The Charlotte News

Friday, April 4, 1941


Site Ed. Note: "Last Warning" takes cognizance of the fact that the German and Italian governments were actively, through their embassies, sponsoring sabotage, espionage and propaganda activities in the United States by 1941-some of which would come to light with the arrest on June 28-29, 1941 in New York City and New Jersey of 32 Nazi spies, pursuant to the two-year undercover FBI investigation.

So what will be the score in the next contest? you undoubtedly wish to have imparted. Well, see the riddle on the page today for the probable answer.


Out of Which the City and Private Fliers Get No Airport

Who won the day? Why, best we can make out, the day was won by those who didn't want to start out with a secondary airport (which could always have been improved as time went on) but craved a first-class airport right off the bat, laid out to their precise specifications.

And as a result of their victory, they have secured for themselves no airport at all. What's more, for two years at least, or until the Legislature meets again, the City's hands are tied. And in the meantime any expansion of the Air Base established here, now an integral part of the all-out effort to bring this nation's defenses up to full strength, will be impeded if not wholly prevented.

The effect locally, however, is the loss of any secondary airport for private planes. And in so far is the private plane operators were opposed to this bond issue and responsible for its defeat, it gives justification to the charge that the development of aviation facilities in the city has always met with their vigorous obstruction.

When the present municipal airport was built, they boycotted it because the personnel of the Airport Commission did not suit them. And now, because the bond issue was not entirely to their liking, they have denied the city a facility which it (and they) needed and could easily have had.

Odd Lapse

Mr. Gayda Should Remember Definitions Better

Mr. Virginio Gayda, stooge editor for Mussolini at Rome, pens a bitter editorial in which he roundly denounces the United States' seizure of Nazi and Fascist ships in our ports as "a pure act of piracy."

This is a little puzzling.

The ships were in fact seized under laws which were well known to Germany and Italy before the vessels tied up here. And if these laws had not existed, ancient rules at the base of maritime law in all nations would have still made it quite legal.

What is puzzling is that Mr. Gayda should reveal such vagueness about what piracy actually is. In 1937 and 1938 the Italian Government regularly practiced piracy in the full sense of the word. Its submarines, that is, regularly sunk British, Greek, Turkish and Russian freighters-all representing countries with which Italy was at peace-in the vicinity of the Spanish coast, making no effort to rescue the crews and so far as possible leaving no trace of them behind.

It is strange that Mr. Gayda, an insider in the Fascist Government, does not recall precisely what piracy is.

To The Rescue

Mr. Maxwell Gallantly Obeys a Summons of the Guild

Trust members of the guild always to stand up for another member. The guild being, of course, the office-holders of the Democratic Party in the state.

Now it's A. J. Maxwell, who, as a man of some austerity, ought to be above such things. Mr. Maxwell is the State revenue man, but, at Governor Broughton's request, he has transformed himself into a historical expert in defense of Jule[s] B. Warren's fifth grade history.

Cagily, he does not address himself to Warren's book at all. And it would be embarrassing, for it has been proved to be honeycombed with errors of fact-and it claims to be simply a compilation of "facts." Mr. Warren himself has tacitly granted the truth of these charges by agreeing to withdraw the book and correct the errors. Not by having a new edition printed, but simply by having pages of "Errata" added. That means in practice that the school-child will have to check every "fact" against pages in the front or back. It is highly likely, of course, that the school-child will do that.

So Mr. Maxwell addresses himself instead to the textbook of Professors Newsome and Lefler at the University. That book, he says sadly, painted a gloomy and false picture of the state.

What he is referring to is that it mentioned some scandalous practices of the Democratic Party, which every intelligent person in the state knows to exist and that it did not insist that North Carolina is in every respect and for everybody who lives in it a segment of paradise-took casual account of some of its most obvious problems.

Is it Mr. Maxwell's contention that the young ought to be fed Booster literature as sober history?

Oddly enough, the State Textbook Commission did not agree with Mr. Maxwell. And unanimously recommended the Newsome-Lefler book as by far the best available text. But the State Board of Education, made up of Democratic politicoes turned it down in favor of Mr. Warren's, another Democratic politico and office-holder.

Now the Board is trying stubbornly to save its face and hang on to the Warren book, despite its exposure, and calling on all good members of the guild to aid-like Mr. Maxwell.

Last Warning

Roosevelt Uses Illogical Move Precisely as Wilson Used It

Mr. Roosevelt, when he demands that the Italian Government recall the naval attaché at the Italian Embassy, Admiral Alberto Lais, as persona non grata to this Government, has followed exactly the precedent laid down by Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Wilson demanded that the German Government recall Captains Boy-ed and Von Papen, military attachés at the German Embassy.

In neither case was the action quite strictly logical. These men were and are dismissed on the ground that they are responsible for sabotage, espionage, inimical propaganda, etc. But it is nonsense to suppose that Lais acted without orders from the Italian Ambassador, Colonna, as is it was nonsense- long ago proven-to suppose that Von Papen and Boy-ed were not acting under the orders of the German Ambassador, Von Bernstorff.

In 1916 it was common knowledge that the German Embassy as a whole was a swollen nest of agents actively engaged under the direction of their chief in organized propaganda, sabotage, and espionage. In 1941 it is even more certainly common knowledge that both the Nazi and the Fascist Embassies are far larger and far better organized nests of such agents.

Nevertheless, if illogical, the action is still the one indicated. To ask for the recall of an Ambassador is nearly tantamount to breaking off diplomatic relations (though the recall of the Austrian Ambassador was asked in 1915). To dismiss the attachés is simply to warn the Italian-or German-Government that further activities of this sort will not be tolerated.

It is not likely or even possible that the warning will be heeded. But it is a warning, at least.

Swell Scheme

Cotton Ed Decides He'd Like To See Money Spent

Cotton Ed Smith has always been a consistent man. He has always opposed the spending of Federal funds except when they would benefit South Carolina cotton growers, of whom he is one of the largest.

He is still doing business at that stand, too. What he proposes now is that Congress shall "rise up" and pass a bill to force the Government to buy up all the cotton it now holds in warehouses under the parity payment arrangement-about 13,000,000 bales-and hold it off the market except (1) when needed for relief purposes, and (2) for national defense.

The Government, you will observe, would not even be able to sell it or give it away to foreign countries, even in Latin-America where it would at least serve to make friends. Nor, if the language means what it says, could it be used for "national defense" or "relief" until it was "needed," which is to say when the market for current production was exhausted. In point of fact, neither "relief" nor "national defense" proper would absorb much of this cotton.

What Cotton Ed is proposing is quite simply that the existing cotton be bought by the Government-at a cost of a five or six billions of dollars-in order to create a monopoly of the market for current production.

That would be swell for the cotton-growers, for a while-so long as the national emergency holds, anyhow.

But he would be a good deal more candid if he proposed quite simply that the Government spend these billions and at once take it to sea and dump it.

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