Argentina History Part 4

But Perón’s greatest concern was to ensure the implementation of his vast projects of social improvement and economic, political and military strengthening of the country. To this end, he first had to get rid of all opposition. The Supreme Court had deemed the acts of the revolutionary governments unconstitutional and therefore the decrees establishing labor tribunals: the Perón obtained that the chamber indict the judges before the senate, which pronounced the forfeiture of three out of four councilors and of the attorney general (the president, R. Repetto, had resigned). Meanwhile, agreements were concluded for air navigation with Chile and Great Britain and for payments or commercial exchanges with Belgium (May 1946), Ecuador, Brazil, while negotiations were taking place with Great Britain. However, foreign exchanges were made to depend not only on the principle of “sell to those who sell to us” but also on the implementation of the grandiose projects incorporated in the “Perón plan”.

This – presented to Congress on 21 October 1946 – consists of a law for the granting of extraordinary powers to the government and 27 special laws that constitute a project of total reorganization: political-administrative, with the vote for women (approved in September 1947) and to non-commissioned officers of the armed forces, and reform of public education, including universities, with the creation of a special ministry; judicial, with the extension of labor courts and the establishment of a special administrative justice; military (law of November 1947 on premilitary education from 12 to 20 years, two-year stop, stay in the reserve up to 50 years for males, and employment in auxiliary services for women). From a social point of view, the plan provides for the establishment of a vast system of insurance for sickness and old age, the extension of health care through state doctors (especially in the provinces), subsidies for the less well-off and the increase of hospital beds from 60,000 to 140,000, as well as the creation of research or technical training institutes; housing construction; the regulation of rural rents; and a plan to facilitate the purchase of shares by industrial employees. As for industrialization, the plan provides for the production of tin for 20,000 tons. per year and the increase in that of steel up to 315,000 t. for 1951, strong increases in the production of wool, cotton and silk yarns, the latter thanks to the development of sericulture and increase in energy sources (which a special law places under the control of the state), through a more intense exploitation of oil fields (with the installation of new refineries, the construction of tankers and pipelines for natural gas), and the construction of a complex system of hydroelectric plants in the provinces of Santa Fé, Entre Ríos, Mendoza, Salta and Jujuy, as well as thermoelectric plants. An agreement was signed with Uruguay for the Salto Grande plant (see above: economic conditions) (December 30, 1946). To facilitate industrial development and social improvements, the construction of large public works (roads, ports, etc.) is envisaged and a protectionist customs policy is adopted, favoring the import of raw materials and machinery necessary for local industries or for national defense. For this reason, Argentina, according to the plan, tends to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of armaments and airplanes; the armed forces must be reorganized and ordered so that the military remains unconnected with politics. Other measures concern the conservation, development and use of other natural resources (fisheries, forests, agriculture).

According to PICKTRUE, President Perón explained that his “plan” and does not strictly obey the dictates of a programmatic economy in the strict sense; economy, therefore, his, “orderly”, on the part of a state which, unable to tolerate the dominance of large capitalist enterprises, becomes “competitor, not manager”. The plan provides for an expenditure of 6,662.7 million pesos (of which 600 for irrigation works, aqueducts and sewers; 600 for ports and inland navigation; 555 for roads and 900 for transport; 625 for sanitary works; 620 for petroleum, 271 for natural gas, 640 for dams and artificial lakes, over 485 for power plants; 200 for university buildings, 200 for the settlement of immigrants). To finance the government, which has practically full powers for the execution of the plan,

In connection with this plan, we must consider the numerous commercial and financial agreements signed by Argentina in recent times, with Ecuador, India, Brazil (1946), Switzerland, Canada, France, Italy and the Romania (1947), Holland, Spain and Yugoslavia (1948).

All are on the basis of cleared exchanges; Argentina undertakes to supply certain quantities of products with each one, mainly cereals, vegetable and animal oils and fats, quebracho extract, skins. In most cases, the agreements provide for the granting of credits by Argentina: to France, in 1945 for 150 million pesos, renewed in 1948, for another 600 million; to Romania, for 25 million; to Italy, for 350 million at 2.3 / 4% until 1951, in addition to the issue of an Italian loan at 3.3 / 4%, at 96, for another 350 million at Banco Central, securities tradable on the stock exchange of Buenos Aires; to Spain for 350 million in 1946, brought to 1750 in 1948 with the “Franco Perón protocol” which stipulates the concession to Argentina of a free point in the port of Cadiz and, for the part of the credit not paid through exports, its use as shareholdings in Spanish industries, especially railway and shipbuilding. Even more interesting are the agreements of December 1946 with Chile (now also joined to Argentina by the Salta-Antofagasta railway, opened in February 1948) and with Bolivia (March-August 1947). To the first country, Argentina grants various loans for a total of 700 million Argentine pesos for the exchange stabilization fund, railway construction and for the establishment of a company between the two governments, with the aim of developing mining production in Chile (copper, iron, nitrates, coal), wood and electricity; to the second, for a total of 300 million Argentine pesos, for the financing of purchases, public and health works and the development of the mining and rubber industry (reserving the exportable surpluses for Argentina), as well as fixing exchanges of products. The one and the others ensure customs relief (the one with Chile also includes the free use of ports) and seem to want to be a first step towards a customs union. Similar agreements are being negotiated with Peru for coal.

Thus Argentina, after having largely redeemed European investments, began by investing capital in turn in other American countries to favor their development, contrasting its prestige as a capitalist country with that of the United States. It also (while participating in the UNRRA and being among the top suppliers of foodstuffs, especially cereals, according to the ERP) has also kept itself autonomous in contributing to the European reconstruction and, as regards foreign trade, it has still adhered to the system bilateral agreements and compensated exchanges, by not officially attending the meeting of the International Grain Council (Washington, January-March 1948) and by not signing the final act of the Havana International Conference of Commerce (March 1948). So too,America and Pan-Americanism, in this App.) with the declaration of wanting to sign a pact, but not to create an association or union of South American nations; while, while remaining cold (with a clearly anti-communist attitude in internal politics) towards the Soviet Union (concluding with it only after a year of negotiations, in March 1947, a treaty of friendship and trade), it did not follow Chile and the Brazil in the breakdown of relations.

Argentina History 4