The Charlotte News

Monday, February 3, 1941



Site Ed. Note: In "Private Life" we find the story of a young man so infected with superlative that we find it blushingly necessary to bow in the mere presence of the words describing his daring. Oh, where have they gone?

Quiet Man

Old Gene Holds His Peace As Burns' Return Is Refused

Soon as he came into office as Governor of Georgia for the third time, Old Gene Talmadge asked New Jersey for the extradition of Robert Elliott Burns--"I Am A Fugitive From A Georgia Chain Gang."

Governor Edison yesterday refused the request, and Old Gene took it very philosophically for one accustomed to brandishing swords on the slightest provocation. He snapped his red suspenders and observed: "Edison is Governor of New Jersey and I'm Governor of Georgia, and I guess he's trying to look after his business the best he can."

Truth is probably that Old Gene, who seems to have mellowed a little after the fashion of a crab apple, didn't mind. He had discharged his duty to the law--which holds that any man who has once been convicted of a hold-up must serve his sentence unless he is proved not guilty. On the other hand, Burns has steadfastly denied his guilt.

Since his escape he has lived as an exemplary citizen, plainly has learned his lesson even though he was guilty. Moreover, if he had made Georgia writhe he had also done it a service by directing attention to cruel and inhumane conditions on the chain gangs--which candid Georgians have since admitted to be true. And finally, it was perfectly certain that if Burns were returned and clapped on the gang again Georgia would immediately have a cause célébre on its hands--with Yankee South-baiters and all the professional humanitarians in full cry.

Time was when old Gene would have leaped at that like an old warhorse galloping to the battle he sniffs from afar. But caution seems to have grown with his mellowness. And Old Gene may well have reflected that right now Georgia was in an embarrassing position for such a fight--what with Mr. Richard Gallogly, the thrill slayer, just turned loose on the public again from the Georgia prison, in what was clearly a most scandalous piece of favoritism for rich and powerful people in Georgia.

Poor Bet

Weygand's Answer To Plea For Aid Was To Be Expected

The answer of General Weygand to General De Gaulle's plea that he again take up the fight for France, was a foregone conclusion.

Wishful thinkers have constantly deluded themselves with the idea that Weygand is likely to swing over to the British side at the first good opportunity. But the odds are that the British will have to have victory pretty well in the bag before he makes any such move--if he ever makes it. And it is by no means impossible that he may presently be found fighting on the Nazi side.

The General has made it amply clear that he means to stand with the Vichy Government of old Marshal Pétain. And the chance that Pétain might again swing France into the war by the side of Britain is very slight.

The Marshal was a defeatist in the last war and had to be forced to make his famous stand at Verdun. Moreover, he regards the Nazi destruction of the French Republic as far from an unmixed disaster. He is loyal to France, but only in the general sense.

Like Weygand--and most French officers, for that matter--he is a Catholic and a Royalist, a thorough-going authoritarian in his views. According to his lights, a small France with a Fascist regime much like that of Spain is greatly to be preferred to the republic in its greatest days.

The last thing he wants is to see the republic and democracy restored. And not to understand that is to misread the probabilities in connection with himself and Weygand.

Ford View

He Is Better When It Comes To Production Problems

Harry H. Bennett, personnel director of the Ford Motor Co., tells the War Department that Henry Ford is willing to make anything it wants without profit if other manufacturers will join him. And quotes Ford as saying:

"There ought not to be any quibbling about bidding on defense contracts. All companies ought to do what the Government wants them to do without profit. Nobody should make any profit on defense production, anyway. It's profit in the manufacture of war materials that causes war."

Which is a fine handsome statement. It does Mr. Ford credit. But it also casts light into his thought processes when he gets outside his field of production.

In point of fact, as he should know, few manufacturers can meet him on his own ground. Family-owned Ford Motor Co. may be so strong that he can stay in business without some margin of profit, but most companies, particularly the smaller cannot. More realistically would be the statement that profit should be held to low levels.

Even more unrealistic is Mr. Ford's diagnosis of the cause of war. Profits in the manufacture of war implements may have had something to do with the creation of the situation in Europe which made war inevitable. The evidence, indeed, suggests that it did have. But the assumption that it is the whole or even the primary cause is totally untenable when one examines the facts of history and of human nature. The causes of war are as complex as the mind of man.

This kind of explanation is not only untrue but dangerous, for it breeds confusion and suspicion in many minds.

Mr. Ford remains a great industrial production genius, but as an analyst of general social cases he is still as naive as in the Peace Ship days--as when he observed that "history is bunk."

Private Life

Which Shows How Gerald Nye Came To Be a Naval Expert

Senator Gerald P. Nye, of North Dakota, informs the Senate that he means to prove that we should be quite safe from invasion even though Nazi Germany whipped Britain and had a navy three times as big as ours.

You might not suspect, indeed, that Gerald P. Nye is a great naval expert if you looked in "Who's Who in America," for it says that Gerald graduated from a Wisconsin high school and was editor of the Griggs County, N.D., Sentinel-Courier when Governor Ladd thoughtfully appointed him to the Senate in 1925.

But that only goes to show that things are not what they seem, and overlooks the private life of Gerald P. Nye. The fact is that Gerald was born at Hortonville, Wis., which as everyone knows is a great metropolitan port on the Atlantic. Gerald grew up with ships and at a year and half ran away on a Chinese junk as vice-admiral. At four he penned a celebrated monograph showing that Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, who thought the safety of the United States depended on command of the sea, was suffering with dementia praecox and delusions of grandeur. And at six he destroyed the Spanish fleet at Manila and Santiago. You have heard, perhaps, that the honor belongs to other men, but that is a falsehood cooked up by the munitions trust which didn't and doesn't like Gerald for having demonstrated Mahan to be nuts.

But the really great feat in Gerald's career was achieved in the last war, when, single-handed and in a row boat he foiled all attempts of the German fleet to approach our shores. It was then that he fully established by practice what he had already proved in theory--that Captain-Admiral Mahan was in reality a fried egg and not a sailor at all.


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