The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 15, 1941



Site Ed. Note: "Lifeline" follows up, in more mundane terms, on the poignant and poetic "Sea Fight", November 14, 1940, an editorial which was chiefly responsible for Cash's Pulitzer nomination in 1941.

Good Reason

These Witnesses Have Cause To Hope They're Right

Jean Fontenoy, propaganda chief for the group in Paris which calls itself the National Popular Reassembly, tells American newspapermen that the Nazis are sure to win. America, he maintains, is not likely to come into the war, and even if she does the Nazis will still win. Hence, he goes on sweetly and reasonably, it is necessary for France to play along with the Nazis.

It is the same sort of gabble that Laval and a good many other Frenchmen talk. But it is worthless as evidence, for it proceeds quite simply from wish-thinking. All these men are men who have played the Nazi game all along--men who took part in the great betrayal of France, and who now want to enjoy the fruits of that betrayal.

More than that, their necks, or at least their liberty, are at stake. If England wins the French republic will unquestionably be restored, and if that happens Pierre Laval and a number of others may expect to be executed. And the best Fontenoy and his pals in the NPR--simply a fancy name for French Nazi party--can hope for is long prison sentences.

So these gentry busy themselves among other things with trying to convince American newspapermen--and their readers--that the Nazis really are invincible and that the best thing to do is not to try to aid Britain.

About Face

Robert Decides Against the Use of Force, After All

Robert Rice Reynolds grows more conservative. Or maybe it is merely a question of whose foot the boot is on.

Wednesday he reminded the Senate, sorrowfully and chidingly, that in January 1940 he introduced a resolution calling for the acquisition of Martinique from France as a payment on her World War debt. The Senate, it appears, referred the resolution to the State Department with a request for advice. And the State Department, as Robert also noted sorrowfully and chidingly, never came through with an answer.

One understands why. Old Mr. Hull is no man to have patience with foolish questions. And the answer Robert Rice Reynolds well knew already: France would not hear of any such transfer, still won't. And to attempt even to enter into negotiations about it would simply have strained relations between the two countries.

But Robert complains that the nation wouldn't heed his clairvoyance and that now Mr. Hitler has control of France and so of Martinique, and that the only way we can get the island is by force. And at that he shakes his head. No, it won't do. That would create "an embarrassing situation."

But, though he did not say so in the resolution, in January 1940, Robert was not standing back on the prospect of using force. He explicitly said over and over on the Senate floor that we ought to acquire not only Martinique but all French and British possessions in this hemisphere--by negotiation if we could, by force if necessary.

A Warning

Friend of Labor Points To Growth of Monopoly

The record of Thurman Wesley Arnold, Assistant Attorney General of the United States in charge of the enforcement of the anti-trust laws, shows clearly that he is a very active friend of the labor union cause. His "Folklore of Capitalism" made Old Guard labor-baiters everywhere purple in the face.

It is therefore interesting to find Mr. Arnold saying that under a recent decision of the Supreme Court some unions are undoubtedly guilty of violating the Sherman Act. And going on to argue that "a small segment of labor" is engaged in monopolistic practices and that "enormous costs are passed on to consumers for the necessities of life." Chief offenders, he says, are to be found in the building trades.

Nor is this all. Among the things which he lists as leaving unions open to prosecution on anti-trust charges are these:

Exclusion of efficient methods of prefabricated materials from building construction.

The refusal of unions to allow small independent firms to remain in business.

"The make work" system, by which, says Mr. Arnold, unions "require the hiring of unnecessary labor for the purposes of excluding others from the field."

All these practices are obviously indefensible, and when men like Mr. Arnold begin to point to them, it is time for Labor to begin to turn its attention to cleaning house. It affords perfect material for the labor-baiters who want to destroy unionism altogether.

The Lifeline

If Germans Tell Truth, Willkie Is Borne Out

It would be a little rash to take full stock in the German claim of destroying a whole British convoy in the Atlantic with warships (apparently surface vessels). In November the High Command claimed that a pocket battleship had destroyed the whole convoy escorted by the celebrated Jervis Bay. But it quickly developed that all of the 37 vessels, with the exception of five, had got away completely and ultimately reached England. Many of them have been seen in American harbors since.

But the story may be true. The Germans have been hammering at this theme of convoy destruction ever since Wendell Willkie returned from England. Perhaps they hope to turn to their own advantage his testimony about the British fear of having the lifeline to America cut--to persuade us that the thing has already gone so far that attempts to aid Britain will be fruitless and dangerous. And to get that over they need the evidence rather than the mere unsupported word of Dr. Goebbels.

They seem to be out to get it at any cost. But if they are telling the truth, if they actually can do what they say, then the danger of which Mr. Willkie warns is already at hand.

If German surface vessels can operate with such success in the Atlantic, Britain has had to scatter her naval forces to the point that she no longer really controls that sea. And we ourselves are faced with the choice between leaving her to her fate or accepting Mr. Willkie's advice and giving her the destroyers necessary to regain mastery. Unless the convoys can pass safely to England, all talk of aiding her is so much wishing.


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