The Charlotte News

Sunday, January 21, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Just what Judge Sims said in his remarks before the Rotary Club which caused the fracas, as that upon which there is brief remark in "For Ourselves", we don't know presently. Perhaps, we shall dig into it later. In any event, you may remember that it was Judge Sims who dug into the corruption of the Charlotte police department back in the summer of 1939 and caused a less than minor maelstrom within the city's politics, prompting varied public reaction. In the end, the particular officers charged with corruption were cleared, but that is not to say that the impetus for the charges was not founded on a good deal of fact and ultimately served the department and the community well; for a corrupt policing organization precedes any burg becoming a company town, owned and operated by bosses, little locally, big elsewhere, in the bigger cities, until the whole place is little more than one big organized crime syndicate run for special interests, by special interests' dubbed puppets. (See note accompanying "The Mill Grinds", July 23, 1939; also, "The Police Muddle", July 13, 1939, "That Council's Baby", August 3, 1939, "That's That", August 9, 1939, and "Precedent", October 18, 1939.)

Incidentally, we should point out that when we utter the halloo, "doper", we do not necessarily imply aspersion upon any of our readers; rather, only on those who don't.

In The Fog

The Bishop Of Birmingham Points Our Confusion

The Bishop of Birmingham's startling proposal in the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church that free importations of foodstuffs to Germany be allowed by the British blockade, is a curious indication of the confusion of our times.

The Bishop, as a Christian, is opposed to war. He observes the Biblical text, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him," wants to try to act upon it.

But England is at war with Germany, and the blockade is her best bet of winning that war. And, ultimately, the blockade on foodstuffs is the strongest part of the blockade. It was by making Germany feel the press of hunger that she was brought to her knees in the last war.

If England abandoned the blockade on foodstuffs, her sole hope for defeating Germany would be to attempt, in company with France, to storm the Westwall and destroy the German fleet and its ultimate bases, the great cities of Hamburg and Bremen. What the Bishop of Birmingham's proposal would mean, under that view, would almost certainly be the death of at least a couple of million British, French, and German soldiers, the maiming and ruining of twice as many more (the last war ran up 15,000,000 casualties), to say nothing of the deaths of civilians in the besieged cities.

What is worse, it would probably mean ultimate defeat and destruction for Britain, the triumph of Nazism in Europe--and so, in all probability, the stamping out of all Christian values in Europe.

Or does the Bishop believe that kind deeds on England's part will beget kind deeds on the part of Germany? And if so, is there any probability in this belief? Can Nazi hearts be touched by what they look upon as contemptible weakness?

We have no intention of trying to resolve the confusion. We are merely noting it.

For Ourselves

We Know This Man As One With An Ardor For The Right

In a statement published elsewhere in The News today, Judge Frank Sims, who unintentionally set off a furor by his remarks before the Rotary Club last week, writes:

"My interest in the government of this city and the welfare of its citizens--particularly the Negroes and the underprivileged element with which I have dealt the past three years--is, I hope, beyond question."

As far as The News is concerned, it certainly is.


Tobacco Farmers Face Need For Shift In Products

The resentment of the tobacco growers against England is understandable but not very tenable. After all, England is only following the same rule that we have gladly asserted that we mean to follow--that of self-interest. Her buying Turkish and Balkan tobacco in preference to American tobacco is not merely a matter of cultivating good will in those countries but of enabling them to dispense with Germany as a customer and preventing their tobacco reaching that country.

But in sober fact, tobacco growers do have good reason for their gloom. Some of their leaders are so gloomy, indeed, that they are openly doubting that the Government will do again what it did in 1939 and buy up the tobacco to store in [remainder of paragraph presently unavailable].

The tobacco farmer, like the cotton farmer, seems to be approaching the time when he shall have to turn his lands to other uses.

Easy Answer

But Ironpants Overlooked Hard Part Of The Equation

General Ironpants Johnson, in his column today, advances a cogent argument against the notion that Britain and France can or ought to pay their war debts to us by handing over their island possessions in this hemisphere.

But then he proceeds to advance a plan as to how a debt can be paid, which is certainly as dubious as that of Robert Rice Reynolds, Lundeen, et cie. What he proposes is to knock off about 40 per cent of the present debt figure on the ground, often advanced by the British and French in their own defense, that much of the debt went for buying munitions, etc., which were used for a common cause to which the United States was a partner.

The rest he apparently wants them to pay up in short order.

Great Britain's debt to the United States is at present, roughly, about five billion dollars, that of France about four billion. Forty per cent of the combined total is $3,600,000,000, leaving a total of about $5,400,000,000.

Let it be said at once that there is no question that these governments justly owe us more or less something in the neighborhood of that. For they, of course, sold the food, etc., advanced by us to their peoples and collected at once.

But the General has still to tell us how they are to pay. There are only two methods, by gold or by selling us more goods than we buy from them.

As to goods, we have sold both countries an average of more than twice as much as we bought from them every year since the war. It was a part of the dishonesty of the Republican Administrations which ruled the country during the Twenties that they continually demanded that these countries pay up, while at the same time continually raising the tariff barriers to their goods and making it more and more impossible for them to pay that way.

As to gold, the total gold assets of the United States Treasury are currently reported over $17,800,000,000. That represents well over 60 per cent of the gold in the world.

England and France between them have gold reserves of about five billions, of which $1,500,000,000 is earmarked (that is, held to their account) at the United States Treasury.

In addition, citizens of the two countries own property, stocks, bonds, etc., in the U.S. valued at as much more, and which are subject to sequestration.

Theoretically, therefore, they can pay us out of hand. But three things make that only a theory: (1) they are at war, and the use of these funds to pay us now would leave them without buying resources here, insure their defeat; (2) gold is intimately bound up, even when not in circulation, with the value of paper currency, and the great reduction of their gold resources now would inevitably bring on rapid inflation and wreck their economy (it is the reason they are moving so cautiously with their war orders); and (3) the smashing of their economies which would ultimately result would be apt to smash our own economy, too. Maybe Ironpants had better think it over again.

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