Mr. Eustis to Mr. Gresham .

No. 285.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a copy and translation of Mr. Hanotaux’s reply to Mr. Vignaud’s communication of March 4 protesting, under instructions from the Department, against the prohibition of American cattle.

Mr. Hanotaux disclaims that the French Government was moved in this matter by any unfriendly feeling toward the United States. He asserts that cases of contagious disease affecting American cattle were found in Germany, in Belgium, and also in France; that in Canada and in some parts of our own States measures of exclusion against Texan cattle are taken, and that the circumstances rendered the action of the French Government necessary. He refers to the exclusion of French animals at the time of the Chicago Exhibition, which was quite legitimate, he says, and against which France did not protest, and hopes that after reading his explanations you will be satisfied that the action of France has not the character you attributed to it, according to Mr. Vignaud’s dispatch.

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I am informed that some of the butchers of Paris have asked the Government to permit the landing of the cattle at some designated place, where they would be slaughtered and the meat inspected before being sent into the interior.

I have, etc.,

J. B. Eustis
[Inclosure in No. 285.—Translation.]

Mr. Hanotaux to Mr. Vignaud .

Mr. Chargé d’affaires: In informing me by your letter of the 4th instant of the impression made in the United States by the publication of the minister’s order of February 24 forbidding the importation into France of animals of the bovine species, coming from the territory of the Union, you stated that your Government considered this order as unjustifiable because “cattle in the United States are entirely free from contagious infection or malady of a communicative character, which has been the case for more than a year, and, besides, because the regulations in force in the United States are such that no unhealthy animal can be exported.”

I did not fail to acquaint the minister of agriculture with the letter you did me the honor of writing me, and I had most particularly called his attention to it.

My colleague has just sent me his reply, and the explanations it contains, which are stated hereafter, will satisfy you that if the French Administration has temporarily prohibited the importation of American cattle, it is because it was compelled to do so by an imperative reason—the necessity of protecting French cattle from contagious diseases propagated by contaminated American animals.

According to the letter of my colleague, the facts which have led the French sanitary department to adopt the measures of precaution prescribed February 24 are the following:

Cases of epizooty, known under the name of Texas fever, were detected in two instances at Hamburg during the month of October last in a shipment of cattle arriving from the United States, in consequence of which the German authorities felt that it was their duty to forbid the importation into their territory not only of animals of the bovine species, but of fresh meat of the same origin as well.

On its part, the Belgian Government, which had, in August, 1892, subjected to a quarantine of forty-five days cattle arriving at Antwerp from the United States, for the reason that its sanitary agents had detected cases of contagious peripneumonia among these animals, also resorted to prohibition by an order issued December 29 last in consequence of other cases of the same disease among oxen landed at Antwerp.

Finally, according to information furnished to the Government of the Republic, the Canadian authorities do not allow any herds (convois) of American cattle unless the animals are found to be healthy after having been subjected to a quarantine of ninety days.

On the other hand, with reference to France particularly, a case of peri-pneumonia was detected December 9, 1894, at the abattoirs of Villejuif in an ox landed at Havre November 30, which was imported from the United States by the firm of Goldsmith, on board the steamer Prussian.

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Besides, on the 10th of January, 1895, at the abattoirs of Mouronclois le Grand (Marne), a bull imported by Messrs. Nelson, Morris & Co., of Chicago, was found having general tuberculosis (tuberculose généralisée); and on January 23, 1895, a case appearing to be one of contagious peripneumonia was found at the abattoir of Rheims on a bull imported by Messrs. Morris & Co., of Chicago, on the transport Prussian, arriving at Havre January 19, which case, however, was found to be one of that peculiar disease of cattle called in the United States the “cornstalk disease.”

In pointing out the cases of disease mentioned above, the minister of agriculture remarks that it is upon the advice, duly considered, of the consulting committee of epizootics, that cattle from the United States were excluded by the order of February 24 last. That committee, which has, by the way in which it is composed, the highest authority in matters of this kind, declared that in admitting that the case of contagious peripneumonia detected at the abattoir of Villejuif is one of “cornstalk disease,” it is nevertheless true that contagious maladies existed among the cattle in the United States, and that cases of this kind having been found upon their arrival in Europe among animals shipped from the United States, the French Administration would assume a grave responsibility if it did not prevent by prohibitory measures the importation into France of cases of disease.

Measures of this kind seem to be the more justifiable, as certain States of the Union have resorted to prohibition against Texas cattle. The authorities of South Dakota have particularly forbidden the introduction of these cattle in consequence of a case of peripneumonia found among animals coming from that region, and the State of Illinois subjects to a long quarantine cattle of the same origin

Under these circumstances, I am pleased to think, sir, that the Administration of the Union will realize that it was impossible for the minister of agriculture not to share the opinion given by the consulting committee of epizootics. It will not be surprising, on the other hand, to see the Government of the Republic take for the sanitary protection of its national production measures which correspond to those which were legitimately enacted in the United States at the time of the Chicago Exhibition, and against which France did not protest.

In concluding, I will add that in forbidding the importation of live animals and in continuing to admit fresh beef, the sanitary department has given an evident proof of its desire to reduce to its minimum the measure of exclusion it was obliged to resort to. That administration has shown in that way that its intention was not at all to close to American farmers the market they could find among French consumers for their products. Its decision, therefore, can not be considered as having the character attributed to it, according to your communication, by the Federal Administration.

I believe it my duty, Mr. Chargé d’Affaires, to call your attention to the foregoing explanations, and I would be much obliged to you if you would bring them to the knowledge of the Government of the Union.

Please accept, etc.,

G. Hanotaux