Thesis Statement On Censorship In America

Perhaps the most serious and constant cause of complaints by detainees has been the handling of their mail, and comparatively slight delays in the past have contributed greatly to discontent and loss of morale in the camps.We are almost constantly receiving complaints or at least inquiries from the State Department and the two protecting powers relative to slowness in the delivery of mail, and the situation would be infinitely worse if all of the domestic mail were required to pass through the New York Office of Censorship.46 Kelly defended his unit's protocols, assuring Ennis that each piece of mail entering or leaving the detention stations was carefully scrutinized.

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In consequence, the information already gleaned may be incomplete or rendered useless; an important piece of information may escape entirely; or future communications may be made unintelligible by allusions to matters which were contained in a previous letter which did not reach censorship.45 Price failed to persuade Kelly, who continued to oppose relinquishing internee domestic mail to the Office of Censorship because of the inevitable delays that would follow.

He criticized the rigid set of rules applied by POW unit censors that often contradicted established protocols of INS censors and resulted in mail being returned.

His censors promptly notified POW unit officials with submission slips or forwarded whole letters whenever useful information appeared.

There was little Director Price could do to compel the INS to cooperate in the absence of statutory authority or a presidential directive.

Local censors passed many letters only to see them returned by the POW unit censors weeks or even months later.

These experiences contributed to a declining prisoner morale, since letter writing from the lonely outposts was the only access to loved ones in the outer world.The POW unit held to a more rigid interpretation of the guidelines, while INS camp officials, in everyday physical contact with the letter writers, attempted to create a balance between enforcing the rules and maintaining morale among their charges.At times, INS and Office of Censorship censors were at loggerheads over what information should be allowed to pass.Internees were provided preprinted form letters with which to inform correspondents of the new address.41 For the time being, the new policy reduced some of the delays in delivering the mail. During the first six months at the Chicago censor station, 141 examiners manned the tables to censor the mail.At any one time, thirty-eight men and women were processing more than fifty pieces of mail each workday.Although the INS remained steadfast in its refusal to forward internee domestic mail to the POW unit, in the summer of 1943 Kelly's office submitted to pressures by the Office of Censorship and the Office of Naval Intelligence to participate in a two-month experiment during which the POW unit would process the domestic mail of the crew still at Fort Stanton.Useful military information might be gleaned from this untapped resource, it was argued, and such a test would quantify delays in mail transmission caused by POW unit involvement.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.


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