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. Foster to Mr. Lincoln.
Washington, February 4, 1893.
Sir: Referring to your dispatch, No. 897, of the 13th ultimo, relative to the restrictions upon the admission of American cattle into Canada, I inclose for your information a copy of a letter dated the 2d instant, from the Secretary of Agriculture, reviewing in detail the grounds upon which this Government claims that this country is now entirely free from pleuro-pneumonia.
You are instructed to communicate the purport of Mr. Rusk’s letter to the foreign office.
I am, etc.,
Mr. Rusk to Mr. Foster.
Washington, D. C., February 2, 1893.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 26th ultimo, inclosing a copy of dispatch No. 897 from the United States minister at London relative to the restrictions upon the admission of American cattle into Canada, this dispatch being accompanied by a copy of a note from the Earl of Rosebery on the same subject.
Concerning this dispatch and also a former one, No. 857, from the chargé d’affaires ad interim at London, which inclosed a note of the same tenor from the Earl of Rosebery relative to the admission of American cattle into Great Britain, I desire to state in the most positive terms that this Department does not admit the correctness of the opinion of the Canadian minister of agriculture that pleuro-pneumonia exists in New Jersey, nor the conclusion of the veterinary officers of the board of agriculture that animals affected with this disease have been found among cattle shipped from [Page 350]the United States to Great Britain. On the contrary, I must express an emphatic protest against such unjust and unfounded conclusions.
There has not been a case of pleuro-pneumonia in New Jersey since March 26, 1892, a period of more than ten months. On September 26, 1892, I issued a proclamation, stating that there had not been a case of pleuro-pneumonia in the United States for a period of six months, and that the contagion had been entirely eradicated from this country. I am at a loss to understand how the Canadian minister of agriculture can state that he believes this disease still “continues to exist in New Jersey, and in relation to other parts of the United States he has not been furnished with adequate proof of its complete extinction.” The proclamation above referred to was an official statement that the disease no longer existed in this country, and it was not made until a period of six months had elapsed after the last case had been disposed of. The usual courtesy shown by one friendly Government to another would seem to require that such official statement should be accepted until positive evidence to the contrary could be produced.
In regard to the note of the Earl of Rosebery, dated November 30, 1892, in which a tabulated statement is made alleging the discovery of ten cases of pleuro-pneumonia in American cattle landed in Great Britain from October 7, 1892, to November 6, 1892, inclusive, it should be stated that no evidence has been cited beyond the mere assertion of the veterinary inspectors that the cattle in question were affected with the disease named. On the contrary, the American inspectors stationed in Great Britain by the courtesy of Her Majesty’s Government are positive that the animals referred to were not affected with contagious pleuro-pneumonia, but with ordinary noncontagious broncho-pneumonia, or interstitial pneumonia, which is caused by exposure and not by contagion.
When the case of the animal shipped on the steamship England, and entered in the table opposite the date of October 7, was under discussion, the veterinary officers of the board of agriculture kindly permitted a section of the affected lung to be sent to this Department for examination. This was the first case reported after the issuance of my proclamation announcing the eradication of the disease; and it was consequently regarded as a test case. A careful examination of the lung mentioned proved that it was affected to a moderate degree with ordinary interstitial pneumonia, and that there were none of the peculiar characters of contagious pleuro-pneumonia to be found in it. The animal was also traced to the farm on which it had been fed, and it was clearly established that there had never been a case of pleuro-pneumonia in that section of the country. The route to the seaboard by which it was transported was also followed, and it was shown that there was no opportunity for contagion from the time it left the farm until it was placed on board the steamer.
During all the period since the disease was eradicated, a special inspection has been maintained by a large force of veterinarians in the districts where it had existed, and an inspection of the internal organs of cattle is made at all the great slaughterhouses of the country. If pleuro-pneumonia exists in the United States, our inspectors would certainly have found it, either in the acute or chronic form, in much less time than has passed since the last case was discovered.
These are facts to which the Government of Great Britain should be willing to give careful consideration. It is well known that for many years Professor Williams and other distinguished veterinarians of Great Britain have been convinced that the veterinary officers of the board of agriculture were mistaken in their conclusion as to the nature of the disease which they have found in the lungs of American cattle landed in England. Professor Nocard, the eminent veterinary authority of France, who made a careful investigation of a lung disease found in American cattle shipped to France, is positive that the malady is not contagious. He has since been shown specimens of the affected lungs from American cattle pronounced by the British veterinarians to be pluero-pneumonia, and he identifies the disease with that previously studied by him, and is positive that it is not pleuro-pneumonia.
In view of the facts mentioned above, and considering that the veterinary inspectors of the board of agriculture have not discovered a single case of disease in American cattle which presented the charcteristic lesions of contagious pleuro-pneumonia, I must reaffirm my statement that this country is free from that disease and protest against contrary assertions from the governments of other countries.
It is not denied that the Government of Great Britain may properly take such action as is considered necessary to protect the stock interests of the United Kingdom from contagious diseases, but it may at the same time be asserted that that Government has no right to put the stigma of contagious disease upon the great export trade of this country in live cattle without better evidence than has so far been produced.
I trust that this view of the question will be placed before the Government of Great Britain and that just treatment may yet be accorded to the cattle exporters of the United States.
I have, etc.,