Letter from Donato Palangio, to Office of Custodian, Feb. 4, 1942
This letter is handwritten by Donato Palangio, and is addressed to the Department of the Secretary of State, Office of Custodian, on February 4, 1942. Palangio had been interned as a security threat to Canada but was released a month prior to writing this letter; the contents of which center on the CEP fee he is being charged for the maintenance of his assets.
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.
Palangio claims he had "no estate to administer", and does not understand why he would be charged $29.00. In fact, he had declared bankruptcy during his internment and was currently without employment.