No. 652.
Mr. Fairchild to Mr. Blaine.

No. 176.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your instruction No. 144, transmitting copies of the report recently made by an officer of the Department of State relative to the late rumors as to the alleged unhealthfulness of American pork.

In accordance with the instructions therein contained I have addressed a note upon the subject to the minister of state, and at the same time transmitted several copies of the report in question. A copy of my note is herewith inclosed.

As your instruction was very naturally based upon the supposition that the admission of American pork into Spain was still prohibited, it is necessary that I should make the following explanation:

When the question of the prohibition of American pork in France was occupying the attention of the Department and the legation at Paris, General Noyes wrote to me asking to be informed as to what measures, if any, had been taken by the Spanish Government in regard to the entry of that article of our produce into Spain. I at once examined the question and found that the royal order of the 28th February, 1880, prohibiting the admission of American pork into Spain had been annulled by royal order dated the 10th July, of the same year, and that that article would thereafter be admitted on complying with certain conditions prescribed therein. A copy of this order was sent to General Noyes.

I regret exceedingly that the royal order of 10th July, above referred to, entirely escaped my notice at the time of its issuance and publication, thus preventing my sending, as I certainly should have done, a copy to the Department. I now send a copy and translation of it that you may the better see upon what conditions American pork is now [Page 1060] permitted to enter Spain. Those conditions, I have no doubt, will appear to you as they do to me just and proper, and to which no reasonable objection can be made by the dealers in and shippers of that important article of our produce, as it has always been their wish that the article should be subjected to the most severe inspection, knowing full well that it would more than stand the test and comparison with that of any other country.

I shall avail myself of every opportunity to give publicity to the report by distributing it among those interested.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 176.]

Mr. Fairchild to Minister of State.

Excellency: In view of the disastrous effects produced throughout Europe by the reports of the alleged unhealthfulness of American pork, shipped to foreign countries, an officer of the Department of State at Washington was recently detailed to make a most searching and impartial investigation concerning the truth or untruth of such reports.

The officer in question, after having visited the cities of Chicago and Cincinnati, the two great pork centres, and where are situated and in daily operation the largest pork-slaughtering establishments in the United States, has lately submitted the result of his impartial investigations to the Secretary of State in a report, copies of which I beg to hand your excellency herewith.

The report not only clearly and fully proves that there was not the slightest foundation for the alarming reports set afloat, but also as clearly shows how impossible it is, owing to the severe inspection to which the pork is subjected, whether alive or dead, for unhealthful pork to reach either the home or the foreign markets. For your excellency’s further information, and for greater convenience, I beg to refer to the conclusions arrived at on page 14 of the report above mentioned.

I do not know how I can better illustrate to your excellency the entire good faith with which my government ordered the inspection to be made, than by quoting the following paragraph from the instructions sent to me by the Secretary of State, in transmitting the report above referred to:

“This investigation was forced upon the 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 swine products from 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 proving the baselessness of the statements which have unhappily wrought such injury upon one of our most widely spread and valuable branches of foreign commerce.”

I may add that the information contained in the report herewith inclosed is only sent to your excellency to bear out the wise and just decision arrived at in the royal order of the 10th July, 1880, rescinding that of February 28, of the same year, and permitting the entry into Spain of pork and lard, proceeding from the United States, on certain conditions prescribed therein. This laudable action of His Catholic Majesty’s Government cannot be too highly commended.

I may also refer your excellency to the action of the Government of His Majesty the King of Belgium (on pages 15 and 16 of the report in question), which, disregarding the popular clamor and prejudice, and examining the question fairly upon its merits, reached some time since the conclusion, to which the Government of the United States is also irresistibly led, that of the widely-spread food staple 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.

I have inclosed to your excellency several copies of the report referred to, not doubting that your excellency will, in the interest of the dealers in and consumers of American pork in Spain, desire to give publicity to the facts therein contained.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to your excellency the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

[Page 1061]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 176.—Translation.]

Minister of the Interior to Minister of Hacienda.

Excellency: An account having been given to His Majesty of the applications made by various merchants and industrials of Valladolid, Cartagena, Santander, and of Madrid, soliciting the derogation of the royal order of February 28, ultimo, which prohibited the introduction into Spain of pork and pork grease, proceeding from the United States of America and Germany, and the grounds upon which their petitions were based having been attentively examined; and whereas the observance of said royal decree has brought about a remarkable rise in the price of the alimentary substance above referred to; and whereas in the fusion (melting) of the greases no trichina is found to exist, and as it is easily recognized with the microscope in the lean parts of pork, as in other meats; and as the same examination when made of the greases obtained by pressure does not give the assurance that they are free from the said parasite; and

Considering that the rise experienced in the prices of pork and pork grease shows the insufficiency of the national production to meet public consumption, and deprives the poorer class of a most necessary food; and considering how difficult it is to avoid fraud, on account of the impossibility of proving the country of production when they come from non-prohibited places; and considering that a guarantee must be given to public health, without injuring the interests of commerce, His Majesty the King, having heard the opinion of the royal board of health, has deigned to decree as follows:

The royal order of 28th February, ultimo, which prohibits the introduction of pork and pork grease proceeding from the United States of America and Germany, is annulled.
Only the prohibition regarding the greases coming from the United States which have not been obtained through melting will continue in force.
All meats which may be introduced shall be subjected to a scrupulous and microscopic inspection, and all that which contains trichina, or is injurious to health, shall be destroyed.
The inspection shall be made by a farrier of superior category appointed by the gobernador of the province, and paid by the importers in accordance with the following tariff.
The introduction of said meats and greases shall only be effected through the first-class customs.
The foregoing provisions will be applied to meats and greases already imported and pending clearance at the custom-houses.

By royal order I communicate this to your excellency for your information, and in order that the necessary orders to the above effect may be given by the ministry under your worthy charge.

God guard your excellency many years.


Tariff for the payment of fees for the inspection of pork which may be imported from the United States of America and Germany: For each case containing from 80 to 100 hams, 2 pesetas; for each case containing from 250 to 300 shoulders, feet, legs, or tongues, 2 pesetas 50 centimes; for each case of bacon (containing muscular fiber) of from 20 to 30 pieces, 1 peseta 50 centimes.

Approved by me.