The Pittsburgh Press (June 17, 1942)
By editorial research reports
The Berlin radio broadcast on June 13 that the German war zone had been extended all the way to southeastern Canada, the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States, and the northern Caribbean. Any ship entering this zone after June 26 will be “subject to destruction.” Thus Germany extends to the Eastern United States the submarine blockade which had already taken in the British Isles and Iceland.
Germany now warns that neutral vessels will be sunk at sight in the Northeastern Atlantic. In the last war, a similar warning covered the waters around the British Isles, France and Italy. The warning in 1917 led to rupture of diplomatic relations between the United States and Germany, and two months later, when the warning had proved no empty one, to war. Will the warning of 1942, obviously no more an idle gesture than that of 1917, lead to war against Germany by states now neutral?
The note which prefaced the German warning of Jan. 31, 1917, on unrestricted warfare was an extraordinary one. It opened by paying tribute to President Wilson’s address to the Senate only nine days previously, for a peace without victory. The American President’s sentiments, said the German note, were those of the German government. Like the President, Germany believed in the rights of small nations (adding slyly that Germany would like to see Ireland and India enjoy those rights), in eliminating all selfish alliances, in preventing war in the future, in the freedom of the seas.
But, alas, Germany went on, the Allies stand for no such high aims. They intend to keep Germany in an inferior position after the war. They want to dismember not only Germany, but also Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Germany had hoped to end the war by its peace offer of the previous Dec. 12. But since that offer was rejected, Germany would have to put an end to the war by another means – viz., “the full employment of all the weapons which are at its disposal.” Otherwise, the Imperial German government would not be justified “before its own conscience, before the German people, and before history."
The states chiefly affected by the new German submarine blockade of all the Atlantic Coast of the United States are those of South America. All of these except Argentina and China have broken diplomatic relations with Berlin, but none has yet joined Mexico, the six Central American states, and the three Caribbean states in declaring war. The Chilean Embassy in Washington reports that the Axis submarine campaign in the Western Atlantic has taken toll of one Chilean ship. The Argentine Embassy reports that one Argentine ship, the Victoria, was attacked, but made port. In each case, representations were made to the Axis powers.
The war emergency has greatly increased South American exports to the United States, and accordingly the South American need for certain United States products. In normal years, Argentina had twice the export trade (in value) of any other South American country; one-third of Argentine exports went to Great Britain, more to Germany than to the United States. Brazil ranked second in exports, followed by Venezuela (oil) and Chile. Even in normal years, Argentina, Brazil and Chile exported 30-40% of their total production, and the figure was as high for some of the smaller South American states.