Mr. Terrell to Mr. Blaine .

No. 231.]

Sir: Referring to your No. 160, of October 5, on the subject of the regulations enforced in Belgium as to the carcasses of dressed beef imported from the United States, I have the honor to state that I have addressed another communication on the subject to the Prince de Chimay, minister of foreign affairs, a copy of which I beg to inclose herewith for your information.

Referring to the letter of the honorable the Secretary of Agriculture, inclosed with your instruction, it would seem that the Secretary regards the Belgian regulation requiring dressed beef carcasses to be accompanied by the lungs of the animals respectively as applied solely to these products coming from the United States, and as thus plainly discriminating against our interests. The law, however, is a general one, applicable to the dressed beef imported from Germany, Holland, and other countries, as well as from the United States.

It is claimed by the Belgian Government that the law under which the regulation is made, and a copy of which accompanied my dispatch No. 225, was passed solely as a sanitary measure.

It is for the reason that the law is general in its application and applicable to the dressed-beef products of all foreign countries that I have suggested that it be so amended as to permit of its being dispensed with in favor of the products of any country whose sanitary inspection laws are found to be satisfactory by the Belgian minister of agriculture.

I have, etc.,

Edwin H. Terrell.
[Inclosure in No. 231.]

Mr. Terrell to the Prince de Chimay .

Prince: I have the honor to inform your excellency that some six weeks ago I duly forwarded to my Government copies of the correspondence exchanged between the Belgian Government and this legation on the subject of the regulations enforced in [Page 39] Belgium as to dressed beef imported from the United States, requiring that such beef carcasses should be accompanied by the lungs of the animals attached thereto, respectively.

The United States Government has thoroughly considered the entire subject in the light of the replies of your excellency to my communications, and I am now in receipt of further instructions directly relating to this matter.

My Government regards these regulations of Belgium as entirely prohibitive of all importations of dressed beef carcasses into Belgium from the United States, and as in their effect essentially discriminating against one of the most important products of our country.

Your excellency has been pleased to inform me heretofore that these regulations are enforced under a law which it is not possible for the Government of the King to change. From the language of the law it is to be presumed that the law in question was enacted with a view to establishing certain sanitary measures as to beef products imported into the country. Since the passage of that law the United States has put into force the most thorough and searching inspection regulations as to its beef and pork products designed for exportation to foreign countries ever instituted, I venture to say, by any government on earth. Since these regulations were first established additional and even more stringent requirements have been imposed by the Department of Agriculture, so that to-day they constitute a most efficient and entirely satisfactory body of sanitary measures, absolutely assuring beyond question the quality of the products thus intended for exportation. These inspection laws provide for an ante-mortem and post-mortem examination of all animals killed for exportation, and for official certification by Government officers as to the healthfulness of the animal at time of slaughter, all of which is evidenced by marks attached to the carcasses. The shipments of these beef products are made in quarters, the lungs being removed at the time of slaughter, and it is therefore not practicable nor possible to ship them adherent to the carcasses.

It seems to my Government that the continuance by Belgium of its strange requirement is not only a discrimination against an important product of our country, but a serious reflection upon the character of our inspection laws.

The Governments of Germany, Denmark, and Italy, after prohibiting absolutely for some years—on what has turned out to be groundless objections—the importation of beef and pork products from the United States, have, through thorough examination made by special expert commissions respectively, become entirely satisfied with the efficient sanitary inspection laws and regulations now so rigidly enforced in the United States, and have promptly and in the most liberal spirit rescinded their restrictive measures and opened their ports to the admission of these articles of commerce.

France, through her Chamber of Deputies, has already taken the same action, which will undoubtedly be ratified by her Senate.

Thus from now on shipments of American cattle, beef and pork carcasses, and meat products can be made to any country in Europe, without discriminating or prohibitive measures being applied to them, except in Belgium.

Surely the friendly spirit which has always been shown to the Government of Belgium by the United States would seem to suggest a prompt removal of the restrictive regulations under discussion.

Your excellency has observed that the regulation can not be modified because it is enforced under a law, but surely a law can be amended. As I had the honor to suggest in a former communication to your excellency, the law could be amended so as to provide that the requirement that the carcasses imported should have the lungs of the animals adherent could be dispensed with by the minister of agriculture as to the products of any country whose sanitary inspection laws should be deemed satisfactory by him.

My Government trusts that on a careful reconsideration of this matter the Belgian Government may see that it is decidedly to the interest of its people and of its commerce, and at the same time fair to a friendly government, to bring about the removal of this regulation.

Stringent measures of this character, producing in effect unjust discriminations against the products of another country and practically prohibiting their importation frequently lead to retaliatory measures, which are always deeply to be regretted.

I profit, etc.,

Edwin H. Terrell.