The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain (Hammond)

No. 547

Sir: With further reference to your telegram No. 24, April 26 noon with regard to the movement for the denouncement of the modus vivendi, you are advised, as of interest in the present discussion, that on May 2 the President approved the joint resolution appropriating $4,250,000 “to meet the emergency caused by the Mediterranean fly in the United States”. It is against the risk of this pest that the Government has sought to protect the fruit and vegetable production of the United States, the enormous investments in which have no counterpart in the world, and, as you know, it was in that effort that a quarantine was established against Almeria grapes, which quarantine has figured conspicuously among the alleged Spanish grievances.

Thus far the presence of this pest is confined to the central district of Florida, but the Department is informed that unless it can be eradicated there before it shall have spread, it is possible that appropriations several times greater than the one just made may be required. You will observe, however, that the initial appropriation of $4,250,000 exceeds by over a million dollars the total value of the Spanish grapes imported into the United States in the two years previous to [Page 795] the establishment of the quarantine against them. (The value placed on the imports of grapes from Spain in 1922 was $1,253,942, and in 1923 $1,850,862. See report, dated February 7, 1924, from the American Consul General at Barcelona.)

It has been previously stated that the quarantine action which the United States has in the past been compelled to take for the protection of farms, orchards and forests has not been confined to action against foreign countries but has been taken just as drastically with respect to the territorial possessions of the United States, such as Hawaii, and also between the several states. The present situation arising from the existence of the Mediterranean fly in Florida affords an illustration in the prompt quarantine established by the Department of Agriculture against fruits from Florida.

With respect to the Spanish implication that the treatment of Argentine grapes has been less severe than that accorded to the Spanish produce, the following paragraph from a letter from the Secretary of Agriculture under date of June 17, 1927, furnishes explanation of the action taken:

“… With respect to the action taken as to Argentina, it may be pointed out that there is no similarity with Argentina of the Spanish situation relative to the fruit product. Argentina is a country of great extent in latitude and if superimposed on the North American continent would extend from Canada to Central America. The provinces of Argentina from which fruit is permitted to be shipped to the United States are Central or Southern—in other words temperate zone provinces—and furthermore with respect to these provinces, technical surveys have established to the satisfaction of this Department that they are not now, and never have been, infested with fruit flies—Mediterranean or other. They are separated also from any known infested districts in the super-tropic or tropical portions of Argentina by hundreds of miles.”

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.