The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 10, 1939


Site Ed. Note: For a deeper understanding of what Cash means in "Dubious Policy" by his reference to the "Athens of Aristophanes", see The Birds. Is Cash here subtly ascribing to the isolationist Senators the notion of residence taken up in Nephelococcygia? Banish the thought.


One Comfort

We Didn't Miss This Water Till The Well Went Dry

The County Commissioners yesterday afternoon received impressive evidence of the will of the people of Mecklenburg County to reopen their Library. A great stack of petitions, bearing nearly 7,000 names, was presented to the board requesting that a new election be called. Person after person from all parts of the county arose to speak and to testify to the preponderance of sentiment in their communities in favor of taxing themselves to restore this institution to life.

And it will be restored, never fear, though perhaps not so immediately as most of us would like. One good effect of the closing of the Library has been to demonstrate that beyond any question it is an essential function of the community.

While it was open for business, the people of the city and county took it for granted. But when closed--ah, they then perceived the consequences of their indifference and began to work mightily to make up for their neglect.

And though the community has experienced a Library-less interlude of which it is not at all proud, who can say that the hiatus has been entirely profitless? One thing at least it has adduced--that the Library has the warmest of friends and supporters, the lack of which in the past has left it exposed to the vagaries of the times and politics.

One Flaw

Life Does Not Always Imitate The Movies

Mr. Richard Gallogly and his bride have apparently been going to the movies.

You know the story. Handsome George Whatsit, the Man With the Suffering Face, who is a Victim of Society, is about to be carried off to the hoosegow for some crime that he may or may not have committed, but for which he is not responsible. But instead he decides to take it on the lam or to stage an escape with a pistol, handed him by the sweetly loyal little bride (or bride in heaven's eyes, anyhow). In any case he takes her along, and they have all sorts of thrilling and more or less romantic adventures, the tough cops forever on their trail with orders to shoot to kill.

Mr. Gallogly acted on that pattern yesterday. Mr. Gallogly, if you don't know, is a wealthy young Atlantan who killed a man in a "thrill hold-up," and who drew a life term in the Georgia penitentiary for that. But yesterday--yesterday Mr. Gallogly was on the way to the prison in the company of two guards, his mother, and his young bride of a few months. Then he outed with a pistol, forced the guards and his mother out, and went on--his bride with him.

There is only one flaw in that. Usually in the movies it all ends quite happily, with everything forgiven or at worst with no more than a year or so uncomfortable jail in front of Mr. Whatsit and nothing but a little period of waiting for the bride. But in the life it is not likely to end so for Mr. Gallogly--or his bride.

Dubious Policy

Can Congress Successfully Manage Foreign Affairs?

The effort of Senator Johnson of Colorado, to have Congress recess for three days so that "President Roosevelt would have his hands free to undertake the role of European peacemaker," is a reductio ad absurdum of a trend that has been manifesting itself for some time--an exceedingly dubious trend.

The President hasn't asked for this recess--doesn't want it, wants anything else, as is shown by the fact that it is the Administration forces which are lining up to beat the proposal. Hence, what it inevitably amounts to is an attempt to place him in such a spot that he will be forced to assume the role of "peacemaker."

There is no reason to doubt that Senator Johnson and his supporters in this move are sincere. Most of them, of course, are Anti-New Deal Democrats and Republicans, and so anxious to put the President on a spot on general principles. But most of them are also ardent advocates of keeping out of war, and so it would be a mistake to ascribe their action to merely partisan motives.

Nevertheless, look at the consequences inherent in this game. If the President, placed in this position, should still refuse to essay the role assigned to him, it would give Hitler a magnificent chance to start proclaiming that the President is the real warlock in the world, and that it is he who is responsible for the continuation of the European war. That would certainly be snatched up by Coughlin, Kuhn, Browder, Ham Fish & Co. in this country. And it is more than doubtful that the Anti-New Deal Democrats, the Republicans and the isolationists could resist the temptation to join in the clamor.

The President would be driven by terrific pressure toward acting on the basis of Hitler's suggestions. And against the strong unwillingness of England and France. For the moment he acted in the present circumstances, he would, willy-nilly, be in the position of blessing Hitler's proposals, accepting them as at least a reasonable basis for discussion, and then exerting the whole great power of the United States to force England and France to accept them as such. This move of non-interventionists, that is, would result in a gross act of intervention--and that in favor of our enemies and against her friends!

The whole case serves to point the danger of the policy we have been following. There has been much talk in recent years about the Executive's usurping the functions of the legislative branch--often with good reason. But Congress has itself been busily engaged in trying to take over the Executive function in foreign affairs.

There is no doubt that the Constitution meant for the prime making of foreign policy to be in the hands of the President, with Congress serving only in a consultative and advisory capacity. The power to make war itself is inevitably vested in the President through his explicit power as commander-in-chief of the army and navy. And the power of Congress to make or reject the final and formal declaration of war was intended simply as a check on that, so that no rash President would be tempted to rush into trouble headlong. Certainly, it was not intended that Congress should have the making a foreign policy.

For the men who drew up the Constitution were well-versed in international relations, and well aware of the fact that all human experience was against the notion that a deliberative body of several hundred men can safely be trusted with the control of such relations, which often require lightning decisions and which always require expert knowledge. So long ago as the Athens of Aristophanes, it was plain that the attempt could only work out as it is working out in the United States right now--to present the world a picture of internal division and indecision, and leave the world in doubt as precisely what may be expected from of the greatest good aggregations of power. And that, certainly, is no sound way toward peace.

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