No. 322.
Mr. Davis to Mr. Schuyler.

[Extract.]
No. 33.]

Sir: In a dispatch from Berlin, dated the 4th instant, Mr. Sargent remarks as follows:

The London Times correspondent on the 1st instant says:

Imitating the action of the German federal council, the Greek Government has, from sanitary considerations, forbidden the importation of all sorts of American pig flesh.

* * * * * * *

Information of this action of the Government of Greece was duly conveyed in your No. 8 (Greek diplomatic series), of February 10 last, [Page 541]and of your conversation at the time with the minister of foreign affairs.

* * * * * *

Aside from the assurance of Mr. Botassi, the Greek consul-general at New York, that the reports about diseases of swine, &c., in America, had been greatly exaggerated, a modification of the circular might well be asked upon the consideration which the subject has received in other directions.

Thorough scientific scrutiny and extensive observation at different periods, and by various earnest and competent individuals, have failed to establish that American pork is oftener or more fully impregnated than that coming from other regions, or that the serious maladies which the consumption of the diseased hog flesh may occasion are, as a fact, prevalent in any country; and when the immense pork products of this country which have annually been distributed and consumed is considered, this conspicuous freedom from the dreaded disease should itself relieve the United States from these unjust and unwarrantable charges.

This Government will yield to no other in the sincere intention of treating the public health as of paramount concern, and it would be the first to sacrifice any commercial interest fairly shown to be detrimental to the general individual comfort. In this spirit the Department, upon the first agitation of the subject, dispatched a skilled officer to the principal raising and packing districts hereto obtain, for its guidance, a careful and candid investigation of the subject. His conclusions, which you will find in the inclosed pamphlets,* strongly developed the purity of this class of exports and confirmed the previous justifiable opinion that all contrary assertions were exaggerated and without sufficient foundation.

The further inspections which have occurred abroad have all tended to the same conclusion, and have exhibited a unanimity in this, that pork can safely be used if cooked, even when in rare instances containing trichinœ, and that its noxious effects have only been observed among those who consume it in the raw state. As to the cholera, which has served to create such marked apprehension abroad, it is well ascertained that this disease attacks mostly the young swine (here known as “pigs”) whose flesh can never be utilized by the packers, and that whenever its victim is a mature swine, here known as “hog,” the decomposition is so speedy as to render it impossible to treat it for any commercial use whatever.

In the face of these considerations, this Government does not expect a persistent adherence to the prohibitory policy which has already injured our trade and depreciated our products, and it cannot observe without earnest protest the announcement, at this late stage, of the determination of any Government to enter upon the policy which has so unjustly affected a legitimate and valuable trade.

It is not to be overlooked that, so far as Greece is concerned, the direct importation, at least, of American pork is very insignificant; that it is not understood that a single instance of disease from its use has been noted there, and therefore the present acceptance by that Government of the policy which has already borne hard upon the commerce of our citizens with other countries would groundlessly throw the weight of her influence in favor of a harsh and unjust discrimination against American commerce.

[Page 542]

It is hoped that you will take early occasion to endeavor to obtain from the minister a recession of the objectionable restrictions, informing him of the uncordial attitude to an American interest which the present position of Greece necessarily presents.

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I am, &c.,

JOHN DAVIS,
Acting Secretary.
  1. House Ex. Doc. 209, Forty-seventh Congress, first session, page 179.