Memorandum for Dr. Coleman, re. A.S. Biffi & Co., September 15, 1940, Ottawa, ON
This memorandum was written for Dr. E.H. Coleman, Under Secretary of State and Custodian of Enemy Property, regarding A.S. Biffi & Co. During the war, Coleman's responsibilities included the internment of enemy aliens, custody of enemy property and press censorship. The memo is signed by G.W. McPherson, counsel for the Custodian.
The Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP), a branch of the Canadian government, oversaw the administration of assets belonging to internees and other enemy aliens. This government office served a dual function. Acting as a trustee for the internee/enemy alien, the office and its agents also protected the interests of the creditors. The CEP would pay off an internee’s debts by selling his or her property or businesses. It also collected money owed to internees by others. Families of internees often did not have access to the husband's assets and bank accounts. As a result, families often had to negotiate with the CEP for stipends for daily subsistence or use of assets like an automobile. In some cases, where assets were lacking, the CEP divested itself of any interest and left the families to fend for themselves.
This document reviews the situation pertaining to the assets of A.S. Biffi, and also notes the interest of Thomas Vien, MP, in this case (see LDICEA2012.0017.12.a-b).