The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (McReynolds)
My Dear Mr. McReynolds: I have received your letter transmitting a copy of House Resolution 27766 introduced by Mr. Citron of Connecticut on June 25, 1935, calling upon me for certain information concerning the Mexican situation.
In response to your request that I furnish you such information as I can, in answer to this Resolution, I am pleased to submit the following replies to the several questions contained therein:
1. Whether citizens of the United States, be they Catholics, Protestants, Jews, or members of any other religion or religious denomination, have been expelled from Mexico because of their religious beliefs.
In so far as this Department is informed, no citizen of the United States has been expelled from Mexico because of his religious beliefs.
2. Whether any protests have been filed by American citizens with the said State Department, its officers, or agents because they were expelled from Mexico on account of their religious beliefs and practices.
The Department’s files covering the last two years do not contain any record of a protest having been filed with the Department, its officers, or agents by American citizens because of their expulsion from Mexico on account of their religious beliefs and practices.
3. Whether any protests have been filed by American citizens with the said State Department, its officers, or agents because of the denial, hindrance, or suppression of the exercise of their religious practice in Mexico.
The Department’s files covering the last two years do not contain any record of protests filed by American citizens resident in Mexico because of the denial, hindrance or suppression of the exercise of their religious practice in Mexico.
4. Whether any protective measures have been taken to assist Americans against any denial, hindrance, or suppression of the exercise of their religious practice in Mexico.
It would seem unnecessary to say that the Department is compelled to recognize the general principle of international law that independent nations are free to regulate for themselves their internal religious conditions in such manner as they may deem proper. If by “protective measures” is meant interference in the domestic concerns of the Mexican Government contrary to the principle stated, this question must be answered in the negative. The case would present a different aspect if there were discrimination against citizens of the United States residing or travelling in Mexico in the application of the laws and regulations pertaining to the exercise of religious worship in that country. The Department, however, has received no evidence of any such discrimination, but on the contrary is informed that such laws and regulations apply equally to citizens of Mexico and nationals of other countries when in that country.
5. Whether the said State Department, its officers, or agents are using their good offices, or have offered the same, to both American citizens and the Mexican Government for the purpose of alleviating the aforesaid wrongful acts and for the purpose of creating better feeling between the citizens of the United States and the Mexican Government.
Attention is invited to the answer to question 6 which may be taken as a reply to the present question in so far as an answer thereto is [Page 804]regarded as compatible with the public interest. In the opinion of the Department it would be incompatible with the public interest to make a response that would involve a detailed statement.
6. Whether or not the attention of the Mexican Government has been called to such protests and to the fact that many Americans are horrified at the religious persecutions and excesses which threaten the friendly relations between the peoples of both countries at a time when the people of the United States sympathize with and are ready to assist the people of Mexico in their struggle for social and economic betterment.
The attention of representatives of the Mexican Government has been invited to the many protests received by the Department from persons in the United States regarding the restrictions imposed on the exercise of religious worship in the United Mexican States.
Your thoughtfulness in bringing this Resolution so promptly to my attention is greatly appreciated.
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