to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Paris, November 15, 1883. (Received December 1.)
Sir: I called yesterday on the president of the council, who, in the absence of Mr. Challemel Lacour, has charge of the foreign office, to inquire if the Government had come to a conclusion as to the time of the withdrawal of the decree prohibiting the importation of American salted meats. Mr. Jules Ferry opened the subject pleasantly, by saying that he knew the object of my visit, but that, unfortunately, he was yet unable to give me a satisfactory answer, as the execution of his purpose had been interfered with by the extraordinary epidemic of trichinosis which had lately appeared in Germany.
“The unusual and alarming character of this epidemic,” said he, “is such that the committee of public hygiene has felt bound to devote to its examination more than it expected at first. I am satisfied,” he continued, “that the consumption of American meats has nothing to do with this epidemic, but as we cannot cancel our prohibitory measures without encountering a strong opposition, we must be prepared to meet all the objections which might be made to our action.”
I stated very frankly to him that the reason of my anxiety for a prompt solution of this so long pending difficulty was a telegram which I had received from you, asking for definite information on the subject, which might be used by the President in his forthcoming message. I explained again the reasons which made it important to reach a satisfactory solution before the meeting of Congress, when the subject would no doubt come up for discussion, the necessity for which I was very auxious to avoid, and I urged him to press the solution of the question. He promised to do so, in emphatic terms. “In the mean time,” he added, “you can state to your Government that the French Government is animated by a strong desire to give to this question a most liberal solution, and at the earliest possible moment.” I inquired, “May I expect action before meeting of Congress!” He said “Yes.”
I have, &c.,