358.116 M 82/35

The Minister in Sweden ( Bliss ) to the Secretary of State

No. 101

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith copies of correspondence exchanged between this Legation and the Minister for Foreign Affairs44 regarding the refusal by the Swedish consuls at Chicago and Copenhagen to visa the American passport of Darcey U. Wright to enter Sweden, on the ground that he was a missionary of the Mormon Church.

This question of Mormon missionaries in Sweden was the subject of telegraphic correspondence between the Department and this Legation in April, 1921, since which time I find no record in the files that the matter has been taken up by this Legation. In April of 1921, the expulsion from Sweden of missionaries of the Mormon church was ordered, but through the intervention of Mr. Morris it was apparently never fully carried out, as it would seem that some missionaries were permitted to remain in Sweden. There is a record in the Legation files that one of the missionaries was permitted to continue for a limited period his sojourn in Sweden on his engaging to “abstain from all preaching and propaganda on behalf of the Mormon Church during his stay in Sweden” (Foreign Office third person note, May 28, 1921).

Last July, two or three days after my arrival in Stockholm, Senator Reed Smoot of Utah came to Stockholm and at that time I presented him to the Prime Minister, Mr. Trygger. During the interview which followed, Senator Smoot referred to the difficulties of entering Sweden that were placed in the way of Mormon missionaries by the Swedish authorities and expressed the hope that the Government might be disposed to examine the matter further with a view to satisfying itself that there were grounds to warrant a change in its attitude towards the representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Since my arrival here, however, no concrete case has arisen to give an opportunity for me to make representations to the Foreign [Page 256] Office in this matter until the one which is the subject of this report to the Department.

In handing to Baron Marcks von Wurtemberg my note of December 17th, 1923,45 regarding the case of Mr. Wright, I went into the subject as fully as the information on file at the Legation would permit. I mentioned, in the course of our conversation, that the restrictions in Norway, somewhat similar to those in Sweden, had recently been removed.

Last evening I dined with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and after dinner he referred to this matter of the Mormon missionaries. He said that it presented considerable difficulty to his Government, as the information which it has regarding the Mormon Church was not favorable. He spoke of a report to the Swedish Government which had been made some years ago, promising to send me a copy, which I shall forward to the Department as soon as possible.

I learned that the Minister has instructed the Swedish Legation at Washington and the Swedish Consulate at San Francisco to make new investigation of the activities and standing of the Mormon Church. In view of this instruction, the Minister said it would be some time before he could make an answer to the note which I sent to him on December 17th last.

Should the Department see no objection, I beg that the information contained in this despatch be brought to the attention of Senator Smoot, in order that he may be acquainted with the present situation regarding the entrance of Mormon missionaries into Sweden and, also, that he may inform the competent authorities of the Mormon Church of the investigation which is to be made by the Swedish diplomatic and consular officers in order that they may facilitate such investigation if the proper opportunity presents itself.

In this respect, it is my opinion that it would not be advisable for the Mormon Church to repeat the invitation that an investigation be made nor to offer to pay the expenses of an investigator of the Swedish Government, as its previous offer of this nature was rejected in terms which do not counsel repetition (see Department’s telegram No. 21, April 9, 1921, 6 p.m. and Legation’s cabled answer No. 46, April 28, 1921, 3 p.m.)

I should be obliged if the Department would indicate what further action it desires taken in this case, should the Minister’s answer to my note refuse the request that a visa be given to Mr. Wright.

I have [etc.]

Robert Woods Bliss
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