The Chargé in Argentina ( Reed ) to the Secretary of State

No. 17038

Sir: I have the honor to comment on the present state of the Argentine press and to emphasize that, Government assurances to the contrary, the press continues to be restricted and real freedom of expression is in fact non-existent. The restrained editorials currently appearing in the important democratic dailies, La Nacíon and La Prensa and the care which these newspapers exercise to avoid publishing anything which might be displeasing to the Government bear out this statement.

In his radio address on Argentine foreign policy last July 26, General Peluffo3 said that newspaper censorship no longer would be applied and that the press was at liberty to print what it wished. Other prominent Government spokesmen have given similar assurances which, like Peluffo’s, were clearly designed for consumption abroad where efforts are being made to present Argentina in a favorable light. The fact remains however that the State of Siege, which restricts civil liberties, is still in force and under it the Government is empowered to close a newspaper virtually at will. It is argued by some that there is no censorship since the newspapers are not required to clear their releases through Government agencies. But through a policy of intimidation, with attendant threats of suspension for publishing editorials unfavorable to the present regime, all of the democratic dailies have been pointedly careful to toe the line although as is generally accepted they are strongly opposed to the Perón4 group and are anxious to see a return to normal democratic government.

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Respectfully yours,

Edward L. Reed
  1. Orlando L. Peluffo, Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs; for an account of this address, see the New York Times July 27, 1944, p. 10.
  2. Juan D. Perón, Vice President and Minister of War.