The Charlotte News

Saturday, October 28, 1939


Not Interested

Lunatic Fringe Finds Few Converts In Mecklenburg

Though the Townsend Plan has lost a good deal of its shine, the country isn't yet through with "shortcuts to Utopia." Thirty-dollars-every-Thursday (Ham & Eggs) is still a thriving political issue out on the West Coast, and in Ohio they are going to have a referendum on $60-a-month.

Thursday night a man from Townsend Plan headquarters, from a way out yonder in Southern California, filled an engagement to speak to Charlotteans on the Plan. Made 'em a pretty good speech, too, by all accounts: leading off with the Constitution of the United States, suh, and finishing up with the declaration that it had to be $200 a month and not a cent less.

And how many people do you suppose turned out to hear him? Fifteen--count 'em--fifteen. Fourteen whites and one Negro. Ten men and five women. Twelve who looked to be old enough to qualify and three who had every hope of reaching old age in time.

The healthy skepticism of which the sparse attendance is a sign--call it conservatism if you will--is characteristic of this section of the country. Its people are used to working for a living, many of them with the soil that yields its fruits only in proportion as it is cultivated. And so all but a wistful few of them haven't even the curiosity to go to hear how abundance for all may be created with the single stroke of a pen.

Quebec Retorts

Not Only To Her Premier But To Lindbergh et Cie.

The overwhelming defeat of Premier Maurice Dupleiss of Quebec settles for good the question of whether or not Canada's entry into the war in Europe had the support of the Canadian people. Dupleiss himself was returned by a scant majority, but whereas he had previously controlled 71 out of the 86 seats in the provincial parliament he lost 67 of the total number to the opposing Liberals, (he himself is head of the National Unionists) and in addition five of his cabinet members were defeated.

The issue was squarely joined, for Dupleiss had called the election to register alleged French-Canadian resentment against "infringement" of Quebec's autonomy by the war measures of the Federal government at Ottawa. The French-Canadians showed a considerable hostility to Canada's participation in the last war, and there had been rumors that they were not only actively opposed to this one but actually in favor of Adolf Hitler.

All that is blown out the window.

One factor which perhaps played part in the result was French-Canadian resentment against what was felt to be efforts on the part of Lindbergh, Hugh Johnson, and other Americans to interfere in the domestic decisions of Canada. Dupleiss was ill-advised enough to allow his henchmen to make use of the Lindbergh speech as backing up his own arguments. The answer is plain enough for him, and that ought to be interesting to Lindbergh and all the other citizens of the United States who are silly enough to want us to try to play Hitler on this continent and in this hemisphere.


We Need It In Dealing With Browders, Kuhns

Mr. Earl Browder, Communist leader in this country at liberty on a $7,500 bond furnished by a society woman, is out with a statement charging that his prosecution on charges of obtaining a passport through false representations "is obviously a part and product of the manufactured war hysteria" and the surrender of liberals to men of the Martin Dies school under the influence of that hysteria.

Mr. Browder is, of course, always something less than unhysterical himself. Nevertheless, the possibility of truth in what he says should be taken into account. As to whether he is guilty of the charge against him we don't know. If he is, then he ought to go to jail like any other violator of the law and regardless of his charges of persecution. But if it is, the truth or untruth of those charges should be the sole question in determining his case.

At times such as this, there invariably appears a general impatience with free speech and a desire to "get" purveyors of unpopular doctrines like Browder or Fritz Kuhn, which enables such enemies of the Bill of Rights as Dies to get in their work more easily.

The bond set for Browder seems unnecessarily high. And the bond set for Kuhn by a New York judge recently--$50,000--is plainly ridiculous.

Rubbing It In

Russia Injures And Mocks Us All At One Time

At no time in modern history has the United States been treated so cavalierly as in Moscow this week.

The evidence gathers to cast very grave doubts on Germany's right to seize the City of Flint at all. Yesterday Dienst aus Deutschland, official German stooge journal, began to shout that the United States' claim that the Flint carried less than 50 per cent of contraband did not excuse her from seizure. And that comes pretty much to admitting that she did carry less. And to saying that Germany has a right to revise international law to suit herself.

Then Germany, having doubtfully seized the ship, carried it to a Russian port--almost certainly to allow time for the formation of the German submarine escort to bring her back to the North Sea, so that her captor, the pocket battleship, Deutschland, would not have to run the gauntlet of the British navy but could remain at sea as a raider.

Russia allowed the ship to enter and stay five days--by prearrangement, one suspects, and undoubtedly just long enough for the German submarines to come out of the North Sea and the Atlantic and form the escort. She explained the delay, which on the face of it far exceeded any reasonable length of time allowed by even the Hague Convention of 1907, (by which the United States is not bound), by claiming that the ship was unseaworthy. But she offered no proof whatever, and the Germans let the cat out of the bag by saying that what was wrong with her was that she had no charts for the North Sea, which she was not supposed to have! Her captor certainly did have.

Meantime, the American Ambassador having been suavely assured that the Russian Government would afford him every facility in the case, found himself thereafter unable to secure an audience, forced to cool his heels in an anteroom as though he were the representative of Esthonia. His attempt to get in touch with the American crew, with officials at Murmansk, with anybody who could confirm or deny the claim of the unseaworthiness of the ship, all were balked. And in the end--

Russia handed the ship over to Germany, leaving the American crew aboard (that American crew, you will observe, is very valuable in warding off an attack on the convoy by the British, since if any of them were hurt or killed in the action, Germany could insist that we hold the British responsible). Then, three hours before calling the American Minister, Russia announced the fact to the world through Tass, its stooge news agency. And when the American Minister protested, it told him blandly that not to have handed the ship to Germany would have been an "unneutral act"! Russia, as well as Germany, seems out to make her own definition of "neutrality."

This whole business is clearly a frame-up, and it amounts to an act of war against the United States on the part of both countries. Whatever claims Germany may have had when she carried the ship into Murmansk, had almost certainly been forfeited before she carried it out. And if so, she is engaged at the moment in an act of piracy, with the active collaboration of Russia.

What can we do about it, short of force? Several things. We can withdraw our minister from Moscow. We can go further and withdraw recognition to Russia, and so make it impossible for her to secure machines from us, her chief source of supply. Or, we could even seize Russian and German ships in our harbors and sell them off to the point of paying for the City of Flint.

In point of fact, we shall probably do nothing--and in this single case that is probably the best policy. An active move on our part now might have the effect of throwing Moscow fully into the arms of Berlin, of extending the war. And after the passage of the Neutrality Act, which now seems certain, it will no longer be possible for such cases to develop in European waters. However, it is to be borne in mind that they may very well develop elsewhere, for we are plainly dealing, not with civilized nations, but with thugs.

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