345.1163/88c: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

4815. The British Passport Control Officer in New York has informed the Board of Foreign Missions of the Lutheran Church of America that he has received instructions that Lutheran missionaries are not to be admitted to India and on the basis of these instructions he has refused to grant visas to the Board’s missionaries desiring to proceed to India. This ruling is severely handicapping the Board’s work in India.

On September 16 in a telegram to the Consulate General to Calcutta and in a conversation with the British Chargé d’Affaires in Washington it was pointed out that the Lutheran Church in America is not a branch of the German Lutheran Church and that neither the Church, Board, or its Missions receive any financial aid from Germany. The [Page 212] Consulate General, and subsequently the Commissioner at New Delhi, were instructed to take the matter up with the Government of India and the British Chargé d’Affaires stated that he would take the matter up with his Government in London. However, the Department has received no indication that the ruling has been changed.

Please inquire of the British authorities as to the present status of the case. If no decision has been reached, please take appropriate steps to obtain permission for American Lutheran missionaries to enter India in order to carry on the work of the Board which has been conducted in India for 99 years.

Please report developments in the matter to the Department promptly by telegraph and continue to keep me advised. Time is important.