20 DECEMBER 1946, Page 1

Argentine Ambitions

A fortnight after the announcement that Argentina was preparing to receive 4,000,000 immigrants from Europe comes the news that she has undertaken to invest 7oopoo,000 Argentine pesos in Chile. The latter sum (which equals about £40,000,000) may not appear particularly startling, but the significance of the transaction is pro- found.- -Argentina has hitherto been one of the great borrowers of the world, but the war has changed all that. She has emerged with a vastly increased national income, an ability to lend money abroad (for example, the Argentine war-time balance in this country has been funded at a low tate of interest), an ambitious demagogue as Presi- dent, and an old itch to score points off the United States. The results are apparent everywhere. The attempt to shake off the British financial interest on the Argentine has been determined and not over-scrupulous. Relations with the United States have not been particularly polite recently. There are indications that Mr. Sprouille Braden, who was formerly Ambassador in Buenos Aires and is now Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs in Washing- ton, has recently had his hand strengthened. His anti-Argentine opinions are usually only too willingly accepted as a red rag to a bull. It is particularly noticeable that the latest trade treaty with Chile, while it is accompanied by a proposal for a customs union which excludes goods in which both countries compete, runs directly counter to the United States' doctrine of freer trade, by providing that mutual concessions granted between Argentina and Chile shall not be extended on most-favoured-nation terms to other countries. Clearly President Peron intends to go right ahead with the throttle wide open. Possibly he realises that Argentine domination of South America would carry with it certain obligations and certain dangers, but it would help to give reassurance to the rest a the world if he showed it more plainly.