Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

I called up Father Burke36 and gave him over the telephone the substance of this message37 which the President authorized me to give him yesterday. I emphasized how anxious we were to take no step in Mexico which might strengthen the Mexican attack on religion; that our failure must not be taken as indifference to the critical situation there, but solely because of our anxiety not to make things worse. I felt sure that Father Burke would agree with me that if our Ambassador made a further statement at this moment it would give the Mexican authorities the impetus to act even more peremptorily. Father Burke fully agreed; said that he appreciated the situation and understood our position; the trouble was, he said, that the man on the street would not be able to understand it. He mentioned that a public meeting would take place in Baltimore tomorrow, and that harsh things might be said, presumably against the Department. Father Burke, however, indicated that he understood our position and could not really expect us to request Mr. Daniels for a further statement.

W[illiam] P[hillips]
  1. John J. Burke, general secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Council, Washington, D. C.
  2. The attached message reads as follows:

    “Mr. Daniels has made it clear that, in his speech, he was referring merely to general improvement in education in Mexico. If he should say more now, it would possibly strengthen the Mexican attack on religion, which is the last thing that we want to do.”