ARGENTINA: Double Check

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The Argentine government made a cagily indirect answer last week to reports that Juan Perón had arrested Ronald Richter, his "atomic scientist" (TIME, May 28). Newspapers announced that Professor Richter and his laboratory associates would observe a national holiday by working 24 hours straight.

But Richter made no public appearance. Instead, Juan Perón issued a decree placing the entire Huemul Island atomic energy program under his own direction. On top of that, Professor Cornelius Jan Bakker, a leading Dutch nuclear physicist, arrived at Huemul Island under a dense cloak of secrecy. He was apparently brought in as a result of recent talks between Perón and The Netherlands' good-will ambassador, Prince Bernhard.

Was Bakker in Argentina to run a check on Dr. Richter? That was what Netherlanders surmised. Their theory: suspicious of Richter, but leary of getting involved with atomic experts from the U.S., Britain or Canada, Perón asked Prince Bernhard for a qualified Dutch scientist to audit Richter's books.