Mr. Olney to Mr. Eustis.

No. 640.]

Sir: Adverting to my No. 635, of the 30th ultimo, I transmit for your information and tiles a copy of a further dispatch from the consul of the United States at Tamatave, No. 133, of February 20 last, concerning French jurisdiction over Americans in Madagascar.

I am, etc.,

Richard Olney.
[Inclosure in No. 640.]

Mr. Wetter to Mr. Uhl.

No. 133.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith some further correspondence pertinent to the inclosures contained in my No. 130 of February 18, 1896, inclosure No. 1 being a copy of Resident Ferraud’s letter No. 3 of February 20, 1896; inclosure No. 2 being my reply thereto, reiterating demand for a “status quo” on this question pending instructions; inclosure No. 3 being my letter to Resident-General Laroche in re this matter of jurisdiction, reiterating same demand made to Mr. Ferraud.

I understand Acting British Consul McMillan made in person a similar protest to what I made in writing.

I am, etc.,

Edw. Telfair Wetter,
United States Consul.
[Subinclosure 1 to inclosure in No. 640.—Translation.]

Mr. Ferraud to Mr. Wetter.

Mr. Consul: In reply to your letter dated February 18, I have the honor to inform you that the insertion in the Official Journal of the Republic of France of the decree of December 28 (which I dated by error the 29th of December in my letter of the 18th of this month) entails its immediate enforcement in Madagascar. Your nationality and those under its jurisdiction become, in consequence, exclusively amenable to the French tribunals, even as I have had the honor to make known to you in my aforesaid letter.

Will you accept, etc.,

O. Ferraud.
[Subinclosure 2 to inclosure in No. 640.]

Mr. Wetter to Mr. Ferraud.

Sir: I have the honor, after giving your letter of even date a most careful consideration, to state that I can find nothing therein cited or advanced that in anywise [Page 122] warrants this consulate in changing the position by it assumed in my No. 311 of February 18.

On the contrary, I must again insist that the judicial and quasi-diplomatic functions and prerogatives of this consulate under our treaty of 1881–1883 are and remain unchanged and unabridged until such time as this consulate shall receive instructions to the contrary from the Government of the United States.

You will readily appreciate the fact, Mr. Resident, that this is a matter to be regulated directly by your and my superiors in France and America; that personally I shall be most happy to in any way in my power facilitate this regulation; that although my functions and powers here are of a quasi-diplomatic nature, yet neither they nor my instructions are of such a character as to permit of my acquiescing in any such innovation; that while deeply regretting the necessity, yet I feel myself in duty bound on behalf of my Government to formally protest against any such usurpation of the rights, prerogatives, and functions of this consulate; that I shall, with equally deep regret, be compelled, should any attempt be made to adjudicate before said tribunals any matter wherein United States citizens or protégés are in anywise defendants, to formally and vigorously protest against such action.

While ever solicitous of avoiding all factions and controversial complications, I would state in conclusion that this matter is so important that I shall per earliest opportunity write directly to your resident-general, Mr. Laroche, on the subject.

I am, etc.,

Edw. Telfair Wetter,
United States Consul.
[Subinclosure 3 to inclosure in No. 640.]

Mr. Wetter to Resident-General Laroche.

Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to the herein inclosed copies of certain correspondence that has recently passed between M. Ferraud, the “résident de France” at Tamatave and this consulate. I would more particularly call your attention to such parts of said correspondence as relate to the usurpation of the extraterritorial powers, prerogatives, and functions of this consulate in Madagascar.

You can readily appreciate, Mr. Resident-General, the delicacy of the situation thus evolved. While personally desirous of eschewing these controversies that but lead to friction and hard feelings, yet I am in duty compelled, until notified by my Government to the contrary, to protest against any and every encroachment upon the prerogatives and powers of this consulate or violations of the rights of its constituents, as established by the treaties of my Government with Madagascar.

Although I have not been as yet honored by the direct announcement of your assumption of the functions of resident-general at Antananarivo, yet as I have indirectly learned thereof I have deemed it best to refer this matter directly to you, from whom, it seems to me, the original notification should have emanated, as my consular jurisdiction covers not only Tamatave but all Madagascar.

I would state in conclusion that I have already referred this matter by outgoing mail to my Government, but that I am in momentary expectation of receiving instructions compatible with present exigencies; hence the adoption on your part of the “status quo” by me desired can in no way militate against any interests of your Government and will undoubtedly be deemed by mine an evidence of good will and amity in proportion to the alacrity of its assumption.

Assuring you, etc.,

Edw. Telfair Wetter,
United States Consul.