Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Berlin, December 11, 1882. (Received December 29.)
Sir: I have the honor to state that the following is the draft of the ordinance that has been presented to the German federal council for the prohibition of the importation of American pork products, viz:
- The importation from America (the United States) of pigs, pork, bacon, and sausages of all kinds is forbidden until further notice.
- The imperial chancellor is empowered to permit exceptions to this prohibitive rule, subject to the necessary measures of control.
- The restrictive ordinance of the 25th June, 1880, with respect to the importation of pork and sausages from America, is abolished.
- The present ordinance comes into force thirty days after its promulgation.
Commenting on the above, the Berlin correspondent of the London Times, usually well informed and impartial, but in this case evidently * * * catching at superficial appearances, has the following, under date of November 30, 1882:
The prohibitive ordinance of June, 1880, above referred to, only applied to the importation of minced pork and sausages, but not to hams, &c., it being supposed that microscopic examination of the latter would secure the exclusion of unwholesome consignments. But it has been found impossible to exercise a rigorous surveillance in this respect, and as it is known that American pigs suffer much more than the German from trichinosis, as well as from the infectious disease called hog cholera, the German Government feels compelled to take effective measures against the introduction of the dreaded germs. It is urged that the commercial and financial importance of the measure is not considerable. Live pigs are not imported into Germany from America in very large numbers, and of hams, pork, &c., only about 3 per cent. of the total national consumption; so that the difference could easily be made up by native breeders, or be derived from other states, such as Russia.
The correspondent accepts, as in good faith, and apparently without personal examination, statements to the prejudice of American pork as compared with the German article, which are totally unfounded, as also that the trade interests involved are very slight.
On the other hand a very strong memorial, in admirable temper, had been presented to the Bundesrath at the time this correspondent sent his dispatch by a committee appointed by a meeting of merchants at Hamburg interested in the American pork trade. This memorial, a copy and translation of which I inclose, shows by facts and irrefutable logic that the pretense that American pork is peculiarly diseased is the result of misinformation, and that the German trade interests in this article are very great.
The basis of this memorial is the report on this whole subject, made in May, 1881, to the State Department. I do not know how fully this report was circulated in Germany, but its conclusive statements are [Page 320] used with great effect in this memorial, and are proffered by the latter to the minds it is most necessary to influence.
The memorial alleges that the principal danger from pork consumption is from the use of native pork, which cannot be subjected to the inspection which can be applied to the imported article, and points out as a fact that notorious recent cases of infection have arisen from the use of German pork. It has been conveniently assumed heretofore that pork in which trichinae were found was American, the proof of its being American being that it contained trichinӕ. The singular fact is stated that German pork is sold by the producers at higher prices than the imported article, the producers then buying the cheaper American article for their personal use.
The effect on the poorer classes by depriving them of a food necessary for their physical and mental development is well pointed out, and the loss of revenue is shown, amounting to 2,271,480 marks, which must be supplied by taxation on other objects.
It is also shown that the loss to German shipping interests will be enormous, and the loss so occasioned will, in great measure, accrue to England, Holland, and Belgium.
I am more than ever satisfied that there is no real foundation * * * in fact * * * for the assumption that sanitary reasons require this measure of exclusion. Such documents as that I transmit are conclusive to any unbiased judgment. The facts are too well supported, the arguments are too logical, and the illustrations too persuasive to leave a doubt. There is the pressure of the pork raisers in Germany back of the measure of the landed interest that is taxed by the tariff on many articles of consumption, and demands a monopoly in this market, an artificial scarcity, that their goods may be enhanced in price.
* * * * * * *
Singularly just at this moment the German press discusses the message of the President to reduce our import duties, by which it expects a large increase of German exportation to America. That justice requires careful * * * consideration of American claims has not apparently occurred to them, at least not in connection with this sweeping exclusion of American pork products.
I have, &c.,