NOVEMBER 4, 1947
NEW YORK, Monday—One of the basic freedoms that we treasure in this country is freedom of religion—not only the freedom of various churches to hold services and to have ministers of various denominations, but also the freedom to instruct and to converse on religious subjects without interference.
I understand that the complete report of the group of American ministers who visited Yugoslavia is about to be published. In view of the testimony which has come to me from a man who travelled with these ministers, I feel that their report should be read carefully and impartially. I do not believe in shutting one's eyes to the things of which one disapproves, but neither do I believe in passing over without mention the things of which one does approve.
A man who has long travelled throughout Europe and has been primarily interested in the freedom of the small church groups, tells me that he accompanied these ministers in Yugoslavia. He talks the language and has long known many of the people who politically may be in opposition to the present Government. He also knows many of the people in the Government, having interviewed Marshal Tito and a number of others. He is not in any way interested in the political aspects of any country because he is giving his time to the promotion of religious freedom. His knowledge of Yugoslavia stems back to the first World War, when he served as a doctor in that area.
His testimony is that the report of this group of ministers is correct and that complete freedom of religion does exist in that country. He assures me that there has been no interference with religious practice and that the only objection has been to those who have interfered with political situations.
If his testimony can be accepted as authentic, it is encouraging. And it might explain some of the feeling on the part of the Yugoslav representatives on the subject of slander and false representation. It cannot, of course, alter our basic feeling in this country that we do not want the press anywhere controlled, either politically or in any other way. But it should increase our interest in seeing that the Conference on Freedom of Information makes a real study of this subject, with an emphasis on freedom as against repression, from whatever source.