Letter from H. Stethem, to the Custodian of Enemy Property, October 18, 1940
This typewritten letter was sent by Lieut-Colonel H. Stethem (Assistant Director, Internment Operations), to the the Custodian of Enemy Property, on October 18, 1940. The letter addresses a watch being worn by Sam Valente, then interned at Camp Kananaskis. The watch does not seem to have been paid in full, with amounts still owing to Potter's Limited. It seems CEP was looking to take possession of the watch and return it to the company. Valente refused, noting that he would arrange payments for the watch himself.
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.