Bucharest (Aug. 30)
There is a storm in the Roumanian newspapers over an alleged utterance by the Prime Minister, Professor Jorga, to a deputation of peasants in Constanza, in the course of which he is said to have replied to the complaints of the peasants that the Government and the National Bank had assisted the Berkowitz Bank, but was doing nothing to help the peasants, by saying: I know that the banks are inhuman, but Argetoianu (the Finance Minister) came to me with red eyes after nights of working with those “Zhidos”, the Berkovitches, and he demanded that the State should help the bank. I wanted to oppose it, but they got me by saying that it was essential to save the deposits which belonged to many poor depositors.
When the peasants complained that they had no money to pay their bills, which were now falling due, the Premier said: Don’t pay. Let them protest your bills. I, too, have let them protest my printing bills for “Neamul Romanescu” (Professor Jorga’s organ). We can’t run the National Bank as we would like, he added, because the foreign expert in charge will not allow it, and if we act against his wishes, he has threatened that he will leave the country and declare Roumania bankrupt.
There are only two Ministers in the Government who are my Ministers, and the rest are the King’s, Professor Jorga proceeded, and you must just endure. Those of you who cannot endure, had better throw themselves into the sea, which is quite near. I don’t do anything.
An official communique has been issued by the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, which reads: The publication of these utterances is an act of tactlessness and a falsification. It is a despicable procedure to publish a private conversation in such malicious fashion. The Prime Minister would not have said two words to those people, with whom he was in converse for over an hour, if he had known that there was a malicious spy among them.
The entire press, in Bucharest and the provinces describe the communique as being most strangely worded, for it does not deny the statements attributed to the Prime Minister, they say, merely suggesting that they were spoken under the impression that they would not be repeated by his hearers.
Following the publication of these comments, the Council of Ministers has issued another communique, in which it says:
The measures taken by the Minister of Finance, M. Argetoianu, for the consolidation of our credit institute have the approval of the entire Cabinet. At the last Cabinet meeting, Professor Jorga thanked and congratulated M. Argetoianu for taking these measures. There is complete unanimity among the members of the Government, and the rumours spread by malicious people about disunity in the Government will be put down. No one will succeed in creating differences, which do not exists, among the members of the Government.