Mr. Eustis to Mr. Olney.

No. 486.]

Sir: In compliance with your instruction No. 635, of March 30, I addressed a note to the president of the council, minister of foreign affairs, requesting that the treaty rights of the United States in Madagascar be well defined, and asking particularly if our treaty of May 13, 1881, is to remain in force or is to be superseded by our treaty engagements with France.

[Page 123]

Under date of April 16 I received a reply from Mr. Bourgeois, who states that the maintenance of the treaty of 1881 would be inconsistent with the present order of things, but that the French Government is willing to extend to Madagascar the provisions of our treaties with France.

I inclose herewith a copy of my note to Mr. Léon Bourgeois and a copy of his reply, with a translation of the same.

I have, etc.,

J. B. Eustis.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 486.]

Mr. Eustis to Mr. Bourgeois.

Sir: On the 12th of February my Government received from the ambassador of the French Republic at Washington a note saying that his Government had been led by difficulties that it had encountered in exercising its protectorate over Madagascar and in insuring guaranties for the future to take final possession of the island.

Under date of the 26th of February, the Secretary of State of my Government, Mr. Olney, replied to Mr. Patenôtre that the contents of his communication had been noted with due reserve as to the effect of the action of the Government of France upon the treaty rights of the United States.

In view of these facts I am now instructed to request of the Government of the French Republic a statement of its understanding of the effect of this final occupation of the island of Madagascar in regard to the rights and privileges conceded to the Government of the United States by its existing treaty of peace, friendship, and commerce, concluded May 13, 1881, modifying its previous treaty of February 14, 1867. My Government desires particularly to know whether that treaty is to remain operative or to be replaced by our treaty engagements with France, and I am instructed to say that the precise status of the United States in the matter ought to be positively and clearly defined.

Satisfied that your excellency will appreciate the propriety of this request, I have, etc.,

J. B. Eustis.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 486.—Translation.]

Mr. Bourgeois to Mr. Eustis.

Mr. Ambassador: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s letter of the 14th instant, by which you kindly inform me that your Government, being desirous of determining the situation of the United States at Madagascar under the treaties, has instructed you to ask me if the treaty which it concluded on May 13, 1881, with Queen Ranavalo is to remain in force, or if it is to be replaced by the conventions of the United States with France.

In reply to this communication, I hasten to inform you that in the opinion of the Government of the Republic, the maintenance of the treaty of May 13, 1881, is inconsistent with the new order of things created by the taking possession of Madagascar. I hasten to add that, [Page 124] on the other hand, the Government of the Republic is disposed to extend to the great African island the whole (ensemble) of the conventions applicable to the Government or citizens of the United States in France and in French possessions, and which have enabled them to entertain their relations of all kinds so profitable to both countries.

Please accept, etc.,

Léon Bourgeois.