Buenos Aires (Nov. 5)
A thorough study of the economic conditions prevailing in Argentine has been made by the government and a series of proposals drawn up in consequence for the solution of certain problems, among which is that of immigration-a problem of particular interest to us Jews. Recently the government sent a message to Congress containing a Bill on Land Settlement which indicates the government’s desire for a larger immigration into Argentine.
The message recognizes that a rapid increase in population by immigration is necessary to the economic and social development of the country and to improve its finances. At present the main feature of the situation is that the increase of population is too slow and not in proportion to the country’s power of absorption or potentialities of production. The population of Argentine does not exceed 9 millions and there is as yet no reasonable ground to hope that the optimistic forecasts of many Argentine authors, who have expected it to increase to 50 or 100 millions, will materialize in the near future. Although thousands of workers wish to settle in Argentine as farmers, the requirements of Argentine agriculture cannot be satisfied and the present volume of immigration is very inadequate, because the advantages of various kinds (schools, sickness relief and other facilities) offered to settlers are too few.
But if immigration is to be really useful to the country, the government’s message asserts, land settlement must be promoted and, more particularly, those who desire to become farmers should be given a chance to acquire land, as there can be no progress for agriculture itself unless the land belongs to those who cultivate it.
Therefore, the message points out, it is important that small agricultural ownership in fertile districts, with good communications, should be encouraged, and that advantage should be taken of the present exceptionally favorable situation abroad to incorporate with the Argentine population a large body of well-selected immigrants.
The message announces that measures will subsequently be taken to encourage this kind of immigration. In the meantime the Bill aims at stimulating land settlement by bringing private settlement to the support of public schemes.
Indicative of the government’s intentions in this matter is the fact that in this Bill the executive authorities are empowered to use their office for acquiring or expropriating public or private land for use by agricultural settlement undertakings of recognized utility. Once a year the government will fix the reserve area which may be expropriated within the year on the basis of applications for holdings and of the prospective volume of immigration.