Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Berlin, March 19, 1883. (Received April 4.)
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.,