New President of Argentina Receives Jewish Delegation; Voices Assurances
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New President of Argentina Receives Jewish Delegation; Voices Assurances

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Gen. Ongania, the President of Argentina’s new regime, received a delegation of leaders of the DAIA today for the first time and assured them that his government intended to treat all Argentineans alike irrespective of race and religion and to oppose "rightist" extremism. The DAIA is the central representative body of Argentina’s 500, 000 Jews.

After the 25-minute audience, Dr. Isaac Goldenberg, DAIA president, responded to the evident widespread interest in the session with President Ongania with a statement to a large number of newsmen that "we are very satisfied."

An official communique issued by the President’s press secretary confirmed the cordial nature of the meeting and said that President Ongania had thanked the Jewish community for the good wishes expressed by the DAIA delegation. The President affirmed to the Jewish leaders that his call for collaboration and participation in the goals of his government was "directed equally to all Argentineans without distinction of faith or race." The statement was viewed as implying the continuity of the traditional ethical and religious values of Argentina.

"Personally, as a practicing Catholic, " the communique said, "President Ongania stated that as President, he is firmly decided to stimulate the generous efforts of all citizens in the search for general well-being and to proceed with full energy against any extremism of the left or right which could menace the pacific life of the citizenry."

It was noted that this was the first time the new government had condemned rightist extremism. According to the communique, the delegation greeted the President and wished him "great success in his efforts for social peace and national progress." The delegation members reaffirmed to the President a decision adopted in May by the DAIA manifesting the "solidarity" of Argentine Jewry with the 150th anniversary of Argentine independence.

The delegation expressed the "fervent wish" to the President that "Argentina, inspired in its best values, shall continue distinguishing itself in the fullness of authentic freedom and will admit and stimulate fully the different religious and cultural manifestations of all its inhabitants." Finally, according to the communique, the DAIA leaders expressed concern "regarding the persistence of extremist groups which do not mask their menace in trying to provoke artificial divisions in the Argentine family, distorting the nation’s image."

The delegation was composed of Dr. Goldenberg, Vice-president Gregorio Caigon, Dr. Simon Cohen Imach, another vice-president, Egon Glucksmann, president of the B’nai B’rith Council of Argentina, Dr. Tobias Kamenszain, president of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community, and Chief Rabbi David Kahane.


It was learned that during the meeting, President Ongania told the Jewish leaders that he was aware of some "versions" of the actions of his government in its first few days and that he had been worried about the concern of Argentine Jews over some of this actions. He indicated that he was very satisfied over his talk with leaders of the Argentine Jewish community and that it had occurred so soon after his taking office.

Delegation leaders responded that "we did not worry as Jews, but as Argentineans, fearing that certain irresponsible people could create problems. " The President stressed that he considered if fundamental that the "Argentine family" be united.

It was learned that the Jewish leaders asked the President to emphasize that his government would not tolerate aggression or extremism. He replied that he would not tolerate harm against any group of the nation and that when a Jew or a Catholic was punished by the government, it would be for a misdeed and not for being a Jew or a Catholic.

President Ongania said he would be available to the DAIA to deal with any problem but stressed that there would not be any problem. Dr. Goldenberg told the newsmen that the DAIA interpreted the President’s statement as an official definition of Government policy on this problem.

The Buenos Aires Herald, the only English-language newspaper, says in an editorial today that in the light of criticism against the new regime voiced in the United States by Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob Javits "it seems unfortunate that the Interior Minister should meet a member of Tacuara, an organization with a record of terrorism." Interior Minister Enrique Martinez Paz received Patricio Errecalte Pueriedon, secretary general of the Tacuara, on Monday.

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