No. 237.
Mr. Noyes to Mr. Blaine.

No. 483.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that your dispatch No. 379, of date June 8, 1881, reached this legation yesterday, the 22d instant, and that I immediately prepared a note to the minister of foreign affairs, of which a copy is herewith inclosed. This note, together with two copies of the report on American pork, sent by you, I forwarded to Mr. B. St. Hilaire, by Mr. Vignaud, secretary of legation, who was instructed to request for me an interview with the minister. Accordingly I called by appointment at the foreign office at one o’clock to-day, and had a full and frank conversation with Mr. St. Hilaire.

I represented to him that my government was getting impartient at the long delay in revoking the prohibitory decree 5 that the interests involved were so great, and the injury inflicted by the action of the French Government upon the commerce of the United States was so disastrous and widespread, that the public sentiment of my country demanded such action on the part of the government at Washington as would effectually protect the interests of the American people. I more than intimated that unless this pork decree was revoked, my government, however reluctanly, might be compelled to resort to retaliatory measures. I said that I only reflected the sentiment of my government when I assured him I should deeply regret such necessity. I impressed upon Mr. St. Hilaire the desirability of an early response to the demand contained in your dispatch, which was read to him in French, and copies of which, in both French and English, I left with him at his request. Much more was said which it is not necessary here to repeat.

The minister seemed to be profoundly impressed with the gravity of the subject, and said that he fully appreciated the importance and significance of your dispatch. He assured me that copies of the papers and documents presented to him would be sent to the minister of agriculture and commerce this afternoon, and that he would confer with him in person not later than to-morrow, with a view of finding some satisfactory solution of this troublesome question, which he earnestly hoped to reach 5 that serious consideration would be given to the demand of my government, and that I should be informed of the decision reached at the earliest moment possible.

Mr. St. Hilaire asked me if I would like to confer personally with Mr. Tirard, minister of agriculture and commerce, as to the attitude of my government. I answered that I did not care to do so; that the question [Page 414]had now reached that stage where I preferred to communicate with the minister of foreign affairs only.

The report forwarded by you is being translated, and unless the necessity for such a step shall be removed, I propose to have the report, or the more material points of it, printed in French, and distributed where it may seem most desirable to correct an erroneous public sentiment.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 483.]

Mr. Noyes to Mr. St. Hilaire.

Sir: I have the honor to inform your excellency that I have this day received an important dispatch from the Hon. James G. Blaine, Secretary of State, at Washington, regarding the matter of the decree of your excellency’s government prohibiting the importation into France of American pork.

I am instructed to say that immediately after the publication of the decree in question the Government of the United States took earnest and efficient steps to ascertain faithfully and impartially the truth regarding the condition and character of American pork as an article of food, with a view to adopting such measures as might be deemed necessary to insure life and health, in case the facts were found to be as set forth in the report upon which the prohibitory decree of your excellency’s government professed to be based. It was apparent from the outset that your excellency’s government had been misinformed, and that in consequence its action had been mistaken and wrongful to the government and people of the United States. Recently, however, a more searching and careful investigation has been made by a most competent officer detailed for this purpose by the State Department, the result of which is set forth in the pamphlet, two copies of which I have the honor to inclose herewith to your excellency.

From what appears in this document, and otherwise, my government is satisfied of the entire justice of the ground it has heretofore taken, in denying the truth of the malicious rumors to which authoritative currency has been given in foreign countries. It considers it absolutely certain that there is no disease or infection pertaining to American pork, rendering it dangerous or injurious to life or public health. On the contrary, my government feels perfectly assured that the pork product of the United States is an innocent and healthful article of diet, in almost universal use, and nowhere with disastrous effects.

The honorable Secretary of State directs me to express the hope and belief of my government that your excellency’s government will consider the subject with the same desire to know the truth, and to act upon the same when ascertained, that has animated the Government of the United States.

The prohibitory action of the French Government has been adopted in other countries, and it is probable that the limit of disastrous effects has not been reached. The action of your excellency’s government is calculated to and does discredit one of the most important of American industries. The revocation of the decree of the French Government would undoubtedly be followed elsewhere as its unfavorable action has been. A serious blow has been inflicted upon American trade and commerce, and, as my government believes, without good and sufficient cause, and it is earnestly hoped that, considering the two great republics of the world, France and America, have so long entertained cordial and intimate relations, your excellency’s government will consider the subject in question in a spirit of friendliness and accommodation.

It is the plain duty of all governments to guard and protect the interests of their people, while recognizing their obligations to neighboring and friendly nations. My government is not unmindful of this duty, and in the interest of the American people it protests against a decree which it cannot but regard as arbitrary and unjust, although adopted upon information believed at the time to be reliable, but which subsequent information has failed to accredit.

Four months have now passed since this decree was promulgated. The loss already occasioned to American trade is irreparable, but the future is important. I therefore beg your excellency to inform me at the earliest practicable day as to what is the [Page 415]final determination of your excellency’s government in order that the government and people of the United States may be left no longer in doubt.

The report herewith inclosed will be translated into French at the earliest moment possible, and copies will then be forwarded to your excellency.

I avail myself of this occasion, &c.,