No. 188.
Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 122.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy of the decree of the Bundesrath excluding American pork products, as approved by the Emperor, March 6, with translation. It is a pure and simple exclusion, containing no reservation on its face, whatever may be in practice.

I also inclose an article and translation from the Norddeutsche All gemeine Zeitung of the 14th March, showing the regulations which the chancellor proposes by which to enforce this ordinance. These are stringent and severe, and calculated to totally interrupt all trade in the prohibited products, whether the same come direct from America or through other countries. These regulations are the logical result of the ordinance, and are subject to no criticism that does not apply to the ordinance itself; though the chancellor is represented as justifying them on the ground that the American papers have said the ordinance would be evaded by indirect shipments. If the American papers have so said, which I have not observed, the enforcement of these regulations will defeat any such anticipations. It will be seen that considerable ingenuity is used to detect and exclude the obnoxious food.

This is sufficiently remarkable, considering the welcome the same regulations extend to Austro-Hungarian and Russian pork, which is said by scientific German authority to be the cause of all the (few) cases of trichinosis that have occurred in Germany for several years, from the habit of the people to eat it raw; the Russian pork, I am told by Germans, being the worst in the world.

I am able to say that there is as little apparent public opinion back of this prohibition as there is justification for it in the character of the excluded articles. * * * Physicians, who ask, for obvious reasons, that their names be not mentioned, have assured me personally and by letter that there is no disease in Germany from American pork. The only case now known to exist among forty million people is said to be at Bremen, and that from eating raw German ham. According to these respectable authorities, if a child were to be poisoned at Philadelphia from sucking the paint from a German doll, legislation to prohibit all German toys would be a parallel measure, provided this case of trichinosis at Bremen could be really proved to arise from eating American pork.

Deputations of merchants have called on me, anxious to know if the measure was inevitable. One banker spoke of it as gross ingratitude to America, whose contributions for the Rhine sufferers, about 1,000,000 marks, are, he said, insignificant beside the amounts annually sent out from America to dependent relatives and others, for which no return is ever expected. He spoke of this as in his own knowledge, by means of his business. I presume the international money-order office would tell the same story. He also said the United States are the most important market of Germany, and the latter had it in its own hands whether they should be ignominiously hustled out of the German market. As illustrating the dependence of Germany upon American custom, I cite the [Page 360] following from tlie Berliner Tageblatt, the correctness of which I have not the means of verifying:

The prohibition of American pork products begins already to show a reaction. In Germany, for instance, there exist rive large manufactories of dextrine, whose products are principally sent to America, and which are worked so advantageously that a larger number of similar establishments are to be erected. The duty on dextrine amounted hitherto to 4 marks. After the 1st July, however, it will be raised to 16 marks, thus rendering the exportation of the German article to America almost impossible, and checking home labor very sensibly.

* * * * * * *

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 122.—Translation.]

ordinance concerning the prohibition of the importation of pigs, pork and sausages of american origin of march 6, 1883.

We, William, by the grace of God, Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia, &c., decree in the name of the Empire, and with the consent of the Bundesrath, as follows:

  • Section 1. The importation of pigs, pork, including bacon, and all kinds of sausages of American origin, is prohibited until further notice.
  • Sec. 2. The imperial chancellor is empowered, by applying the necessary precautionary measures, to permit exceptions to be made in this prohibition.
  • Sec. 3. The ordinance of the 25th June, 1880, concerning the exclusion of American pork and sausages (Im. Law Gazette, p. 151) is abolished.
  • Sec. 4. The present ordinance goes into force after the expiration of the 30th day after its publication.

Given under our hand and the imperial seal.

Inclosure 2 in No. 122.—Article from the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of March. 14, 1883.—Translation.]

On the order of to-day’s appointed session of the Bundesrath stands the proposal concerning the prohibition of the importation of pigs, pork, and sausages of American origin.

After the Bundesrath has voted the decree for the prohibition of the import of pigs, pork, and sausages from America, it will be necessary in the interest of an efficient enforcement of the prohibition to extend the same not only to such products which are shipped directly to Germany from America, but to all products included in the prohibition of American origin. In a communication to the Bundesiath the chancellor makes no suggestions about carrying out the decree, and orders, for the prevention of its evasion, that the importation of such articles from other countries than America shall only be admissible in future when it is proved by official certificate that the articles are above suspicion, i. e., not of American origin. If the prohibition is really to impart the sanitary protection aimed at’by it, then, says the chancellor’s communication, further, only the certificates of such officials must be recognized as are, on the one hand, in a position to testify to the truthfulness of their statements by their personal knowledge in the premises, and on the other hand, too, are responsible to the Empire or the Government of their country for the conscientiousness of their statements.

The certificates of German consuls will, accordingly, be of primary consideration, but as the interests of traffic would seem to forbid our confining ourselves to their certificates exclusively, it might be practicable to admit the certificates attested to by the proper police authorities at the place of origin as sufficient. But inasmuch as the German frontier officials may not always be able to tell whether the persons certifying are actually the proper police authorities, this fact would have to be attested to by the German consul of the district in question. Exceptions to this measure would only be admissible in the case of certificates of origin which come from Austria-Hungary, if issued and attested to according to the provision of the treaty with that Empire of 25th February, 1880, as in all other traffic between these frontier districts.

If the attest is not written in the German language, a certified German translation would have to be added by the impoiter on demand.

[Page 361]

Besides this, the certificate of origin would have to he issued at least thirty days before the arrival of the goods at the German frontier, and to be kept by the German frontier officials to prevent a second use thereof. As specially regards the import of living pigs, the foreign police authorities would have to certify that the animals belonging to the shipper, who is to be specially named, are described singly and according to kind, size, age, sex, color, and other outward marks, are born and raised in Austria-Hungary (Belgium, &c.), and that they have been kept at and within the district of the authorities certifying for the last thirty days. In the case of sucking pigs (pigs of less than 10 kilos weight), as their importation from America might scarcely be attempted, a certificate describing the animals collectively and as to kind, as having been born in Austria-Hungary (Belgium, &c.), might suffice.

The matter is, however, much more difficult with regard to preparations of pork and sausages. A certificate issued by the authorities at the place of origin of the animals would be of little value, as it could not be proved by the articles in question that they really are made from the animal mentioned in the certificate of origin, and therefore a certificate from the police authorities at the place where they were made (except America), that the ware specially designated and described, if chopped, by signature, and packing, if in larger pieces, by a stamp which is to be placed upon them by the authorities at the place of origin, to the effect that the wares emanate from the butcher, &c., residing at apd in the district of the certifying office, and are made from animals of English (Belgium, &c.) origin would be necessary. Besides this, it might be practicable to demand a certificate to the effect that the manufacturer in question is not engaged in manufacturing wares from pigs, pork, or bacon of American origin, nor in the purchase or sale, directly or indirectly, in these articles of American origin. In justification of these suggestions, the communication refers to utterances in the American press that an evasion of this prohibition by repacking the American article in European (not German) ports is contemplated.

Finally, the chancellor requests a decision of the Bundesrath in the matter, with the remark that the officials intrusted with the execution of the decree at the frontier will be furnished with instructions before the time that the decree goes into force thirty days after its proclamation.