Mr. Risley to Mr. Gresham .
Copenhagen , January 14, 1895 . (Received Jan. 28.)
Sir: Referring to my No. 69, of November 21, 1894, relating to the action of Denmark in prohibiting the importation from the United [Page 211] States of live cattle or fresh meat, I have recently had a conversation with the minister of foreign affairs on the subject. He said Mr. Vedel had mentioned to him my conversation, referred to in No. 69, and had called his attention to the point that the language of the decree was broad enough to include sheep and swine and fresh meat from them; he had examined the question and found that it was liable to such construction; and thereupon he brought it to the attention of his colleague, the minister of the interior, who had issued the decree, and had been by him assured that it was not intended to prohibit or in any way affect the importation of other than live horned cattle and fresh meat from them, and that he would see that no broader interpretation should be given to it by executive officials. The minister pointedly remarked that the decree in no way interfered with the importation of canned meats. Indeed the decree expressly so states, but in an American newspaper of recent date I read allusion which seemed to imply that canned meats were also excluded. The Danes are now using considerable quantities of American canned meats, and the trade could be largely increased by proper efforts.
In a further conversation I called the minister’s attention to the recent action of Sweden in largely increasing the import duties on wheat and flour, and expressed the hope that Denmark did not purpose to take similar action. He replied that he had heard of the action of Sweden with much surprise; that while it might in some very small degree benefit the agriculturists it would be very hard on the poor who had to buy bread; that Denmark imposed no duty whatever on wheat or flour, and had no intention to do so. He assured me that the Rigsdag, now in session, would make no material change in customs laws. He complained much that Denmark’s immediate neighbors, Sweden on the north and Germany on the south, imposed heavy duties on all imports, and generally pursued the policy of excluding the merchandise of other nations from their markets.
I have, etc.,