The Charlotte News
Friday, July 26, 1940
Site Ed. Note: And some say that editorial columns never get read, and if so, why who could recall such things? Certainly not Nazis.
Funk Illustrates His Point From a Column by Broun
Heywood Broun once wrote a column about the gold standard. It was a highly imaginative, fantastic sort of column.
All the nations of the world agreed to store their gold on a remote well-guarded island in the Pacific, and instead of shipping the bars back and forth across the ocean to each other, they would just wireless the guard on the island to move it from strong room to strong room, would make the proper entries on their books.
It worked fine and kept on working fine, even for years after the island and the gold and the guards all had been swallowed by one of the upheavals that take place in the Pacific. Nobody knew, you see, that all the gold had gone down to the bottom of the sea. They kept on trading in it.
Walther Funk, Adolf Hitler's Minister of Economics, must have read and remembered that column by Broun. For yesterday, speaking for effect to the foreign press, he said:
"If all the gold now accumulated in the United States were taken to some island and that island disappeared, world economy would not suffer."
Heywood's point was that as long as the world was unaware that the gold had vanished, it didn't matter. Funk, however, sets out by design to deprecate the value and usefulness of a monetary base of which Germany has almost none and the United States too much.
Facts, Not Trojan Horses, Explain These Doubts
The charge that "Fifth Column efforts" are being made to sabotage Red Cross drives for the aid of refugees in countries conquered by Hitler, is hard to understand.
The Fifth Column is by definition made up of Nazi sympathizers, and the last thing Adolf Hitler can possibly want is to cut off food relief from Frenchmen, Poles, Belgians, Dutchmen, Danes, and Norwegians. For hungry and homeless people are desperate people, and what Hitler needs now is order and acquiescence in the conquered countries, so as to have his hands free to deal with England.
The Red Cross insistence that Germany is seizing no part of Red Cross supplies or funds is bound to be accepted. Nevertheless, the fact does inescapably remain that the sending of the Red Cross supplies enables the release of supplies in the conquered countries for German use. Mr. Roosevelt's remark--that the Nazis have already slaughtered at least half of the food animals in Denmark to be transported to Germany to feed Germans--indicates that Adolf Hitler is technically attempting to make the American Red Cross take over the responsibility for feeding his conquered peoples.
In Poland, the thing has already gone further. There, virtually all the cattle have been driven out of the land into Germany. And even the servile little Nazi stooge newspapers which have sprung up in France are beginning to protest the requisitioning of French food supplies by the Nazis.
The case presents an appalling dilemma.
If the Red Cross supplies are poured into the conquered lands, Germany is aided indirectly. If they aren't poured in, the people of these countries will probably be left to starve by the infamous swine at the head of the infamous German state--so far at least as he dares before the threat of wholesale rebellion.
But the dilemma is a real one, and there is no use blinking at or laying the doubt and questioning of the American people in regard to it to Fifth Columns. Fifth Columns have nothing to do with it. It's Adolf's making.
How Latvia Arrived at A Voluntary Choice
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are now part of the Russian Soviet Union, so-called by an active "voluntary union." And Finland has agreed to mobilize her army, which means that it won't be long until Finland also disappears into the maw of the bear by such a "voluntary act."
How it is done is worth observing. Take the case of Latvia, as described in Washington by the Latvian Minister. On July 16 Russia formally charged Latvia and Estonia with forming a military alliance against her. It was on the ground that Finland had plotted to attack her that Russia launched her war against that country last year. The bear, you see, is a nervous animal and lives in terror that someday a rabbit is going to swallow him whole.
Accordingly, Latvia got an ultimatum. But Russia did not wait for an answer but marched her troops in at once. A puppet government was set up. Then the puppets called an election. It was a perfectly free election, understand. There was only one requirement. You had to vote. Anyhow if you didn't have the voting stamp on your passport you were likely to be treated as a saboteur and shot. And there was only one slate of candidates --the slate in favor of being swallowed up by Russia. But outside of that it was entirely free.
Thus, the great voluntary act of Latvia's absorption into the Soviet Union was accomplished.
If This Is Politics It Is a Complicated Plot
If politics is behind removal of Louis Johnson as Assistant Secretary of War and his replacement by Judge Robert Porter Patterson of New York, it is exceedingly obscure politics. Johnson is a Democrat from the border state of West Virginia, which is always doubtful and which is certain to be doubtful this year. More than that, he is a former commander of the American Legion, and in a campaign year when the primary emphasis is upon preparing for war, the Administration will be making a special effort to line up the Legion vote so far as possible.
More still, if Johnson got the job through Legion politics, he has turned out to be efficient in the discharge of his duties. Or, at any rate, he has been given credit for as much by some commentators who started out by disliking him.
Even General Hugh Johnson, who once wanted the post himself, has come around to praising him recently--though it is possible that that was because he had advance knowledge that the Administration was about to drop him.
Patterson, on the other hand, is a Republican from New York, where the President is unlikely to pick up any strength from Republicans. So far as the record now reveals, he has no other connections which are calculated to be of political use. The sole apparent reason for his selection seems to be that Secretary Stimson wanted him.
Whether the change is a wise one is another question. Johnson had the merit of knowing the job thoroughly. On the other hand, he has the reputation of being difficult to get along with. And Stimson has shown impatience of him ever since he took office. The new appointment has the merit of insuring harmony in the War Department. But it does not appear that Patterson has any great experience in the kind of job which will be his.
Evidently She Isn't Quite Certain About Britain
Readers of the news reports are aware that Mr. Virginio Gayda, Signor Mussolini's stooge editor, has been even more vociferous than the Nazi stooges in shouting that England will now be destroyed within a space, "not of the years of which Mr. Churchill speaks, not even of months or weeks, but of days and even hours."
Before now it has occurred to some observers to wonder if Mr. Gayda's loudness didn't conceal a little uncertainty about that.
Now comes pointed evidence, a good deal more conclusive than any suspicions. From Rome the Associated Press reports that Tuesday has now been made a meatless day for Italians. There were already three meatless days in each week.
More significant still, sharp rationing of bread served in restaurants has been ordered. Luxury restaurants will hereafter be limited to portions of 80 grams, about three ounces. And lower class restaurants largely patronized by working people in Italy--to 150 grams a day, about five ounces. To understand that fully, it is necessary to remember that all but the richest Italians live largely on bread.
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.