354.116 M 82/12

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Lane)

No. 162

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of your despatches, number 680 of November 23, and number 694 of November 29, 192240 concerning the difficulties experienced by Mr. and Mrs. Ripplinger and Mr. Hugh J. Ford, American Mormon missionaries, in their attempts to secure permission to reside in certain of the Swiss Cantons.

You suggest, as a result of conversations with an official of the Political Department, concerning the matter, that you be instructed to inform the Swiss Government that, so far as is known, the countenance of polygamy is no longer tolerated by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. You further suggest that the Swiss authorities might be willing to interpret Article I of the Convention of Friendship, Commerce and Extradition, concluded between the United States and Switzerland on November 25, 1850,41 pertaining to the rights of citizens of the United States in the matter of residence in Switzerland, and to the rights of Swiss citizens in the matter of residence in the United States, in favor of the missionaries, who are requesting the assistance of the Legation.

The Department does not consider it advisable that representations be made to the Swiss Government in favor of the missionaries on the ground that Article I of the Convention of Friendship, Commerce, and Extradition entitles them to the privilege of residence in Switzerland.

[Page 254]

You may, however, inform the Political Department, unofficially, that polygamy is forbidden not only by the laws of the United States but as well by the Mormon Church, and that this Government hopes that the Swiss authorities will accord to Mormon missionaries the same privileges that are granted to missionaries of other faiths.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Miller, Treaties, vol. 5, p. 845.