354.116 M 82/1
Senator Reed Smoot27 to the Secretary of State
My Dear Mr. Secretary: I desire to bring to your attention by letter a question of very great importance affecting the missionary work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church), and kindly ask you to direct that steps be taken by the State Department to secure the removal of certain restrictions imposed upon the missionaries of said Church from entering the following countries to carry on missionary work, a privilege enjoyed for over fifty years preceding the recent war: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, and South Africa.
Shortly after the breaking out of the war most of the European countries requested that American citizens return to their own country, principally on account of the shortage of food. The Church immediately complied with the request as soon as it was suggested to them. The armistice was signed twenty-eight months ago, and yet these countries named above are refusing to visa American passports issued to the missionaries of said Church. The work of the Church requires that missionaries be sent to these countries, not only to direct the missionary work but to look after the property interests of the Church.
There can be no possible reason for discriminating against this class of American citizens. I explained to you yesterday more in detail the situation as it exists, and I now ask you to direct the proper American representatives to the above named countries to secure an order from the proper officials of each country named to their American representatives, authorizing them to visa the American passports issued to members of said Church when called to do missionary work therein. The recent and present policy has been very embarrassing and burdensome to the work of the Church, and I ask you to endeavor to have it corrected.[Page 247]
Do not hesitate to call upon me at any time for any information touching this question.
- Senator from Utah and Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.↩