The Secretary of State to the Minister in Canada (Robbins)

No. 108

Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction No. 27 dated August 17, 1933, concerning the right of a consular officer to visit citizens of his country who are imprisoned, the Department informs you that the American Consul at Kingston, Canada, reported in his despatch No. 213, dated October 12, 1933,52 that the warden of the Kingston Penitentiary had shown him circular letter No. 174, dated September 19, 1933, issued by the Superintendent of Penitentiaries to the wardens of penitentiaries in Canada dealing with the subject. The Consul suggests that the right [Page 91] of consuls as recognized by this circular letter should be brought to the attention of all American consuls in Canada.

You are requested to endeavor to obtain copies of circular letter No. 174 from the Superintendent of Penitentiaries in order that it may be brought to the attention of American consuls in Canada.

It is noted that the Consul at Kingston reports that circular letter No. 174 provides in part as follows:

“The warden will extend every courtesy to the consul. If a consul requests an interview it will be handled as an urgent matter. The consul will be informed of these instructions and the consul’s application promptly transmitted to the superintendent. The request will be transmitted by telegraph only in urgent cases.”

In the Department’s instruction No. 51, dated September 9, 1933, you were advised concerning the practice adopted with respect to visits of foreign consular officers to their nationals who were imprisoned in the United States. It was pointed out that requests of consular officers were granted promptly without reference thereof to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Washington, D. C, who corresponds to the Canadian Superintendent of Penitentiaries. As the provision above quoted will result in delay and inconvenience for consular officers who desire to visit American citizens in Canadian prisons, you are requested to discuss this provision informally with the appropriate Canadian authorities with a view to ascertaining whether they would be disposed to bring it more into accord with the regulation in force in Federal penitentiaries set forth on page one of the Department’s instruction No. 27, dated August 17, 1933.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Harry F. Payer
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