The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Kellogg)
488. British Ministry Agriculture order dated December 24 [23?] prohibits importation into England and Wales of potatoes grown in United States, for prevention introduction of Colorado Potato beetle. Consult Foley, United States Department Agriculture representative, and ascertain whether this or similar order bars importation potatoes from Canada. If Canadian potatoes admitted, make immediately representations to Foreign Office in following sense, emphasizing urgency of matter:
The Colorado potato beetle, according to the records of the Department of Agriculture, is and has been long established in Canada. [Page 278] The situation of Canada regarding this insect seems to be about the same as that of the United States.
Consequently, it is urged that potatoes grown in the United States be accorded by the British Government treatment similar to that accorded potatoes grown in Canada, and be admitted to England and Wales under the same conditions.
It appears that for the first time in many years it has this year been found profitable to export potatoes from Maine to England. The imposition of the British order of December 24 [23?] stops this trade, and, if potatoes grown in New Brunswick and other parts of Canada were admitted to England the action of the British Government would appear to constitute discrimination in favor of Canadian potatoes.
The United States Department of Agriculture has stationed inspectors at Portland, Maine, to issue the certificates required by the existing British quarantine regulations. Department of Agriculture reports that there is little danger of the transportation of beetle in potatoes coming out of winter storage, especially those passed over screen or mechanical grader. Beetle is not active in winter and does not hibernate in tuber.
For evidence of prevalence of beetle in Canada, refer to Tower’s “Evolution in Leptinotarsa”, pages 32, 35, 36; also Bulletin 52, Canadian Department of Agriculture (1905), page 39; also Report of Dominion Entomologist, 1916, page 50.
If prohibition continues only few weeks, it will result in cancellation existing and prospective contracts and loss of trade to American shippers. Hence immediate admission American potatoes same terms as Canadian extremely important.
In case Canadian potatoes also excluded, make no representations, but report by cable.