File No. 7661/34.

The Acting Secretary of State to Chargé Wilson.

No. 151.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 638, of the 6th ultimo, transmitting a copy of the Boletin del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores containing correspondence between the Argentine Government and the British legation in regard to the presence of boric acid in imported animal food products, and to previous correspondence arising from the rejection by the Argentine officials of some shipments of Underwood’s deviled ham, I inclose herewith for your information and for communication to the Argentine Government a copy of a letter from the Secretary of Agriculture concerning the methods of testing for boric acid used by the departments of agriculture of the United States and the Argentine Republic.

I am, etc.,

Robert Bacon.

The Secretary of Agriculture to the Secretary of State.

Sir: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant, inclosing a copy of a dispatch from the legation at Buenos Aires and a copy of the Boletin del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, No. 107, with a translation of the same. After looking over the methods described in the Bulletin referred to we do not find that the methods used by the Argentine Republic are more delicate than those regularly in use in this department. It appears from their reports, however, that they are content to secure a qualitative test for boric acid and that they do not regularly attempt a quantitative determination. The qualitative tests for boric acid are extremely delicate, and this substance is found widely distributed in nature, especially in salt. It is therefore likely that the officials of the Argentine Republic would find boric acid present in [Page 38] most foodstuffs to which salt had been added. This would not mean that boric acid had been added as a preservative, however, nor that more than a trace of this substance was present in the food.

I have, etc.,

James Wilson.