835.918/155: Telegram

The Ambassador in Argentina (Armour) to the Secretary of State

1057. Decree signed by Farrell and Perlinger last night suspended publication of La Prensa for 5 days. This is first time the newspaper has been closed by Government action in 75 years of existence. The pretext for closing was an editorial published yesterday attacking some activities of Municipal Public Health Administration. However, article which precipitated the closing was one published April 23, which severely criticized the position taken by the authorities in connection with the regulations on religious teaching in schools, that only Catholic Argentines are true Argentine citizens. A contributing factor may have been a second editorial attacking expropriation of foreign owned utilities. Police have taken possession of La Prensa building and employees prohibited access. Skeleton staff remains in building. Telephones cut off. The decree states that the newspaper can reopen after 5 days provided that it publishes a statement by Public Health Administration refuting the newspaper’s charges.

Although story of closing is widely published here, press associations have been prohibited from sending it abroad.

La Vanguardia also was indefinitely suspended April 24 after having been warned various times for attacks on Government.