Mr. Winchester to Mr. Bayard.
Berne, April 21, 1888. (Received May 7.)
Sir: In pursuance of instruction, conveyed by your No. 130, of the 22d ultimo, on yesterday I called to see the chief of the Swiss Federal department of justice and police, orally and unofficially advising with him as to measures that might be taken to prevent the emigration from Switzerland to the United States of persons who intend to violate the laws by entering into polygamous relations, and informing him that it had come to the knowledge of the United States Government that Mormon agents in Switzerland had lately been increasing their activity. His attention, as directed in your dispatch, was specially called to the provisions of the act approved February 26, 1885, as amended by the act approved February 23, 1887, prohibiting the importation and immigration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor, etc., and that the influence of the Swiss Government might be effectively used in securing evidence to bring these Mormon recruits within the inhibition of this act. I am glad to report that the chief met my suggestions in a prompt and sympathetic spirit, expressing a perfect willingness to cooperate in every legal way to check and break up this obnoxious migration. At his request a copy of the act has been furnished to him, and he has promised to instruct the Federal and cantonal police authorities at the localities where the Mormon emissaries mostly operate, to ascertain and report as far as possible under what sort of agreements as to the prepayment of their transportation or assistance otherwise extended them, these Mormon emigrants are sent to the United States. I am satisfied, as heretofore stated, that the Swiss Federal officials are disposed to lend every assistance and enforce as far as practicable the law denouncing the forwarding of persons to whom the laws of the country to which they emigrate prohibit entry.” But it should be remembered that it is a much more difficult matter for a government to control emigration than immigration.
As an evidence of the attention given this whole subject by the Swiss Government, at the last session of the Federal Assembly, a thorough revision of the law controlling emigration agencies, etc., was made, all the changes being in the direction of throwing further safeguards and increasing the police supervision over violations of the law by these agencies. Under the revised law, in addition to the bond of 40,000 francs now required from the chief agency, each sub-agency must execute bond in the sum of 3,000 francs, and those engaged in selling passage tickets to emigrants, a bond of 20,000 francs. Copies of the law are transmitted under separate cover as printed matter. It awaits the expiration of the referendum date before going into force, but it is hardly possible a referendum will be demanded.
I am, etc.,