The Secretary of State to President Harding
The Department is receiving appeals from various Catholic societies in this country to protest against the sentence of death reported by the press to have been passed by the Russian Soviet authorities on Archbishop Zepliak and other ecclesiastics. The Belgian Ambassador has presented a similar appeal from Cardinal Mercier and our Legation at Brussels has telegraphed an urgent message from the Cardinal for you expressing the earnest hope that something can be done to save these persons. There is a press despatch this morning that execution of sentence has been postponed and this is probably correct. It is doubtful whether any representations [Page 816] which we might make would have any effect. It is possible nevertheless that in view of the appeals which are being made you may care to have me instruct Houghton to make known to the Soviet representative in Berlin how deeply the action which has been taken against these ecclesiastics has stirred public opinion in the United States. I shall be very grateful for an expression of your views. Our Embassy in Berlin would probably be the best medium of approach.