to Mr. Bayard.
Stockholm , March 11, 1888. (Received April 2.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your No. 67, under date of February 24 ultimo, inclosing copy of dispatch of Mr. Anderson, minister resident of the United States at Copenhagen.
Since I informed you of the action taken by the board of trade for Sweden in reference to the importation of American pork into this Kingdom, I have endeavored to keep myself acquainted with the sentiment in regard thereto, not only in Sweden but in Norway as well. Up to date Norway has taken no action in the matter. I have just had a conversation with Mr. Carl Bildt, first secretary for foreign affairs for this Kingdom, who returned on Friday from Norway, where he accompanied His Majesty, and where he remained four weeks, and he has assured me no action has been taken by the Norwegian Government upon the subject, and none contemplated. My information, derived from Mr. Gade, United States consul at Christiania, is of the same tenor. I have no reason to doubt the trustworthiness of these representations.
Mr. Bildt assures me that the German Government has made no communication to the Government of the United Kingdoms on this subject.
On the 7th instant, as you have undoubtedly been notified, Denmark, by proclamation, forbade the importation of American pork, and moved, perhaps, to this conclusion as much from the act of the Government of the United States in excluding Danish pork from her markets as the fear of swine-disease contagion. It was a measure more in retaliation than in any well grounded fear of the effects of infected imported meats.
The disease which has so seriously affected the herds in this country is traceable directly to the importation of live hogs from Germany into the Kingdom of Sweden last fall, and it is not claimed that American imported meats had anything to do with the origin or spread of the disease. As a precautionary measure, however, the national board of trade directed that all imported meats should be “well salted,” and this regulation was directed against meats coming from all countries importing meats into this Kingdom.[Page 1479]
I think it advisable, if you permit me the suggestion, to furnish me with any reliable data that may be obtainable as to the extent, character, and effect of the disease in swine herds in the United States, with a view, if you should approve the same, of presenting the matter to the Board of trade and if possible of inducing that body to relax somewhat the present regulation.
There is a good deal of ignorance and prejudice existing in these Scandinavian countries upon the subject of animal disease in the United States, and the long and prejudiced action of both France and Germany upon this subject has not been without its effect upon the people of the United Kingdoms.
Food supplies are subjected to careful inspection in these countries and those which are unwholesome or adulterated are prohibited from sale, and hence a mere rumor that American meats are tainted with a contagious disease is enough to put the board of trade on the alert. I am inclined to think much of their pretended information rests solely on rumor. It is possible to counteract this to some degree, and hence if I were supplied with any reliable evidence upon the subject I would submit it to the board and personally represent the interests of the United States in a much different light than has been done heretofore.
I have had a conversation with the secretary of the interior upon the subject, but it was informal. By this conversation I learned that his excellency’s information was neither extensive nor accurate. I therefore ask for such information as will enable me to meet the objections to the importation of American meats as may be made in either of the kingdoms, if in your judgment it would be of advantage to the trade to submit the same.