Mr. Eustis to Mr. Olney.

No. 512.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch, No. 511, of the 4th instant, concerning Madagascar, I send herewith copy of the statement which Mr. Hanotaux, according to the morning papers, made yesterday to the committee of the chamber charged with the bill for the annexation of the island.

I have, etc.,

J. B. Eustis.
[Inclosure in No. 512.—From New York Herald (Paris edition), June 6.]

Mr. Hanotaux explains to the parliamentary committee the necessity of his bill.

treaties to become null.

Mr. Hanotaux, minister of foreign affairs, made an important statement yesterday to the parliamentary committee charged to examine the bill annexing Madagascar, or to employ the term preferred by Mr. Hanotaux, declaring Madagascar a French colony.

Mr. Hanotaux said that personally he had been in favor of establishing a protectorate over the island, and when minister of foreign affairs previously had had a treaty signed with the Queen of Madagascar on that basis. But the Bourgeois ministry had held different views and had had a unilateral treaty signed by the Queen of Madagascar, annulling the protectorate clause in the first treaty, and following which the French Government notified the powers that they had taken possession of Madagascar.

The situation thus created, continued Mr. Hanotaux, was not clear or precise. The régime resulting from the “taking of possession” was not defined. Two powers—Great Britain and the United States—had treaties with Madagascar, and Germany and Italy had the tariff of the most favored nation.

In acknowledging the receipt of the document notifying the taking possession of Madagascar by France, and in replying to more explicit notes in which the French Government notified that it intended to reserve a traitement de faveur for French [Page 133] products on their entrance into the island, the British Government replied that it was not acquainted with the régime de la prise de possession, and that in its opinion, the annexation of the island not having been pronounced, the effects of the treaties passed by England with the Malagasy Government still subsisted. The Government of the United States, in a dispatch of a very precise nature, insisted on the necessity of a categorical declaration in regard to the act of annexation.

It was with a view of putting an end to this unsettled situation that the Government had brought forward the bill under examination. The attitude of the Government had already occasioned an entirely favorable reply from the United States, which had recognized that when Madagascar becomes a French colony treaties passed previously with the Malagasy Government become as a consequence null and void.

Mr. André Lebon, minister of colonies, in the course of explanations regarding the interior administration of the island as a colony, said that the Government intended to exempt all French products from duty on their entrance into Madagascar on the day after the promulgation of the law.

The bill declaring Madagascar a French colony was then unanimously adopted by the committee and Mr. Le Myre de Villers was appointed reporter.