Mr. Vignaud to Mr. Olney.

No. 552.]

Sir: The law declaring Madagascar and its depending islands a French colony was promulgated on the 6th instant and published in the Journal Officiel on the 8th. The text of the law is followed by an official note stating substantially (1) that from and after the promulgation of the law at Madagascar French products imported direct from France or from one of her colonies will pay no duty; (2) that until the adoption of definitive custom-house regulations foreign goods will pay a duty of 10 per cent ad valorem.

According to this curious note, it seems that notwithstanding Mr. Hanotaux’s declarations the old treaties are to remain in force, temporarily at least.

I inclose herewith a translation of the note and of the law to which it refers.

On July 27 the Journal Officiel published a decree establishing regulations concerning the seeking for and working of mines producing gold and other precious metals and stones in Madagascar. These regulations are long and rather complicated, but no discrimination appears to be made between foreign and French prospectors and miners.

I understand that the minister of colonies has under consideration the question of the validity of former concessions to foreigners, particularly to Americans and Englishmen. The papers remark that all the old genuine concessions will be confirmed.

I have, etc.,

Henry Vignaud.
[Page 135]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 552.]

Madagascar custom-house regulations.

In consequence of the law of annexation, the ministry of commerce brings to the knowledge of all merchants doing business with Madagascar the following arrangements, which are brought to the notice of the local authorities by the mail of August 10, and which become effective as soon as said bill shall have been promulgated in said island:

  • First. French products imported into the island and coming direct from France or a French colony will enter free of duty, ceasing to be subject to the 10 per cent ad valorem duty formerly imposed.
  • Second. The entry, free of duty, of French goods at Madagascar is subordinated to the presentation to the Madagascar custom-house officials by French tradesmen of (passavaits) permits delivered by the home custom-house at the port of departure, which permits are intended to guarantee the French origin of the products or show that (they) are considered as same by having paid all customs dues.
  • Third. Goods shipped from France for temporary admission will enter free of duty until the customs régime is definitely established.
  • Fourth. Pending this definite arrangement, all foreign products will be subject to the sole present import duty of 10 per cent ad valorem.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 552.]

Law declaring Madagascar and depending islands a French colony.

The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies have adopted, and the President of the Republic promulgates, the following law:

Sole article: The island of Madagascar, with its depending islands, is declared to be a French colony.

The present law, debated and adopted by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, shall be executed as a state law.

Félix Faure, President of the Republic.

By the minister of colonies:
André Lebon.

The minister of foreign affairs:
G. Hanotaux.