Chargé Rives to the Secretary of State.

No. 45.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose the translation of a note received from the ministry of foreign affairs in reply to a note addressed to the said ministry in December, 1905, by the former ambassador, Mr. Bellamy Storer, requesting an explanation from the Imperial and Royal Government of the reasons for the refusal of the custom authorities at Eger to permit a cask of salted beef, produced and prepared in the United States, from entering the imperial and royal dominions.

As will be seen from the foreign office’s note, a decree dated July 5, 1906, has been passed restricting the importation of cattle and of [Page 45]fresh and prepared meat from non-European countries into Austria; and that importations are only permitted by special permit from the minister of the interior, and that an application must be made to the said ministry in every case, and under conditions fixed by the ministry.

I have, etc.,

George Barclay Rives.

[Inclosure.—Translation.]

In compliance with the esteemed note of December 19, 1905, F. O., No. 179, the undersigned has not failed to request the competent ministries to make investigations regarding the refusal of the custom-house at Eger to admit a cask of salted beef, sent direct from Chicago. According to investigations made in this connection, it seems that the shipment in question consisted of a cask of salted beef (gross weight, 162 kilogrammes), which had arrived at the custom-house at Eger from Hamburg on November 15, 1905, addressed to the firm “Brüder Abeles.”

The said custom-house, when acting in regard to this shipment, has taken the view that by the decree of December 4, 1891, Law Bulletin No. 168, the importation of pork meat, bacon, and sausages of all kinds from the United States of America has been especially permitted on condition that for such products an official certificate, corresponding to the regulations of the United States of America, and stating that their absolutely unobjectionable quality in sanitary respects has been ascertained by an examination as prescribed, will be submitted. At the time of the arrival of the said shipment, no such instructions for admission of beef imported from the United States existed.

The custom-house at Eger called the attention of the firm of “Brüder Abeles” to this state of affairs, as well as to the difficulties arising therefrom with regard to the treatment of the shipment; thereupon the firm of its own accord ordered the return shipment of the beef.

According to this statement it would seem that the shipment had not been really refused, nevertheless the imperial and royal ministry of the interior has considered the case in the light of a disagreeable occurrence and has stated that it is unlikely that such cases shall occur again in the future, as in the meantime precautions have been taken by the decree of July 5, 1906, Law Bulletin 138, that the competent imperial and royal authorities on the arrival of shipments of meat from non-European countries may take such measures as are required by circumstances.

The decree in question orders that the importation of cattle and of fresh and prepared meat of all kinds from non-European countries to the lands and provinces represented in Parliament be restricted, so that such an import is only permitted by special permit of the ministry of the interior—an application having been made in each case—and under conditions fixed by the said ministry.

The stipulations of the order of December 4, 1891, Law Bulletin 168, regarding the importation of pork, pork meat, bacon, and sausages from the United States of America are not changed for the present by the stipulations of this new decree, as is especially mentioned in the new order.

The statements published a short time ago in the newspapers regarding the conditions existing in the American, and especially in the Chicago, slaughterhouses (abattoirs), has not escaped the attention of the competent officials of this country, and it is not impossible that the question may come into serious consideration, whether a change of the decree of 1891, several times above referred to, might not be taken up for discussion.

Having the honor of bringing the above to the knowledge of the chargé d’affaires of the United States of America, Mr. George Barclay Rives, the undersigned avails himself, etc.,

For the minister:
Mérey.