Mr. Olney to Mr. Eustis.

No. 662.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 486, of the 18th ultimo, touching the French occupation of Madagascar and our treaty rights in the premises. I observe that the reply of the minister for foreign affairs, of the 16th instant, to your inquiry states “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 [Page 126] created by the taking possession of Madagascar” and that France is willing to extend to that island the provisions of our treaties with the French Republic.

This is substantially the statement made to the Department in the note from the French ambassador here of the 18th ultimo, a copy of which accompanied my instruction No. 659, of April 27, 1896, asking that the statement be so confirmed as to leave no doubt on the subject.

What the Department desires to know categorically is, whether Madagascar has become French territory by conquest and absorption, thus wiping Malagasy autonomy completely out of existence.

With this object in view, I addressed a note to the French ambassador here of even date herewith. I inclose a copy thereof for your information and files.

I am, etc.,

Richard Olney.