HC Deb 05 July 1898 vol 60 cc1116-7
MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, with a view of preventing the sale of existing stocks of English-made goods, notably of calicoes and other cotton goods held by English traders in Madagascar, the French authorities have issued a law or regulation prohibiting not only the Army but even the natives of that island from doing business with British traders, and have published the special marks or devices by which for years these English makes of cloth have been known, so that their purchase can be avoided; whether the French authorities have issued a proclamation or law by which any native would be relieved of Military service in the making of roads, etc., on proof being forthcoming that he is employed by a Frenchman as a transport coolie; and whether new English firms in Madagascar are restricted in the number of natives they may engage to do work for them; and, if so, will the British Government use its influence to protest against these acts, and to ensure fair treatment of British traders in Madagascar?


The French Governor-General of Madagascar has issued a circular dated April 22nd last, instructing the French officials in the island to use every effort with the native authorities to demonstrate the superior quality, and to secure the purchase by the Malagasys of French, in preference to foreign manufactures. We have not heard of any law or regulation prohibiting either the Army or the natives from doing business with British traders; nor, although French trademarks have been published with a special recommendation in the native journals, have we heard of the publication of British trade marks with the contrary object. No information has been received to the effect mentioned in the second and third paragraphs. Instructions are about to be sent to Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris to make representations to the new French Government with reference to the position of British trade in Madagascar.