to Mr. Evarts.
Vienna, March 1, 1881. (Received March 17.)
Sir: * * * I called upon Baron Haymerle, when a conversation took place, a memorandum of which, on my part, he desired me to write [Page 38] out and leave with him, that he might send a copy to each of the governments of Austria and Hungary.
That memorandum was to-day sent to him, and is as follows:
February 28, 1881.
Mr. Kasson said that his government had been very much surprised by the sudden action of one or two European Governments in respect to the prohibition of American pork. As Baron Haymerle was aware, it was an important article of American commerce, and such unexpected action affecting its importation necessarily produced a serious effect upon the market. Thinking it possible that the same interests which had elsewhere induced action by a government might also be brought to bear in Austria and Hungary, Mr. Evarts had instructed him to see Baron Haymerle in person and explain to him the views of the American Government.
It was very easy to create alarm by false reports, and unfortunately there are in all countries, including the United States, two rival interests, one wishing to raise, the other to depress prices, and which sometimes use unscrupulous means to attain their object. In France, for example, where a family was reported to have been attacked by trichinosis from the use of American pork, it was ascertained on inquiry (after governmental action had produced its effect on the market) that the attack resulted from the use of French pork, not American. Undoubtedly, trichinæ may exist in the pork of any country in special cases. But it was less likely to exist in American pork than in European because the American pigs are generally fed and fattened on Indian corn (maize) a perfectly pure food; while the trichinæ are supposed to come from the use of unclean food, from eating unclean carcasses, as of rats, &c. In the pork-producing regions of the United States the conditions of the disease hardly exist, while they are often found in Europe. The United States first knew of the disease called trichinosis from hearing of its existence in Germany.
It would be a great injustice to exclude on suspicion American pork alone, when the suspicion should more strongly attach to all European pork. Indeed, it would be regarded as oppressive and intolerable. Naturally there can be no objection to the refusal of meat found to be diseased, from whatever country it should come. But exceptional rules of importation suddenly imposed on a great branch of trade, and without notice, are to be protested as contrary to the safe conduct of trade, and as tending to embarrass international relations and commerce.
In presence of the enormous consumption at home of American pork without injury to the consumer, and without fear, his government believes that no cause exists for an exceptional rule applicable to this American export, and cannot regard its exceptional treatment as due to legitimate sanitary considerations. It believes the Austro-Hungarian government will appreciate the equity of these views.
In the course of the conversation, when I alluded to the action of France, he said: “There is another country which has also taken action against the importation of your pork, is there not?” I answered that Germany had, I believe, done so; but only against a certain class of the pork, as I understood; but I had not seen the order myself, and could not speak positively. He also spoke of the fact, well-known, that the “protection” of home production was an element which undoubtedly influenced European action in this subject. He said nothing of the proposed action of the two governments of Austria and of Hungary, but proposed to communicate to them my memorandum. He received my representations in a very friendly manner, and gave no indication of any other than a friendly and just treatment of the subject.
I have, &c.,