The Acting Secretary of State to the Consul at Kingston (Fuller)

Sir: Referring to your report dated May 19, 1933, addressed to the American Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at Ottawa with regard to the case of John O’Brien, an American citizen who is now a convict in the Kingston Penitentiary, the Department encloses for your information a copy of an instruction that has been forwarded to the American Legation at Ottawa.46

With reference to inquiries made by you during your call at the Department with respect to this case you are advised as follows:

It is believed that a consular officer should be permitted to visit American citizens who are imprisoned in his district without obtaining a special authorization from the authorities at the seat of government for each visit. It is also believed that the Consul should be permitted to interview such an American citizen alone without having a guard present to hear statements made at the interview. The Consul would also seem [Page 82] to be entitled to receive from the warden of the penitentiary names of American citizens who are imprisoned therein in order that the Consul may investigate their cases and provide adequate protection to their interests. Otherwise an American citizen might unjustifiably be imprisoned for a considerable time without having action taken to determine the merits of his case.

You are advised that whenever British subjects have been arrested in connection with smuggling operations, the British Government has insisted upon the right of its consular officers in the United States to interview the persons arrested without delay, and has also made strong objection if persons unable to furnish bail were kept in jail for several months without a trial.

Please submit a prompt report to the Department setting forth the action taken by you pursuant to this instruction. A copy of this instruction is being forwarded to the American Chargé d’Affaires at Ottawa, for his information.

Very truly yours,

William Phillips
  1. Supra.