being followed by Nazis, she crouched down to the floor in the cab, according to her, to avoid being "a target", rather than simply taking off her hat. Ask why Ambassador Daniels' account of the matter, written on July 7, 1941, indicating, "[Mary] said that after the beginning of Germany's invasion of Russia [Cash] walked the floor and talked of nothing else and bemoaned the fact that he had no paper in which to express himself," is directly contrary to what Mary told Professor Morrison in the mid-Sixties and Cash's family in 1941--that Cash saw the June 22 invasion of Russia hopefully, believed it would hasten the U.S. entry to the war (as indeed active Congressional debate was stimulated throughout the days and weeks following the invasion and was widely reported as such at that time) and thus hasten the end of the Nazis (which dovetails the message he delivered at the beginning and ending of his commencement address four weeks earlier) and that his "delirious state" lasted only for 24 hours preceding his death, not for over a week as Daniels contemporaneously reported that Mary stated. (Southern Prophet, pp. 134, 146) Ask how such glaring inconsistencies could develop out of mere misunderstanding by Daniels when both Ambassador and Mrs. Daniels took care of Mary and spoke to her several times during a four day period following the death and when the Daniels report was written only two days after Mary's departure from Mexico City. Bear in mind also that Mary fundamentally dissembled, by her own later admission, to Cash's parents on two occasions, first, when she claimed to them not to have received until after the cremation the telegram from them insisting that the body not be cremated, (Clayton, p. 187; manuscript of Mary Maury, "The Suicide of W. J. Cash, p. 21, Morrison Papers), and second, when she told them that the doctors in Mexico had stated that Cash had a brain tumor which they believed may have precipitated his suicide. (Morrison, p. 137) Read her story therefore with a descrying eye, not judging her, for she may have had valid and appropriate reasons, as we shall see, for making up all or part of her story. But read the scenario she paints critically, examining the nuances of her expression and the unevenness of her style--more literary when discussing the June 30-July 1 scenario and its aftermath, and more matter-of-fact, when discussing the events leading up to that time. Then determine for yourself whether Mary's account has about it the complete ring of truth. We shall return to the issue of Mary's probable motives for dissembling--which should become fairly obvious. But for our immediate purposes, we need not dispute Mary and we shall assume that all she says is true.) 

Go to "The Suicide of W. J. Cash", by Mary Cash Maury
(Maury article has return jump-link to this point at bottom of article)


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Having laid forth these curious additional facts, brought forth for the first time in relation to Cash's death, let us now proceed to deal with them and in some organized way weave them into a fabric, paying close attention to matters unresolved or completely inexplicable by historians.


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When Congress investigated the debacle of Pearl Harbor and why the United States forces were so caught off guard, it concluded that the non-receipt of "East Wind Rain" was of little or no importance as had it been received, it would have added little to what we already knew through our intelligence organs--in other words, it would not have told us where the attack would occur, or even precisely when, only that some attack might be imminent somewhere. But was Congress correct in this assumption?

Was "East Wind Rain" and its "weather report" communication simply a diversion? Was the actual message finally to be communicated in some other manner? Did the message "East Wind Rain" have stocked within it the full import of the attack at Pearl Harbor to those able and equipped to fully decipher it? Was the initial communication on November 28-29, 1941 in fact not just the preliminary message communicating the contingency code for preparing for war with the United States but, cloaked with a code for other contingencies, war with Great Britain or the Soviet Union, the actual communication itself?

Before proceeding to look at those questions, let us examine a crucial communication occurring on November 27, 1941 between Kumaichi Yamamoto, chief of the American Bureau of the Japanese Embassy and one of two principal Japanese Ambassadors to the U.S., Saburo Kurusu. The telephone call was in a pre-arranged code disguising the discussion in innocuous language about marriage and expecting a child. During the report on how talks were going with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Kurusu made the following curious statement: "As before, that southern matter--that south, SOUTH--southward matter, is having considerable effect." To this, Yamamoto responded, "Oh, the south matter? It's effective?" And Kurusu replied, "Yes, and at one time, the matrimonial question seemed as if it would be settled. But--well, of course, there are other matters involved, too, but--that was it--that was the monkey wrench. How do things look there? Does it seem as if a child might be born?" Yamamoto succinctly replied, "Yes, the birth of a child seems imminent." He went on to say that the child would likely be a boy. These statements appear to have meant in the context of the "hidden word" code that aggressive action was immediately in the works. (Source: At Dawn We Slept, pp. 399-400) (Kumaichi Yamamoto, incidentally, the party to the above conversation, should not be confused with Admiral Yamamoto who planned and led the Pearl Harbor attack.)

Professor Prange concludes in At Dawn We Slept that the "south" matter of which Kurusu speaks is merely a slip of the tongue from the coded language into the literal for a moment, making reference to the preparations for the initially diversionary southward movement of the Japanese Fleet into Indochina and the Dutch East Indies, and that the "monkey wrench" was therefore these preparations. (Ibid.) But this bit of speculation by Professor Prange to explain the otherwise seemingly inexplicable does not seem well-taken in the context of an elaborate construction of a diversionary word code being used over known insecure telephone lines between a Washington-based Japanese embassy and Tokyo. Indeed, why have a code at all if a party to it will "accidentally" lapse into literal usage during the communication? It would be more logical to assume that "south" refers to something in a more cryptic fashion than literally the preparations of southward movement of the Fleet. So then what?

Also, in his analysis of this conversation, Professor Prange assumes that the discussion of marriage is merely incidental. He does not appear to be aware that the Japanese had spoken earlier, quite publicly, in terms of marriage with regard to treaty commitments. In the June 22, 1941 New York Times, for instance, Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, author of the triplice between Germany, Japan, and Italy, promising mutual support if one of the nations is attacked by a "power not at presently involved in the European War", is quoted as follows:

"In the event of an attack on any of the parties to the triplice there arises the obligation for Japan to participate in the war. The Japanese Government would most carefully study the situation before it decided to enter, but the nation would never demean itself by resorting to subterfuge in order to evade its obligations. Even though Japan may have to stake her very existence on the issue, she would remain faithful to her obligations under the pact. . . Should the United States enter the war, for the sake of fidelity and the honor of the empire we will be forced to participate in it." [Emphasis supplied.]

(He then went on to say that the purpose of the triplice is to keep the United States out of the war and promote "peace on the terms of the Triple Alliance and thereby pave the way for a new world order". At the same time, the New York Times article pointed out that the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Act then prevented Japan from entering the Russo-German "tension" and if that tension led to war, that war would "postpone a decision [on neutrality toward Russia or fulfilling triplice commitments] pending demonstration of [the war's] effects on both Germany and Russia". It was no coincidence, of course, that Matsuoka was speaking these words to the American public through the Times on the very day of the German putsch into Russia, the point being to try to intimidate and coerce the United States to stay out of the fight.)

Thus, with the meaning of marriage more probably indicating treaty obligations to the Germans than the assumed progress of the ongoing talks with Cordell Hull in the above conversations between Yamamoto and Kurusu just ten days before Pearl Harbor, let us proceed with the analysis further. (Incidentally, many credible historians believe that the Japanese diplomats engaged in the Hull talks were not, as some posit, the innocent dupes of the Japanese government and were earnestly seeking peaceful alliance or neutrality in these talks, but were merely engaged in delibrate subterfuge, delay, and lulling to complacency, further making the way clear for the direct surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.)

Let us start with the notion, from the timing of the communique from Tokyo to the Japanese embassies on November 28-29, the two days immediately following the Kurusu-Yamamoto "south" remarks, that "East Wind Rain" connotes an attack on Pearl Harbor, not just a severance of diplomatic relations with the United States, as the communique of November 28-29 literally indicated. Let us also realize that the communication of the most crucial codes is usually a two-fold process: The first step is the cipher itself in some scrambled fashion of hidden words or mixed-up letters, etc.; and the second step is to disguise the meaning of the literal words, once translated from the cipher, with some symbolic language requiring pre-arranged or intuitive understanding of what the deciphered message actually means. Our intelligence resources were quite good at deciphering the codes out of step one. We had machines and cryptanalysts who expertly tore apart the German and Japanese scrambles on a regular basis. But when the second part of the coding process was utilized, the deciphering required something more than just technical knowledge of codes. Often it required knowledge of literature and mythology and an extraordinary intuitive ability to finally decipher the meaning of the deciphered language of the message.

To attempt to get inside the minds then of Japanese code-makers for a moment, let us look at Japanese mythology and the use therein of "pearls". We find that there are many such references in Japanese mythology, but one in particular is of interest here--the pearl as the "wish jewel" represented by "the pupil of a fish eye", or more refined in related Chinese mythology, the "moonlight pearl"as the eye of a whale. (Source: China and Japan: Myths and Legends, by Donald A. Mackenzie, Bracken Books, 1986, p. 218)

Whales can bring to mind readily in our own western literature either Moby Dick or the story of Jonah in the Bible. And, abracadabra, sure enough, when we examine the short chapter of Jonah, we find at verse 8 the following: "And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind: and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished to himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live." [Emphasis supplied.] And since Japan was then known as "the land of the rising sun"and bore the distinctive orange symbol of the rising sun on the Japanese Zeroes which ultimately attacked Pearl Harbor, we can pretty well calculate that usage of this particular Biblical passage might be seen as a good omen for battle by superstitious Japanese warriors tending anyway to place their faith in luck and symbols. (Remember in this regard the legend of the Japanese Kamikaze pilots in World War II who, knowing they were embarking on suicide dive missions, would drink sake and rejoice in the belief that they were soon to be joined with their god in Nirvana for their heroic, patriotic service to their country.) Let us assume for the moment then that the "east wind" part of the message is triggered by the phrase "Jonah"--or as we shall shortly understand, "Jonathan" or "south" or "3 times 3"--in lieu of the literal re-expression of "east wind". And let us assume further that this part of the message means that the Japanese Fleet has put to sea toward Pearl, to the east, perhaps, carrying the mixed metaphor further, to enter the belly of the whale, to capture the "jewel of desire", the Pearl, the eye of the whale, the American Fleet.

If so, then what about the "rain" portion of the message? Now, if we continue looking only at the Bible, we might be tempted to look at Genesis 7 and the story of Noah and the flood--and, indeed, the number sevens reiterated therein might suggest some use of that as coding for the ultimate date, December 7, the next seventh after the "East Wind Rain" message originally went out on November 28-29. In other words, the recipients of the message "East Wind Rain", or its re-translated equivalent, are told that the attack to be will occur on Decemner 7 by virtue of "rain".

But Genesis does not provide to us any cryptic reference which would suggest Pearl Harbor as a target. Jonah, as we have seen, does. But we need a cross-reference. Why? Well, that provides a cryptic reference, with predetermined alternative targets to choose from, which can then be cross-checked with a confirming cryptic reference within the coded words to provide the recipient confirmation of the information contained therein. That enables in time of war communication of the code to distant operatives without the necessity of also communicating the translator of the code and thereby risk having it intercepted and the code thereby figured out.

Historians often try in vain to look at O.N.I.-translated traffic and believe that they find the translator of the code and then ask how O.N.I. could have been so stupid to overlook something so obvious. But these historians overlook that, far from O.N.I. being stupid, it was simply aware of the art being practiced by the Japanese and German codemakers and that these translators were usually meaningless ruse. It only takes a moment's thought to realize that codemakers do not make up codes believing that no one will try to intercept them; otherwise why make up a code in the first place? Thus, codemakers do not then go about their task by simply providing the translator to the enemy after elaborating a code based on the translator. In other words, most, if not all, of the apparent translators intercepted were bogus red herrings designed to throw off and waste the time of U.S. and British codebreakers--a way, if you will of mesmerizing via "Magic".

So with that little bit of background on coding in mind, let us look elsewhere for a confirming reference on pearls from within the context of "East Wind Rain". Well, what other symbols were associated with the attack at Pearl Harbor? The actual attack signal given at 7:53 a.m. Hawaii time on December 7 was the now-familiar, "Tora! Tora! Tora!, "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!". This meant that the way was clear for attack and that the American Fleet had been caught offguard. (At Dawn We Slept, p. 504) Well, what part of the Bible, for instance, since we have already referred to it, refers to tigers--or their intimate relative in anthropomorphized marriage, lions? Ah yes, the book of Daniel and the familiar story of Daniel in the lion's den--a perfect analogy, really, as the British have historically had their animality referred to as "The Lion" and, after all, America was derived out of the British Empire. And if you read your history you will understand the historic relationship between Great Britain, the United States and the necessity of the "Open Door" policy with China and Japan's imperiaistic attempt to conquer China in the latter thirties. But why Daniel? We shall return to that.

But let us first factor in that mysterious "south, SOUTH, southward matter". There is a passage from The Mind of the South which reads as follows:

"In Raleigh Jonathan Daniels made the News and Observer equally liberal, at least on the economic and political side--sometimes waxing almost too uncritical in his eagerness to champion the underdog: surely a curious charge to bring against a Southern editor.

At Charlotte J.E. Dowd, one of the owners of the Charlotte News, took over the editorial reigns of that once stodgy journal and made of it one of the most lively, intelligent, and enterprising in Dixie. In 1937 this paper, through a member of its staff, Cameron Shipp, carried out the most uncompromising and thorough survey of local slum conditions ever carried out in a Southern town.

The Richmond News-Leader, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, and the Montgomery Advertiser--all already distinguished for intelligence--added steadily to their reputation for liberality in the decade. In Birmingham John Temple Graves II and Osborne Zuber made the Age-Herald and the News consistently tolerant. And in Atlanta the Constitution and the Journal at least acquired a more open-minded attitude than had formerly been theirs.

Just as important was the fact that many of the smaller newspapers were now getting more liberal and intelligent editing. One of the happy results of the depression, from the standpoint of the welfare of the old South, was that it had gone a long way toward halting the old exodus to the North of the talented young men with journalistic ambitions. The development of standardized daily journalism helped to that end, also. Unable to secure jobs in the East or Middle West, they were perforce driven into service at home, and carried their brains with them. They were far from free, even where they owned their own papers, and had to proceed against the prevailing prejudices with great caution; but in the course of time they gradually enlarged their latitude." (Mind of the South, Book III, Chapter 3, section 9, pp. 373-374]

And we know from history that the first ships struck at Pearl Harbor were the Raleigh and Utah, struck simultaneously just after the attack began. (At Dawn We Slept, p. 506) Professor Prange hypothesizes that the young Japanese submarine lieutenant mistakenly fired two torpedoes at the Utah which was considered an unworthy target for precious torpedoes; but as Raleigh was in the direct line of fire and was hit at the same time, it is just as logical to think that the actual target was Raleigh, and in line with the theory being propounded, was accomplished primarily for symbolic reasons of luck, furthering the notion of the Japanese militarists' fascination with superstition, especially in matters of battle. (The Raleigh, incidentally, was considered worthy enough target, perhaps because it contained 3,000 gallons of aviation fuel, that it was hit again from the air an hour after the first torpedo attack. (Prange, pp. 537-538)) So what about this reference to "In Raleigh Jonathan Daniels..." and "but in the course of time they gradually enlarged their latitude" within the pages of The Mind of the South? Preposterous, you say... Read further.

Now, let us get back to the Bible and the book of Daniel--chapter 12, verses 8-13, if you please. They say: "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? /And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end./ Many things shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand./ And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days./ Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. /But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Now, believe it or no, the next part of the analysis is simple arithmetic which adds the number of days between December 7, 1941 and August 1, 1945, inclusive, the latter being that which so happens to be the first scheduled date for dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, postponed fortuitously until August 6 by a typhoon hitting Japan. (Source: The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes, Simon & Schuster, 1986, p. 699)  

And, lo and behold, that magic number is precisely one day short of 1,335 days, the same number indicated in Daniel 12:12 as indicating the day of the blessing upon him who waits until that day, that is, the 1,335th. If you still don't believe me, add:

December 7-31, 1941 = 25 days, inclusive + 365 days (1942) + 365 days (1943) + 366 days (1944, leap year) + January 1-August 1, 1945, inclusive = 213 days = TOTAL = 1,334 days

Now, don't worry. This is not some lead-in to a proselytizing lecture on the thing, good as it is; rather it is to suggest that the United States Government at some point figured all of this out or at least got wind that Jonah and Daniel were involved somewhere in the mess--perhaps helped considerably in the effort by some astute intelligence officer at O.N.I.--kept it deeply secret and then used the code turned about on the Japanese warlords 1,334 days hence as a means of psychological warfare and as an extreme warning of the "bad luck" coming should they fail to surrender. Surrender, that is, and make it to the blessed 1,335th day. It is either that or it is indeed grounds for the next sermon by somebody interested in literal interpretations of the Bible. Take your pick.

And in so doing, let it not be forgotten that in giving the authorization to use the bomb, President Truman stated in a memo to Secretary of  War Stimson that it could be dropped "no sooner than August 2"--which, as we have just seen, so happens to be the 1335th day from December 7, 1941. (See Truman, David McCullough, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1992, plate 10 after p. 288 for photograph of memo.) The bomb had been ready for ten days; why this date and not one a little sooner or a little later? History remains mum for all practical reasoning. 

So-- Why Jonah and Daniel? Many reasons perhaps. Both involve perilous scrapes with dangerously large animals. Both animals have significance to Japanese mythology. Both animals represent good luck in this gestalt--the pearl fish eye fulfilling all desires, and the powerful lion or tiger: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" And, just perhaps, because part of the Japanese coding device was the use of The Mind of the South as that "south-SOUTH-southward matter" which was the "monkey wrench" designed to tighten down all the loose screws, so to speak. "At Raleigh Jonathan Daniels. . ."

And, of course, the verses of Daniel preceding the ones quoted above read: "Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river." (Daniel 12:5) And it goes on there... But maybe the point is here that there is this poem from medieval literature about a man who loses his daughter to a premature death and feels sorrowful and bitter about it; the man then goes to a river bank, falls asleep and has a dream in which he sees something precious in the grass by the river and then the precious thing rolls away as he reaches for it; it turns then into a vision of his daughter on the other side of the river as a happy maiden. The man awakens, reconciled to his daughter's death and believing that she is happy in paradise. The name of the poem, incidentally, derives from the precious object in the dream which turns into the daughter in paradise. It is called "The Pearl". Confirmation.

And, just for your thorough edification--for decades, long before the war, Hawaii has been referred to affectionately by the Americans living there as "Paradise".

(For your further edification, it should be noted that the child born of the adultery of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter, though not a boy, was named Pearl. And adultery may be viewed as the violation of an agreement of fidelity, a failure to remain faithful to a commitment.)

But let us back up a bit--though we know that the German and Japanese codemakers did, for ease, convenience, and minimalization of interceptible communication, use parts of books at times to communicate, why would the Japanese pick on this book--The Mind of the South? Maybe, there are several reasons. First, the author was dead and would not therefore become aware of any of the usage, but moreover, assuming that Nazi agents killed Cash in Mexico and got away with it, making it appear to all involved that it was a suicide, then what better superstitiously advantageous joke to play on the unsuspecting Americans than to use this book as part of the coding? Ditto for the use of the Bible. "In Raleigh Jonathan Daniels... but in the course of time they gradually enlarged their latitude." Jonah-tan-Daniel="East Wind Rain"=War by surprise attack--in the belly of the whale, in the lion's den, to obtain the jewel of desire, the eye of the whale, the Pearl, by visiting upon the Americans, as the sun rises over Pearl Harbor, the Tiger. "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

But, if all of that is pretty close to it, we still have not apparently found the "Rain" in "East Wind Rain" (unless of course it was simply afforded by the Noah story). But try this: "Rain" is communicated instead by its sound: "reign". Observe again this passage of Mind from the next paragraph after "In Raleigh Jonathan Daniels...": "At Charlotte J. E. Dowd, one of the owners of the Charlotte News, took over the editorial reigns of that once stodgy journal and made it one of the most lively, intelligent and enterprising in Dixie. In 1937 this paper, through a member of its staff, Cameron Shipp, carried out the most uncompromising and thorough surveys of local slum conditions ever carried out in a Southern town." You laugh. Hah, maybe, you are saying to yourself. What an absurd and ridiculous stretch. This is nutty. Well... Maybe, so, too, did I, once upon a time. But, you see, there was on the eve of Pearl Harbor, a Japanese Fleet heading south in the South China Sea in the early days of December--a diversionary tactic to take our attention away from the Fleet proceeding steadily east toward Pearl, and, as it turned out, an effective one. . .


  Go Back to Start of Evidence and Background
Go Back to Start of Facts Not Previously Linked to Death
Go Back to Missing Link on "East Wind Rain"  - Go to Start of Cash's Role

On December 2, 1941, the Navy Department sent the following message to Admiral Thomas C. Hart, Commander in Chief of the Asiatic Fleet:

"President directs that the following be done as soon as possible and within two days if possible after receipt of this despatch. Charter 3 small vessels to form a 'defensive information patrol'. Minimum requirements to establish identity as are command by a naval officer and to mount a small gun and 1 machine gun would suffice. Filipino crews may be employed with minimum number naval ratings to accomplish purpose which is to observe and report by radio Japanese movements in west China Sea and Gulf of Siam. One vessel to be stationed between Hainan and Hue one vessel off the Indo-China Coast between Camranh Bay and Cape St. Jacques and one vessel off Pointe de Camau. Use of Isabel authorized by president as one of the three but not other naval vessels. Report measures taken to carry out presidents views. At same time inform me what reconnaissance measures are being regularly performed at sea by both army and navy whether by air surface vessels or submarines and your opinion as to the effectiveness of these latter measures." (Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History, Gordon W. Prange, Penguin, 1986, p. 46)

Hart was not enthusiastic about the order as air reconnaissance was already going on and he felt the loss of the Isabel would be serious as it was one of the few fast ships available; he also felt it unlikely that two unchartered craft could be dispatched within two days as the directive indicated and that in any event the ships would be unable to see anything as pickets, as the Japanese would already have had the locations "marked down". Fulfilling the order was also complicated in his mind by the fact of rain squalls in the area. (Id., pp. 48-49) In other words, Hart thought this order an unnecessary eccentricity of Roosevelt and gave it low priority. Nevertheless, Hart sent the Isabel toward its indicated destination between Hainan and Hue. As soon as it reached within view of the Indochina coast on December 5, however, it was ordered to turn about and head back to Manila. The second ship, the Lanikai, was commissioned to go to Camranh Bay, but the attack on Pearl occurred before it could get past Corregidor. The third ship was never commissioned. (Id., pp. 49-50)

This rather inexplicable use of small craft by Roosevelt when air reconnaissance was already in use to scout the movements of the Japanese Fleet in the waters heading south has been explained as either simply Roosevelt's idle fascination with the utility of small naval craft from his days as assistant secretary of the Navy under Josephus Daniels in the Wilson Administration or, by revisionist historians, as an indication that Roosevelt was trying to use the little ships to draw fire from the Japanese and provoke an incident to bring the U.S. into the war. Some revisionists say that had Hart complied implicitly with the directive, war might have been averted as the ships may have drawn fire from the southward moving Task Force which would have then pre-empted the Pearl Harbor strike. Other revisionists cite the "three little ships" directive as proof that Roosevelt was aware of the imminence of the attack on Pearl Harbor and deliberately withheld forewarning so that no further isolationist pressure would be brought to bear to forestall our involvement in the war. But there may be something which the historians on all sides of this argument have overlooked involving neither the completely unsatisfactory sort of "boy with toys" "to see how they float" speculation advanced by Professor Prange nor the Roosevelt-as-sinister-opportunist theory nor the Hart-as-negligent-Admiral theory advanced by the numerous revisionists mentioned by Prange--whose theories Prange convincingly dismantles. (See Prange, Id., pp. 45-52)

Roosevelt's directive, remember, specified the use of one particular little ship, the Isabel. The locations to which each of the three would be sent were also specified--1) a point between Hainan and Hue, 2) between Camranh Bay and Cape St. Jacques, and 3) off Pointe de Camau. An examination of a map shows that these spots roughly coincide with the northern area, middle area and southern area of the South China Sea, immediately off the coast of Viet Nam. Thus, there is some sound sense in the notion that Roosevelt simply was reconnoitering the known southward movements of the (decoy) Japanese Task Force to see where it was headed. But, that does not explain the belief of Admiral Hart at the time that these little ships could not see anything in any event and that such reconnaissance could be better carried forth by aircraft. That is why Hart communicated his strong reservations about the order and then delayed implementation of the plan as much as possible, causing it to remain inchoate at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

So let us suppose that Roosevelt, in conjunction with O.N.I., was instead playing a bit of a cat-and-mouse game with the Japanese codemasters. Let us suppose that there was speculation afoot that indeed the passage above-referenced from The Mind of the South was in use by the Japanese as a communication device, but that its exact meaning was still unclear. So we have one named ship, Isabel--the little ship Is-a-bel. Then we have a second ship headed toward Camranh Bay. And a third to Pointe de Camau. And we go back to the passage earlier referenced: "At Charlotte J. E. Dowd, one of the owners of the Charlotte News, took over the editorial reigns of that once stodgy journal and made it one of the most lively, intelligent and enterprising in Dixie. In 1937 this paper, through a member of its staff, Cameron Shipp, carried out the most uncompromising and thorough surveys of local slum conditions ever carried out in a Southern town." [Emphasis supplied.] Cameron Shipp--little ship headed to Camranh Bay and to the southernmost tip of Indochina, Pte. de Camau; the little ship Is-a-bel, to Hainan and Hue. Reigns--Rain.

And, of course, we can add to this scenario that in 1937, the Panay incident occurred at which time the Japanese fired on a United States ship, the only such incident prior to Pearl, (and one which Cash regularly inveighed against at the time in the News).

Not only that--but if it is not too much of a stretch, we can go to the paragraph of the Mind of the South immediately preceding the one to which we earlier referred, starting with "In Raleigh, Jonathan Daniels..." and see mention of the Wagner-Van Nuys anti-lynching bill, (Mind of the South, p. 373)--and, as it turns out, the second little ship, to be sent to Camranh Bay, was the Lanikai. Taking out the "i", leaves a perfect rhyme between Lanikai and Van Nuys (perhaps connoting the "eyes of the vanguard" to prevent the lynching?). Nuts, you say again.

But when dealing with a foreign nation speaking a totally foreign tongue, given to syllabication of English, at a time when communication channels with Tokyo and between Tokyo and its own military captains were questionable, searching for a solution of any sort short of war was obviously the rational first objective, even if it meant resorting to seemingly childish and somewhat irrational word games between men trying desperately to say, "We are on to you. Don't try it." And in that, perhaps, there was the bluff being communicated that the United States was completely prepared at whatever strike target Japan had in mind and completely aware of the plan for strike--both when and where--even though, of course, nothing of the sort was the case. In other words, a game of poker with three little ships trying to discern, by how their very names and maproom pinpoints of destination were perceived by the Japanese, whether or not the codebreakers at O.N.I. were on the right track or whether they were wasting their time. Remember, that as these actions transpired half way around the world, Secretary of State Hull continued talks with the Japanese ambassadors--right up until the very eve of Pearl Harbor. Thus was afforded some direct eye contact and gauging of reaction as this game of bluff proceeded.

Thus, O.N.I. and British intelligence were perhaps simply listening for the wrong words and may have actually been lulled into complacency as a result. The key words were likely, "south, south, southern" or something like it--or perhaps something as simple as "3 times 3"--to indicate the attack on Pearl was nigh. Perhaps the code included references to Jonah and/or Daniel or simply "Jonathan Daniels" or even "Cameron Shipp". By the same token, it is also quite likely that there was some understanding of this possibility at O.N.I.: witness the "three little ships" and their planned activity. What was obviously not understood, however, was that the symbols pointed to Pearl Harbor rather than to the south in Indochina, the Dutch East Indies and the Phillipines--obviously a ploy of misdirection deliberately utilized by the Japanese to throw off the intelligence operations.

And if you are inclined to speculate why all of this elaboration, only then to speak over known insecure phone lines of the "south, south, southward matter", it is recommended that you take a break and look up a print of "The Conjuror", (a.k.a. "The Magician"), by Hieronymus Bosch, and consider.

Whatever the case, it is clear from history that the words "East Wind Rain" were not transmitted after the inital transmission of November 27-28, 1941. Why make up the code and then not use it in some manner to alert the embassies to destroy their code documents to avoid seizure?


  Go Back to Start of Evidence and Background
Go Back to Facts Not Previously Linked to Death
Go Back to Missing Link on "East Wind Rain" - Go Back to Start of Three Little Ships

Recognizing the facts presented above, let us now assume that Jonathan Daniels recruited Cash to help decipher intercepted messages, to decipher the literal words into their symbolic meaning. Why Cash? Read The Mind of the South and his articles contained at this site and the reason will become apparent. Not only did Cash have an extraordinary intuitive ability to understand the mindset of those bent on imposing their will on others, he also had a carefully reasoned animus firmly in place regarding the Nazis and the Japanese "warlords". He understood, of course, that the Japanese, as had been the Russians, were largely pawns in Hitler's game and their ultimate goals were regional domination and survival, not world domination as with Hitler. His educated guesses on Hitler's progressive moves from 1936 on were amazingly accurate. His writing had attracted attention far and wide. That Jonathan Daniels in Raleigh, as acting editor in chief of The News and Observer, would have noticed an editorialist on another major city newspaper in North Carolina is no coincidence. That Daniels therefore befriended Cash and sponsored him for the Guggenheim grant is no coincidence. Then we factor in the fact that Jonathan Daniels was the trusted son of the Ambassador to Mexico who was the trusted friend of the President of the United States and that Jonathan Daniels went to work as administrative assistant to President Roosevelt in 1943 and stayed until the President's death on April 12, 1945 and--voila. (From 1947 through 1953, Daniels served on the United Nations subcommittee devoted to the task of preventing discrimination against minorities throughout the world.)

If this is the case, that Jonathan Daniels as a trusted friend of the Administration was involved in helping the informal intelligence effort where needed and that Cash, having come to his attention quite naturally, presented himself as a helpful ally in this regard, then such might also explain why in fact John F. Kennedy was in Charlotte on February 8-9, 1941 and had been there on several occasions in 1939-1941. Yes, there may have been an ostensible reason or two--health, a friend to write his father's memoirs. But there were other places to go for health; likewise, there were other places to go to find a ghost writer for his father's memoirs. And neither of those reasons explain his presence there the weekend before Cash's book was to be published on Monday, February 10. So there also may have been another reason for his presence--to act as a trusted conduit--as the son of an ambassador and hence a friend of the Administration--for information to be translated as it were from its literal meaning to its symbolic meaning by another helpful friend of the Administration. This would also explain why Kennedy traveled to South America in 1940-41 and why he was considered immediately able to work at O.N.I. headquarters in Washington at age 24 when he joined the Navy in the summer of 1941.

If these matters begin to add up to a completed section of a puzzle, why was Cash a target for elimination in Mexico City on July 1, 1941? Let us start with the notion that the Nazi spy outpost in Mexico City, as indicated, was desperate on June 30-July 1. The personnel there were already suffering extreme financial pressure, unable even to pay hotel bills. Add to that the events of that weekend, the spy bust of 33 fellow spies in New York and New Jersey and it is not surprising that by July 7, they were shutting down their radio transmitter and destroying documents. Thus we have pinpointed a particularly unique moment in the entire war vis à vis Nazi operations in North America. It was right then that the news reached these operatives that their operations were ending and that they were in peril of arrest--and in peril of arrest without money with which to escape from Mexico back to Germany. Let us also realize that the Nazi spy network involved not just German and European citizens but also lifelong American citizens. Let us further realize, as Cash amply pointed out in his own writing in his last months, that the United States remained deeply divided over whether to remain out of the war or whether to enter. And among those who wanted to stay out, there was further division between those who felt that Nazism was "the wave of the future" and those who were simply conscientious pacifists not wanting the United States to engage in any war without a direct attack on this country.

Now let us turn to Cash's commencement address on June 2, 1941, four weeks prior to his death. The opening sentences refer to his reading of a novel about a destroyer named Delilah on the eve of United States involvement in World War I in April, 1917. Cash refers to this novel ostensibly to point out a "short, incidental" section on the Alamo. While the Alamo obviously has relevance to Texas, there was no need to bring up the Alamo from a three-page section of a novel not at all about Texas. Cash could have just as easily referred directly to the Alamo and started from there. "Having arrived here in Texas just yesterday, I was thinking today about your history and particularly the history of the Alamo . . ." or words to that effect. But he referred pointedly instead to a novel--not an obscure novel, of course, but a bestseller of the day. And if we go to this three-page section on the Alamo within Delilah, chapter 10, we find the following language:

"The facts regarding events even so recent, say, as the death of Roland of Roncesvalles have drifted and dusted away to leave behind only the bright aura of a fabulous boast. Therefore tower men must be selected for example whose feats are fresh enough to be examined in authentic record and detail... What men did in this tower, which was then the military key to the region in which it stands, is told in the records of the army that stormed it, in the testimony of the women who survived their men of the tower's crew, and in the reports of those who witnessed the fight from a distance. No boast or excuse from the tower men, themselves, remains. 'Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat. The Alamo had none.' " (Delilah, Marcus Goodrich, New York, 1941, p. 110, chapter 10)

Then the novel goes on for two and a half pages eloquently and memorably describing the battle at the Alamo. It is no surprise that this section beginning with a reference to Roland of Roncesvalles caught Cash's attention and imagination. On the opening page of the October, 1929 Mercury article "The Mind of the South", Cash wrote: "The lyncher, in his own sight, is a Roland or an Oliver, magnificently hurling down the glove in behalf of embattled Chastity." (American Mercury, October, 1929, p. 185; see article at this site) The character of Roland also appeared in Cash's book used in a similar fashion as in the article, e.g., "Lord Roland and the douzepers", "rodomantade", etc.

Roland was one of Charlemagne's commanders who was killed in the Pyrenees when the Basques cut off the rear guard of the French army returning from its invasion of Spain in 778. He was immortalized in the narrative poem, Chanson de Roland, and represented as one of the twelve peers of Charlemagne. In the poem, it is said that Roland's stepfather, Ganelon, abandoned Roland and his men at the pass at Roncesvalles, against the attacking Saracens. Roland refused until too late to blow his horn to summon aid as his men defended to their collective death Charlemagne's rear against the greatly outnumbering forces of the attackers. Roland fought valiantly to the end and was the last to be slain. Before death, he heard that Charlemagne was returning. Charlemagne, it is said, did return, defeated the attackers, and tried and executed Ganelon for his treason. (It is worth at this point reading or re-reading Cash's November, 1940 editorial from the News, "Sea Fight", and considering it in light of the Roland story.) Cash, at heart a romantic, was offended not by the story of Roland, but by the untoward intentions of some who perversely championed its boast.

For our purposes here, however, what becomes of greatest interest from this reference to the Alamo section of Delilah is not so much the three-page section itself, but what immediately precedes it in the previous ten pages of the book, especially the entire chapter number 9 of the book which consists of only four pages and is thus a quick read. It begins with the Captain of Delilah thinking to himself before a bowl of soup [all ellipses in original text, emphasis added]:

"'All right, I'll go in for the coal...but I won't intern!... Let 'em catch me, damn 'em, when they could...if they find me out of one of these Palawan bays like meat out of a crazy nutshell...and I'd like to see the whole Japanese Navy try to catch me at night!...They'll get me in the end, there's no doubt of they got the Emden finally... smash me to pieces in the bight of one of these God-forsaken headlands... No they won't!...not here, by God!...I'll work her into Japanese waters...and they'd never expect that...when they finally do get me, it'll be right on their own doorstep and I'll have my mark on their shipping and a couple of their coastal towns...' They might have put in their message, he felt, what the war was going to be about. He guessed it had something to do with the absurd religious dream of empire within which that tricky semi-savage people worked and strove. The message had said that the government feared war to be inevitable. This brought a bitter, almost ferocious expression to his face. He knew how heartily successive administrations had laughed at the possibility of war out here, and with what tolerant smiles they had repelled the admirals who had insisted that if they were to keep any part of the Navy out here at all, it should be adequately based and able to defend itself in just such an emergency as it now was called upon to face.

The Japanese Fleet, the message further informed him, already had put to sea. It already controlled by position the approaches to Manila Bay and the northern islands. It was waiting only for the first shot, the first word of war to put the control into effect. There was a Japanese cruiser squadron heading south, probably for Balabac Strait. 'To avoid being destroyed by this squadron, if a state of war ensues,' the message said, 'it is suggested you intern your vessel in nearest Dutch port of Borneo, coaling immediately at Sandakan against possibility of voyage involved'... 'Well, I won't!' was the decision he finally had come to in regard to the 'interning' part of the code message; and from this seed of decision, all the rest of his plan had risen before his mind's eye, risen like a hard, metallic, spiny plant, glittering, deadly but satisfying..." [Emphasis supplied.] (Delilah, pp. 99-100, chap. number 9)

The Captain of Delilah continues to muse, but we shall now skip over one page to find him,

" scornful bitterness that just a short distance away was Malampaya Sound, which only a few of the dollars that go into each administration sustaining political chicanery could turn into a naval base commodious enough to shelter and supply the whole United States Fleet...and there were still other adequate sites away south in Mindanao. The Navy had often thought of Malampaya Sound: deep, extensive, sheltered from all weathers, strategically located and capable of impregnable defence on all sides, it was perhaps the greatest natural naval base in existence. He could not help thinking, much as a person desperately pressed by poverty thinks how it would feel suddenly to find fifty dollars on the sidewalk, of the haven Malampaya Sound would have offered to him if he and his ship had been in the English or Japanese Navies and these islands had been developed by one or the other of those nations. The Americans did not even have a coal pile here. In a few hours more, he would need coal, too, and then he would have to risk going into English port to get it: There was no possible way for him to get more ammunition and torpedoes.. ."

"Every way his mind had turned through these last nights and days it had collided with the walls of the corner he was in. Every development, every turn of events, pressed him closer into the angle of his disastrous predicament. When he forcibly cleared his mind of this torture, it only was to make room for the spectacle of his men growing more desperate every day in their endless, fruitless searching ashore, under the oppression of the sterile brilliance in which they were immersed with their little ship full of fire and failing machinery. The men had begun to dart searching, stolidly fearful glances into their officers' faces as if the new expression they had at once sensed there was an omen that in some hidden way the very core of their universe was beginning to crack. This end of it, the men, he kept trying to reassure himself, he could do something about. When the time came, he would line them all up and give it to them straight. He felt, he knew that they would back into his corner with him and, shoulder to shoulder, face what he had in his mind to do, face it as uproariously, joyously as he once had caught them, backed against the front of a saloon in a Shanghai alley, facing with unrecreant fists the combined crews of a whole British squadron.

It was, however, when he turned from his crew to another element in his situation, what seemed to him the fundamental element of his situation, that he became most frantically aware of just how cornered he really was. He could face anything... maybe he could not, but he would try...if only his country really was behind him, if only it would not get him into these inexcusable, abominable corners: But his country was not behind him. Only those successive administrations of politicians were behind him. There they were, always in between him and the country itself, marauding little cliques of businessmen, untrained, with rare exception, in history and statecraft, calling themselves Republicans, Democrats or whatever else might be necessary, and encouraging, strengthening, through ignorance, blundering and idiot-optimism, those with whom sooner or later they would call upon him to fight. As he gazed down into the circle of creamy soup before him, he remembered what Woodbridge once had said at the end of a discussion regarding the way the country permitted its leaders to blunder into one economic panic after another. Woodbridge had said: 'A country always maintains as good a government as it deserves.' Suddenly, as this phrase writhed in his mind, the circle of soup seemed to widen and spread throughout the whole field of his vision. He saw only white, wild, creamy, ugly white, clotted with all the successive, compounded suggestions of his fate, a perverse fate in which the whole universe, even his country, was against him...'All right, All right.' He silently roared his defiant acquiescence. 'If it all sums up into the end of the ship, I'll end her!...But I'll end her right, by God!...End her right in the middle of Japan where everybody responsible for her situation can't miss getting an eyeful of their handiwork... that's the way I'll end her!... smashing the hell out of everything in sight...smashing...smashing as long as Cruck and I or somebody is left to press the trigger!'" [Emphasis supplied.] (Delilah, pp. 101-103, chap. number 9)

What is remarkable about this section of Delilah and would have immediately caught Cash's attention is that it appears to be plainly talking about the Japanese situation vis à vis the United States in 1940, not during the 1917 setting of the novel. Japan was our ally in World War I. Goodrich served in World War I and II; the story of Delilah is based on his actual experience aboard the U.S.S. Chauncey. He obviously knew what he was saying in these pages and that it made no sense in the context of World War I. It is furthermore noteworthy that immediately before the start of this chapter number 9, we find set off from the rest of the text a note to the Captain: " 'Drink this and you will enjoy the book more when you read it.' " (Delilah, p. 99, chapter 8)

Let us now assume that Cash began reading this section with emphasis, wondering why Goodrich would suddenly lapse into this seemingly present-day 1940 musing on the Japanese. Let us assume further that Cash, seeing Malampaya Sound mentioned three times pointedly and successively, decided to think about that and toy with it--to see what it meant. Malampaya Sound is a deep water sound in the Phillipines. But it is also interesting to note that "Malampaya Sound" has an interesting sound when you pronounce it--a similar sound to Mamala Bay; the sound of Malam-pay-a is Mamala Bay. Mamala Bay happens to be where Pearl Harbor is located in Hawaii.

So let us suppose that Cash decided--or Navy decoders in Washington decided and told Daniels who told Cash--that Delilah might afford a means of counterattacking and confusing and baiting the Nazis and Japanese. By January, 1941, the State Department became aware through a Peruvian agent that the Japanese were considering a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The State Department personnel who received it, however, dismissed it as improbable. (The Broken Seal, Ladislas Farago, p. 135) But as intelligence mounted in the spring--the map, for instance, found in March in the Nazi spy's hotel room showing in detail the location of the Fleet at Pearl Harbor and adjoining Hickam Field--the Administration undoubtedly became increasingly concerned about engagement with the Japanese as it knew that an invasion of Russia by the Nazis was nigh. They knew that following a Russian invasion, there was a risk of action by the Japanese because of the Triple Alliance. (Indeed, on July 10, the Japanese high command considered attacking the Soviet Union from the west to form a pincer with the Nazis.) Thus, the United States Government was bound to be looking for ways to ward off any such potential actions peacefully. Enter the Cash plan--or a plan utilizing Cash as the voluntary bait.

In order to get the Japanese to stay out of the war or enroll on the side of the allies, Cash mentions the Alamo section of Delilah at the beginning of a public speech in Austin, Texas on his way to Mexico City in the hope of baiting the known Nazi spy network in the United States and Mexico to tell the Japanese that it was possible that the United States Government was aware of the plans to attack Pearl Harbor. The last thing the United States wanted to see was for Japan to attack the Soviet Union as Germany did. It could mean, after all, the end of the war, as then the Nazis would control all of Europe and all of its materiels and would have a Pacific launching post for raids on the United States. World domination would seemingly be at hand. The hope might have been then to rely on the none-too-shrewd Nazi spies to fall for the bait and thereby head off any potential for an attack by the Japanese--at Pearl or elsewhere.

Then June 30-July 1 arrives, the Nazi spy network is in disarray--under arrest in New York City, fleeing in other places on the continent, shutting down, strapped for cash with which to flee, in Mexico City. Let us assume that the intelligence network of the Nazis was well aware of Cash because the United States had quite deliberately--with Cash's acquiescence--made them aware of him--again, casting him as voluntary bait. At this point, it is not hard to understand the motive of the Nazi spies in Mexico City for plotting to eliminate Cash, either because they have been led falsely to believe that he is a key part of United States intelligence and is some super spy who has single-handedly figured out that the Japanese are planning to attack Pearl Harbor and he is therefore killed to silence him. Or he is killed as a test to see whether his death would appear as important to the Government and so to determine how much, if anything, Cash might have communicated to the Government on the potential of an attack on Pearl or whether even his cryptic references were mere coincidence--something he innocently referenced without realizing it. (And, of course, it is possible that Cash did innocently stumble upon something being used by the Nazis and Japanese as a means of coded communication and this is primarily why he was killed.) Or Cash was killed as vengeance for the busts of the spies in New York--a form of warning to the Mexican and U.S. authorities that unless the spies in Mexico were allowed to leave peaceably, they would raise havoc in foreign countries throughout the world with Mexican and/or U.S. citizens as targets. A desperate act at a time of desperation for the spies in Mexico--either do something dramatic to enable egress to Germany or risk being arrested and spending 20 years in a Mexican or U.S. prison. (The Mexican operatives had wired Hamburg for two years that they were responsible for all kinds of sabotage in the U.S.--including train wrecks, forest fires, and exploded ships in harbors--most fanciful, but some factual.) Or some combination of these factors.

Indeed, in order to maintain a foothold in Mexico, there was in fact such a plan made within the Abwehr in fall, 1940--that is, if Mexico caused problems for the Nazi spy network, Mexican citizens in Germany would be harassed. (Game of Foxes, p. 309) The list of potential objects of harassment included a Mexican journalist, the idea being to accuse the person of espionage against Germany. The plan against the Mexican citizens in Germany, however, was abandoned because all of them either had diplomatic immunity or could not be reasonably labeled as suspects in espionage against Germany. (Id.)

But suppose, out of the desperation in which the Mexican spy operation found itself, as we have seen, on June 30-July 1, there was an alternate, similar plan placed into action--that is, harass a U.S. citizen in Mexico as warning to leave the Mexican Nazi spies alone and as repayment for the arrest of the spies in New York that weekend. When you consider that, it is really the only realistic option open to a bunch of broke Nazis in Mexico, 6,000 miles from the Fatherland, with the authorities moving in--or at least with that perception having been conveyed to them as we know it had been and was so being perceived. Find a subject to terrorize--and kill, if necessary--so as to serve as warning that they were serious and to serve as example of what would happen in other locations in Europe and South America--in short, anywhere in the world where Nazis had a foothold and Mexican or U.S. citizens were present--if the spies in Mexico were not allowed to close shop and leave without interference.

There was a perfect object of such terror in Mexico City at that time. He was not someone who enjoyed diplomatic immunity in Mexico. He was a person who had written accurately and virulently for years anti-Nazi and anti-militarist-Japanese editorials. He had just arrived in Mexico and no one much knew him in a personal sense such that they might readily sympathize with him. At the same time, this person was known to be completely sane and credible, such that his death under strange conditions would certainly be treated with seriousness and would garner the attention of U.S. Government officials, especially if indeed he was important to them. The message, in other words, would likely get through quite clearly to Washington. After all, it was known and publicized in numerous newspapers in March and April that this person was sponsored in part for his Guggenheim Fellowship by Jonathan Daniels, son of Mexican Ambassador Josephus Daniels. This person's name, of course, was W. J. Cash.

Well, take it for what you will. If suicide is implausible in any event, as all who have studied it in detail admit that it is, if the suicide scenario offered by Mary is improbable, as we have seen it is, if Cash's remains were cremated without good excuse against the will of his parents, as they were, if Cash's writing, Cash's acquaintanceship with Jonathan Daniels, and the Texas speech four weeks earlier each afford a reasonable connection, as they do, to the notion that Cash was involved in some informal way with American intelligence at a time when our Government perforce relied on private citizens for such support more than at any other time in our history, as it did, and finally, if subsequent known crucial events--the spy bust on June 28-29, the decision in Japan on July 2 (1, E.S.T.) to move forward aggressively--coincide with the pivotal date of Cash's death, July 1, if the events immediately preceding Pearl Harbor present uncanny ties to a page of text in The Mind of the South, and if, finally, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was first scheduled to occur precisely on the 1,334th day after "a vehement east wind" had blown against Pearl Harbor where the first ship torpedoed was the Raleigh--"In Raleigh Jonathan Daniels. . ."--well, you decide...

But remember, codes are not supposed to make smoothly rational good sense except to those who are aware of the code; otherwise, they become too easily figured out. And if one goes about trying long enough and hard enough to explain the code to those who haven't a clue, you are supposed to sound . . . well, delusional, paranoid--nuts.

There is more and your author could go on, I suspect, another 400 pages or more. I could tell you, for instance, about certain things in one of Cash's favorite novels, Don Quixote, and the little story therein about lack of fidelity or suspicions thereof, called the Ill-Advised Curiosity, at chapters 32 to 35 of Part I of the novel--. Then I could tell you that there are at least five things in common between that brief story and the story of Cash's last hours--and his supposed end--as related by Mary, things like the presence of a knife, a locked door, an escape from the locked door, spying to determine fidelity, and an abrupt, unexplained death. I could then tell you about a same numbered chapter--chapter 32--in Part II of Don Quixote and a quote therein which goes:

"Now it is an established fact that all or most famous knights-errant have some special gift, one that of being proof against enchantment, another that of being made of such invulnerable flesh that he can not be wounded, as was the famous Roland, one of the twelve peers of France, of whom it is related that he could not be wounded except in the sole of his left foot, and that it must be with the points of a stout pin and not with any other sort of weapon whatever; and so, when Bernardo del Carpio slew him at Roncesvalles, finding that he could not wound him with steel, he lifted him up from the ground in his arms and strangled him, calling to mind seasonably the death which Hercules inflicted on Antaeus, the fierce giant that they say was the son of Terra. I would infer from what I have mentioned that perhaps I may have some gift of this kind, not that of being invulnerable, because experience has many times proved to me that I am of tender flesh and not at all impenetrable; nor that of being proof against enchantment, for I have already seen myself thrust into a cage, in which all the world would not have been able to confine me except by force of enchantments. But as I delivered myself from that one, I am inclined to believe that there is no other that can hurt me; and so, these enchanters, seeing that they can not exert their vile craft against my person, revenge themselves on what I love most, and seek to rob me of life by maltreating that of Dulcinea in whom I live; and therefore I am convinced that when my squire carried my message to her, thy changed her into a common peasant girl, engaged in such a mean occupation as sifting wheat; I have already said, however, that that wheat was not red wheat, nor wheat at all, but grains of orient pearl." [Emphasis supplied.]

And we know about Russia and wheat . . . And we know about the so-called Sleeping Giant in 1941, the United States . . . And other things . . . But as your author does not wish you to think this nuts, it is time to stop. You have the essentials and, hopefully, have had your curiosity piqued enough to find out the rest for yourself to the extent you need, to become convinced one way or the other. It is likely quite obvious what your author believes. Yes, it is full of speculation, but, it is ventured, not nearly so much speculation as the theory necessarily accompanying the suicide scenario. Perhaps, therefore, next you hear someone say with certainty that W. J. Cash, author of The Mind of the South, committed suicide, you will get them to pause, consult this site, and add at least a footnote on the matter. Perhaps, one day some moot court may be constructed to better test it all. In the meantime, we have only the "authority of our imagination" with which to work on either side of the matter.

One final note which I earlier promised--the motive of Mary to dissemble. That is simple. She is simply told by Josephus Daniels that they have no means of knowing what happened and to close the thing off with question marks at that time leaves open the probability that embarrassing matters for the Mexican Government vis à vis Nazi activities in Mexico might be revealed to the United States public and potentially cause some sort of hysterical reaction, especially at that time with entry into the war being debated in Congress, potentially leading to our immediate involvement in the war and potentially causing Mexico to wind up on the side of the Nazis. And, indeed, lurking in the background may have been legitimate concern for U.S. and Mexican citizens and diplomatic personnel in other countries throughout the world--that to open the can of worms and bring on inevitable prosecution against Nazi spies for murder could cause backlash in other places, especially if the arrests in New York had already precipitated a murder in Mexico City. Message received. Pardon the inevitable pun, but it is not made facetiously: The spies had no cash with which to escape Mexico on the usual form of bribes to Mexican officialdom; but they did have, you see, Cash--and, as it were, Cash had currency. Thus, easier and better to keep quiet and not take unnecessary risks. Cremate his remains and go home.

Remember, in this regard, that indeed the Nazi spies in Mexico did make a clean getaway back to Europe. Rekowski was transferred by the Abwehr to Croatia. (Game of Foxes, pp. 446, 455-458) No arrests were made as in New York City despite equal amounts, if not greater amounts, of sabotage and spying activity, having been spawned from Mexico City. (Game of Foxes, pp. 305-311) And it might be again a stretch, but Ambassador Daniels stated in his July 7 report on Cash's death that Cash "hung himself with his cravat in a room in the Reforma". (Morrison, p. 134) "Cravat", of course, is a word properly meaning necktie, but it is also a word owing its etymological origins to the word "Croat", as Croatian mercenaries in the French army in the middle 17th century wore kerchiefs about their necks.

And if this is the scenario, or something like it, such a decision to cover it up was probably correct at that time.

But why not reveal the thing after the war? For one, it would have been kind of hard for Mary to have gone to Cash's parents after the war and tell them she had lied about their son's death and that he was in fact probably murdered by Nazis. Even though the Cashes were understanding people and would likely have completely accepted such a series of events as reasonable, Mary had only known them a short time and could not be certain of that. The Cashes by then were in their early seventies and Mary might reasonably have decided that it would be too upsetting for them to get back into it over four years later. In her worst moments, she could have believed that she might wind up being investigated for some complicity in the death of Cash--on which there is no statute of limitations. She may have feared the absence of support for her story. Josephus Daniels died in 1948. Franklin Roosevelt died just before the end of the war, on April 12, 1945. She could not have feared Nazis after April, 1945--Adolph Hitler ended by blasting out his own brains on April 30, 1945, Walpurgis Night, the German witches' sabbath. But Mary may have feared some sort of unprotected reprisal by J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I., who in those days, as we know, jealously protected secrets--especially embarrassing ones to the Bureau--whether there was any rational reason to do so or not. Hoover lasted until May 2, 1972 (believe it or not, Cash's birthday). Mary died on September 9, 1980. Why did she not confide in anyone before her death, you may ask? Well, perhaps, you never know. . . It is suggested to the non-believers that you re-read her Red Clay Reader article again, slowly.

Why did Cash choose the Geneve that day? Why did he choose the Reforma? Mary tells us that of the former Cash believed it to be free of Nazis. Of the latter, she surmises that it was because he had the previous week received a nice Faustian haircut forming a "widow's peak" at the barber shop there. (Morrison, p. 126; Maury, p. 11) And then she received her passage out of Mexico on a State Department document "cooked up" through Daniels which looked to her like a "diploma from a barber college". Now, there is a Barber's Point at Pearl Harbor and one took the Clipper to get to Europe. Go figure.

Josephus Daniels, incidentally, retired as Ambassador to Mexico in October, 1941 at age 79, citing the ill health of his wife, Addie, as the reason. (Small-d Democrat, Morrison)

* * *

"The facts regarding events even so recent, say, as the death of Roland of Roncesvalles have drifted and dusted away to leave behind only the bright aura of a fabulous boast. Therefore tower men must be selected for example whose feats are fresh enough to be examined in authentic record and detail... What men did in this tower, which was then the military key to the region in which it stands, is told in the records of the army that stormed it, in the testimony of the women who survived their men of the tower's crew, and in the reports of those who witnessed the fight from a distance. No boast or excuse from the tower men, themselves, remains. 'Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat. The Alamo had none.' "

* * *

"Totalitarianism is apparently sweeping over the world. It certainly swept over Europe and is at present threatening the United States. Well, there are people who tell you that it's an irresistible wave, men and women in the United States who say that the only rational thing for us to do is to give up quietly, that we are seeing the decay and death of an order of civilization. Well, for my part, I shall not believe that till I see it proved. I shall remember the history of the Alamo and of my country, and believe that it will survive."

© Copyright 1998 by W.J. Cash: Quandaries of the Mind. All rights reserved.

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