The Charlotte News
Thursday, October 26, 1939
Like A News Columnist, Robert Believes Everything
Back in the dark days of 1933, the late great rascal Ivar Krueger, Swedish match king, died in his Paris apartment. The story got around in smoking cars that his death, like much of his life, was a fraud, and that he had only changed his appearance, slipped off somewhere and was living on his ill-got gains.
Bob Reynolds, with no scintilla of evidence on which to go, fell for this tale so hard that he actually cross-examined a friend of Krueger's before the Senate Banking & Currency Committee. "Did you view the remains?" Robert shot at him in his best court-room style. The witness confessed that he hadn't viewed the remains. Bob looked triumphant.
In 1937, the nation's reviving prosperity was rudely interrupted by a sharp and unexplicable decline, which came to be called the "recession." Bob scented a deep-dyed plot by Business and the Interests (who had been waiting so long for prosperity) to gratify a grudge against the President and to ruin the nation. He came within an ace of introducing a resolution in the Senate to have the whole thing investigated.
Last week Bob snatched out of thin air and gave currency to a wild tale which even he admitted had a fantastic ring to it. Because Britain had not adduced documentary proof that the sinking of the Athenia was by a German U-boat, he declared that the weight of the circumstantial evidence lay against Russia.
What on earth difference that made in the neutrality argument, with Russia and Germany at least nominally hand-in-glove, we have spent the elapsed time trying to figure out. But this alone we have succeeded in establishing: that Bob, the Vindicator's columnist, is like Dotty Knox. He believes everything.
If Seized Ship Was Disabled It Is Easy To Establish It
The action of the Russian Government indicates pretty clearly that it is going to take the position that the City of Flint was "disabled," and that therefore the Germans were justified under international law in bringing it into the "neutral" port of Murmansk, the Russians justified in permitting it and in refusing to hand it over to the United States, handing it over to Germany instead.
Under those circumstances, the course of the United States ought to be clear enough. The embassy in Moscow should demand the right to inspect the ship at once and to interview the American crew. Demand, that is, absolute proof that the ship was in fact disabled.
In any case, there remains the requirement that a disabled ship must clear from the "neutral" port in a very short period--usually 24 hours--which has plainly been violated here. But, considering the established character of the Russian and Nazi Governments, there is every reason to believe that this is a mere frame-up, and that if they get away with it this time, it will be the regular custom hereafter--a means of allowing the Germans to transport seized cargoes overland through Russia instead of having to run the hazards of the British blockade.
The British Pay For That Washington Naval Treaty
Surface raids by German pocket battleships and fast cruisers are a much more serious threat to British shipping right now than the submarine. If the apparent exploit of one of them yesterday, and sinking four ships of the convoy off Gibraltar were often repeated, the British food supply might be greatly endangered.
All of which suggests several things. For one, the ghost of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the most ill-fated treaty ever entered into by man. Following our great moral leadership, the British were weak-minded enough not only to take a host of new and fast ships out to sea and sink them but also to enter into a long period of inactivity in building, which not even the news that Nazi Germany was building again could jar them out of. Instead as late as four years ago, they were still pretending in company with ourselves, that that treaty remained quite feasible and sane.
Today they are paying: find themselves with only three ships, the battle cruisers Hood, Repulse, and Renown, with speed enough to have any chance of catching the pocket battleships and gun power enough to destroy them if they did catch them--ships which are badly needed to guard the North Sea. Meantime our great moral leadership has retired into hiding under the sink.
Another thing is that the British naval command has so far shown up as much less daring and skillful in this war than the Germans. That may be due to the nature of the case--the fact that the British, in laying down their blockade, need to conserve their forces rather than engage in spectacular and dangerous feats. But another thing that occurs is that it may also be partly due to the fact that the naval command is loaded up with men appointed for all sorts of reasons other than ability--the sort of men who are the curse of every old establishment like the Admiralty and who nearly lost the British the last war. It is a lesson we should look at closely on our own account.
Red in Mufti
Presidential Candidate Calls Himself Nicholas Dozenberg
It's a miraculous world, mates. Now you take this Earl Browder, secretary of the Communist Party in the United States, its candidate for President in 1936 and Stalin's commission man in this territory.
Earl Browder is out on bail from the Federal indictment for getting a passport under a phoney name. That's a crime, duly set forth in the statutes, and its altogether in order that Comrade Browder should have to stand trial on the charge.
The natural satisfaction that something illegal has finally been penned on this missionary of a foreign and altogether distasteful ism, must be curtailed considerably by the manner in which it was found out. It was only through his testimony to the Dies Committee, where he was summoned, that his breach was disclosed, and it is a fundamental principle of American jurisprudence that a man may not be compelled to testify against himself.
Nor is that the half of it. If the candidate for the Presidency of the United States, no matter how obscure a candidate, can freely pass in and out of the country under an assumed name and with a fraudulent passport, the laxness of enforcement would seem to be virtually an invitation to commit the offense.
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