Mr. Gresham to Mr. Lincoln.

No. 1132.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatch, No. 943, of the 17th ultimo, I inclose a copy of a letter of the 7th instant from the Secretary of Agriculture, in which, in reply to Lord Rosebery’s note to you of the 14th ultimo, he contends that no cattle recently exported from the United States to Great Britain have been suffering from contagious pleuro-pneumonia, and that this country is now and has been for a long period free from the disease in question.

Requesting you to communicate the contents of the above-mentioned letter of the Secretary of Agriculture to the foreign office,

I am, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.
[Inclosure to No. 1132.]

Mr. Morton to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 30th ultimo inclosing copy of a dispatch, No. 943, from the American minister at London, relative to the restrictions upon the exportation of cattle from the United States to Great Britain.

In reference to the communication of the Earl of Rosebery, which accompanies the dispatch, and which alleges on the authority of the board of agriculture that 18 animals affected with pleuro-pneumonia were found among the American cattle from January 21 to February 14, 1893, I desire to restate the position heretofore taken by this Department, that pleuro-pneumonia has been eradicated from the United States.

The animals alleged to have been diseased have been traced to the farms where they were fed; in many cases the entire lot in which they were contained has been so traced, and in no instance, even after the most thorough investigation, has it been possible to discover any evidence of the existence of this disease.

In case pleuro-pneumonia existed in the localities where these animals were obtained, it certainly could be easily discovered, because the nature of the disease is such that no one would expect it to disappear from any district in the course of a few weeks, unless eradicated by rigorous sanitary measures.

The only remaining explanation of the appearance of pleuro-pneumonia in Amercan cattle is that they were exposed to the disease while in course of transportation from the farm to the ship. As the stock yards where these animals are unloaded are constantly inspected by veterinary inspectors of this Department, and as no case of pleuro-pneumonia has been discovered in the United States for more than a year, notwithstanding the constant inspection of live animals and the post-mortem examination of more than 3,000,000 cattle at the abattoirs, it can not be conceded that such an explanation is at all probable.

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The American inspectors who have been stationed in England by the courtesy of Her Majesty’s Government do not coincide in the diagnosis made by the veterinary officers of the board of agriculture, but hold that the animals in question were affected by noncontagious pneumonia induced by extremes of temperature and exposure during the voyage. That pneumonia should develop in a certain number of American cattle from these causes is not improbable, but is to be expected, and is a much more reasonable explanation of the origin of these cases than is the assumption that contagious pleuro-pneumonia has existed in so many parts of this country without being discovered, notwithstanding a constant search has been made for it.

As a further confirmation of the position of this Department, I would state that specimens of the lungs of a considerable number of the cattle alleged to have been affected with contagious pleuro-pneumonia have been forwarded to this Department and examined by the experts of the Bureau of Animal Industry, and the lesions have proved identical with those found in the forms of pneumonia which develop from other causes than contagion.

In view of these facts, together with the earnestness and vigor which have been manifested by this Government in eradicating animal diseases and in preventing their introduction, I hope that the British Government may be willing to give this subject further consideration, and that they may yet decide to remove the unnecessary and burdensome restrictions which are now imposed upon the trade.

I have, etc.,

J. Sterling Morton.