Mr. White to Mr. Sherman.
Berlin, February 12, 1898.
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 279, of the 7th instant, I have the honor to append hereto a copy of the telegrams, not already reported, which have been exchanged with the Department during the past week, in regard to the importation into Germany of American fruit, and to supplement my telegram of yesterday by the following additional information, also received from our consul at Hamburg:
Examination is made as follows: Of each lot one barrel or case is taken and carried to Botanical Musée, where a number of apples of the different lots are examined. Of the suspected above-named kinds, Parmains and Sannomas, two boxes of each are examined. The most important kinds, Greenings, Baldwins, and Ben Davis, have not been found infected.
From this it will be seen that the German Government is much more inclined to fair treatment of American fruit products than it at first appeared to be. My telegram of yesterday will, I trust, explain itself, and clear away the difficulties caused by the presumed imperfect transmission of my telegram of the 4th.
It seems to me, in view of the publications of our own Department of Agriculture on the subject, that there was much excuse for alarm in regard to the admission of trees and shrubs which might easily convey the San Jose scale insect to nurseries and orchards, and there appears little reason to believe that for the present the restriction on the importation of such trees, shrubs, and live plants will be removed. But as regards the restrictions on fruit, I believe that they will speedily be reduced so as practically to interpose no barrier to the introduction of our fruit products, save possibly pears.
I have already represented to the foreign office the practical impossibility of any conveyance of the San José scale to orchards or nurseries by means of imported fruit. The parasite as it clings to fruit has, it appears, neither wings nor feet, and therefore not the slightest chance of escaping from the houses where the fruit is consumed to orchards or nurseries. In support of this view, I have cited a remark of the eminent American entomologist, Dr. Lintner, given in Insect Life, Volume VII, No. 2, page 167, as follows:
The chances of the scale carried about on fruit reaching a tree on which it would successfully establish itself are so slight as to be practically not worth discussion.
Moreover, an American entomologist of high standing from the Pacific coast, at present at Leipzig, informs me that the producers themselves can easily remove the whole difficulty by the simple process of scraping off the parasite from the fruit they send. Such a process would involve very slight expense, and seems to present a practicable solution of the main difficulty in the near future. As the importation of fruit on any large scale will hardly be longer continued during the present season, I trust that we may be able to establish a modus vivendi satisfactory to both parties.
It would aid the embassy in dealing with this question to have in its library all material which the Department of Agriculture can furnish us on the subject, especially the publications in the list appended, which are in the possession of the imperial foreign office here. The foreign office has indeed kindly allowed us the use of its copies, but we could have them only a very short time, since it was desired to put them at [Page 323]the earliest moment possible into the hands of the editors and printers who are to prepare and publish extracts to be laid before the German people.
I am, etc.,