354.116 M 82/22: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Gibson)

85. Your 166, October 7. Department’s attitude concerning Mormon missionaries is indicated in its instruction of October 7 to Consul at Zurich, copy of which was sent to you by Department October 10.

See Department’s 162, December 26, 1922, stating that it did not consider it advisable to make representations to Swiss authorities in favor of Mormon missionaries on ground that Article I of the Convention of Friendship, Commerce and Extradition of 1850 entitles them to privilege of residence in Switzerland.

You would not be warranted in objecting to denial by appropriate Swiss authorities of residence permits to Mormon missionaries found [Page 261] to have been engaged in practices objectionable under laws of Switzerland. You may, however, exercise good offices to prevent expulsion being accompanied by undue hardship in individual cases.

If, as would appear from your despatch, it is intention of cantonal authorities of Zurich gradually to refuse renewal of residence permits in cases of all Mormon missionaries as a class, irrespective of whether they have violated the laws of Switzerland, you should inform Foreign Office that this Government considers that they should not be denied residence permits merely because of their religious belief.

Department does not consider it advisable to discuss with Swiss authorities question whether provisions in Article 49 of Swiss Constitution guaranteeing religious freedom apply to Mormon missionaries, in view of other provisions in Articles 50 and 51 placing limitations upon such guarantee.