The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 1, 1939


Site Ed. Note: In "Lion's Weasel Words", Cash points out what appears obvious in hindsight but was not so apparently obvious to everyone at the time, that Chamberlain's lack of resolve and ultimatum to Hitler tacitly gave him the green light to enter Poland. Hence, as with the prelude to the Guns of August, with Edward Grey as foreign minister, appeasement--or more precisely in the earlier case, an attempt at conference--of the predatory aggressor failed.

Since we included two previous letters by J. B. O'Meara, on June 23 and June 27, a very prolific letter to the editor writer it would appear in the summer of 1939, we include this one as well, again, as with the other two, edifying in its no nonsense message.

We also include a poem from the editorial page, a nice occasional touch to break the humdrum of mere prose, and sometimes prosaic, opinion of the day. But, no one can be a poet or a consultant to the muse everyday. Imagine.

Public Library Vote Will Slow City's Growth

Dear Sir:

On the 27th of this month, much to my surprise and to my sorrow, a majority voted out the public library. It's a sin and a shame and it is a black spot on the escutcheon of the Queen City of the South. If those who voted that way will stop and think what an injustice they have done to the general public, young and old, they will soon realize the public library is something that every city that has the upbuilding and education of the general public at heart should maintain. I will guarantee that there is not another city in the country which has not a library or some place where the people can read.

We can do nothing better for the upbuilding of civilization than to maintain free libraries, and if we consider the times that we are going through today, we would realize that a grave error has been perpetrated on the people of Mecklenburg County, and last, but not least, on the City of Charlotte that has advertised itself all over the world as a friendly city.

The Chamber of Commerce has been working very hard for years to increase the population of the City of Charlotte but you can bank on it that people will not care to come to live in a city which has abolished the public library.




By Edward Conn

Among beliefs illusory and vain
Is this: that nations' boundaries God designs.
By immemorial practice, war defines.
And wars revise, a national domain.
What armed hosts conquer, armed force must maintain.
A Power with legal right to seize, inclines
To prowl. Archaic law with war combines
To crown might universal suzerain.

Except the Powers renounce their ancient right
Of conquest, force will gain the sovereign seat
And banish freedom. Despotisms would chart
Man's future, his diplomacy of might,
That tramples earth with desolating feet,
Displays the death's head, symbol of their art.

A Pretty Theory*

That of Frank Graham's On Raising Wages First

Frank Graham evidently sees eye to eye with Mr. Roosevelt that the way towards industrial prosperity is to increase wages and let production follow, rather than to let wages follow increased production. This method, applied to the textile industry, may, to be sure, put a few more small sub-marginal mills out of business, says Frank, but they would have a chance to come back because increased wages would elevate the standard of living, increase purchasing power, and create a wider market. Thus he favors a 321/2-cent minimum textile wage.

Matter of fact, that doesn't look at all like an excessive wage or like one which will dislocate the industry provided it is applied only to machinery hands and not to all the janitors, sweepers and truck hands who may happen to be employed by textile mills. But we believe that Frank's theory is not only wrong but has been proven wrong. All wages--nay, all spending money--comes from somebody's production. From which it follows that summary measures which may have the untoward effect of decreasing production are bound to have the effect sooner or later of decreasing wages. The textile industry, in particular, has a great deal of difficulty making profits at present wage scales. It's a pretty thought to visualize their getting back increased wages in increased business and increased profits, but we don't believe it will work out that way.

Site Ed. Note: Catch us if you can; no doubt, Dave Clark liked it like that.

That's That

The Library Is Dead Until The People Can Bring It To Life

The lawyers said that because the Supreme Court had ruled that building and equipping a library was not a public necessity and therefore cannot be undertaken offhand without a vote of the people, Mecklenburg and Charlotte could no longer appropriate to the Charlotte Public Library without a vote of the people. And so an election on a 5-cent tax was ordered and badly beaten.

Whereupon the Attorney General of the State came forward with an opinion that it was all right for municipalities... not to build, but... to maintain libraries until the Supreme Court should hold otherwise. Lawyers in the case were prepared to dispute the point, when the Attorney General, continuing his search of the statutes and Supreme Court rulings, reappeared with a citation that seemed positively to preclude appropriations for libraries without a vote of the people.

It is as well, perhaps, that illegality has been established and that the Library has closed up tight. Regardless of the law, our governing boards would have been placed in the position of overriding the expressed will of the people in making appropriations to the Library. But beyond that, if the community doesn't want the Library, or at least doesn't know that it wants it, why there's no use in ramming the service down their throats. Better to let them do without it awhile and see how they get along.

Site Ed. Note: Although Maryland Democratic Senator Tydings opposed Roosevelt on both the New Deal and on foreign policy, he would eventually strike a blow for decency and democracy by denouncing Joe McCarthy in 1950 after the Tydings committee gave the McCarthy besmirched State Department a measles-free bill of health. The denunciation, coming at a time when McCarthy enjoyed his widest following, led to the defeat of Tydings in the 1950 election; it nevertheless acted as precursor to the Senate's censure of the Wisconsin Republican four years later in the wake of the televised Army hearings.

Tydings Gets Even

Though Without Enhancing His Name As A Statesman

President Roosevelt, it turns out, may have been justified when he asked Maryland to unseat Senator Millard Tydings. For into last night Senator Tydings' voice droned on as he put the finishing touches on a brief filibuster against the bill extending the stabilization fund and the President's power to devalue the dollar.

Not, mind you, that Milord Tydings wasn't wholly entitled to an independent legislator's right to vote for or against the bill as he saw it. Not that anybody should have forbade him to attempt to win supporters and influence votes. Not that there is anything sacrosanct in the bill that went by the boards.

But this--; that in filibustering the bill into extinction and frustrating the rest of the Senate into baleful quiescence, Senator Tydings was doing precisely what he had upbraided the President for trying to do against him. He was paramounting himself to the popular will, with this worse difference: that whereas the President sought only to prevail upon Maryland voters, Milord Tydings prevailed by main force.

Lion's Weasel Words

The Stern Warnings Of Chamberlain & Co. Still Carry A Hedge,
Which Hitler May Interpret As His Go-Ahead Signal

The most ominous thing in Europe at present is not Adolf Hitler's continual announcements of his purpose to have Danzig under penalty of war, but the fact that nobody knows what Neville Chamberlain & Co. really mean, and that nobody trusts them. On the face of it the British Government has certainly attempted to give the impression that it means to fight if Danzig is seized. And in common sense that seems the only reasonable stand it could take.

If Danzig goes, Poland is a certainly doomed to become Hitler's economic and political prisoner as was Czechoslovakia when the Sudetenland was lost. If Danzig goes, two-thirds of Polish commerce will pass automatically under German control, and with that in hand the taking of the Corridor and the final extinction of everything but nominal autonomy will be easy. And if Poland goes, England's Eastern Front goes also. Rumania quite reasonably will lose all faith in British promises, and so will Greece. The chance of the Russian alliance will be off, and in all probability Turkey will conclude that the only rational thing left for her to do is to climb into the Axis bandwagon as rapidly as possible. England and France will face the prospect of destruction without a blow in an endless series of Munichs, or if fighting the whole German and Italian power on the Western Front--with the British Navy rendered mainly useless by the fact that a blockade will no longer be able to block Germany from food and oil supplies, of which she will have plenty at her back, and by the loss of the Greek and Turkish bases in the Mediterranean.

So in common sense, it seems that now England must take her stand, if ever she is going to take a stand. The single reasonable chance to avert catastrophe of one kind or another in Europe--to head off war or supine surrender to Hitler--seems to reside in making it beyond all question plain to Hitler that if he attempts to take Danzig either by force or by trick--in any manner at all--he will have embarked automatically upon war against England and all her allies. And if you read only the headlines--only the primary statements of members of the Government and its "spokesmen"--you might think that that is incontrovertibly what Chamberlain & Co. are about. But if you look more closely, it becomes clear that they are still dealing, as always, in "I do not choose to run."

The Foreign Office, headed by Halifax, carefully confines itself to the question of the use of "force" by Germany, and refuses to answer the question as to what it would do if Danzig is granted by what the Germans call "ingenuity"--though it is plain that Hitler means to use the latter method, and that the outcome will be exactly the same as if he had used force. And The London Times, mouthpiece of the Government, does the same thing when it talks of fighting "if the Reich chooses to upset the present state of affairs by force and if Poland's independence is threatened" (italics ours). And this sort of hedging and quibbling absurdly placing the emphasis on methods rather than on results, is perfectly calculated to make Adolf Hitler believe that he can safely go right ahead. For it is exactly the sort of thing England has indulged in for the last five years--exactly the sort of thing that preceded and followed Munich.

Edward Grey has been much blamed on the ground that if he had not hedged and quibbled in 1914, if he had made it indisputably plain to the Imperial German Government that England would fight if Belgium and France were invaded, the war probably would have been averted and 10,000,000 allies saved. But if war comes now, Chamberlain & Co. will be far more certainly blame-worthy on the same score.


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