File No. 821/39–40.

Ambassador Francis to the Secretary of State.

No. 469.]

Sir: Supplementing my No. 453, dated February 11, 1908, I have the honor to inclose copy of a note (with translation) received to-day from the foreign office relative to the subject of the admission of American meats within the boundaries of Austria and Hungary.

I am, etc.,

Charles S. Francis.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Ambassador Francis.

In the requests made in the esteemed notes F. O. No. 31, of November 6, 1906; F. O. No. 62, of February 16, 1907; F. O. No. 142, of January 20, 1908, by which it was asked that an alteration should be made in the ministerial decree of July 5, 1906 (R. G. Bl. No. 138), whereby meat imported from America and accompanied by a certificate to the effect that it had been examined and found healthy should be admitted into Austria-Hungary; and, further, that an alteration in the ministerial decree of December 4, 1891, (R. G. Bl. No. 168), whereby port meat imported from America should no longer be required to be accompanied by a certificate of American officials to the [Page 34] effect that it had been thoroughly examined microscopically for “trichina,” the undersigned begs to communicate to His Excellency Mr. Charles S. Francis, the ambassador of the United States of America, the following decision of the Imperial Austrian and the Royal Hungarian Governments.

Taking into consideration the fact that in most of the non-European countries, and especially in the United States of America, the enormous number of cattle is such that the administration of the veterinary laws and reports of cattle diseases are not so arranged that we are able to have a continuous insight into the veterinary police conditions of such countries, as is the case in European countries; also for the reason that the number of animals which are duly slaughtered at the great meat exporting houses, with their ever expanding business, is so extensive that an inspection of the animals both before and after slaughtering can not, for purely technical reasons, take place as with us; therefore, the request made to permit the importation of cattle and meat of American origin, with certain restrictions, can not be allowed, for the reason that the foreign product would thereby receive a more favorable treatment than the similar native product, and this could not be permitted as being clearly a departure from the usual international observances in such matters.

In consideration of the above conditions, and for sanitary and veterinary reasons, the importation of cattle and meat from non-European countries can only be permitted in accordance with ministerial decree of July 5, 1906 (R. G. Bl. No. 138), whereby permission must be obtained from the competent officials in the case of each separate importation.

In this connection it should not be passed unnoticed that the United States has been particularly well treated by the above mentioned decree of December 4, 1891 (R. G. Bl. No. 168), whereby the importation of hogs, hog meat of all kinds, bacon and sausages of all kinds, from the United States of America is allowed under certain regulations, governing the microscopic examination of hog meat for “trichina.” It should be noticed that this law is still in force, in spite of the extremely bad sanitary conditions which were reported to have existed in the great meat exporting houses—a fact admitted by the Government officials. This condition of affairs was so bad that there has been almost a question of forbidding the importation of American meats altogether.

The Austrian and Hungarian Governments must further call attention to their good will shown to American interests by the fact that recently an importation of hog meat from America, which was accompanied by a certificate as having been found healthy, was, after its arrival, found undoubtedly to contain trichina. In spite of this state of affairs and resulting consequences the importation of American pork meat has not been restricted.

With reference to the recent request of the American embassy that permission need not be obtained in each separate case for the importation of meats of all kinds from America, and that pork meat shall not be accompanied by a certificate of official microscopic examination, the Governments of Austria and Hungary, having in view the stated requirements of sanitation and veterinary police regulations, can not grant the request.

It may here be mentioned that with regard to such matters other States, as for example the German Empire, are much more severe. In Germany the importation, or transportation through the country itself, of cattle or fresh beef meat from America is absolutely forbidden, and importation of meats of other kinds from America is only permitted in accordance with the German regulations governing meat inspection. According to these regulations the importation of certain articles of meat is forbidden without any exception, and for other meats the regulations are so extremely severe that it is almost impossible for the importer to comply with them. This, therefore, practically amounts to absolute prohibition.

The undersigned avails, etc.

For the Minister.