365.1121 Slavich, Nickola/30

The Ambassador in Italy (Garrett) to the Secretary of State

No. 1319

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s telegram No. 172 of September 10, 12 noon, 1931,4 and previous correspondence concerning the procedure followed by the Italian authorities in connection with the arrest and imprisonment of American citizens in Italy, I have the honor to transmit herewith for the Department’s information a copy and translation of an informal memorandum which was handed by an official of the Foreign Office to a member of the Embassy staff for the confidential information of the Embassy, and which contains a statement of the nature of the procedure in question as established up to the present time.

In connection with the statement in paragraph three of the enclosed memorandum with regard to the right of reciprocity in the transmission to consular authorities of information concerning arrests of foreign citizens in Italy, I have the honor to add that a statement has been made at the Foreign Office to the effect that in the United States only one half of the various states are in the habit of communicating such information to Italian consular officers in the United States in connection with the arrest of Italian subjects there, and, accordingly, I shall be glad to have a statement of the procedure followed in the United States in this matter for use in future conversations at the Italian Foreign Office.

Respectfully yours,

John W. Garrett
[Page 459]

The Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy

The term of preliminary detention varies in Italian legislation according to the form of preliminary examination of the person under arrest, to the gravity and nature of the crime, and to the judiciary authorities within whose competence the case falls; it is an established rule that trials which present no serious difficulties as regards examination of the accused and no obstacles as to prosecution are concluded within a very brief period, sometimes of a few days and sometimes of several months.
A consular officer may consult a citizen of the country which the former represents upon permission issued, normally, after preliminary examination of the person under arrest, by the public safety or judiciary authorities handling the case, provided that there is no supreme interest of justice or other peculiar consideration which prevents such permission being given.
Although the Italian authorities are not under any obligation to inform foreign consular authorities of arrests of foreign citizens in the Kingdom, nevertheless in accordance with requests made in this connection by representatives of foreign states, the interested representatives will be notified through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the arrest of foreign citizens in Italy, with right to reciprocity and in all cases provided that there are no special reasons to prevent such procedure.
As to the possibility for consular authorities to confer with foreign citizens under arrest in Italy, if the conversation takes place during the period of preliminary examination of the arrested person, the presence of a public safety officer or custodian is provided for by legislation now in effect; if the preliminary examination has been concluded, the conversation may take place without the presence of third persons, provided there is no reason to the contrary.