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Madagascar
Keymaster

The last part of the French “Livre jaune” contains instructions addressed to General Duchesne, Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force, and to Ronchot, Delegate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The “Yellow Book” is the collection of different documents on the affairs of Madagascar distributed to the French Parliament.
These instructions speak of the second Treaty-the first date of 1885- to impose on Queen Ranavalona III and the course of conduct to be observed during the campaign if the Malagasy government seeks to open negotiations.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hanotaux, “either the government
Malagasy, coming immediately to resipiscence, will endeavor to treat during your march on Antananarivo; Or else he will wait to submit that our troops have taken possession of this city; Or else, pushing the resistance to its last limits, he will abandon the capital to retreat to the South. “
Actions must therefore be taken according to this alternative.
In the first case, Duchesne and Ronchot will sign the treaty on condition that their Malagasy counterparts, sent by the queen and the prime minister, are endowed with regular powers and authorized to sign for the Malagasy side. However, this must not interrupt the rise of the French expeditionary force towards the Imerina, for “whatever the Hova government may adopt, the taking of possession of Antananarivo must be the first condition of peace.”
In the second option, if the troops of the expedition arrive in Antananarivo and are in the presence of a regularly constituted power, Duchesne will have to sign the treaty by this one and a garrison will be installed in the city.
If the Court abandons the capital, the French troops will have to pursue it and catch up with it. “Weakened by the moral effect which the arrival of our troops in the capital would have had on the population, probably lacking in food, not likely to make decisions and to organize in the midst of such serious events, Not so much his resistance as he would not have time to recognize himself. “
In all three cases the march of the expeditionary corps must be rapid and must be done during the dry season so as not to exacerbate and weaken the soldiers.
Concerning signing the convention (or treaty), Duchesne’s instructions also emphasize the need to deal with an “existing, known and accepted power of the population.”
“You must not attempt to take his throne from Queen Ranavalona.” There would be even advantages to the fact that it was the sovereign herself who took the initiative in the negotiations to bring about the submission of the Hovas … “
In short, Minister Hanotaux expressly recommends that Duchesne avoid, as far as possible, an attack on the state of affairs existing in Madagascar. It already foresees using the political and administrative organization of the Big Island for the functioning of the protectorate in its beginnings.
It also insists that the local populations be treated “with a great spirit of justice” and that they be witnessed “all kindness” reconcilable with the concern for the safety of the French troops and requirements of military operations. “It will be impolitic to crush their morals, their interests, and even their prejudices unnecessarily …”
The instructions also address the case of Sakalava, in particular, that of “independent or semi-independent populations” in general. The French will have to “stand with them on a great reserve”. Above all, they must avoid making promises “that perhaps we can not keep in the future”.
Minister Hanotaux spoke of the first reforms to be carried out concerning “the improvement of the regime of corvée, the progressive abolition of slavery and the organization of judicial administration”.