The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 15, 1941


Site Ed. Note: Cash had the day before found out that his application for a Guggenheim Fellowship had been accepted and had announced to Editor J. E. Dowd therefore his intention to leave The News by late spring. (See Guggenheim Foundation letter to Cash of March 12, announcing grant, at The Rare Book Room of the Wake Forest University Library.) The award of the fellowship was special, placing Cash in the select company of Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green, and co-sponsor of Cash for the fellowship, Jonathan Daniels, as the only North Carolinans to have ever received the grant.

Dowd tried to talk Cash into staying and privately counseled him that he believed him to be making a great mistake. He in fact had so earnestly wanted Cash to stay on at The News that he had nixed him for an earlier recommendation for a Nieman Fellowship to write at Harvard. Nevertheless, Dowd demonstrated his ultimate good wishes and not at all grudging congratulations to Cash in the opening editorial of this date, "Recognition"--even if it did contain a little hidden, friendly jabbing which we will let you discern for yourself.

Dowd himself would not finish the war at The News but rather would join the uniformed reserves as lieutenant, junior grade by sometime in 1943 and take his leave from the newspaper for the duration.

This third Guggenheim Fellowship application of Cash had been submitted in October, 1940. The application read:

"I propose to write a novel, which is already in progress. Primarily, it will be the story of the character and development of a certain Andrew Bates, born the son of a wealthy cotton mill family in piedmont North Carolina in 1900, down until the outbreak of the second world war in 1939.

"Over and beyond that it will be also the story of his father and grandfather. And beyond that, again, the story of the rise of an industrial town in the South after the introduction of the idea of Progress after 1880.

"While the novel is being written I should like to live in Mexico City. The place has been chosen with an eye to both my journalistic future and my hopes for a career as a writer. It seems to me that Americans who deal in the printed word are going to have to pay a great deal more attention to Latin America in the future than has been the case in the past. And Mexico City seems to me to be the best place to get acquainted with it.

"The novel will run, I think, to about a hundred and fifty thousand words. I expect to complete it by January 1, 1942.

"I have published no fiction and have submitted none to a publisher. Nevertheless, I have always been, and remain, confident that my primary talent lies in that field. The Mind of the South, I am sure, is properly described as 'creative writing.' But I am well aware of the difference between social analysis and fiction. I believe I can do the latter better than the former. And I expect to have enough of the novel ready by the time the fellowship selection is made to offer proof of my belief."

Cash's second application submitted in 1936 had sought to spend a year in Nazi Germany, primarily in Berlin and Munich, writing a novel on the Old South, "as it was, rather than as the legend-mongers have made it out to be", centering on his archetypal "Old Irishman" of The Mind of the South based, he later told Knopf, on his great-great grandfather. He would write this novel while studying the culture of Germany. "I have a particular interest in the Nazi regime and movement as a historical phenomenon, and want an opportunity to observe it at close range," he told them.

Turned down in 1936, he had dismissed by 1940 the idea as impossible, given the international situation. In fact, therefore, he probably chose Mexico City--if he chose it--so that he could study more closely the Nazi mindset; Nazi spies were rumored to be there--and, of course, were in fact there and in substantial numbers.

Following months of urging by Ambassador Josephus Daniels and newly appointed U.S. anti-spy czar in Mexico, Gus Jones, (appointed May 27 just as Cash ended his duties at The News), Mexico finally enacted a "get-tough" policy toward the Nazi spies in November, 1941, but even then only gave it sloth-like action with arrests not coming until late February, 1942. At that time, 240 suspected spies, those who had not already fled by summer's end when Mexico closed the German consulates, were arrested. Only two were ever tried for espionage, however; none were convicted. All were deported back to Europe.

At the time, the regime of newly elected president, Avila Camacho, had been reporting since early 1941 that the Nazi spies were washed up in Mexico and had left the country. (See The Shadow War, by Leslie Rout and John Bratzel, 1986, pp. 71, 80, 85-86; and a series of articles on Mexico City by Raymond Clapper, April 18-23, 1941, positing "75-150" spies left, mainly in the provinces.)

The story goes that in the confusion of the day, adding to the excitement of the Guggenheim announcement on Friday the stress of his sister Bertie having an operation in Charlotte on Saturday--so much stress in fact that his brother-in-law, Charles, had to comfort him over beers at the Little Pep--Cash forgot to file his income tax return, in those days due on March 15. But, it was a Saturday, and as the rule has long been in place that weekends don't count for the doing of official acts, we have to wonder whether this small part of the story is a little stretched. Perhaps, whoever related it thought Cash had forgotten to file his return on Saturday, not realizing that everyone had until Monday. Perhaps, it was Cash himself who thought so. Or perhaps in those days, no day was wasted. According to a story in the Richmond Times Dispatch appearing on this date, taxes were indeed due. So perhaps so, Saturday or no. Well, better to be early than late with such things, anyway. As to the truth of this little leg of the taxing story, only the IRS knows for sure.

As to the Sulu warriors, they have continued in much the same way, seeking autonomy from the Philippines since the 1960's. There are now four autonomous regions for the Moros, established since 1990.

And as to whether Dowd confused "Zuluism" with the Sulu Moros, we haven't the slightest idea. But to our knowledge thus far, Cash never spoke in print, anyhow, of Zuluism. But, we remain willing and open to further enlightenment. We will be sure to highlight it for your edification, should we run across it some day.


In Cash, Guggenhiem Selects A Man of True Genius

For the moment it is necessary to come out from behind the impersonal, institutional "we" of editorial writing and tackle a subject in the first personal pronoun. The subject is Cash and the Guggenheim Fellowship awarded him.

Old Cash is a tremendously learned fellow. His mind is like an encyclopedia both in the extent and the orderliness of information it contains. He has read enormously, and in spite of reading rapidly remembers everything he has ever read.

Furthermore, the variety of this knowledge he carries around with him is astounding. It ranges all the way from Arts to Zuluism. With literature, history, economics, geography he has an intimate and understanding acquaintance, and he even knows something about law, medicine and the other sciences.

This storehouse of readily accessible knowledge is, as readers of The News have seen, a boon to any editorial writer. But being an editorial writer imposes, at the same time, limitations upon the style and themes of a writing man, and it is essentially a writing man that Cash is and was cut out for.

The Guggenheim Fellowship will enable him to undertake what I know he has always coveted--to study, to read, to write, and to specialize in great works such as his "Mind of the South" showed him to be marvelously fitted for. And while The News and I are going to miss him a very great deal, it consoles us to think that this is Cash's main chance, a rare reward for genius, and we all are happy in his good fortune.

-- J. E. Dowd,
Editor, The News

Stale Device

Dr. Goebbels Will Have To Think Up New Tricks

The effectiveness of Dr. Goebbels' propaganda methods is declining rapidly as time goes on.

Last Summer the Herr Doktor had a stage perfectly set for his purposes. The Nazi airmen flew over France at will, raided England not at will and not without paying a terrible price but with deadly destructiveness nonetheless. And it was too evident that England was in no position to retaliate effectively.

So Goebbels constantly entertained the world with reports designed to play on that situation. The Nazis, as he portrayed them, always carried out their raids to the fullest, leaving only ruins behind them, and with practically no losses. On the other hand the British always failed to do any damage other than killing a baby now and then. It was all designed to produce a kind of despair of frustration, did in the French and other people less stout than the British.

But nowadays when Dr. Gobbels assures us that the great raid on Hamburg Wednesday night did no damage beyond the destruction of two hospitals, the people of the democracies merely grin. The British reserve of bombers has now been replaced and it has long ago been proved that man for man and plane for plane the British air force is better than the German. Hamburg suffered, and Goebbels' cater-walling about hospitals is merely the evidence of his knowledge that from this time forward the Germans are going to increasingly find out what the kind of war they have made is like on the receiving end of the stick.

The Moro

Bad Actor of Philippines Is Again Making Trouble

The Moro, that chronic bad actor of the Philippines, is back in the news. Bands of outlaws have been waging a campaign of murder and rapine in Sulu Province.

It is reasonable to suspect the hand of Japan in this. It stirred up a Moro outbreak in 1916 when the two countries were on the verge of going to war.

The Moros are Mohammedan Malays who dwell in the southwestern portion of the Philippines, particularly the Sulu Archipelago and the islands of Mindanao and Palawan. They are large, handsome, warlike people and look with great contempt on the rest of the Filipinos.

Slavery and polygamy are among their religions. And they were long accustomed to practicing piracy against their neighbors. The Spaniards were never able to conquer them, and the United States has had its difficulties in keeping them conquered. It has tried to deal with them by giving them as much self-government as possible and carefully observing traditions and practices of their semi-feudal system. Even so, in 1911 Washington felt it necessary to order that all of them be disarmed.

That led to a revolt in 1913 which was put down only after they had been pursued into the mountain fastness of northern Jolo.

The present outbreak seems to be an attempt to go back to the habits of the old days when they regularly raided their neighbors to secure slaves and other goods.

Wage Tax?

Congress Turns Its Eyes Toward Unpopular Device

Jack Bell of the Associated Press reports that Congressional fiscal experts are considering the possibility of imposing a five per cent tax on the weekly pay of the nation's wage-earners. The tax will be deducted each week by the employer. And it is estimated that the measure would bring in $3,500,000,000 a year.

However, the President is said not to be warm toward the idea because of fear that the wage-earners would raise a terrible howl.

Probably they would. And, we are not advocating the scheme. This much, though, can be said: The money is going to have to be raised, and one way or another everybody will have to pay. The boast that we shall have both guns and butter may hold good for most of us, but there is a limit to how far that can be stretched. Certainly, sacrifices are ahead for everybody.

Whether the taxes come in the shape of direct levies or in disguised indirect shape, the result is going to be much the same. A dollar out of your pocket is a dollar out of your pocket, no matter what device is used to extract it.

Mixed Up

But It Is Clear That Strike Board Should Be Set Up

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday released testimony from Secretary Knox to the effect that concern over labor stoppages in national defense industries was "totally unwarranted."

"There have been some disturbances in the labor field," he said. "But measured in terms of men out of employment due to strikes it is negligible."

This is in direct contradiction to what Chairman Vinson of the House Naval Affairs Committee was declaring about the same time. Strikes since the beginning of the year, he said, had cost enough man hours to build 325 modern bombers. And 325 bombers are not negligible.

Whatever the fact up to now, however, there is no doubt at all that the rising wave of strikes will seriously hamper national defense and aid for Britain from here on out--if it is allowed to continue to grow.

Knudsen, Hillman and Madam Perkins yesterday agreed on some sort of plan for a Federal mediation board which they presented to the President for his decision. Details of the plan were not announced, though it was said that the powers contemplated were not as sweeping as has sometimes been suggested.

In any case, it is obvious that in this time the President was making up his mind and doing something in the field. He has all along had the power to set up a mediation board, and it is one of the wonders of his Administration that he has left the strike situation go on growing worse so long as he has.


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