812.404/1858: Telegram

The Ambassador in Mexico ( Daniels ) to the Secretary of State

53. Department’s telegram No. 54, March 19, 7 p.m. Article based on oral statement made by Minister of Gobernación at his press conference March 17, when in reply to a question he said that the Federal Government had no objection to the reopening of churches not now used, or intended, for schools or Government offices. Some correspondents, following the lead of a highly imaginative and pro-Catholic colleague, sent in “news stories” elaborated on this simple statement without any attempt to verify them.

Discreet inquiries from high church officials indicate no change in Government policy and no knowledge of reported decrees reopening churches.

Waiver of responsibility by Minister of Gobernación for the closing of the churches is consistent with Foreign Minister’s often repeated declarations that the reopening of the churches is a state matter over which the Federal Government exercises no control.