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In the quest for a solution to the Franco-Merina First War, the French were satisfied with the presence of General Dighby Willoughby as Head of Delegation
Malagasy. In fact, the dealings between the Prime Minister and Admiral Miot are kept secret and even the other emissaries who are Malagasy are not allowed to enter the negotiating tent.
And it seems logical then that the Englishman – “friend of confidence” of Rainilaiarivony and Ranavalona III and “the right man” for the French – agrees with all the demands of France.
The treaty of peace was signed on December 17, 1885. It consisted of 19 articles focusing mainly on the rights granted to the French government and the French residing in Madagascar.
The first three articles stipulate the rights or, more specifically, the power of France over Madagascar. It is she who decides Malagasy relations with other nations and countries. The Hexagon will be represented by a “resident” installed in Antananarivo.
The following four articles are devoted to the rights of the French living in Madagascar. Thus, the Malagasy government does not have to get involved in the disputes of French citizens who are subject to French legislation. They have the right to buy and lease “for an unlimited period” of the land and even leave that rental to their heirs. The freedom to propagate and follow a religion is also assured.
Articles 8, 9 and 10 determine the compensation payable to the Malagasy Government amounting to 2 million farantsa (ariary). Until the total payment of this sum, the French occupy Toamasina.
Articles 11 and 14 and the first part of Article 15 set out the few rights that remain to the Malagasy government: France entrusts the Ministry of the Interior and invites it to “consider well” the peoples of the Northwest Of the island and to grant amnesty to the Malagasy who took the side of the French during the conflict of 1883-1885.
Article 13 shows the “generosity” of France which will not require “a war indemnity” since Ranavalona III “accepts all the conditions” of the treaty.
Articles 17 and 18 reinforce the past “agreement”.
The treaty is signed on the French side by Patrimonio and Miot, and on the Malagasy side by Willoughby. Rainilaiarivony “seems” astonished at this agreement and asks for clarification of some articles. Clarification which will be indexed to the treaty, because the queen will not sign the document if this measure is not taken. This is done on January 9, 1886.
This request for explanation refers to the mission and the exact role of the French resident, the leasing of land by the French, the use of Antomboka Bay. It is thus made explicit that the resident may intervene in the foreign affairs of Madagascar and any agreement with a third country must be validated by it. This provision later led to another conflict between the two countries, apparently because of a confusion in the translation of the terms.
There is also a “secret agreement” signed by Willoughby and Miot in which the Queen’s Government will not authorize a third country, even for a limited period of time, to use a port or parcel of land without the consent of the French. Where to store the coal it exports.
In addition the lease of the land will be through a long lease of 99 years renewable.
Finally, concerning the Bay of Antomboka, renamed occasionally by Diego-Suarez, the surface “will not exceed” 1.5 miles to the South and “4 miles circumference to the North”.
These explanations, Ranavalona III and Rainilaiarivony sign the treaty. It is only after the latter informs the Great of the kingdom and the superior officers. They met on 19 January 1885 in Tsarahafatra. Most of them reject the clauses, since “the treaty withdraws their independence and sovereignty from the Malagasy”. The proponents reply “there is nothing more to do”.