Mr. Vignaud to Mr. Sherman.
Paris, July 24, 1897. (Received Aug. 9.)
Sir: Tour instruction No. 10, of May 29, to General Porter, directed him to call the attention of the French Government to the singular character of a notice issued by the French resident-general in Madagascar, whereby all holders of concessions granted by the Malagasy Government are asked to produce a copy of their concessions within a specified time, under penalty of forfeiture. This instruction was complied with in a written communication dated June 16, and on the 29th of the same month Mr. Hanotaux informed this embassy that it had been referred to Mr. Lebon, minister of the colonies. I am now in receipt of another letter from Mr. Hanotaux, dated July 22, stating that Mr. Lebon considers the notice referred to as being of a general character, and as having no other object in view but to establish the validity of the concessions in question. This measure, says the minister of colonies, can in no way affect property regularly acquired; it would be applied with great impartiality, and it is calculated to be to the advantage of those who can show that their title is regular and that they have complied with the conditions stipulated in their contract.
I inclose herewith a copy and a translation of this reply of Mr. Hanotaux.
I have, etc.,