The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 2, 1939



Which Also Carries With It A Definite Challenge

The battle for the abolition of discrimination against the South in freight rates is not over. But the action of the Interstate Commerce in ordering a reduction on a dozen commodities, while denying it on as many more, admits the principle that at least many of these rates are unfair. And so, while the Northern shippers will undoubtedly continue to move heaven and earth in an effort to head it off, the extension of the reduction to a larger and larger number of commodities may be expected, until eventually the discrimination will be done completely away with.

It is a notable victory for the South. Whatever justification had existed for the thing resided in the fact that Southern wages were lower than Northern. But when the Federal Government began to require the South to pay at least the same minimum wages that the North paid, then that justification ceased largely to exist, and the Government was bound in fairness to do away with the discrimination. It ought to mean a good deal for Southern industry, for ultimately it will open up to Southern manufacturers markets which are now virtually the monopoly of Northern interests.

But if it opens up new opportunities to the South, it also means a new responsibility for it. This freight rate discrimination has been a standard excuse for the region's failure to utilize its resources--the greatest for any comparable region on earth. Not a few people, indeed, have maintained seriously and apparently in honesty, that it was the sole explanation of the South's lag. We believe no such thing. But at least, there is going to be one less excuse.

Hot Spot

The Deutschland Is Not Exactly A Safe Ark

If the Rawalpindi, sunk by the Deutschland, was deliberately sent out as a decoy for the location of the German pocket battleship, as some naval authorities in this country are reported to believe, then the decoy appears to have failed.

At least, by this time the Deutschland may be many thousands of miles away from the scene. On Oct. 5 she sank the British freighter Stonegate, east of the Bahamas; four days later she captured the City of Flint more than 2,000 miles to the north and east. That requires a continuous steaming speed of more than 21 knots. But Jane's Manual of Fighting Ships gives her a maximum speed of 26 knots, and it is probable that she is actually somewhat faster than that.

Nevertheless, the men who man her are on one of the hottest spots on earth. For the British and French will certainly move heaven and earth in the next few weeks to send her to the bottom. So long as she is at sea, none of the convoys carrying the precious American fighting planes across are even tolerably safe, for against her destroyers would have little chance.

The British have only three big ships capable of outrunning her--the Hood, the Repulse, and the Renown. But the French have two more, the Dunkerque and the Strassbourg. And of course, both have many cruisers which can run rings around her. Against one or two of the latter, she would have an easy time in all probability, since her 11-inch guns far outrange their 8-inch ones. But several of them might well run her into range of one of the slower battleships. And if she ever comes under the fire of 16-inch or 14-inch rifles, her fate is as certain as was that of the Rawalpindi under her own guns.


But Doesn't Robert Yearn For The Great White Throne?

The pre-convention Presidential campaign has now entered the comic stage. Perhaps it has never been very far from that.

But now--now we have in the lists Mr. Frank Gannett and the Hon. Hamilton Fish, Esq.

Mr. Gannett is very coy. He does not, he says modestly, understand those men who ache for the job merely for the power and the glory. For himself, he wants it only to save the Constitution. And since he has been busily saving it up and down the land for the last eight years, he feels himself in condition to continue at the job. And if the lightning is about to strike him, as he infers does not seem unlikely, why of course he will hold himself in readiness to answer the call.

The Hon. Ham, on the other hand, bluntly wants it. To be sure, for the purpose of keeping us out of war. He is a great hand at that. Last Summer, after yelling for years that we must stay completely out of Europe's affairs, and saying in July the talk of war was nonsense, he dashed across the ocean, took an airplane ride with Mr. Ribbentrop, and hastened into Scandinavia to inform a bored conference that war was inevitable unless everybody followed his leadership and demanded that England and France let the Nazis have all their way.

All we lack now is the entry of Lindbergh, who has qualified for the job by piloting a machine across the Atlantic, and of the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds, our savior from the Aliens, who has qualified for the post by (1) kissing a blonde actress in public, (2) endorsing a cigarette in the advertisements, and (3) setting up claims to the title of the champion Senatorial tourist of all times.


President's Choice In The Case Of Russia, Finland

The President's hesitation as to what, if anything, to do about the wanton Russian invasion of Finland is quite understandable.

On the one hand, it is plain now that Communism is on the march west, out to convert the western world to its Asiatic despotism as Charlemagne once converted the Germans to the Church--by the sword. Behind the Russian advance into the country, a handful of Finnish traitors have set up a puppet Red regime, proclaimed themselves the legitimate government of the land. They have got themselves recognized as such by Russia, which of course engineered it in the first place.

Finland is to be Sovietized, though no country in Europe hates the Red doctrine worse than these woodsmen, hunters and fishers of the North. And Communism is to be brought up to the Swedish border--with Sweden and Norway marked as most probably the next victims, though the Balkans may come in for that attention.

In any case, it is plain that Stalin wants to swallow the whole Scandinavian peninsula and the Balkans by way of an entering wedge for conquest in the great western countries.

Naturally, we want to do everything in our power, short of war at least, to put a spoke in that, to express our feeling about Molotoff, who advises our Ambassador that the American reporters are lying when they say the bombing has been particularly brutal, that no pretense of confining it to military objectives has been made, that automobiles and busses have been machine-gunned along the highways, and that large numbers of women and children have already been killed. The obvious answer to all this would seem to be an absolute embargo on exports to Russia (greatly valuable to her) and the withdrawal of recognition of the Red Government.

But there is a reverse face to that coin. Such action is almost certain to drive the Reds and the Nazis finally and fully into each other's arms. And just now it is pressingly desirable to keep Germany from being betrayed by Hitler into that fatal union--to give her time in the hope that the truth as to her position may possibly break through to the people sufficiently to move them to destroy the criminal traitor at their head.

It is a long, long chance, a dim hope, but the fate of civilization on the Continent may be, and probably is, at stake. Out of a union of Communism and Nazism--the superimposition of the Red doctrine on the Nazi doctrine--the marriage of Stalin's brutality with Hitler's brutality--there is likely to issue only chaos and bloody ruin, even though the Allies are ultimately victorious over the combine.

What is also to be observed is that the formation of such a union would inevitably drive the United States itself far closer to war. It may as well be said: we will not, and cannot in common sense, consent to see the combination win and destroy England and France. Moreover, decisive action on our part would certainly move Russia and Germany to hold out greater concessions to Japan--may easily result in a complete agreement between the three, with Japan left free to grab off what she wants in the East, a thing which will inevitably raise grave problems for us.

This is no plea for one course or the other. We do not know what ought to be done in the premises. But that there is reason for hesitation and close examination is plain.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News--Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.