1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 2

Alarums in Argentina

Nobody would suggest that there was anything innately improbable about a plot to assassinate a South American dictator, but the dis- covery of one in Argentina has come at such an opportune moment for its intended victim, Senor Peron, that the news is bound to arouse a certain scepticism. The last few months have not been very happy for the Perortist regime ; currency inflation, brought on by the lavish spending entailed in the Five-Year Plan, has kept the rise in prices several jumps ahead of wages, and America -has at last made it plain that Argentina's part in the Marshall Plan is not simply to sit back and receive dollars in return for supplying Europe with food at extravagant prices. Apart from this economic trouble, the smouldering political opposition has been fanned into flame by the proposal to draft changes in the constitution, which is in form liberal even if. its terms have in practice been abused often during the 95 years of its life. Then, just when these difficulties were beginning to tarnish the reputation of the President, along comes the assassination plot, with all its drama and mystery, to divert attention elsewhere. The United States and " foreign capitalistic interests " are blamed for the conspiracy and, by inference, they can be blamed for all Argentina's other ills ; Senor Perim re-emerges as the popular hero battling against the forces of darkness. But it is not going to be possible to explain away their troubles to the Argentinians for ever in terms of this sort of myth. The fact is that they have been able for some years to profit from the world food-shortage, but these happy days are almost over, and the elaborate structure of demagogic planning which the Peron regime has sponsored will have to be considerably modified. Sooner rather than later Argentina will have to talk the normal language of trade and politics once again.