to Mr. Frelinghuysen
Paris , April 13, 1883. (Received April 25.)
Sir: Acting under the strange delusion which still exists in official circles, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that American pork is subject to trichinosis, the French department of [Page 266] commerce is contemplating the organization of a system of curative measures to guard against the supposed infection by submitting all our salted meats to a freezing process upon their entry into France. Whether this new device would or would not destroy trichinosis where it happens to exist, it has dissatisfied all the French importers and dealers in American hog produce, who consider it as calculated to greatly injure the meat, and have protested in strong language against its application. You will find herewith a copy and translation of the petition they have addressed in this respect to the minister of commerce.
One of the leaders in this movement informs me that all interested in this business prefer simple prohibition to the apparent facilities offered by the application of the freezing process. It is the intention of the French dealers to push this matter as strongly as possible and to bring it before a cabinet meeting.
I again, a few days ago, called the attention of Mr. Challemel Lacour to this subject, and I am sorry to say that although he is personally in favor of the repeal of the decree of prohibition, and has urged it, he does not believe that his colleague will favor, at present, its abrogation. His reasons are that other countries have taken similar measures of prohibition, and that French scientists are divided upon the question of the danger which may result from the consumption of American meats.
I did not conceal from Mr. Challemel Lacour the fact that the continuance of this long-standing prohibition had already created much feeling at home, and that our people could not understand why such discrimination should be made against them, when the highest French scientific authorities had emphatically declared that the measure was groundless, and my apprehension that Congress would take some retaliatory action unless the decree was abrogated.
Mr. Challemel Lacour said he would again call the attention of his colleague to the matter.
The truth is, that the decree was rendered under the pressure of certain French packers who are still interested in its maintenance. By a strange coincidence, these very men, who are also producers of sardines and other canned articles, have been specially favored by our new tariff. * * *
I have, &c.,