Mr. Olney to Mr. Ewing.

No. 200.]

Sir: I inclose for your information a copy of a communication of the 30th ultimo, from the Secretary of Agriculture transmitting a letter received by him from Messrs. Patterson, Ramsay & Co., steamship agents and brokers, Baltimore, concerning the alleged opening of the ports of Belgium to cattle from the Netherlands, and to the recent discussion of the subject in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives.

A report of the debates in question will be found on pages 267 et seq. (session of March 10, 1896) of the official journal of the proceedings of the Chamber of Representatives. A copy thereof is not sent to you as you doubtless have ready access at Brussels to the official reports of the debates.

You are instructed to make full inquiries in regard to the matter complained of and to ascertain whether the Belgian Government is willing to remove any discrimination which may now be made against the importation of American cattle in favor of those imported from the Netherlands or any other countries.

I am, etc.,

Richard Olney.
[Inclosure in No. 200.]

Mr. Morton to Mr. Olney.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose for your information a letter from Messrs. Patterson, Ramsay & Co., steamship agents and brokers, Baltimore, Md., concerning the opening of the ports of Belgium to the cattle from Holland and the discussion on this matter in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives. I also inclose the record of the discussion referred to, which has been furnished by Messrs. Patterson, Ramsay & Co. An examination of this discussion appears to warrant the assertion made in the letter that there is a serious discrimination by Belgium against this country in closing the ports to our cattle. If there is anything which can be done by the State Department to secure justice for our exporters of live animals I feel sure that after examining these inclosures you will take any steps that may be indicated for that purpose.

I have, etc.,

J. Sterling Morton,
[Page 20]
[Subinclosure in No. 200.]

Messrs. Patterson, Ramsay & Co., to Dr. Salmon, Chief of Bureau of Animal Industry.

Dear Sir: We inclose herewith official record of the sitting of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives at Brussels on the 10th instant. It contains some very interesting speeches in regard to the recent opening of the Dutch frontier for the importation of cattle into Belgium. We would draw your particular attention to page 268, first column, where Mr. Cartuyvels makes the statement that the minister of agriculture had opened the frontier only because he was compelled to do so in consequence of numerous negotiations with Holland, and to save the exportation into that country of Belgian products, namely, to avoid reprisals. Again, on page 271, first column, Minister De Bruyn acknowledges this charge when he states that Holland had proved that the Belgian Government could not justify the closing of the frontier owing to the fact that it enjoyed the most favored nation clause.

Now, if this is the case in regard to Holland it should also be the case in regard to America, and you will notice that a little earlier in the debate, in replying to the question what he intended doing in the future, Minister De Bruyn stated that he would carry out Belgium’s agreements with foreign countries. If this is his intention it would seem to us that there is all the more reason why at this particular moment the United States foreign office should insist on Belgium doing the same for the United States as they have done for Holland. There is clearly a serious discrimination on the part of Belgium against this country on this matter, and we certainly think that under the treaties with Belgium that the United States Government has a right to be placed on the most favored nation clause in this matter.

We feel sure we are not wearying you in this matter, as it is a matter of great importance, and we trust you may be able to do something for this cattle industry in the proper quarter that will lead to a rehabilitation of the traffic.

We will be glad to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours, truly,

Patterson, Ramsay & Co.