Thursday, October 14, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 14, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, after being bogged down by rain for several days, American and British troops of the Fifth Army on Tuesday night had crossed the Volturno River at several locations and established bridgeheads to its north. Forces northeast of the river flanking the German positions captured Guardia.

A Swedish newspaper reported that Field Marshal Albert Kesselring had been recalled as commander of the Nazi forces in Southern Italy because of a dispute with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander of the forces in Northern Italy. The fate of Kesselring and his replacement in Southern Italy were not provided.

Kesselring and Rommel had been involved in an ongoing petulant feud since the campaign in North Africa at which time Rommel, though outranked by Kesselring, refused to take orders from his superior. Kesselring, as a result, had been relieved of his command in Tunisia.

It seems that in the Reich, the insubordinate received promotion and favor while those incapable of preventing insubordination got the boot.

Hal Boyle reports of his inspection of a bombed and deliberately demolished airfield of the Nazis outside Naples at Capodichino, symbol of failed Nazi air defenses.

In Yugoslavia, Partisan forces turned back Germans seeking to take the industrial center at Turla, forcing a retreat toward Dohoj. Tito's headquarters reported that Italians of the Venezia Division, previously fighting with the Germans, were now fighting alongside the Partisans.

On the Russian front, the Red Army was menacing four cities, Kiev, Gomel, Zaporozhe, and Melitopol. They had already penetrated the latter city after breaching the German defenses on the Molochna River. The Army had gotten within two miles of Kiev, capital of the Ukraine and an important remaining Nazi hold, in German hands since September, 1941.

In the Pacific, a major assault on Rabaul, key harbor and airdrome installation of the Japanese on the island of New Britain, took place on Tuesday. It was the largest air raid yet in the Pacific war. General MacArthur, referencing Rabaul, was quoted as saying, "I think we have broken its back." Air Force commander Lt.-General George Kinney indicated his opinion that it was the turning point in the war in the Pacific.

On the editorial page, "A Correction" favors the new policy promoted to Congress by the President to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act which forbade immigration to the U.S. by Chinese. In light of the fact that the Chinese were fighting as Allies of the United States against Japan and had been fighting in China since mid-1937, longer than anyone had fought on any other battlefront in the war, it was only just that this anachronistic law, first enacted in the nineteenth century as a means to curb cheap labor competition with the Chinese in the U.S., be abandoned. It would send a positive message to the Chinese and the world that America's promotion of the Four Freedoms was not merely based on hollow words.

Raymond Clapper's piece of the day also favors the repeal, while reminding that it would not suddenly open the doors to unlimited Chinese immigration. The bill to repeal would only permit 195 Chinese immigrants per year. Its importance lay in its symbolic removal of discrimination, the Chinese being the only nationality explicitly excluded from the United States by law.

The move would complement the renunciation the previous year of extraterritorial rights in China by both Britain and the U.S., that is providing diplomatic immunity to citizens of the U.S. and Great Britain, making them not subject to Chinese law.

With the repeal, there would still remain, however, to complete the circle necessary to convince the Chinese of Western sincerity in renouncing empire interests and post-war desires of extraterritorial acquisition, the issue of Britain's continuing insistence to hold on to Hong Kong and other Chinese coastal possessions after the war, that is when those interests were liberated from the Japanese.

Madame Chiang had informed Mr. Clapper during his visit to China that China intended the return of these possessions. The resulting apparent disagreement with the British produced a dilemma yet to be resolved.

"An Opening" remarks on the statement of General Nathan Twining, future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President Eisenhower, that the Japanese air force was “on the ropes”, finds it, along with the recent American attack on Wake Island, to indicate complete air mastery of the South Pacific by the Allies. With it, predicts the piece, would come bold new ground operations enabled by this superior air support, forcing the Japanese to withdraw from whole areas of the Pacific, its outer ring of defenses. It could open the way thus to Allied attack on not just the fringe bases of the empire but on the key bases of the inner ring guarding the home islands.

"The Monitors" accuses Senators Allen Ellender of Louisiana and Gerald Nye of North Dakota of playing in Modern Times magpies by contesting the Administration on the extent of Lend-Lease aid to the Allies, seeking an investigation of its not being repaid properly by Britain, while excusing China, Russia, and the smaller nations from any remittance in kind. The Senators' view was short-sighted, says the piece. Lend-Lease had been saving American lives while supplying the Allies with equipment with which to undertake the brunt of the fighting. That, itself, was repayment enough, by Britain, as well as the others. Senators Nye and Ellender, isolationists before the war, were only reverting to advocacy of the same position which led to the war in the first instance.

Dorothy Thompson strikes a similar theme, suggesting Senator Ellender’s position as seeming to hearken a desire to have the United States compete with Britain for mastery of empire interests abroad the world. It overlooked two facts: Britain had a 200-year head start over the U.S. in this occupation of empire-building; Britain was a small island of limited resources while America had its own resources and consequently was not in the same need of empire. She reminds also that such empire quest was precisely what had produced the current world war.

Samuel Grafton finds the current wave of verbal attack on England by anti-Administration forces in the country a mere Afghanistanism hiding behind its true intent, to find a bogey on which to attack the Administration. The concept explained why, after all of the sacrifice by Britain evident in the war, it suddenly was the object of ruthless attack by anti-FDR forces, for its not having repaid Lend-Lease properly, for its supposedly selling those goods in private channels for a profit, for its not pressing the Burma campaign hard enough because the British really didn't want to fight in the Pacific war, for its supposed holding back of millions of reserves in England because they didn't really want to fight in Europe. So much had the anti-British rhetoric gained traction that anti-New Dealer Arthur Krock of The New York Times had written two pieces disclaiming any anti-British motive on the part of Administration critics.

So, concludes Mr. Grafton, it was not Perfidious Albion against which the critics were actually inveighing, but rather anti-British sentiment playing conveniently the role of stalking horse behind which the critics could find an approach to seek to derail a fourth term of the President.

Drew Pearson also examines the issue of Lend-Lease to Britain, but from the vantage point of Britain's benefits thereby in trade. He reveals purported secret negotiations between Britain and the State Department out of which Britain had sought concessions in trading rights in Latin America, the one sphere from which Britain had been theretofore excluded.

Lend-Lease concessions had been formulated in September, 1941 at which time Britain agreed not to ship overseas Lend-Lease goods or its own goods released into commercial trade by the goods obtained from Lend-Lease. But this agreement had been shortly thereafter suspended in favor of a system whereby Britain’s exports would be assessed case by case and Britain's own goods, including those released into commercial trade by Lend-Lease, could be shipped to any part of the Empire or to the Allies in the Eastern Hemisphere. The altered plan permitted therefore virtually unrestrained export trade by Britain throughout the world save Latin America. Now under consideration by the State Department were trade concessions there, too.

Was Mr. Pearson, bitterly attacked by FDR during the summer for his statement that Cordell Hull had been historically anti-Soviet in his stance toward Russia, merely playing the shill for anti-Administration forces by picking up more of the anti-British rhetoric in the same Afghanistanistic manner of which Sam Grafton accused Administration critics?

Mr. Pearson also tells of the selling, prior to Pearl Harbor, of a patent to Germany on ethyl lead, necessary for high octane gasoline production, necessary to fuel airplanes and U-boats. Both General Motors and Standard Oil, parent companies of the Ethyl Corporation which owned the patent, favored the sale in 1935 to the company's German subsidiary. But DuPont objected on the grounds that Germany wanted the patent to produce gasoline for military use and that Germany was engaged in dangerous military accession in Europe. The Army Air Corps, says Mr. Pearson, however, acceded to the desires of the Ethyl Corporation and allowed the sale to go forward on the premise that the patent was not secret anyway and that, even if it were, the sale would benefit the Ethyl Corporation because of its widespread property interests in Germany.

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