The Charlotte News

Friday, November 14, 1941


Site Ed. Note: "Accusation" indicates that the Japanese were already disseminating propaganda that the United States and Britain were waging undeclared war on Japan. What the piece does not reckon with is that this propaganda was being laid as groundwork for justification in the eyes of the Japanese public for the attack about to occur. No one, not even militarists of the stripe described in the piece as being in control of Japan since 1931 when the war in China began, wants to have the public of the country they represent thinking themselves waging an unjustified attack on foreign soil. Bad for morale.

Dorothy Thompson sets forth an interesting notion of a "camarilla" of generals in the Reich, the Junker caste of professional soldiers, as being the real puppeteers behind the marionette Hitler, and that it might occur soon, after the Russian war, that these generals would dispose of Hitler, purge the Nazis, and offer some peace to the world. Ms. Thompson cautions against receipt of any such news with more than the same pessimism with which tenders of peace from Hitler himself might be received, that they were no less the determined warrior, no less the slaver, than Hitler.

Ms. Thompson's hypothesis, of course, did not come to pass. Hitler would ultimately purge all who threatened him, those who stood in the way of his self-perception as the embodiment of omnipotent perfection, the Superman realized--finally, including himself.

"The Meeting" tells of the passage of the repeal of the Neutrality Act which had, at least technically, tied the hands of the President in allowing American ships to convoy British goods into designated combat zones or even to transmit goods at all to those engaged in war, including therefore Great Britain. The effectiveness of it was essentially repealed by passage in March of the Lend-Lease Bill, but still the Neutrality Act lay nagging on the books.

The piece informs, however, that the repeal was not without its demands for concession from the Administration, in this case assurance that the threatened coal strike of John L. Lewis's UMW would be prohibited. Such quid pro quo bartering fairly predicted the same, the editorial assumes, for the future, that FDR's domestic programs would be henceforth held accountable if he wanted his foreign policy enacted, even by members of the Democratic Party. Much, though not all, of that presumed forthcoming political barter would be attenuated, however, by the common bonding consequent of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Twenty-two years later this same week, President Kennedy would find himself in much the same mélange with Congress, holding up his proposed budget and threatening filibuster over the proposed Civil Rights Bill, one simply promising equal access, regardless of race or religion or ethnicity, to publicly offered accommodations, lodging and eating facilities, engaged in interstate commerce. Intervening events in Dallas would shame most, though by no means all, of the recalcitrants and their constituents into compliance with civil justice by the following June.

The Raymond Clapper piece mentions in its opening paragraphs, as fate would have it, John Jay McCloy, then Assistant Secretary of War, a post he retained throughout the war. He became United States military governor and high commissioner of West Germany from 1949 through 1952 when he retired from government service. Then in 1961, President Kennedy appointed Mr. McCloy as his principal adviser on disarmament. At the end of the Cuban missile crisis, October 29, 1962, he was appointed by the President as head of a three-man commission, along with George Ball and Ross Gilpatric, to assist U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in implementing the agreed peaceful resolution to the crisis, with an eye to avoid recurrence--a mission, with a little help from his friends, accomplished. Thirteen months later, he was appointed by President Johnson to serve on the Warren Commission.

Finally, there is a poem to W.J. Cash on today's page, composed by someone from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. We take the effort to reproduce it:

Editors, The News:

As I passed by the bulletin board in the Administration building and noticed it merely for curiosity, I saw the name W. J. Cash ("The Mind of the South"), thereon. When I saw it this thought sprang in mind:

Cash, Thou hath gone!
But thy works still liveth
In the hearts of the countrymen,
Though goeth thou to Him that giveth.

Thy works shall be an inspiration,
Yes, a light and a lamp,
To the comrades you left behind--
To the soldiers and to the tramps.

Many eyes shall be opened,
And great things they will behold,
For your works shall be a revelation
To a color-blinded soul.

The wise will see a thing or two,
And Adam's race will advance,
Avenues of thought will've been opened,
And every one given a chance.

Yes, you have crossed the bar,
The way that we all must go,
But you have left your mark behind,
To be remembered forever more.

--Richard T. Coles

As we discover this poem, published just 23 days before Pearl Harbor, now just ten days after the election of the first African-American to the White House, 145 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, 44 years after the Civil Rights Act proposed by President Kennedy in June, 1963 and signed into law July 2, 1964 by President Johnson, it is especially poignant.

So, to Mr. Coles, through the passage of these many years since you wrote those words, we salute you.

And, indeed, more because of dedicated readers such as Mr. Coles than so much because of Cash himself, the truth of his poem ultimately would be borne out. For a book, no matter how powerful in its own right, is worth nothing unless it is read and understood and then carried into practice by its readers.  

"What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason." We shall let you discern why it is that comes to mind.

There being no entry for tomorrow on the microfilm, we shall take respite until Monday. See you then.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

--John McCrae, 1915

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