851 W.512/12

The Vice Consul in Charge at Tananarive ( Thompson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1084

Sir: I have the honor to report that apparently as a result of the objections raised by this Consulate, the Government of Madagascar has relieved American citizens of the discriminatory features of a tax of 5 per cent on the amount of the trading and revenue licences, which was attempted to be imposed on all foreigners by the Municipalities of Tamatave, Majunga, Antsirabe and Mananjary.

The Consulate on May 25, 1926, on its own initiative, requested of the Governor General ad interim an interpretation of the Municipal Order creating such tax at Tamatave. This official, under date of June 30, 1926, agreed to obtain suspension of the Order as far as American traders at Tamatave were concerned, and to submit the point to Governor General Olivier, who was and is now on leave in France. Upon further inquiry regarding the possible imposition of such tax in other towns in Madagascar, the Governor General ad interim on September 9, 1926, advised that similar municipal orders were in force at Majunga, Antsirabe and Mananjary, that they were effective upon all traders without distinction of nationality at Mananjary, and that instructions would be given to either abrogate these Municipal Orders at Majunga and Antsirabe, or to have the tax extended to all traders, regardless of nationality. Pursuant to this promise there have been published in the Journal Official of Madagascar and Dependencies of October 30, 1926, Municipal Orders issued by the Administrator-Mayors of Majunga and Antsirabe, recalling and cancelling the tax in question.

Inasmuch as the question is largely one of principle in Madagascar, as far as American citizens are concerned, there being no American [Page 133] firms or traders in Majunga, Antsirabe and Mananjary, and apparently only one in Tamatave, the Consulate will take no further steps as far as Tamatave is concerned. It may safely be assumed that the tax has been permanently suspended as concerns Americans, but it is probable that the Government wishes to retain the tax upon other foreigners, of whom there are a number engaged in trade in Tamatave, the chief port of Madagascar. The efforts of the Consulate would appear to have benefited some British and other nationals at Majunga, and perhaps at Antsirabe.

Copies of all the correspondence, with translations, comprised in the dossier of this case are transmitted herewith.60

I have [etc.]

Paul Dean Thompson
  1. Not printed.