4 November 1952
The Honorable Dean Acheson
Secretary of State
Department of State
My dear Sir:
I have learned recently that Stephen H. Fritchman, minister of the First Unitarian
Church of Los Angeles, was denied a passport, when he had been invited to address
the Australian Unitarian Churches, in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of
the introduction of Unitarianism into Australia.
I am writing to express my strong feelings about the denial of this passport. I
myself suffered great harm as a result of the denial of a passport to me this spring,
when I had been invited by the Royal Society of London to take part in a special discussion
meeting of the Royal Society on the structure of proteins, on 1 May. This harm has
been diminished only in part by the subsequent issuance of a passport to me, permitting
me to go to France and London to discuss scientific questions with scientists in these
countries. No explanation of the denial and later issuance of a passport to me was
given by the Department of State, and I conclude that a mistake was made by the Department
when the passport was denied to me initially.
I feel that a similar mistake has been made in the case of Mr. Fritchman. I have
known Mr. Fritchman for several years. I consider him to be a great man. He is one
of the most honest, forthright, straightforward, and high-principled men that I have
ever known. He is an honor to the United States of America - the world would be a
great world indeed if one percent of its people were comparable to Mr. Fritchman.
Is the United States of America, through its passport policy, now going to interfere
with religion in the way that it has interfered with the progress of science? Is
the passport policy that has been pursued, and apparently is still being pursued,
designed to suppress those conscientious ministers of the Gospel who are working for
the welfare and happiness of human beings throughout the world?
I sincerely trust, for the sake of the United States of America, that the precedent
that has been set by the Department of State in my case can be followed, and that
Mr. Fritchman will be given his passport.