The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Seoul (Miller)
Sir: The Department has received and read with interest Consul General Bergholz’s despatch No. 109, of October 27, 1919,63 reporting among other items relative to the situation in Korea, the presentation by a Committee of the Federal Council of Protestant Evangelical Missions in Korea to the Governor-General of a communication setting forth what the Committee deemed “to be the most imperative [Page 463] changes necessary, if real religious liberty and educational freedom are to be secured.”
While the Department recognizes that others than American missionaries may have been responsible for the major part of this document, it is desired to point out that in some few sections at least the suggestions are political in tone with but slight reference to the avowed objects of the communication. While it might be argued that the fact that the communication was written at the Governor General’s invitation might acquit the writers of the “communication” of any desire to overstep the limits of propriety in their statements, the Department feels that the greatest care should have been exercised with a view to avoiding the introduction of irrelevant suggestions, purely political in character, which might serve to foster in the minds of the Japanese a suspicion that the foreign missionaries in Korea are inclined to interfere in the political affairs of the country.
From your despatch of January 29, 1919, (Serial No. 5)64 it appears that care was taken to warn American Missionaries against such a policy; and the Department has to suggest that you should take opportune occasion again discreetly to indicate to American Missionaries, and particularly to those on the Committee of the Federal Council, its doubts as to the expediency of such communications as that to which the present instruction refers.
I am [etc.]