No. 149.
Mr. Morton to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 452.]

Sir: As I had the honor of informing you by my telegram of yesterday the official journal of this morning publishes a decree repealing that of February 18, 1881, by which the importation of American pork was prohibited in France.

[Page 293]

The French packers were so much interested and so persistent in obstructing this long-expected measure that I feared the withdrawal of the prohibition might be coupled with some kind of inspection which would practically restrict its effect, but the decree removes the prohibition without any conditions. A circular of the minister of commerce, addressed to the prefects, informs them of the decision taken, and simply advises them to see that the pork offered to the public is fully cured, and to recommend to those making use of such meats that they should be well cooked, as it is scientifically and experimentally established, says the minister, that thorough cooking and salting destroys trichinosis when it exists.

Thus the position taken in this matter by the legation and maintained in repeated communications, written and verbal, is at last officially admitted as correct by the French Government.

In view of the information conveyed in your dispatch No. 379, of November 13, I informed Mr. Schuyler of the withdrawal of the decree. * * *

I deem it proper to avail myself of this occasion to express my high appreciation of the valuable assistance rendered and cordial co-operation of Mr. Vignaud in the long pending negotiations, as in all other matters, now so satisfactorily terminated by the withdrawal pure and simple of the prohibitory decree at a time when the current of public sentiment elsewhere in Europe appears to be running in a different direction.

I inclose herewith copy and translation of both the decree and the circular.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 452.—Translation.]

decree of november 27, 1883.

The President of the French Republic, upon the report of the minister of commerce, considering the conformable opinion of the consultative committee of public health of France, dated the 26th November, 1883, decrees:

  • Article 1. Is, and shall remain, annulled, the decree dated the 18th of February, 1881, which prohibits on the territory of the French Republic the importation of salted pork of American origin.
  • Art. 2. The minister of commerce and the minister of finance are instructed, each so far as it may concern him, to execute the present decree, which shall be inserted in the Journal Officiel, and published in the Bulletin des Lois.


By the President of the Republic:
The minister of commerce,
The minister of finance,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 452.—Translation.]

circular from the minister of commerce.

Monsieur le Préfet: A decree of the President of the Republic of the 27th of November has just annulled the decree of the 18th February, 1881, which prohibits on the entire territory of the French Republic the importation of salted pork coming from the United States.

This decree, which has for object to restore to consumption a much esteemed article of food among the working classes, will not efficaciously attain the end in view unless [Page 294] all requisite precautions for the preservation of public health are taken in the use of this meat.

The consultative committee of public hygiene of France, to whom I referred the question, undertook a minute examination of the subject, from which it results that preserved pork loses all serious danger of infestation of trichinosis if it is salted with care, and if the brine in which it is deposited is of good preparation. You should therefore recommend to the municipal authorities, who have more especially in their attributions, the supervision of articles of food, to examine with the greatest care whether these conditions are entirely carried out as far as concerns salted pork put up for sale in their commune, and not to hesitate to seize and destroy that which, from an imperfect degree of saltness, may appear to them unfit for consumption.

The committee has ascertained besides, both scientifically and by experimental means, that trichinosis, when it exists in pork, is entirely destroyed by complete cooking, and that all danger will disappear for the consumer if, conformably to our well-known culinary habits, this meat is not eaten raw or rarely cooked.

You will please therefore bring this important particular to the knowledge of those under your jurisdiction by all the means of publicity at your disposal.

I beg you will acknowledge receipt of the present circular, and give your careful attention to the execution of the directions contained therein.

Receive, &c.,

The minister of commerce,