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Bolivian President Disavows Anti-semitism; Bolivia to Join Intergovernmental Committee

The full text of a statement by the new Bolivian President, Gualberto Villarroel, repudiating anti-Semitism was received here today. The statement, which was made by President Villarroel at a press conference at La Paz yesterday, emphasizes that the new government is ready to join the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. It reads:

“It is ridiculous to imagine that there could exist in Bolivia a government that might in any way favor racial doctrines, inasmuch as such attitudes would lead us to deny our own Indian heritage and pay homage to the so-called Aryans.

“In Bolivia any one who denounced those who made money by selling passports, thus exploiting the Jews that sought refuge in Bolivia, was called anti-Semitic. The truth of it all is that Bolivia whose large territory is very sparsely populated needs to bring in new people, especially farmers. Unfortunately, however, not one percent of the Jewish population that came into the country included farmers. That brought about protests that cannot be labelled as anti-Semitism or racism.

“My government does not in any way sympathize with racial doctrines and the fact that during the revolution not one of the many Jewish establishments was attacked by the populace would seem to corroborate that the Bolivian people are likewise alien to such exotic theories.

“The Bolivian Government will designate a representative in the London Intergovernmental Committee as suggested to all the American countries by Sir Herbert Emerson and its policies with regard to the Jewish population of the country will conform with the policies that the other countries of the continent have adopted. Within the country, in accordance with the constitution, both Bolivian nationals and foreigners enjoy the same individual liberties without distinction of race.”

VILLARROEL’S STATEMENT LEAVES WASHINGTON UNIMPRESSED

President Villarroel’s statement made little impression in official circles in Washington. It was pointed out here that four members of the anti-Semitic National Revolutionary Movement are included in Villarroel’s cabinet. Also that the leader of the party, Victor Paz Estenssoro, a known anti-Semite, engineered the coup that brought the Villarroel regime to power.

Government officials here do not hesitate to label the week-old Bolivian regime as Nazi, despite a denial of anti-Semitism and all other Nazi connections by Paz Estenssoro. In diplomatic circles it was predicted today that a coalition government with strong labor support will soon replace the pro-Nazi revolutionary junta. The junta cannot survive long without the support of the United States.

One effect of President Villarroel’s disavowal of anti-Semitism may be the continuation in office of Dr. Enrique de Lozada, the junta’s representative here who had threatened to resign unless the new Bolivian regime repudiated the anti-Jewish parts of the program of the National Revolutionary Movement. Dr. Lozada is expected to stay in the hope that Jose Antonic Arze, leader of the Bolivian Leftist Revolutionary party, will enter the government and eliminate Nazi tendencies.

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