Letter from Crowell, Balcom, & Co., to Constable Ferguson, RCMP, October 11, 1940
This two-page typewritten letter from Crowell, Balcom, & Co., is addressed to Constable Ferguson, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, New Waterford, N.S. Written on October 11, 1940, the letter pertains to the family of internee Giovanni Dal Bello. His wife had been in touch regarding the issues of the family business, access to the family car and funds.
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.
Here, the CEP agents in this case, Crowell, Balcom, & Co., argue against allowing the Dal Bello family access to the family car. Dal Bello's wife has stated that she requires the car for the grocery business, as well as the operation of the proposed new radio business. She notes the current arrangment of renting a car is too costly, especially as her own vehicle rusts due to disuse. The CEP agents ask the RCMP to investigate the matter -- determining how much has been spent on car rentals and the status of the family's vehicle. They note that the exceptional circumstances of Peter Favretto's business warranted the continued use of the car by his wife. Otherwise, "We are still unwilling to allow the dependants of interned enemies to drive around the country in automobiles". They note potential risks to the Custodian -- should there be an accident. Instead, they prefer the sale of the car. Some additional explanation is found in the document LDICEA2012.0017.0030.