File No. 7661/17–18.
Chargé Wilson to the Secretary of State .
Buenos Aires , September 12, 1907 .
Sir: Referring to my telegram of the 10th instant, and to the department’s reply of yesterday’s date, I have the honor to transmit herewith two tins of Underwood’s deviled ham, which are a part of a consignment which the Argentine Government claims contains boric acid, and will therefore not allow it to be delivered to the agents of the Underwood Company here.
The consignment in question is addressed to Nicolas Cafferata, and is accompanied by the certificate of inspection No. 59859 of the Bureau of Animal Industry of the United States Department of Agriculture. Upon receiving the complaint of the agents I immediately called upon Doctor Suarez, chief of the section of animal [Page 28] industry, who, as reported in dispatch No. 579, of August 3 last, had received an order from the Department of Agriculture that in the future the analysis of deviled ham should be made in his department.
Doctor Suarez said that not only in the consignment of ham in question, but also in others now at the custom-house, boric acid had been found.
In accordance with your telegraphic instructions I again called on Doctor Suarez to-day and asked for another analysis, which he ordered made immediately, and copies of which I will forward to the department as soon as received. I also told him the substance of your telegram in regard to the possibility of the presence of borax being due to the salt used in curing ham.
The samples inclosed herewith were given me by the chemist who made the analysis, and who states that he found a certain quantity of boric acid. The open tin is the one from which the ham was taken for analysis, and I also inclose a similar unopened tin from the same consignment.
The chemist also told me that in the tins of the size inclosed he always finds boric acid, while in tins of a smaller size he rarely found any traces of it.
The ham was ordered to be reshipped immediately, but I have now succeeded in obtaining a short delay, although they will not fix any definite date.
The minister for foreign affairs, with whom I talked about the matter, says that the whole affair reduces itself to a question of fact, whether or not Underwood’s deviled ham does or does not contain boric acid; that an analysis made by competent officials of the Argentine department of agriculture shows the presence of this acid, and that if a further and more careful analysis still shows it, that this decision can not be set aside by private analysis or one made by another government, as the Argentine Government has given full notice that tinned meat containing this substance can not enter the country (dispatch No. 544, of May 15, 1907).
I am, etc.,