July 22, 1997

The Honorable John Shattuck
Assistant Secretary for Democracy,
Human Rights and Labor
U.S. State Department
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

The recently released State Department report, "United States Policies in Support of Religious Freedom: Focus on Christians," is most welcome. The report helps raise the curtain on the hidden reality of persecution and demonstrates the Administration's concern to raise awareness and accountability on the part of U.S. officials in challenging intolerance of religion.

The focus on the widespread persecution suffered by Christians is most welcome because their sufferings have so often been overlooked. It is clear from the report why protection of religious liberty is not only in accord with the best of American ideals, but is also important to maintaining peace and security around the world.

The recent steps taken to improve reporting on violations of religious liberty should increase awareness of this issue among U.S. government officials. Efforts to intensify attention to religious freedom in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy are also to be applauded. As a member of the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, I am confident that this report will greatly assist the Committee in developing creative proposals for further improving the U.S. government's ability to ensure that protection of religious liberty is a central element of U.S. diplomacy and immigration policy.

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrick
Committee on International Policy
U.S. Catholic Conference