The Chargé in the Soviet Union ( Kohler ) to Mr. Fëdor Terentyevich Orekhov, Chief of the United States Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union 1

My Dear Mr. Orekhov: I should like to refer to our conversation on April 18 and to my letter to you of March 18, 1949,2 concerning the issuance of a Soviet visa to the Reverend John Odillon Arthur Brassard who has been designated to replace the Reverend G. Antonio La Berge in Moscow. I have not yet received a reply to either of my inquiries.

As you know the interest of my Government in this matter arises from the agreement concluded between President Roosevelt and Mr. Litvinov in November 1938 which provided that the Government of the U.S.S.R., while reserving to itself the right of refusing visas to Americans desiring to enter the Soviet Union on personal grounds, did not intend to base such refusals on the fact of such persons having an ecclesiastical status.

It is now almost two years since Reverend Louis Dion applied for a Soviet visa to come to Moscow to replace Father La Berge.3 Father Dion’s application was withdrawn and Father Brassard’s visa application substituted therefor on February 3, 1949. Father La Berge, while on a short visit to the United States, was orally informed by the Soviet Embassy in Washington on February 26, 1949 that his Soviet re-entry visa had been cancelled. Thus for more than five months American citizens in Moscow have been without the services of an American clergyman.

I have been instructed once again to bring this matter to the attention [Page 629] of the Soviet Government and to request that a decision he made in the earliest future on the visa application of Reverend Brassard.

Sincerely yours,

Foy D. Kohler
  1. A copy of this communication was sent to the Department of State as an enclosure in despatch No. 372 from Moscow on July 2, 1949.
  2. Not printed.
  3. In regard to the replacement of Father Laberge in Moscow by another priest, and of the attempts to obtain a visa for the Reverend Louis Ferdinand Dion, see the memorandum of May 16, 1947, Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, p. 560, and the memorandum of May 14, 1948, ibid., 1948, vol. iv, p. 867.