Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 7, 1896, and the Annual Report of the Secretary of State
Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.
London, February 27, 1892.
Sir: Referring to your instruction numbered 671, of 18th ultimo, relative to the restrictions imposed in this country and Canada upon the importation from the United States of live cattle, sheep, and swine, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note which I addressed to the Marquis of Salisbury on the subject, together with that of his reply.
I shall lose no time in transmitting to you any further communication in the matter which I may receive from Her Majesty’s Government.
I have, etc.,
Mr. Lincoln to the Marquis of Salisbury.
London, February 16, 1892.
My Lord: I have the honor to acquaint you that I have received instructions from my Government to approach your lordship with respect to the regulations of a discriminating nature concerning the importation from the United States of live [Page 325]cattle, sheep, and swine, which are, and have been since 1879, in force in this country.
As your lordship is aware, it is required that all cattle, sheep, and swine from the United States be slaughtered at the port of landing within ten days of their arrival, and I am instructed to represent to your lordship that this regulation is extremely detrimental to one of the most important branches of our export trade, as it entirely prevents the sending of animals inland upon their arrival to be fed and prepared for market, or their being forwarded to those markets at which prices happen to be most remunerative for the time being. The result of this has been, I am informed, the practical destruction of the sheep and swine trade, the entire prevention of the shipment of those cattle from the United States to Great Britain, and the failure to realize, on the part of the American shippers, as much by about $10 per head for fat cattle in this country as is received for the same class of animals shipped from Canada, the latter not being subjected to the regulations in question.
I understand that the prohibition upon the introduction of sheep and swine was established in consequence of the alleged existence of foot and mouth disease in the United States, but the United States Secretary of Agriculture states that it has been shown that this disease never existed there, except in the case of a few small herds of cattle, which were imported from Great Britain, and in these cases it was promptly stamped out at the port of entry. I am informed by our Department of Agriculture that there has not been a case of this disease even at the ports at which cattle are landed since March, 1884, and I am authorized to give the assurance that the regulations of that Department are now sufficiently stringent to prevent any introduction of the contagion.
The order to which I have referred, against live cattle, is understood to have been based upon the existence of pleuro-pneumonia among the dairy cattle of a few small districts on the Atlantic seaboard. Mr. Secretary Rusk states, however, that it has been eradicated from the district referred to by the prompt slaughter of all the animals which were diseased, or exposed to the disease, and that the only district in which pleuro-pneumonia has been discovered within the past ten months is a small section of the State of New Jersey, where a limited outbreak was found to exist in September last, whereupon every animal was immediately slaughtered; the whole section of country was held under the most rigid quarantine; the premises occupied by the diseased cattle have been thoroughly disinfected, and the Secretary of Agriculture has every reason to believe that the disease was thoroughly eradicated.
About eighteen months ago, as your lordship is aware, inspectors were stationed, with the consent of Her Majesty’s Government, by mine, at the ports of this country at which American cattle are landed, with a view to observing the diseases, if any, with which the cattle might be affected upon landing; and during that period, although nearly half a million head of cattle have been imported, I am informed that two animals only are considered by Her Majesty’s inspectors to have been affected by pleuro-pneumonia, the American inspectors being of the opinion that they are affected by ordinary pneumonia brought on by exposure, the cattle having been shipped during the inclement weather of early spring. The history of these animals was subsequently traced, and it was found that they could not have been exposed to the contagion of pleuro-pneumonia.
I had the honor, in a note of June 12, 1891, addressed to your lordship, to present their history and to submit some observations upon the ascertained facts respecting them, from which it was anticipated that the view at first adopted by Her Majesty’s department of agriculture might be changed upon a reconsideration, but I have not yet been advised of its conclusion.
From the foregoing facts I venture to hope that it will be apparent to Her Majesty’s Government that the prohibition against sheep and swine was made upon incorrect information relative to the existence of foot and mouth disease in the United States, and that it would be but just to withdraw it. I trust it will also be equally apparent that there is no longer any danger of American export cattle being infected with pleuro-pneumonia, if indeed they ever were in any such danger in the United States; the more so as under the regulations now in force all export cattle are carefully inspected before being shipped from the United States, and their freedom from contagion is guaranteed.
If, however, Her Majesty’s Government should still entertain doubts as to the immunity from disease of cattle shipped from the port of New York, I am instructed to state that the feeling of dissatisfaction now entertained by my Government would for the present be removed by an order taking away the prohibition as to cattle shipped from Chicago by the way of Portland, in the State of Maine, Boston, Baltimore, and Newport News, which would make it certain that no export cattle should be in the neighborhood of any locality in which pleuro-pneumonia had existed during the past two years.
The Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, understanding that Her Majesty’s Government are empowered by act of Parliament to relieve from the effects of the prohibition herein referred to any portion of a country which may have adopted [Page 326]proper regulations to prevent the spread of contagious diseases of animals, has requested the Secretary of State to suggest that such action be now taken with regard to the United States; and he adds that the adoption of such a course would be a gratifying evidence to our people of a friendly spirit and of a desire to place no greater hardships on our trade than are believed to be necessary to prevent the introduction of diseases which may be dangerous to the cattle of this country.
He calls attention to the fact that, although pleuro-pneumonia has been disseminated in Great Britain for many years, my Government has never adopted a prohibition against the importation of cattle from this country, but allows them to be admitted after a reasonable period of quarantine, and that, although British sheep and swine are affected by the same diseases as those by which American sheep and swine are affected, no steps have been taken in the United States to prevent the admission of the former, or their transmission, after a few days’ quarantine, to any part of the country.
I am instructed to mention these facts with a view to showing that our regulations relative to the importation of cattle from Great Britain, while guarding against actual danger of infection, have been framed in a friendly spirit and with a view to facilitate the trade between the two countries, and to express the hope that Her Majesty’s Government will take the matter into their consideration, and that they may see their way to making such a modification of their regulations as, in the opinion of my Government, is justified by the present condition of affairs in the United States.
I have the honor also to call your lordship’s attention to the fact that the Government of Canada has long enforced a quarantine of ninety days upon cattle imported from the United States, on account of the alleged danger from them of pleuro-pneumonia, and to acquaint you that this quarantine entirely prevents the shipment of such animals, and is a great hardship to our farmers. It is earnestly hoped by my Government that, in view of the reasons herein set forth, this quarantine will also be removed.
If Canada is still apprehensive with regard to cattle coming from the State of New Jersey, my Government would not object to the maintenance of the quarantine against such cattle, provided cattle from all other States be exempted from its provisions.
I have the honor, therefore, to bring this matter to the attention of Her Majesty’s Government and to solicit the good offices of your lordship with a view to a radical modification of the restrictions aforesaid upon the importation of cattle, sheep, and swine to this country and to Canada from the United States.
I have, etc.,
The Marquis of Salisbury to Mr. Lincoln.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 16th instant, respecting the importation of live stock from the United States into the United Kingdom, and also from the United States into the Dominion of Canada.
In reply, I have to acquaint you that your note has been referred to the proper department of Her Majesty’s Government, by whom the arguments therein set forth will be attentively considered, and that a further communication will in due course be addressed to you on the subject.
I have, etc.,