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As negotiations between the emissaries of the queen’s government and the French delegation, Baudais and the two admirals Galiber and then Miot, had no result, Jules Ferry, the French council president, ordered Suberbie to prosecute them as a “mediator” .
This choice is explained by the fact that the latter has resided in Madagascar for a long time and has friendly relations with Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony.
And here, the objective of the French is revealed because they actually want to impose the protectorate on all Madagascar. Suberbie goes to Paris to know what is really expected of him. Ignoring the undertones of this nomination, Rainilaiarivony does not hide his joy. He appoints
Son Rainizanamanga to serve as intermediary between the French and him Suberbie the meeting in Fenoarivo- atsinanana.
The latter is trying to convince the Malagasy government to accept the protectorate which “will guarantee the progress of the country and the civilization of the Malagasy”. According to him, this protectorate can only bring good to the subjects of the queen, specifying “that it will have no impact on the independence of the country since there will be no occupation of Malagasy territory “. He adds that “France will only guide the queen’s government to put in place the structures of the country and to reach civilization”.
Suberbie continues: “If the Malagasy government accepts the protectorate, Rainilaiarivony will remain in power and later, its descendants will succeed it. Otherwise, the French troops will go up to Imerina. And he concluded: “It will be neither the English nor the missionaries who will hinder us. “
Suberbie uses “stick and carrot”, promising each time, the multiplication of the wealth of the country thanks to the improvement of its foreign trade via France. In addition, he said, “Madagascar needs protection, because if a more powerful country invades it, you will lose everything.” Moreover, “if you accept this protectorate, we will not need territory, but just a port to repair and repair the buildings that frequent the region.” He did not forget, however, to cite “other advantages demanded by France to realize the protectorate”.
Rainilaiarivony knows very well that the two countries are not equal and that Madagascar runs a lot of risks. “But a nation, no matter how small, can show great courage to preserve its independence and sovereignty, as the Malagasy people already prove by waging war” (1883-1885), he insists .
“He has to do it because he knows very well that he has everything to lose if the government agrees.”
The secret negotiations between Rainilaiarivony and Suberbia began in May 1884. In November, nothing was decided, as the Prime Minister only thought of defending the independence of the country, Suberbia to impose the protectorate on the whole island. Thus, Rainilaiarivony informs that the French emissary is only thinking of imposing the protectorate, he “sincerely regrets” not being able to accept it, while stressing that the government of the queen is ready to discuss an agreement ” Other than the protectorate “.
In response, Suberbie declares his disappointment and warns the Prime Minister of the consequences of his refusal. As a last resort, he insists that Madagascar do a “protectorate trial”, but Rainilaiarivony refuses it “because the people reject it.” He promised that Madagascar would not put all or a portion of its territory under the protection of another country, and said that it was prepared to pay compensation in an amount to be discussed.
Thus ends the “mediation” of Suberbia. During all these negotiations and since the declaration of the war in 1883, the clashes continue, with few deaths, except in Iharana where the battle is rough, complicated by the attitude of Malagasy who support France, and where Counts many deaths including that of the governor.