Credit Cooperatives in Argentine Stop Payments; Jewish Firms Affected

No withdrawals of funds could be made today from most of the credit cooperatives which are a major factor in Jewish commercial life here, as a result of the order issued last weekend by the newly established government of President Ongania empowering the Argentine Central Bank, highest financial authority, to exercise control over all credit cooperatives and, in certain circumstances, even to close them.

The correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency sought to cash personal checks in at least three cooperatives but was told by the cashiers that “until further orders” no payments would be made. Instructions to this effect, they said, were issued by the Central Bank. This will affect many small Jewish business enterprises which depend largely on the Jewish-established credit cooperatives. These cooperatives are also providing financial support for the Jewish school system in Argentina which may suffer if the activities of the cooperatives are paralyzed.

(In Washington, Senator J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said today that the fact that the Argentine Central Bank had taken control of the credit cooperatives was “a major blow to the development of a middle-class in Argentina and eventually to a democratic system.” The senator said that “in view of this development” the U.S. Government should “go very slowly in extending financial assistance to this new dictatorship, ” He did not mention that many of these cooperatives had originally been established by Jewish farmers in Argentina some 70 years ago and that they constitute the financial basis for Jewish middle class business concerns.)

Patricio Errecalte Pueriedon, secretary of the anti-Semitic nationalist Tacuara movement, which was banned under the prior Illia Government, was received yesterday by the new regime’s Interior Minister, Enrique Martinez Paz. After the meeting, the extremist leader declared that “the national revolution has begun founded on the debris of the liberal system” and declared that this organization was firmly supporting the new Government’s decision to ban all political parties. The Tacuara group, he said, supports without reserve the patriotic movement presided over by Gen. Ongania.”

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