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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 5, 1898
(1898)

Belgium,   pp. 157-170 PDF (1016.2 KB)


Page 157

BELGIUM.
DESECRATION OF THE NATIONAL FLAG.
Mr. Sherman to Mr. Storer.
No. 60.1 DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 19, 1897.
 SIR: I inclose herewith a copy of dispatch No. 17, of the 5th instant, from
the United States consul at Antwerp, Belgium, calling attention to the desecration
in that city of the flag of the United States by the defacement of representations
thereof used in connection with advertisemeiits.
 The particular instance of desecration to which the consul calls attention
is that of the "American stables," Rue Montigny, 80—82, Antwerp, two
of whose advertisements (a handbill and a poster) are herewith inclosed.
 There is no Federal law or State law, so far as the Department knows, prohibiting
desecration of the national flag, the bills introduced into Congress last
winter to that end having failed of enactment.
 While, therefore, we have rio law applicable to our own citiz ~s, yet you
will bring the advertisements in question to the attention of the Belgian
Government and ask that it prohibit such desecration of our flag in future,
if any proper way be open to it so to do.
Respectfully, yours,
JOHN SHERMAN.
[Inclosure in No. 60.]
Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Day.
No. 17.1 CONSuLATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
Antwerp, !~Tovember 5, 1897.
 SIR: 1 have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a poster which has been
displayed at different points about the city.
 My attention was attracted to this method of advertising the first time
about a fortnight ago by seeing a similar placard posted on one of the street
corners.
 Your attentioti is respectfully invited to this distasteful desecration
of our national emblem in a foreign land, in view of the proposed legislation
of Congress last winter. I am uninformed as to whether or not the bill introduced
which intended to restrain a like practice in our country became a law.
 it is my opinion that resorting to similar means of advertising abroad not
only injures the credit and reputation of individual business men, but tends
to impair the dignity of American citizenship in the eyes of other peoples.
 It seems to me that ways may be found to promote the sale in foreign 1ands
of the products alike of our soil and industry without resorting to a means
disgraceful in the eyes of the foreigner as well as repugnant to the good
sense of every patriotic citizen.
I am, etc.,
GE0. F. LINCOLN, Consul.
157


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