354.116 M 82/21
The Secretary of State to the Consul at Zurich (Wilkinson)
Sir: The Department has received your confidential despatch No. 1911 of August 16, 1924,46 concerning the opposition of the Swiss authorities to the continued presence of Mormon missionaries in Switzerland.
There would appear to be no action which you could take in this matter other than to render to Mormon missionaries who may be American citizens, such assistance as may be warranted with a view [Page 258] to seeing that they are accorded the protection to which they may be entitled under the laws of Switzerland.
With reference to your statement that the police at Zurich appear to be under the impression that your office has been over-zealous in the action which it has taken in behalf of Mormon missionaries, it is suggested that should you have reason to believe that the local authorities share this view you may be able to convince them that you have merely rendered to Mormon missionaries the assistance to which as American citizens they are entitled. With reference to the extent to which you should intervene in behalf of Mormon missionaries who are American citizens, it may be observed that this is a matter depending largely upon the facts and circumstances of the individual case. You should, however, be convinced that the facts are such as to warrant you in taking up a particular case with the local authorities. In general, it may be stated that you should render to Mormon missionaries who are American citizens the same degree of assistance that should properly be rendered to any other class of American citizens.
You may upon an appropriate occasion informally express to the local authorities the hope that so long as American citizens professing the Mormon faith do not violate the Swiss laws or preach any doctrine that is contrary to law or morality, they will be granted the same privileges and protection as are accorded to other aliens and will not be discriminated against merely because of their religion. However, should the Swiss authorities insist upon enforcing the laws of Switzerland bearing upon the stay of Mormon missionaries in that country, the Department considers that you would not be warranted in intervening in behalf of any American citizens who may be affected by such laws unless in enforcing the regulations governing the departure of such missionaries from Swiss territory, American citizens should be subjected to harsh or arbitrary treatment.
A copy of this instruction has been sent to the Legation at Berne for its information.
I am [etc.]
- Not printed.↩