to Mr. Blaine.
Brussels, April 30, 1881. (Received May 16.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatches, Nos. 54 and 59, relating to the favorable expressions of the Belgian Government regarding American pork, I have the honor to inclose herewith a circular letter from the minister of the interior on the same subject, published this morning in the official journal. The subject-matter, after the prohibitory action of the French Government, was referred to the official council of public health, and the minister of the interior states that he has adopted the conclusions of the council in their fullest extent.
The substance of their report, made after careful examination, is as follows:
1st. That disease generated by trichinose is unknown in countries where, as in Belgium, pork is sufficiently cooked, that it has been demonstrated by many experiments that the trichinose cannot resist a temperature of 56° centigrades, and that they are invariably killed at a temperature of 75° to 100°C.
It is important [continues the report] to make known the fact that pork well cooked whatever trichinose it may contain is entirely inoffensive, and that consequently no one need suffer from this cause unless he wishes to, and nothing is necessary except scrupulous persistence in use of needful precautions of the kitchen.
It concludes with a few details of the proper method of cooking pork, and the circular letter of the minister of the interior closes as follows:
These simple and easy precautions are dictated by experience and recommended by [Page 70] those most competent to judge. I pray you, Monsieur le Gouverneur, cause them to be published in the official journal, to the end that the communal administrations may bring them to the knowledge of all citizens, and that they may receive the widest publicity.
This final action of the Belgian Government, from considerations so broad and just, is in accord with its original determination to make no change in its friendly policy toward that branch of our commerce, except upon good and sufficient reasons.
The action of the French Government naturally created a distrust among the peasantry of Belgium. That distrust, amounting to a panic, has been met by the Belgian Government in the just and enlightened manner I have herein indicated.
I have assured the Government of Belgium that the Government of the United States will learn with great satisfaction of this its action, based upon a careful and scientific examination of the whole question.
I have, &c.,