to Mr. Phelps
Washington , June 9, 1881.
Sir: I transmit herewith copies of an exhaustive report, prepared by the officer of this Department who was recently detailed to make a searching and impartial investigation concerning the truth or untruth [Page 56] of the alarming rumors which have prevailed of late as to the alleged unhealthfulness of the pork products shipped to foreign countries from the United States.
This investigation was forced upon this government by the disastrous effects produced abroad by those rumors, and by the action of several European governments in stringently restricting or prohibiting the importation of the swine products of this country.
It was undertaken in the most impartial spirit, and with full recognition of the weighty responsibility which would rest upon this government should the prevalent rumors be substantiated. Had it been found that this great American industry was the means of disseminating disease and death abroad, no admission could have been too frank or prompt, and no repressive measures too urgent to vindicate our national good faith. As it is, the result goes beyond our most sanguine expectations in disproving the statements which have unhappily wrought such injury upon one of our most general and valuable branches of foreign commerce.
The files of your legation will show you the earnest efforts made by your predecessor to arrest the injurious rumors and prevent restrictive action on the subject by the Austro-Hungarian authorities. It is now desired that you should, after acquainting yourself with the facts shown in this report, bring it earnestly to the attention of the Austro-Hungarian government, adding thereto such representations as, in your own good judgment, may induce an abandonment or very material modification of the oppressive measures which have been adopted in Austria-Hungary with regard to the American pork trade. You may say that the entire good faith with which this investigation has been here conducted warrants us in expecting that the government of His Imperial and Royal Majesty will accept and act upon the result in equal good faith. You may also profitably advert to the singularly gratifying action of the Belgian Government, which, disregarding popular clamor and unscientific prejudice, and examining the question fairly upon its merits, reached some time since the conclusion to which this government is irresistibly led, that of the widely spread food-staples of the world’s commerce, none is grown, packed, and exported under conditions more calculated to assure safety and wholesomeness than the pork product of America.
You will give to this report the widest possible publicity. A number of copies will be sent to you, for this purpose, under separate cover.
I am, &c.