No. 241.
Mr. Pomeroy to Mr. Blaine.

No. 495.]

Sir: Referring to the dispatch No. 483, dated June 23, 1881, addressed by General Noyes to the Department of State, and relating to revoking by the French Government the prohibitory pork decree, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of the answer of Mr. B. St. Hilaire, together with a translation.

I have, &c.,

[Page 418]
[Inclosure in No. 495.—Translation.]

Mr. B. St. Hilaire to Mr. Pomeroy.

Sir: I had hastened to call the attention of the minister of agriculture and of commerce to the new dispatch which General Noyes did me the honor to address me regarding the measures adopted in France, in order to prohibit the importation of salt pork of American origin.

Mr. Tirard has just intimated to me the observations which this communication has suggested to him.

In the first place, the Government of the United States appears to attribute the measures in question: 1st. Either to incorrect reports or to exaggerated valuations, coming from interested persons. 2d. Or to popular apprehensions. In this respect the minister of commerce recalls to mind that, on the contrary, it is only in consequence of the most serious investigations made by men, neither whose knowledge nor honorable character could be questioned, that the Government of the Republic believed it had to adopt; the decree of last February.

It was necessary to take into consideration, at the same time, the requirements of the public health and the legitimate transactions of commerce. The French Government has striven to conciliate as much as possible these two interests by organizing at Havre a laboratory for inspection.

The salt meats which were in transit at the time of the signature of the aforesaid decree were received in France on condition they should be previously examined by micographers of the laboratory at Havre and acknowledged exempt from trichina. Now, microscopic researches made in this laboratory have confirmed the existence of numerous cases of trichina in the larger portion of salt meat Of American origin which have been submitted to inspection. In the face of these facts, mentioned in official reports, it seems difficult to deny the existence, in a large number of American hogs, of a disease communicable to man, and to dispute, consequently, the fitness of the provisions which were made the subject of the decree of the 18th of February.

The Chamber of Deputies has, besides, given its approval to these provisions, and the government only has its wishes carried out by maintaining, until further disposition, the decree of prohibition. It does not the less pursue the study of the means to ameliorate the actual situation by the organization of a service of general inspection, to be applied not only to American salt meats, but to all meats of foreign origin. This service, Mr. Tirard remarks, would have a very appreciable advantage for importers. Indeed, when the local service of inspection which the municipalities have the right to organize in order to secure the healthfulness of the products of consumption would exercise its control it would no longer, but by accident and in very rare instances, have the opportunity to seize and destroy, as unhealthy, meat which had already paid the custom dues. If, as that appears probable, one succeeds in finding a satisfactory mode for inspecting meats of every origin, this general service would relieve commerce of certain difficulties.

Finally, it is, to its very deep regret, that the Government of the Republic has found itself under the necessity, in order to protect the public health, to adopt a measure of prohibition, which, for the moment, caused unavoidable trouble in American meat transactions between France and the United States. But it is confident that the provisions which it has hastened to adopt to modify the rigor of this measure, and those of which it is seeking the realization, must give every satisfaction, as it deeply desires, in the interests of this international commerce. Far from causing an obstacle there, these measures would rather tend to develop it by securing the verification of the good quality of merchandise, and by removing in this way the suspicions of which certain ones of these commodities were the object on the part of consumers.

I beg you, sir, to have the kindness to communicate these diverse considerations to the Government of the United States, which I am pleased to hope will appreciate their value and conciliating character.

Accept, sir, the assurance of the most distinguished consideration with which I have the honor to be,

Your very, &c.,