The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 4, 1940


Site Ed. Note: For more on that of which inditement is made regarding freedom of the press to lament or heap praise on legal cases only when those cases are done before the courts, see "Contempt", February 4, 1940.

Notwithstanding that, as to the way it is today, obviously: You say, "Stop," and we say, "Go, go go."

Yes And No

Two Reports From A Single Issue Of A Truthful Paper

From the Washington Merry-Go-Round, as published on the front page of The Charlotte News for Tuesday, April 2:

Not many people know, but one factor which induced the President to favor the sale of the latest model U. S. airplanes to the Allies was an economic report on Germany made by prominent British economists.

The report is extremely frank, and it shows that instead of being in danger of starvation as in the last war, the new Nazi economy is geared so that Germany can withstand war for years. Furthermore the British economists figure that Germany has raw materials available to keep going a long time. During this war she can tap the rich granaries of Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Rumania, to say nothing of Russia; also their ore and oil.

From the article by DeWitt Mackenzie, Associated Press Foreign News Analyst, printed on the back page of The Charlotte News for Tuesday, April 2:

Time is running against Germany, for the blockade already has been damaging. Hitler must either repair that damage quickly or strike with his fighting arms. Probably he feels that he can afford to gamble a bit longer on the chance of improving his position in the Balkans and through Russia...

You pays your money and takes your choice.

For Himself

It's Robert Rather Than The People Who Yearns To Know

Robert Rice Reynolds' explanation of his loud insistence that Ambassador Bullitt and Sumner Welles be subjected to inquisition before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Robert is a member, somehow sounds a little thin.

"The people of the United States have the right to know these things. If Ambassador Bullitt would come before us and deny the allegations in the 'White Book' it would be a comfort to the people of the country. Certainly, the people want to know what Mr. Welles accomplished."

But it happens that Mr. Bullitt has already explicitly and publicly denied the allegations of the White Book, and that Cordell Hull has backed him to the hilt in asserting that no member of the diplomatic corps is engaged in the sort of activities claimed by Dr. Goebbels' little document. It also happens that the President himself has made it quite plain that Mr. Welles accomplished nothing for peace in his European journey, but did gather valuable information.

Nobody in his senses believes that the confidential information in question ought to be made public now, and Mr. Welles certainly would not make it public if he were questioned by the Senate committee.

The sole purpose that Robert's proposed inquisition would serve would be to embarrass and discredit Mr. Bullitt and Mr. Welles and the whole Administration and its foreign policy, and to give the world a picture of the United States as a nation torn by dissension and suspicion of even its own accredited representatives. In short, to give great comfort to the Nazi gentlemen who were so nice to Robert the last time he visited Germany.

Why Not Dies?

He Can Tell Mr. Jackson About This Himself

Whether the "evidence" uncovered by the blonde investigator for Representative Dickstein is true or not, the picture of Mister Pelley as plotting to make himself "White King" in the United States is of course mere comic opera. More serious is the charge that army officers have been associated with him in such plots. Any dabbling in schemes of the sort by army officers calls for vigorous action.

At any rate, Martin Dies' hasty decision to halt the Pelley inquiry and to go back to harrying the Reds will not reassure the large number of people in this country who suspect him of a good deal of secret sympathy for Fascist-minded persons like Pelley.

Mr. Dies demanded sternly of the young woman investigator why the alleged evidence of "treasonable plotting" on the part of Pelley and the officers hadn't been called to the attention of the Justice Department. But why shouldn't Mr. Dies himself call it to the department's attention? He has shown himself more than eager to do that in the case of Reds and a great many people who plainly weren't Reds.

It is hardly an answer to say that the charges were sensational and dubious and that they hadn't been proved. Mr. Dies has never bothered about that when it came to hearing and acting upon the testimony of some witness apt to smear somebody Mr. Dies didn't like as a Red. He even allowed them to use his committee for a sounding board for the smearing of Mrs. Roosevelt.

Free Press

It Would Be A Mere Joke If This Decision Held

If Judge Thomas J. Rowe, of St. Louis, had wanted to convince the country that the charges of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were true, he could have gone better about it.

The newspaper dug up evidence that the head of a moving picture operators' union had sold out the union to theaters in St. Louis by taking $16,500 to withdraw demands for wage increases. A member of the State Legislature, known by the elegant name of "Putty Nose," was identified as the go-between. Both were indicted. Rowe, who belonged to the same political gang as "Putty Nose," tried them--turned both of them loose. Same day another St. Louis judge found in civil court that the union man had got the money all right, ordered him to pay $10,000 to the union.

Post-Dispatch said in a blunt editorial that the two were guilty, that Rowe had made a mockery of the law, published sardonic cartoons by Fitzpatrick. Rowe retaliated with contempt charges against Editorial Writer Ralph Coghlan, Cartoonist Fitzpatrick, Managing Editor Benjamin Harrison Reese. Rowe tried his own case--yesterday sentenced Coghlan and Fitzpatrick to jail, Reese to a stiff fine.

But this snide performance may have its uses. Post-Dispatch plans to carry the case to the highest courts, and it is high time that this business of the abuse of contempt powers by judges were brought to a showdown. Newspapers have no right at all to publish anything calculated to interfere with a trial while it is in progress. But the editorial in this case was not published until after the trial was completed. And to attempt to say that such a criticism amounts to "interference with justice" is simply to say that judges are immune to criticism and examination, that you must pretend that they are holy even when you are convinced that they are not on the up and up.

Small Gain

Churchill's Promotion Does Not Give Him Free Hand

There is not much real comfort for the English, as they seem to know, in the latest dodge Mr. Chamberlain has taken to conceal his effectiveness.

Some dead wood has been let out of the Cabinet, but in the main what has taken place is a mere reshuffle. Churchill is given more authority as head of the war services committee, but he is still surrounded by checks and balances.

Old Mr. Chamberlain himself remains to veto any brilliant strategy the strong boy may cook up. And Sir Samuel Hoare takes over the air ministry. And there's nothing in his record to suggest that he believes in a vigorous prosecution of the war. On the contrary, he was the most stubborn of the old appeasers, and is generally credited with being the head of the appeasement bloc still left in the Cabinet.

It might be said, of course, that Churchill is a rash fellow who needs a close reign. The disastrous Dardanelles campaign of 1915 was his idea. But it is also to be said that that campaign failed, not because the idea was bad but because his fellow Cabinet members sabotaged his plan at every step. The Gallipoli forts were actually occupied twice, but could not be held because the troops he had asked for were not at hand.

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