Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard .
Paris , November 20, 1885. (Received December 15.)
Sir: Soon after the receipt of your dispatch No. 48, under date October 17, 1885, I had some conversation with Mr. de Freycinet, in which I presented in substance your observations upon my No. 73, of the 25th of September, and my note to Mr. de Freycinet of the 23d of the same month.
This view I had already presented to him as an alternative, when I contended that the adjournment and dissolution of the old Chamber relieved the Executive from all obligation or deference to its opinion as embodied in the resolution it had adopted in opposition to the decree repealing the original decree of prohibition against American salted meat.
He, on his part, persisted in his original opinion that the Executive was not free to take action, but, in reply to the considerations of equity stated in your dispatch and presented by me in conversation, he could only urge that a more perfect system of inspection was necessary before American meat could be imported. Such at least, he said, in reply to my observations that no such necessity existed, was the opinion of many members of the legislature and a large portion of the French people, and he again disclaimed for the Government any purpose or intention of excluding American meat for any other reason than one connected with the sanitary elements of the question.
He said he had presented the subject to the council of ministers and had embodied the substance of my note to him of the 23d of September in a communication he had addressed to the minister of commerce. He had not yet received a reply from that minister, and did not now expect to receive one, as he had tendered his resignation to the President in consequence of his defeat as a candidate for the Chamber of Deputies at the recent elections.
I naturally expressed regret at this delay in action, whatever might be the cause thereof, reminding Mr. de Freycinet that our Congress would meet on the first Monday in December, and it would be expected of me by that time to give my Government information as to the view the French Government had taken of my note of the 23d of September.
He said he would bring the subject to the attention of the new minister of commerce as soon as he was appointed, and he hoped, to be in condition to communicate with me before the middle of November.
Not having heard from him on the 16th of November, I addressed him a note. I have received this morning his reply. Copies and translations of these two notes are here inclosed.
Mr. de Freycinet’s note presents no new view of the subject, though it dwells upon the sanitary considerations upon which the French Government rely for justification as regards the original decree of prohibition.
I have nothing myself to add to the views I have heretofore communicated to you on this subject, but I feel it my duty to again note the great influence which is exerted upon both the legislature and the Executive by those who represent the agricultural interests of France to raise to a prohibitory point the duty upon foreign meats and cereals, and to repeat my opinion that it is to this influence, rather than to the sanitary considerations involved, that American salted meats are still excluded [Page 382] from France, from which it necessarily results that much time will be spent in the deliberations of the legislature before final action is taken on this question. Meanwhile, the presidents of the Chambers of Commerce of Bordeaux, Marseilles, and Havre are protesting against the decree of prohibition with energy and effect.
I have, &c.,