File No. 15885.
The Acting Secretary of State to the Netherlands Chargé.
Washington , October 10, 1908 .
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 30th ultimo, wherein you quote from a communication addressed [Page 660] to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands by the Interdenomination Council of Women for Christian and Patriotic Service urging legislation to prohibit in the Netherlands the missionary propaganda of the Mormon Church, and request, by direction of your Government, information on the points raised in said communication with reference to the position of the Mormon Church on the question of polygamy.
In reply I have the honor to say that the attitude of the Department of State toward Mormon missionaries asking protection abroad has been that, if such missionaries observe the civil laws of marriage and practise no doctrines violating the law of morality, they shall receive the same impartial protection as other American citizens or missionaries. (See Foreign Relations, 1897, p. 123.)
By a manifesto issued October 6, 1890, the Mormon Church, or Church of the Latter Day Saints, declared the purpose of such church no longer to sanction the practice of polygamous marriages. In 1893 the President of the United States took official cognizance of such declaration to the extent of pardoning Mormon adherents who had abstained from polygamy since 1890. A copy of the President’s proclamation is inclosed herewith.1
The debates in the United States Senate in 1907, and the final vote declining to unseat Senator Smoot of Utah, seem to show the general acceptance of the Mormon declaration that plural marriages are no longer taught. (See Congressional Record, 59th Cong., 2d sess., pp. 3273 to 3429.)
Polygamy is prohibited by the laws of the States and of the United States, and aliens who commit polygamy or admit their belief in the practice of polygamy are excluded from admission into the United States. (Copy of alien law herewith. See also 34 Stat. L., p. 899.)
No final action has been taken in Congress on the bills introduced to amend the Constitution by prohibiting polygamy.
- Not printed.↩