No. 275.

Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard .

No. 108.]

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.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 108.]

Mr. McLane to Mr. de Freycinet .

Mr. Minister: In the conversation which we had together a few days ago in regard to the prohibition of American salted meats, your excellency was kind enough to tell me that you had submitted the question to the council of ministers, as well as to your honorable colleague, the minister of commerce, who had not felt himself authorized to take any decision at the moment he was going to leave the ministry.

Pursuant to the observations which I have submitted to your excellency, I take the liberty of suggesting that in view of the new assembling of the Congress of the United States, it would be an advantage if I could be informed as soon as possible about the decision which will be come to, whether it may be decided, as I hope, to do away with the prohibition by a decree, whether it may be necessary to await still longer legislative action. In both cases, in fact, it is important that my Government may be informed in advance of the intentions of yours. I am persuaded that your excellency will appreciate the manner in which I view the subject.

I seize this opportunity to thank your excellency for the disposition you have shown of terminating in a fair manner this little misunderstanding. I hope we shall not lose your kind services in this good cause.

Please accept, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 108.—Translation.

Mr. de Freycinet to Mr. McLane .

Sir: By a letter dated the 16th of this month you have been good enough to express to me your desire of being put in a position to inform your Government as soon as possible of the decision which shall be taken by the Government of the Republic towards regulating, either by a decree or by a law, the rules of entrance into France of American salted meats.

As you know, sir, the decree of the 27th November, 1883, which authorized the importations into France of American salted meats, had to be withdrawn by the preceding cabinet in consequence of a formal vote of the Chamber, which delayed the admission of this product until the adoption of a law establishing a service of inspection over foreign meats. The Government of the Republic was thus placed under the obligation of refraining from regulating the question by decree; but in order to hasten its solution as much as in his power, it hastened to lay before Parliament a bill relating to the service of inspection, the establishment of which had been decided upon in principle by the Chamber. This bill was referred to a committee, which modified it after examination, and then made it the subject of a report favorable to the adoption of the provisions thus remodeled.

Such was the state of the question when the Chamber arrived at the limit of its powers without having been able to bring up for deliberation the propositions of its committee. My colleague, the minister of commerce, has had to consider since then whether it would be proper to lay before the new Chamber the bill which had been submitted to its predecessor or that one which the special committee had substituted for it, and the result of this examination is that it would be preferable to propose to Parliament a more complete combination of provisions on which the consulting committee of public health of France has been now invited to deliberate. There would be reason to fear, in fact, that the bills formerly prepared would not meet with the approval of the Chambers in view of the objections which they raised, and it is desirable that the [Page 383] bill which shall be presented may be drawn up in such a manner as to prevent, as much as possible, every difficulty, in order that the vote may be obtained with’ as little delay as possible. The new studies prescribed by Mr. Dautresme have no other aim.

I will be obliged to you, sir, if you will kindly communicate these explanations to the Government of the Union. I beg you to give it at the same time the assurance that the Government of the Republic has decided to proceed immediately to the elaboration of the bill in question, and to demand of the Chamber that it shall be brought up for debate as promptly as possible.

Accept, &c.,