to Mr. Blaine.
Paris, June 23, 1881. (Received July 6.)
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 I more than intimated that unless this pork decree was revoked, my government, however reluctanly, might be compelled to resort to retaliatory measures.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.,