The Charlotte News

Sunday, March 26, 1939



Gold and a Voyage

We wouldna been a bit happy on the Manhattan that last crossing. Maybe, come to think of it, we'd have just stayed in Southampton and waited for the next boat. For all the way across we'd have been thinking about that freighter which a month or two ago sent out an SOS from the South Atlantic and Vanished in mystery.

There was $56,000,000 in gold in the hold of the Manhattan--the largest portion of the $92,000,000 which English and French citizens dispatched to this country for safekeeping last week. That's a lot of gold--$56,000,000 worth. Nearly as much as Lord Hitler got in his raid on Czechoslovakia week before last. And Lord Hitler needs gold badly, oh, very badly. And before now, both he and his sidekick, Mussolini, have shown that they will balk at nothing including piracy on the high seas, to carry out their purposes.

Fantastic? Oh, very. But Lord Hitler and Lord Mussolini are fantastic people. And plainly the gold-shippers had candidly and cagily taken the possibility into account in choosing an American ship. So we shouldn't have slept very well on the voyage, might have gone too often to the bar--with our head full of visions of nameless, unmarked ships slipping out of the dark to strip and sink the ship, and slipping back into mystery long before the navy could come to rescue or revenge us.

Yup, we'd have stayed in Southampton.

The Wrong Scapegoat

Last week, after two months on the matter of impeaching Madam Perkins for failing summarily to deport Harry Bridges, the Australian-born West Coast labor leader, the House Judiciary Committee finally emerged with the news that it was unanimously agreed that there was no ground at all. But the ten Republicans on the committee nevertheless got in a stroke for the Grand Old Party by solidly announcing that Madam deserved "condemnation and censure" for having "profoundly shaken the confidence of the people" in the enforcement of the immigration laws.

A shabbier piece of partisan politics it would be hard to imagine. If anybody deserved "condemnation and censure," it was the Hon. Thomas of New Jersey, father of the impeachment resolution, for having plainly sought to use a process intended only for the most high and awful crimes to the ends of venting personal and partisan spite, and undermining the Bill of Rights by setting up the doctrine that an alien has no rights under it.

But as for Madam (no favorite of ours)--all that Madam has done in this case is to insist on knowing what the law is before attempting to act under it, and on respecting Bridges' rights. The statute involved was written as against anarchists, and the lower courts have thoroughly disagreed as to whether it can be made to apply to Communists. Madam, quite rightly, has chosen to wait for the Supreme Court to decide that question in a case now pending before it. Moreover, it has never been proven that Bridges is a Communist. Until that is proven, the law would apply in no case.

An astonishing and brazen proposition--that respect for the law and the Bill of Rights has "greatly shaken the confidence of the people!"

Hot Tip for Mr. Dies

Bob Reynolds' New Magazine, Vindicator, Well Worth Looking Into

We never thought we'd get around to it, but here we are with a nice little tip for the Dies Committee--supposing that it is actually interested in turning up un-American activities rather than in smearing certain chosen victims.

It concerns the "Vindicator", supposed to be the official organ of the curious new patriotic association sponsored by Robert Rice Reynolds. We have been looking at that sheet closely, and from that survey we emerge with the following pieces of information:

1--That no name of a publisher or an editor or anyone to assume responsibility is given;

2--That it makes only relatively slight noises about the dangers of Nazism and Fascism in this country, by inference actually defending that German-American Bund meeting in New York City;

3--That it devotes most of its space to two propositions: (a) that we are in imminent danger of a Communist revolution, and (b) that the aliens in the country are responsible for that and for all our other woes, real or imaginary, and that to head them off it is necessary to deprive them of the protection of the Bill of Rights;

4--That its leading editorial, ostensibly a plea for peace, is actually an argument that (a) what Germany is doing and plans is none of our business, (b) that she is justified in it, and (c) that it is our own officials who are the cause of all the trouble between it and our country.

We make no charges--far from it. Still, we cannot avoid reflecting that if we were out (1) to serve the interests of Nazi Germany as against the democratic powers, and (2) to pave the way for Nazism in this country, we'd argue just like the "Vindicator" argues. Anyhow, it wouldn't hurt to inquire into where the money for this sheet comes from, would it?

Appeasement's Chickens

Old Mr. Bumble's chickens all seem to be coming home at one swoop to roost on the doorstep at 10 Downing Street.

Russia has turned out to be vastly indifferent and cagey about the forming of an alliance. Rumania has shown her utter unwillingness to risk lining up with England and France by going ahead and signing a "trade pact" that makes her the virtual vassal of Germany--and that in the face of the fact that Hitler is already negotiating for "autonomy" for the Slovak and Hungarian minorities in Rumania. And now Poland is apparently going the same way, with the announcement of the chief official journal that she has no faith in declarations.

Nor can these countries be blamed for their stand. Russia has very good reason to believe that Bumble has all along sought her destruction, and that now he turns to her only through bitter necessity. And as for Poland and Rumania, they know very well that it became almost impossible to defend Mitteleuropa when the great Bohemian bastion was surrendered to Hitler at Munich. Furthermore, they have seen France and England deliberately betraying promises to defend Czechoslovakia twice in the last six months. Naturally, therefore, they have no faith in such promises for themselves.

The Munich Pact, in short, seems to accomplish as its final and great contribution to "peace in our time," just this: the virtual isolation of England and France before Hitler's power and demands.


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