No. 325.
Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 42.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 5, dated September 18, 1883, relative to the present status of the admission of American pork at European ports, as also of nine copies of the pamphlet on American pork, six copies of a French translation of the same through the American legation at Paris, and a copy of [Page 544] House Executive Document No. 209, Forty-seventh Congress, first session.

Referring to my dispatches No. 8, dated February 10, No. 29, dated May 7, and No. 31, dated July 25, I have further to report my action on the subject.

About April 20, after Mr. Tricoupis had given up the foreign office and Mr. Contostavlo had been appointed minister of foreign affairs, I received a circular on the importation of pork, dated April 7 (19), of which I inclose a copy and a translation. I immediately went to see Mr. Contostavlo, and expressed my regret that an additional circular should be issued, when the question of the prohibition of pork was under discussion between the two Governments in consequence of the circular of January 11. He professed his entire ignorance of the matter, as he had just entered office, and promised inquiry.

* * * * * * *

As the result of several consultations with the prime minister, the minister of foreign affairs, and the minister of the interior, the question was twice sent back to the medical council, and on each occasion this body, composed of three physicians practicing in Athens, at the’ head of which is Dr. Soutsos, the chief medical officer of the army, refused to rescind the action which it had already taken. The reason given was that the importation of pork had been prohibited in France, and as a southern people like the Greek was especially susceptible to anything which bore upon the health of the population, the medical council had considered it necessary to follow this precedent.* * *

When the medical council had twice refused to revise their action, I considered it my duty to bring to the notice of the authorities the fact that their action in the case was contrary to the provisions of Article VIII, of our treaty with Greece of 1837. Mr. Contostavlo said offhand that sanitary considerations took precedence of all others. I replied that this could only be the case where they were mentioned in the treaty; that there was often a provision in treaties that prohibitions applying to a single country might be made where sanitary measures warranted it; but that without such a provision I could not admit its propriety, especially as in the treaty of 1837, the article about quarantine (Article XV) showed that sanitary questions had been considered by the negotiators.* * *

After receiving your dispatch No. 5, dated September 18, I addressed to Mr. Contostavlo a note on the subject, dated October 17, a copy of which I herewith inclose, marked 3, and of which I trust that you will approve.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 42.—Translation.]

Circular of the minister of foreign affairs.

The minister of foreign affairs has the honor to inform the legation of the United States of America that, upon the advice of the medical council of Athens, the department of the interior has just forbidden the import into Greece of hams, sausages, lard, and other pork products coming from America, because of the trichinosis with which pigs in that country are attacked.

[Page 545]

The import of similar products coming from other countries will only he allowed on certificate from the sanitary authorities of the country, certified to by the competent Hellenic consul, stating that the above malady does not exist in the Country from which these products come.

Mr. Contostavlo has, &c.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 42.]

Mr. Schuyler to Mr. Contostavlo.

Mr. Minister: After the conversation which I had the honor to have with your excellency on the subject of the prohibition, by the Hellenic Government, of hams, sausages, lard, and other products of pork imported from the United States, I had hoped that the medical council would revise its decision. I thank you sincerely for having on two different occasions called the attention of the medical council to this subject, and I greatly regret that it has seen tit to maintain its former decision.

The council has apparently not taken into consideration the statements with regard to the manufacture of pork and proving the absence of disease in the United States, as set forth in the official report, of which I had the honor to give you a copy, and of which I now inclose three copies in a French translation. It would appear, too, from what your excellency told me, that the medical council has not examined this question for itself nor has even ever seen and inspected pork products of American origin, but has based its decision upon the action of certain other Governments, which, in order to encourage the production of salt pork at home, have, under the pretext of sanitary measures, prohibited its importation from the United States. As you are aware, Mr. Minister, not all Governments have taken the same course of action, and I may cite especially Great Britain and Belgium, in which countries American pork is largely consumed without injurious effect upon the health of the population. This deference on the part of the medical council to the action of certain other Governments is the more astonishing, as I am informed that the Hellenic consul-general at New York has officially reported that the accounts of disease among American hogs have been greatly exaggerated, yet no consideration seems to be given to his statements, and American pork is absolutely prohibited, while pork is allowed to be imported from other countries on the consul’s certificate.

The medical council has apparently overlooked the fact that the difference of treatment which it establishes for the importation of pork is in direct contravention of Article VIII of the treaty between the United States and Greece of December 10–22, 1837. This article provides thatthere shall not be established in Greece on the products of the soil or of the industry of the United States any prohibition or restriction of importation unless such prohibition or restriction be also established upon articles of like nature coming from other countries.

As I am sure that His Majesty’s Government has no intention of even seeming in any way to act contrary to the provisions of the treaty, I have no doubt that your excellency will at once call the attention of the medical council to this point, and provide that the pork products of the United States receive the same treatment as similar products of other countries.

I seize, &c.,