File No. 5727/81.

The French Chargé to the Secretary of State.


Mr. Secretary of State: The text of the commercial convention concluded between the United States and Germany grants the benefit [Page 509] of the reduced rates provided by section 3 of the American tariff to certain “products of the soil and industry of Germany,” among which are included “champagnes and other sparkling wines.”

The word “champagne” thus wrongfully used has deeply stirred the French champagne growers, who rightfully hold that the use of the word in the enumeration of “the products of the soil and industry of Germany” can not but be considered regrettable.

This use of the word may indeed work serious injury to the French growers, in that it tends to let an equivocation continue forever by favoring frauds as to indications of origin.

The American act of June 30, 1906, intended to prevent the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated, misbranded, poisonous, or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors and to regulate traffic therein, was, as it appeared, to exclude, hereafter and forever, sparkling wines made in Germany or other countries and wrongfully assuming the name of champagne from the market of the United States.

Indeed, while the introduction of the misbranded food products into the territory of the Union is prohibited by section 2, section 8 provides, on the one hand, that the term “misbranded,” as used in the act, shall apply to all drugs or articles of food bearing false indications as to the State of the Union, the Territory, or foreign country in which it is grown or manufactured, and, on the other hand, that any article shall be deemed to be misbranded if it be an imitation of or offered for sale under the distinctive name of another article.

If, then, the introduction of the word “champagne” in the German-American convention should carry the recognition of the existence of German “champagnes” and grant them admission into the United States at reduced tariff rates, the convention would be in obvious conflict with the above-cited act of June 30, 1906, to the serious injury of French growers.

I trust that your excellency will kindly give me the assurance that such is not the import of the convention, and that that instrument can not prevail against the strict enforcement of the law; that the word “champagne” was inserted therein merely because it appeared in the wording of section 295 of the customs tariff of the United States, together with all sparkling wines; but that the stipulated reduced rates shall of course apply to the German articles only—that is to say, to sparkling wines, exclusive of champagne, which can not be produced in Germany.

Be pleased, etc.,

des Portes.