The Secretary of State to Senator Henry W. Keyes

My Dear Senator Keyes: I have received your letter of July 27, 1936,77 enclosing a copy of a resolution recently adopted at Concord by the New Hampshire State Council, Knights of Columbus, regarding the religious situation in Mexico.

There is, I feel, no need to assure your correspondents that the actual grant of religious liberty in every country of the world is not only the wish of President Roosevelt, but with him, as with his predecessors, has been a definite, publicly stated, and traditional policy of our Government.

Nevertheless, it should also be borne in mind that in the same degree that we would refuse to permit any interference by foreigners in our own domestic concerns, it is not appropriate or proper that we should seek to determine or influence the circumstances of domestic problems in a foreign country by taking any official action with relation thereto, however peaceable, friendly or well intentioned.

In this connection, I would call your correspondents’ attention to Article 8 of the multilateral Convention signed at Montevideo on [Page 776] December 26, 1933,79 our ratification of which was proclaimed by the President on January 18, 1935. That Article reads: “No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another,” and is in force as between the United States and Mexico.

It will therefore be clear that there are certain limits binding every government in its proper relations to other governments, to exceed which would defeat the very purposes sought. I can assure you that within those limits the President has championed, and will continue to champion, the principles of the freedom of worship and education for all nationals in every country of the world.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Not printed.
  2. Convention on Rights and Duties of States, Signed at Montevideo, December 26, 1933, Foreign Relations, 1933, vol. iv, p. 214.