Herr von Holleben to Mr. Sherman.

Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor herewith to inclose a memorandum containing information with regard to the alleged prohibition of the importation of American fruit by the German authorities. The facts and the reasons underlying them are therein fully discussed. Your excellency will, I doubt not, be convinced that no measures have been adopted that were not necessary for the protection of important German interests, and that the Imperial Government has been far from entertaining a thought of going one step beyond this definitely drawn line. I trust that your excellency will lay the contents of this memorandum [Page 319]before His Excellency the President, as speedily as practicable, and I would respectfully beg you to consider whether it would not be advisable to make the information thus furnished known in other proper quarters, especially among members of Congress.

Accept, etc.,

Holleben.
[Inclosure.]

Memorandum.

A professor in the Agricultural High School at Berlin called attention to the fact, a few days ago, in Hamburg, that he had found the San Jose shield louse in a shipment of fruit from America. The fruit was immediately stopped, and the customs authorities of the frontier stations were reminded of the possibility of the introduction of the insect by means of shipments of plants and fruit from American ports. The reports published in the newspapers on the subject induced the United States ambassador at Berlin to make inquiry as to the facts. Mr. Andrew D. White, who did not seem to be informed with regard to the destruction caused by the shield louse in America, was thereupon apprised that the reports published in the papers concerning a prohibition to import American fruit were partly incorrect and partly premature, so that the statement is unfounded that the German Government has adopted a measure affecting the United States without having notified the American ambassador.

The fact of the matter is that an ordinance is about to be issued by the Bundesrath (federal council) whereby the importation of fresh plants and fresh plant waste (Pflanzenabfälle) from America, together with casks, boxes, and other articles in which such goods or plant waste have been packed, or kept, is to be prohibited until further notice, and also shipments of fresh fruit and fresh-fruit refuse (Obstabfälle) from America, together with the material belonging thereto, are to be examined at the frontier import station, and, in case the San Jose shield louse is found, are to be excluded.

No claim can possibly be raised in America that such a measure is not justified, for, according to the publications of the United States Department of Agriculture, the shield louse has caused great devastation in orchards everywhere in America, and American entomologists have characterized it as the insect that is most destructive to fruit, and its highly pernicious character has been officially recognized by the severe measures which have been adopted by sundry States of the American Union against one another (examination of shipments of plants and fruits, requirement of declarations as to their soundness, and seizure of those found to be infected), and by various bills now before the United States legislatures, some of which are even more severe. The German experts, of whom inquiry has been made, regard the propagation and diffusion of the shield louse in Germany as quite possible. After the shield louse had been found in shipments of fruit from America, what has been stated above was the least that could be done by Germany for the protection of German fruit, analogously to the measures now under discussion in the United States Congress for the exclusion of similar destructive insects brought from foreign countries.

In view of the example thus set by the Government of the Union, and by various States belonging thereto, the Imperial Government thinks that there is no ground for the assumption that it has been influenced by agricultural interests, and not solely by a desire to protect from the ravages of this destructive pest the cultivation of fruit in Germany, which is a highly important interest, and which has been developed at heavy pecuniary cost. That there is no ground for the first assumption is shown by the fact that the importation of fresh plants from America is quite insignificant, that the importation of fresh fruit from the United States into Germany during the fiscal year 1897 amounted, in round numbers, to but $200,000, and that the season for the importation of fruit from America and for the fruit trade in Germany is almost ended; that, moreover, the injury done to fruit in America by the shield louse had long been known in Germany, but that the German Government took no active measures until the insect had actually been found in a shipment at Hamburg, whereby the possibility of its introduction into Germany was shown.