Mr. Sherman to Mr. Porter.

No. 10.]

Sir: I inclose copy of a dispatch and its pertinent annex from the United States consul at Tamatave, reporting a notification of the French resident-general, under date of April 3, 1897, whereby all holders of [Page 155] concessions granted by the Malagasy Government are “invited” to produce to the resident-general, or the provincial resident, a copy of their concession or title deeds within two months from the date thereof, and to make certain particularized statements in regard thereto, under penalty of forfeiture of their rights.

This Government could not regard such a notice as valid or binding upon American citizens who may have obtained concessions or acquired real property in Madagascar, inasmuch as it appears to be a purely administrative procedure, lacking the most elementary forms of judicial administration. It is observed that in default of the parties furnishing the information demanded of them and of their placing themselves “in accord with the local residents “(whatever that may mean), the parties in interest are to be considered as renouncing their concessions, and it is added that the Government will dispose thereof at the risk and peril of such parties.

This announcement is of so singular a character, that it behooves this Government to invite, through you, the attention of the French Government thereto, and to advert particularly to its failure to comply with the elementary requirements of justice and equity, so far as it might affect the rights of any citizen of the United States.

Respectfully, yours,

John Sherman.
[Inclosure in No. 10.].

Mr. Wetter to Mr. Rockhill.

No. 192.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and a clipping from the Journal Officiel, which may prove interesting to the Department.

The copy alluded to is of a notice appearing in issue No. 76, of April 3, 1897, of said newspaper, and calls for submission of all concessionary titles to General Galliéni for examination under penalty of forfeiture sale.

I am, sir, etc.,

Edw. Telfair Wetter,
United States Consul.
[Snbinclosure in No. 10.—Translation.—From Journal Officiel No. 76, April 3, 1897.]


The resident general, desirous of proceeding to the recognizance and the examination of the concessions granted by the Malagasy Government, invites those at interest:

To cause to reach, within a delay of two months, the resident-general or the resident of their province, a copy either of their title of concession or their title of acquisition.
To attach a detailed statement of the object of their concession, of its compass, of the obligations which it places to the charge of the Malagasy Government and to their personal charge, of the rights and advantages which it gives them.
To say whether they have executed all or a part of their obligations, whether they have acquitted the custom duties in kind or in cash; in case where they have not acquitted them whether they have been relieved thereof, and by whom.
To say whether the Malagasy Government has executed the obligations where-unto it was bound.
To say what are, in résumé, their actual pretensions vis-a-vis of the French Government.
In case where they are desirous of continuing an exploitation already entered upon, to make application before the resident of the province for the obtension of a provisory exploitation permit, to submit themselves to the control of the French agents, to conform to the provisions of the French law affecting public order.

In default of their furnishing the informations which are demanded of them, and of placing themselves in accord with the local residents, those at interest will be considered as renouncing their concessions, and the Government will dispose thereof at their risk and peril.

The present notice does not imply in any manner recognizance of the validity of any concession, no more than it implies the renunciation on the part of the French Government of the damage rights which may be due to it, and of the right of taking advantage of either the nullity of any concession or of the forfeiture which the concessionaries may have incurred.