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The following June, Kelly summarized his opposition to Price's repeated requests in a memorandum to his superior at the Justice Department, Edward J.
A chain of information can gradually be forged which may be of value to the war effort.
If, however, any letter in the chain of correspondence is permitted to reach its destination without passing through the New York Station, the continuity is broken.
"Letter writing to their homes," he wrote, "is one of the greatest 'salves for their sores.'" An opportunist, he recommended allowing internees to write more freely to enable camp and POW unit officials to better assess morale and to more easily identify the "beefers," or troublemakers.44 For its part, the Office of Censorship felt that censorship in the INS camps was too lax and encouraged the service to tighten its controls and submit all domestic mail to the POW unit.
In Director Price's view, the value of information gathered on behalf of the war effort, no matter how small, superseded any peace of mind that letter-writing might bring to enemy alien internees of war. Kelly, assistant INS commissioner for alien control, in an attempt to persuade the service to turn over the domestic mail of internees and detainees to his office.
A seaman, informing his correspondent that he could now write only one letter in Italian each week, had his letter returned by a POW unit censor accompanied by a note that he was misinformed of the regulation permitting two letters in Italian.43 Even small violations of the conflicting rules could result in a letter being returned— references to the cold weather, salutations or messages to a third party, inclusion of seemingly harmless personal photographs, or writing a twenty-fifth line of text.
In late November 1942, Fraser made attempts to clarify and coordinate the rules between his superiors and the Office of Censorship, imploring them to employ more liberal censorship on behalf of the internees.
INS administrators themselves contributed to the problem by their repeated failures to inform the POW unit of policy changes that might conflict with the established Office of Censorship regulations.
In one case, Fort Missoula camp commander Bert Fraser restricted the number of outgoing Italian-language letters in order to provide temporary relief for his overworked Italian-speaking censor.
In one appeal, written in January 1943, he outlined his argument in detail: The Prisoner of War Department endeavors to make the most of every source of information within its jurisdiction by an exclusive scrutiny of each letter which passes through its hands, in order to extract every item of information which may be of value, both actual and potential.
These items are carefully prepared and kept in the correspondence record of each detainee.