Recognition of the GLNF by U.S. Grand Lodges in
the 1940s and 1950s
(listed in chronological order)
Michigan - 1948
[the following is from the Michigan Grand Lodge Proceedings
1948, pages 140-142]
"Grand Master Hooper: . . . I want to tell you something
about the marvelous time we had in England and France, and the great honors that
were accorded us. I have a confession to make. Someone back here, Maryland I
believe, has said that I should make this confession, and I do not hesitate to
do so. We were invited by the Grand Master of the Nationale Grand Lodge of
France to come over to Paris. . . . I must say that we went knowing that
Michigan did not recognize this Grand Lodge. . . . even though Michigan does not
recognize them, we went, and we had a grand time. They were working the
Fellowcraft Degree, and we could follow it after a fashion. We could not
understand French, but we did get a word here and there such as * * * . . . They
had a fine candidate, and they finally finished conferring the Fellowcraft
Degree upon him. Then we thought they were ready to close lodge. But they seemed
to be voting on something. . . . Then the Grand Master of France turned and
said, "My dear Brothers from America, you have just been made honorary
members of this lodge." Well, we all looked at each other, and we hardly
knew what to say, because Maryland does not recognize them either."
"Brother Strawhecker, P.G.M.: Most Worshipful Grand Master,
as the Junior Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, I move that the
Grand Master be healed.
"Grand Master Hooper: Past Grand Master Strawhecker moves
that the Grand Master, and Deputy Grand Master, be healed.
"(Laughter and applause).
"Well, that is the story. I am so pleased that the
Fraternal Relations Committee has brought in this report recommending the
Nationale Grand Lodge of France. My personal opinion is that we want nothing to
do with the other two Grand Lodges; their Masonry is not the same as ours. . . .
[after the Grand Lodge voted to recognize the GLNF]
"Grand Master Hooper: Thank you very much, Brethren, for
relieving me of this burden that was on my mind for having visited that French
lodge. And I want to say to you, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Maryland, that
my action is now legitimate. I suggest that you go now and do likewise.
"(Laughter and applause)."
District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) - 1952 & 1953
In 1952, the Correspondence Committee of the D.C. Grand Lodge considered the
subject of recognition of Masonic Grand bodies in France, which had been
considered previously in 1870, 1914, and 1917.
The committee said the GLNF had requested recognition, having already
been recognized by the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and 20 U.S.
States. The Committee pointed out that the GLF (not the GLNF) was constituted in 1904 and
recognized by our Grand Lodge in 1917. As of 1952, the GLF was recognized by 6 U.S.
Grand Lodges, compared to 20 that recognized the GLNF as of then.
However, instead of saying that the GLNF’s request for
recognition could not be considered because the D.C. Grand Lodge could only recognize one Grand
Lodge in France, which had been the policy of the D.C. Grand Lodge in the past, this
time the D.C. Grand Lodge Correspondence Committee recommended that "any
change of recognition in France should be made only after proper consideration
and disposition of the exiting recognition." (District of
Columbia Grand Lodge Proceedings 1952, pages 52-53.)
Then, in 1953, the D.C. Grand Lodge took some interesting actions. A Special
Committee to revise the Standards of Recognition reported its recommendations
for changes in the standards that would henceforth be used by the District of
Columbia Grand Lodge when deciding whether or not to recognize a foreign Grand
Lodge. Among the changes was a significant amendment to a provision in the D.C. Grand
Lodge’s policies that had previously (since 1930) stated that to be
recognized, a Grand Lodge would have to have:
"... sole, undisputed and exclusive authority over the symbolic
lodges within its jurisdiction ...." (District of
Columbia Grand Lodge Proceedings 1930, page 19.)
In the new recognition standards, which are still in effect now, to be
recognized a foreign Grand Lodge has to have:
"... sovereign jurisdiction over the Lodges under its control; ...
with sole, undisputed and exclusive authority over the Craft or Symbolic
Degrees ...; ... and that it does not extend its authority into, or
establish lodges in, a territory occupied by a lawful Grand Lodge, without
the expressed consent of said Grand Lodge ...." (District
of Columbia Grand Lodge Proceedings 1953, page
While this might be interpreted as retaining the "Doctrine of Exclusive
Territorial Jurisdiction," the American masonic doctrine that since the
late 1700s was felt by many to mean that each U.S. Grand Lodge could only
recognize one Grand Lodge in any U.S. State or foreign country, it could also be
interpreted differently. (For details about the Doctrine of
Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction, see Stewart W. Miner, "The American
Doctrine: A Concept Under Siege," 1992 Transactions of the Virginia
Research Lodge No. 1777, pp. 11–25. A copy of that paper is also at
immediately after the adoption of this change in the D.C. Grand Lodge’s recognition
standards, the Committee on Correspondence submitted a report on the GLF and the
GLNF. It repeated that the Grand Lodge of D.C. had been in recognition with the
GLF for 36 years, but quoted from letters, including one from the Grand Master
of the GLF, that said some lodges in the GLF had not returned the Bible to their
altars, but added that the GLF in 1953 reminded all lodges to do this. No change
was suggested in the D.C. Grand Lodge’s recognition of the GLF. The Committee then recommended
that the D.C. Grand Lodge also recognize the GLNF, while still recognizing the
GLF, and said:
".... The approval of this recognition, while continuing the former
recognition of another Grand Lodge in the same territory is not in conflict
with the ‘Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition’ which was just
adopted. Your committee base their recommendation on the belief that the
Declaration of Basic Principles adopted by and presented in behalf of the
[GLNF} meets our requirements.... The Grand Lodges of Alabama, California
and Rhode Island recognize both the [GLF] and the [GLNF]."
The D.C. Grand Lodge Proceedings say this "report was then considered and the
recommendations approved, which resulted in the continued recognition of the
[GLF] and the recognition of the [GLNF] and the exchange of
representatives." (District of Columbia Grand Lodge
Proceedings 1953, pages 49-50.)
Thus, the D.C. Grand Lodge had knowingly recognized 2 Masonic grand
bodies simultaneously in France, knowing that they did not recognize each other or
support having any other Grand Lodge recognize both of them. Therefore, it can
be said that the D.C. Grand Lodge has not adhered to the Doctrine of Exclusive
Territorial Jurisdiction since 1953, at least in the case of France, and
that the D.C. Grand Lodge could recognize two or more Grand Lodges in
simultaneously in France or elsewhere any time that Grand Lodge's voting delegates wish to do so.
Nebraska - 1954
Nebraska Grand Lodge Proceedings 1954, page 240
"The French National Grand Lodge is one of three existing in France, the
other two being the Grand Lodge of France and the Grand Orient. Years ago, as a
result of their concept of freedom of worship and thought, the latter two either
removed the Bible from their altars or substituted a book of blank paper. The
Grand Lodge of France has practically restored the Bible to its lodges and the
time may soon come when it, too, will be eligible for recognition. The National
Grand Lodge is very like our own in essentials, it is growing, five new lodges
were consecrated this year. These three Grand Lodges work in the same territory,
but as exclusive jurisdiction is of little consequence except in the United
States, this is something we must get used to over here in this business of
universal recognition. The color line may pass too, some day as it has in Asia
and Africa. The National Grand Lodge of France fulfills all the requirements of
our Grand Lodge and we therefore make our recommendation as above."
Utah - 1955
Utah Grand Lodge Proceedings 1955, page 56
"Grande Loge Nationale Francaise: (National Grand Lodge of France)
"We take pleasure in recommending that this Grand Lodge extend
recognition to a second French Grand Lodge, without any impairment of our
relations with the Grand Lodge of France, with which we have enjoyed amicable
relations for some 37 years.
"Our file on this matter exceeds forty pages of correspondence. We first
received a request for recognition of this Grand Lodge in 1950.
"At the last Annual Communication we had the pleasure of reporting that
the Grand Lodge of France had directed its subordinate Lodges to restore the
V.S.L. to their Altars.
"Both of the Grand Lodges have advised your Committee that there is no
claims [sic] to exclusive jurisdiction over French Masonry on the part of
either, nor objection by either to recognition of both, and we note that six of
the Grand Lodges of the United States are now in amity with both. The Grande
Loge Nationale has been in existence for 42 years, has more than 2,000
members and 50 Lodges and is recognized by 40 American Grand Lodges."
Missouri - 1957
(very unusual, because the GLF was recognized by the GL of Missouri in 1957, in
addition to the GLNF, which was already recognized by the GL of Missouri)
[the following is from the Missouri Grand Lodge Proceedings
1957, pages 67-69]
"Report of the Committee on Recognition of Foreign Grand
"M. Wor. Brother Ray V. Denslow presented the report of the
Committee on Recognition of Foreign Grand Lodges which was adopted and is as
"We have previously extended recognition to the [GLNF],
composed of a large element of English, and some few Americans. It is distinctly
regular in every way, yet it exists in a country where there are three other
grand lodges, composed of French people, and its membership is so small as to be
"The Grand Lodge of France, in its desire to become
regular, has changed its law so that the Bible is now a required piece of
furniture; there may be instances where this is not being done, but we are
assured by the Grand Master, Richard Dupuy, known to members of your committee,
that charters will be arrested in the event the law of the grand lodge is not
carried out. Many of our American grand lodges recognize both the Grand Lodge of
France and the Grand Lodge Nationale; a similar situation exists in Mexico and
other countries. For a time it was thought that the two grand lodges would
unite; it was not done, but we do not believe it was through any fault of the
Grand Lodge. That the Grand Lodge has high standing is apparent in that their
representatives met with representatives of Grand Lodge Nationale, who expressed
a willingness to consolidate. The plan was not carried out, due to the failure
of the Grand Lodge of France to accept certain conditions which would have
required the united grand lodge to select its grand master for a term of years
from the smaller of the two grand lodges -- the Grand Lodge Nationale.
"We believe the Grand Lodge of France deserves recognition
and we so recommend."