"I shall be most grateful if you can obtain full publicity for the declaration I want to give you now," said Rumania's silky-mannered new Poet-Premier Octavian Goga to George Eric Rowe Gedye of the New York Times in Bucharest last week. "The Jewish problem is an old one here, and it is a Rumanian tragedy. Briefly, we have far too many Jews."
The Premier had just passed around Turkish cigarets stamped with a pale blue swastika, traditional European symbol of antiSemitism. He had already announced his intention of sending 500,000 foreign-born Jews out of Rumania, sparing the native born (TIME, Jan. 24, et ante), and now he added:
"I hear that American Jews are appealing in Geneva against me. Well, nothing could suit me better. I propose to ask the League to see that these people are removed from Rumania and sent to their proper homes. How and when is a question for the future."
Declared distinctly less urbane Minister Without Portfolio Alexander Cuza, aged 80: "It is for the world to find a residence for the world's Jews! Madagascar seems a suitable spot."*
On the Goga Cabinet's instructions, the Rumanian National Theatre this week began preparing "a series of revivals of old Rumanian classics, not produced for many years." First to be scheduled is Bloodsucker of the Villages, a Rumanian favorite of half a century ago, all about a heartless Jewish swindler of poor peasants.
Meanwhile the Government ordered that everyone in Rumania who had come there as an immigrant must produce his papers to be checked up. Those whose papers are not in order will be promptly arraigned in courtand every Rumanian knows that for years the frontier authorities have made a business of letting immigrants, mostly Jews, slip in on payment of small bribes.
In 1926, when Poet Goga was Minister of Interior, he conducted what is still remembered as "Rumania's most corrupt election," and won. Last week, he prepared for the Rumanian election scheduled to begin March 2.
As it happens, the National Peasant Party, Premier Goga's doughtiest foe, has spent 20 years teaching Rumanian peasants, who are mostly illiterate, to recognize and vote the ticket headed on the ballot by the Peasant Party symbol, a circle. Last week, on the advice of ingenious Premier Goga, King Carol decreed this circle and all other Rumanian party symbols abolished. He announced that the first party to apply would be given a ballot symbol of one black dot, the next two dots, and so on up to 28 dots (there are 28 Rumanian parties). It was next discovered that the Goga party, having been first to learn of this opportunity, had applied first and had been awarded one black dot just about the size of the Peasant Party circle. Those Rumanians who favor Goga are mostly literate, and illiterates who vote for him by mistake will be so much velvet for the unscrupulous poet.
"We oppose the Goga Government because it is a sham governmentanti-democratic and anti-Semitic in its entire policy, while as regards foreign policy it follows Germany's lead!" roared National Peasant Party Leader Julius Maniu.