Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

Sir Ronald Campbell54 came in today, at his request.

I took occasion to mention the protest which had been made to this Department by representatives of the Lutheran Church against the ruling of the British Foreign Office denying entrance to Lutheran missionaries to India.

I pointed out that the Lutheran Church in America is not a branch of the German state church of the same name. On the contrary, some seventy-five years ago they had broken away. Further, the church was composed of some five million people of varied extraction, many of them Scandinavian in origin—Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, and so forth. I noted that in this particular matter they had enlisted the interest of one of their foremost members, Mr. William S. Knudsen.55

I said it seemed wholly unnecessary to antagonize as large a group of Americans as this, particularly in view of the fact that the Lutheran Church had supported the American defense effort up to the hilt; that it had many distinguished army officers and government servants in its ranks; and that blanket rulings of this kind would, I thought, if publicly known, create a painful impression. I said of course that there was no intent to defend the activities of any individuals who might have been objectionable or embarrassing, but that the ruling was distinctly placed not on these grounds but on a general objection [Page 210] to the Lutheran Church. I hoped, accordingly, that Sir Ronald could take the matter up with his Government and get the ruling reversed.

Sir Ronald made note of the fact and said he would endeavor to do something about it.

Adolf A. Berle, Jr.
  1. British Chargé.
  2. Director General of the Office of Production Management.