to Mr. Bayard.
Paris, February 3, 1886. (Received February 18.)
Sir: I send herewith a copy and a translation of the treaty between France and Madagascar of the 17th of December, 1885, which has just been made public.
France assumes by this treaty a full and unqualified protectorate over the whole of the island of Madagascar; formerly she only claimed to protect the Sakalavas and the Antankares, of the northwest coast. The governmental powers are now divided between France and Madagascar. A French resident at Antananarivo will take charge of all the foreign relations, and will try according to French law all litigation between Frenchmen or between Frenchmen and foreigners. He will also try, with the assistance of a native judge, all litigation between Frenchmen and natives. Frenchmen will have the same right to reside, travel, and trade on the island as the natives enjoy.
The right to hold real estate, which was the origin of the dispute, is conceded in fact, if not in express terms, to Frenchmen, for they cap lease property for any length of time, and upon the death of any leaseholder, the rest of the lease, together with any option of renewal, will [Page 300] devolve on his heirs. Property occupied by a Frenchman cannot be entered without his consent or that of the resident.
Authority over local matters is left to the Queen, who shall continue, says the treaty, to direct the interior administration of the island. France, however, binds herself to assist the Queen in defending her state and to protect her subjects abroad. She undertakes, besides, to provide such military instructors, engineers, professors, and artisans and overseers as may be asked for, a clause which in due course of time will, if skillfully availed of, place the whole island under the control of France.
It is true that foreigners other than Frenchmen residing on the island are left to be dealt with by the local authorities, but as no foreign Government can communicate with the Malagasy court except through the French resident, and as this court is forbidden from taking any action involving questions of a foreign character, this restriction, if so considered, will not in the least hinder French influence or put any check upon her authority.
The queen is to pay 10,000,000 francs, not as a war indemnity, but in settlement of all French private claims and damages sustained by foreigners during the war.
I have, &c,