Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard.
Paris, September 25, 1885. (Received October 9.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 35, under date of August 31, 1885, in reply to my No. 58, of August 13.
Although I have not modified the opinion expressed in that dispatch as to the intention of the French Government, I have thought it judicious, in pursuance of the intimation given in my No. 53, of August 7, to submit to the consideration of this Government a resume of the entire discussion of this question since the original decree of prohibition, concluding with the renewed statement of my own opinion that the failure of the Chambers to act upon the bill providing for the inspection of foreign meats, and for the admission of American meats after such inspection, imposed upon the Executive of this Government the duty of repealing the original prohibitory decree, no longer warrantable, as you well express it, by the only considerations to which it appeals for justification.[Page 378]
I banded this résumé to the minister of foreign affairs in person two days ago, advising him that you regretted the failure of this Government to remove the invidious distinction against the United States, because of its prejudicial effect upon public opinion there, and I added a very strong expression of my own conviction that this failure on their part would not only alienate to some extent the friendly feeling now existing between the two countries, but would excite the disposition to retaliatory legislation against the importation of French products.
Mr. de Freycinet did not concede the point that the adjournment of the Chambers relieved the Executive from its obligation to defer action until the passage of a law providing a satisfactory system of inspection, as he insisted that the legislature, as a body, never ceased to exist, and could in no sense be said to have expired, since the pending legislation could be continued by the new Chamber from the point at which it was left by the one which had adjourned in August. Nevertheless, upon all the other points involved, he seemed disposed to concede the reasonableness of our contention.
I determined to present this résumé of the question at this time because the new Chamber, though meeting in November, will not engage itself in matters of current legislation until January, when the powers of its members shall have been verified and the new President of the Republic shall have been elected.
I thought it desirable in this manner to exhaust the discussion, as far as the present Government of this country was concerned, so that the President of the United States might be able, in December, in his communication to Congress, to report, if he deemed it expedient, the actual relation of the two Governments to this question.
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I have had some further conversation with Mr. de Freycinet this morning, and while he declines to give any information as to the final determination of the Government, he promises to bring the matter to the special attention of the minister of commerce, and make it a subject of special consideration by the council of ministers; and in making this statement he dwelt upon the embarrassment he felt at taking any decision in the premises which conflicted with the deference due from the Executive to the legislature, having in view the request of the latter to await the passage of a law for the efficient inspection of all imported meats.
Herewith inclosed I send a copy of my note to Mr. de Freycinet, presenting a résumé of this question, for which I am indebted to Mr. Vignaud, who was present with my predecessors in all their conferences with the ministers of foreign affairs of this Government, and who analyzed with care the debates both in the Chamber and in the Senate upon the bill for the efficient inspection of all imported meats.
I have, &c.,