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Madagascar
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All members of the Rainilaiarivony Cabinet regret that the Prime Minister signed the Treaty of 17 December 1885 (see previous note). At the end of January 1886, the French authorities went up to Antananarivo to meet with their Malagasy counterparts to discuss the application of the clauses of the treaty, which would then have to be signed by Queen Ranavalona III and Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony.
A month later, the governor of Toamasina was informed that the war was over, but that Toamasina would be occupied by the French until the full payment of the indemnity. Nevertheless, the port is reopened, the blockade of the city is lifted, and the population can once again climb the ships to trade as before, in short, foreign trade is resumed.
The first thing the government wants to do, after the end of the conflict, is to liquidate its debt to France as soon as possible, by finding a financial source. His first reflex is to turn to the English. Once again, Rainilaiarivony chose General Dighby Willoughby to look for an exit route from a British bank. It will also encourage English industrialists and contractors to resume commercial relations with Madagascar. Finally, he will have to find the means to obtain arms in order to defend the kingdom and the people.
While Willoughby is in Europe, the Syndicate of Royal Bank (SRB) is set up in London to create a financial institution in the island. It was Abraham Kingdon and Ross who set up the structure. The building is still to be built, the expected capital is 5 million farantsa (ariary) if the negotiations succeed.
Rainilaiarivony and Kindon agree that the SRB loan to Madagascar 4 million farantsa with an annual interest of 7%. But the concretization of this agreement drags on.
The French resident, Le Myre de Vilers, learns of this intention of the Malagasy prime minister and protested arguing that this search for funding outside France does not agree with the clauses of the treaty of peace. For him, only France must take charge of the relations, whether political, commercial or financial, of Madagascar with the foreigner. He considers that the business dealt with by Willoughby on behalf of the Malagasy government is not “legal”. The slowness of Kingdon comes up against the dexterity of France, so the anglo-merina chord falls to the water. Similarly, the French arrogate to themselves the construction of the telegraph line between Antananarivo and Toamasina, even if the contract has already passed with an English company.
The application of the clauses of the Treaty of 1885 is not easy, particularly as regards the delimitation of the role and mission of the French resident. Hence the clarification requested by Rainilaiarivony and to annex to the treaty before any signature of the Malagasy authorities.
A resident means a person who represents the Government of the French Republic and who dictates the external relations of Madagascar. Its role is to manage the relations of the island with third countries, to block the granting of land to foreign nationals other than French, to prevent the installation of foreign troops and boats on Malagasy territory, on land As on sea.
As for the agreement on the treaty of December 1885, Willoughby alone represents the Malagasy authorities in the discussions on the application of the clauses of the agreement and especially on the clarification of certain clauses required by the First Minister.
But as early as 1886, a problem arose. On his arrival, Le Myre de Vilers, the first French resident, clearly showed that he refused to have this clarification annexed to the treaty of December 1885. The Prime Minister replied that the Queen and the Government would only accept this agreement under this condition. For “the Malagasy, the treaty and its annex are of equal importance”. And on April 31, 1886, Rainilaiarivony and Le Myre de Vilers met to discuss “at the behest of Monsieur de Freycinet, French Minister of Foreign Affairs”.