365.1121 Slavich. Nickola/27: Telegram
The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Garrett)
133. Embassy’s 164, September 1, 5 p.m. Please try to find out the usual length of time between the making of an arrest and the completion of the “instruction”.
According to treaty provision and to the traditional practice of nations, nationals under arrest should be immediately accessible to the respective consular officials. In view of these circumstances, how do the Italian authorities justify the regulation which requires the issuance of a special permit in the discretion of a competent judicial authority?
It is to be hoped that abuses in the future will be prevented by the proposed method to which you refer in your telegram of September 1. Until such a procedure is established you are to make the Italian authorities aware of the fact that American citizens are subject to grave injustice because consular officials are refused immediate access to prisoners. Awards by international claims commissions are based on such situations. The United States would be satisfied only with a solution which recognized the right of a consul to see an American citizen alone within 24 hours after his detention. In stressing this procedure, you are to state that it is a generally accepted and long established practice.