to Mr. Blaine.
Brussels, March 9, 1881. (Received March 26.)
Sir: I have the honor to state that finding in the London morning papers of the 6th instant a telegram from the United States embodying the substance of the resolutions of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, and the Indianapolis Board of Trade, relating to the alleged diseased condition of American pork exported to Europe, also the substance of a communication of the English consul at Indianapolis to the English consul at Philadelphia, certifying the generally healthy character of that branch of our commerce, I inclosed it to-day with a note to the minister of foreign affairs, calling his attention to the statements. I handed it to Baron Lambremont, the chief secretary, and had some conversation with him on the general subject.
He stated that the action of the French Government in relation to American meats had made a “panic” in Belgium, particularly among the peasantry, with whom our hams and lard are a large element of subsistence. The lard is used in place of butter. That it was the purpose of the Belgian Government to thoroughly examine the questions involved, which were, first, Are American salt provisions diseased, as alleged? Second, If so, is the difficulty overcome by proper care in their cooking? That it was a very important matter, both to the United States and to Belgium, and the government wished to learn the exact facts.
He spoke with all due reserve, but it is my opinion that the Belgian [Page 68] Government will take no prejudicial action in the matter except upon positive proof that sanitary considerations demand it. I believe the feeling here is most friendly to that branch of our commerce on general principles. How little the government is disposed to yield to any panicky feeling I think I revealed by my dispatch No. 54.
I have, &c.,