Mr. Sherman to Mr. Storer.

No. 39.]

Sir: Referring to your No. 251 of the 10th ultimo, I inclose herewith copy of a letter from the Secretary of Agriculture covering his reply to the letter which you sent him directly on the same day in regard to the status of affairs in Belgium relative to the trade in American animals and meats.

Respectfully, yours,

John Sherman.
[Inclosure in No. 39.]

Mr. Wilson to Mr. Sherman.

Sir: I am in receipt of a letter of the 10th instant from Hon. Bellamy Storer, United States minister at Brussels, giving the present status of the regulations in Belgium concerning the importation of American animals and meats. I have thought best to reply to this letter at some length; but as this negotiation is an important one, I send my letter inclosed herewith for your information, and that you may forward it with such instructions from your Department as you may consider advisable.

Thanking you for the instructions which you have issued in this matter, I am,

Very respectfully,

James Wilson, Secretary.
[Subinclosure in No. 39.]

Mr. Wilson to Mr. Storer.

Sir: I am in receipt of your letter of the 10th instant in regard to the status of affairs in Belgium relative to the trade in American agricultural products, and particularly to animals and meats. It affords me pleasure to learn that you have given the matter so much attention, and fully informed yourself as to the present status of affairs. There is no doubt but that, so far as the exportation of live animals to Belgium is concerned, the trade should be satisfied with an extension of the time animals may be held before slaughter. The present limit of three days is too short a time and does not give an opportunity for the animals to recover from the effects of the voyage, nor does it allow time to find purchasers and dispose of the animals to advantage. The limit should be two weeks instead of three days; or if two weeks can not be obtained, then certainly ten days should be granted.

The Belgian Government should also be willing to admit American fresh meats which have been inspected by this Department, and which bear the inspection marks and are accompanied by certificates of inspection. This inspection is made by our Government, and the certificate is a Government certificate. The refusal to accept this certificate and admit such inspected meats is an official announcement that the Belgian Government is suspicious of this inspection and of the guarantee [Page 37] which our Government gives with, the meat. This Government can hardly permit without emphatic protest such questioning of its official work and such implied doubts as to its good faith. I hope you will urge this matter upon the Belgian Government, and endeavor to secure the concessions in regard to live animals and fresh meats which are mentioned above.

There is every reason to desire friendly relations with the Belgian Government, and that the arbitrary interference with trade which has been begun by that Government may be stopped before it is necessary to adopt retaliatory measures bearing upon Belgian exports to the United States. It appears from our statistics that we receive over $200,000 of meat products from Belgium annually, and nearly $200,000 worth of wines. If we continue to receive these products from the Belgian farms without other restrictions than the regular tariffs imposed by law, it will be expected by our people that the Belgian Government should receive the products of our farms in the same friendly manner. I hope you may be able to convince the Belgian Government that an exchange of products upon this liberal basis is only giving fair and just consideration to the international traffic, and that arbitrary prohibitions under the form of sanitary regulations which go beyond the steps necessary to guard against disease are undesirable.

I note your statement that the Department of State has already instructed you to give this matter early attention, and I hope that you will present it as early and as vigorously as is possible.

Very respectfully,

James Wilson, Secretary.
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