File No. 7661/7–8.

Minister Beaupré to the Secretary of State.

No. 567.]

Sir: Referring to the department’s telegram of the 18th instant and to my telegram in reply of the 19th instant, concerning the rejection of 225 cases of William Underwood Company’s deviled ham by the Argentine customs authorities, because of the alleged presence of boric acid, and also to my No. 544, of May 15 last,a relating to the same general subject, I have the honor to report that immediately upon the receipt of the department’s telegram I took the matter up [Page 24] and succeeded in having orders sent to the custom-house extending the time for the reshipment of the goods indefinitely or until a proper investigation of the facts can be made.

I found that the 225 cases of deviled ham referred to were imported through the American Trading Company, but Messrs. Laffitte & David, the agents of William Underwood Company in this city, informed me that there were many other shipments here and on the way which would probably be rejected on the same grounds.

Of the 225 cases mentioned, 150 cases were consigned to Messrs. Mignaquy & Co., and it is from this lot that I am sending to the department herewith two sample tins, and concerning which I shall make particular reference.

They were inspected in the United States by Mr. U. G. Houck, inspector of the Department of Agriculture, on April 30, 1907, and the accompanying inspection certificate is No. 5324; they were shipped on the steamer Telesfora, arriving in the port of Buenos Aires on June 21, 1907; they were inspected in this port by Mr. T. G. Ruiz, in connection with 2 cases of tinned fish and 200 cases of tinned oysters, who reported that they were in good condition and forwrarded samples to the inspector-general for a chemical analysis to ascertain if they contained lead, boric acid, saltpeter, nitrate of potash, or coloring matter; Dr. Juan Sarid, chemist of the department of agriculture, who made the analysis, certified that the fish and oysters were good food, containing no preserving substances, but “not so the samples of deviled ham, which contained a small quantity of boric acid.” Whereupon the deviled ham was rejected and ordered reshipped, as reported to the department.

I understand that no private analysis of deviled ham has thus far been made here, but Messrs. Laffitte & David inform me that they intend to have this done and will report the results to me.

I shall endeavor to ascertain the facts as well as I can, and do everything possible to secure fair treatment for this American product, which has had a very large sale throughout the Republic. Whether or not an error has been made I am unable to say, because I have no evidence to offset that of the chemist who made the analysis. I can only hope that such evidence will be forthcoming; but should it appear from the department’s investigations that Underwood’s deviled ham contains boric acid in any quantity, and that for that reason the rejection was justified under the laws existing in this country, I should be glad to be instructed by cable, as the time given for reshipment is “until further orders,” and I have promised to be as expeditious as possible.

I am, etc.,

A. M. Beaupré.
  1. Not printed.