Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard.
Paris, July 3, 1885. (Received July 16.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 24, under date of June 16, 1885, I have to report a conversation with the minister of commerce, Mr. Legrand, and the chairman, Mr. Lalande, of the committee of the Chamber of Deputies, to whom was referred the bill repealing the decree prohibiting the importation of American pork.
The minister of commerce, although acknowledging that no exception on the score of health could be taken to this importation, thought that the short time left for legislation rendered the passage of the bill very doubtful. He admitted, further, that the price of American pork being lower than that of either England or Germany, excited the fear of competition in the minds of the agricultural population in France, under whose influence the duties upon all meats have been greatly increased.[Page 374]
Mr. Lalande concurred generally in the views expressed by Mr. Legrand, but he promised to make an earnest effort to call up the bill for consideration by the Chamber of Deputies, and he promised further to see the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of commerce at an early day with the view of securing the support of the Government. This promise he has fully redeemed, and at the council of ministers held yesterday it was understood that the minister of commerce would facilitate to the full extent of his ability the efforts of Mr. Lalande to pass the bill.
I cannot disguise from myself, however, that there is very great opposition on the part of the protectionists in the Chamber to any relaxation of the existing prohibition, although it is not to be supposed that such an invidious distinction as now exists against the importation of American pork can be long maintained.
I have, &c.,