Mr. Ewing to Mr. Gresham.

No. 83.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on August 24 of your cablegram. * * *

As no reports concerning the matter had reached the legation, I requested our consul at Antwerp, by telegram, to investigate at once whether such prohibition was existing, and I also called on the Belgian minister of foreign affairs to procure the necessary information, and to prevent, if possible, the issuance of any such order.

In the absence of the minister of foreign affairs, I was informed by his chief of cabinet that no prohibitory order had yet been issued, but that in view of the fact that two cases of pleura-pneumonia had been discovered in cattle imported from the United States by the steamer Minnesota, the minister of agriculture, of industry, etc., was then considering the issuance of a decree placing under quarantine in the ports of Belgium cattle imported from the United States.

I strongly insisted upon the denial of our minister of agriculture of the existence of such disease in cattle being shipped from the United States and upon the loss that would be entailed upon shippers of cattle then afloat bound for said ports. He promised to call the attention of [Page 51] the minister of agriculture immediately to my protest. On my return I sent you a telegram as follows:

No prohibition yet, but under consideration. Will prevent, if possible.

And I also addressed to the minister of foreign affairs an official communication embodying the matters stated in my verbal communication above referred to.

On August 27 I received from the department for foreign affairs a copy of the ministerial decree which also appeared in the official paper, Le Moniteur Beige, the next day, and of which I send you herewith a printed copy with a translation.

You will perceive that, by the terms of article second, animals en route one day after the date of publication of the decree aforesaid are permitted to be disembarked at the port of Antwerp on the condition that they be slaughtered at the “abattoir public.”

This modification of the general quarantine was the result of my protest and was the best I could procure for the present.

On August 28 I cabled you as follows:

Ministerial order subjects American cattle forty-live days’ quarantine.

Cattle en route before August 29 are excepted on condition that they must be killed at public slaughterhouse.

I have ascertained the following facts:

There were shipped from Baltimore by the S. S. Minnesota, July 29, 1894, 350 head of live cattle in two consignments.

They arrived at Antwerp August 14, all the cattle in apparently good condition. Since that time 291 had been killed up to August 28. Out of that number two cases of diseased cattle were found as discovered by an examination of the lungs after death, and these were pronounced cases of pleuro-pneumonia by the Belgian veterinary surgeon.

The 59 remaining cattle were at the last above date apparently in good health.

I am informed by W. H. Wray, D. V. S., now in the employ of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, that he had just examined the cases referred to, and that in his opinion they were not cases of contagious pleuro-pneumonia, but were well-pronounced cases of catarrhal pneumonia with coexisting pleurisy, and he claims that it is the same disease about which the same controversy has been in England.

However this may be determined, the Belgian authorities have felt themselves justified in the preventive measures which they have taken.

The only American cattle I can hear of en route to Antwerp are two consignments, one on board the Rialto, 134 head, and one on board the Lepanto, 337 head, both of which would come within the exception embodied in article 2 of said ministerial decree.

I have requested the U. S. consul at Antwerp to cooperate with the agent of the American shippers in watching and reporting the result of further examination as to all American cattle slaughtered at Antwerp, and if results should corroborate our theory I hope to be able to obtain such a modification of the prohibitory quarantine as will entail as little loss and inconvenience to American shippers as possible.

I have, etc.,

Jas. S. Ewing.
[Inclosure in No. 83.—Translation.]

The Minister of Agriculture, of Industry, and of Public Works:

Considering the royal decree of the 13th of October, 1890, modifying article 49 of the rules of general administration of the 20th of September, 1883, relative to the sanitary police of domestic animals;

[Page 52]

Reconsidering the ministerial decree of the 14th of March, 1884, designating the ports (Antwerp, Ghent, and Ostend) which may he utilized for the importation and exportaiion of domestic animals;

Reconsidering the ministerial decree of the 28th of July, 1891, stipulating that the animals imported through these ports are there subject to a quarantine of three days;

Considering that contagious pleuro-pneumonia has been discovered in bovine animals exported from the United States of America, and that consequently there is reason to suspect all the animals of the bovine species of that country to be afflicted with that disease;

Considering article 60 of regulations of 20th September, 1893, which fixes at forty-five days the delay of sequestration of bovine animals suspected to be contaminated with that disease;

Considering the report of the veterinary inspection;


Article 1. By a modification of the decrees of the 14th of March, 1884, and of the 28th of July, 1891, above referred to, and until further ordered, the importation of animals of the bovine species imported from the United States of America may not take place at any other port than Antwerp.

Such animals will be subject in said port to a quarantine of forty-five days.

Article 2. Nevertheless, the animals in course of expedition on the day after the day of publication in the Moniteur of the present decree may be disembarked in the port of Antwerp on the condition that they be taken to a public slaughterhouse (abattoir public) to be killed there under the delay provided for by the regular rules.

The Minister.
L. De Bruyn.