Mr. Hay to Mr. Bryan.

No. 222.]

Sir: Referring to your No. 278, of September 20 last, in regard to the Portuguese label law, I inclose copy of a letter from Frederick Stearns & Co., protesting against the law.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.

Stearns & Co. to Mr. Hay.

Sir: We understand from the Commercial Intelligence of London that the Brazilian Government has recently promulgated a law prohibiting the importation of merchandise into Brazil bearing labels printed in the Portuguese language from foreign countries other than Portugal or Portuguese possessions.

As the paper very properly states, this is a most unjust and vexatious measure, and our Government in behalf of our manufacturers, who, like ourselves, at the outlay of thousands of dollars, have opened trade relations with Brazil, should enter a strong protest.

Years ago we sent a representative to Brazil with several thousand dollars’ worth of stock. However, as we did not understand the conditions which provided that all medicinal preparations should be approved by a board of health before they were admitted into the country, and as this approval took months to secure, fines were in the meantime imposed, which far exceeded the value of the goods, so that we finally [Page 62] had to abandon them. We mention this simply to show that our entrance into that field was with a heavy loss to us. Naturally, to become very popular, goods must be dressed in labels and wrappers in the language of the country in which they are to be sold, and so all our goods are dressed in the Portuguese language. Now, therefore, if these have to be abandoned and English labels and wrappers have to be substituted, it is only natural to suppose that the trade, which at a very heavy cost we have worked up, will be practically lost, and, of course, the same applies to all American manufacturers. We trust our Government will take measures for the repeal of this unjust law.

Very truly, yours,

F. Stearns & Co.,
T. Bennett, Secretary.