File No. 419.11D29/72.

Minister Price to the Secretary of State.

No. 286.]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose the summary of a part of a conversation held with President Porras on Thursday at which the Secretary of the Legation and I were present.

The summary is sufficiently full for me not to repeat or amplify it in this despatch, but I desire to call the attention of the Department to the fact that it makes it quite evident that President Porras himself expects an affirmance by the Supreme Court of the Criminal Judge’s remarkable opinion, and that there may be expected little chance of any prosecution even being ordered begun in these cases.

I am following the instructions lately given by the Department in this matter.

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price.

Summary of a conversation with President Porras.

The President of his own accord made reference to these cases in the conversation, stating that he had been much interested in settling same to the satisfaction of our Government and that he had just in the last few days written the Secretary of Government and Justice in this matter. At this juncture he had the file in this affair brought in and showed us a copy of his letter, bearing date of Sept. 22, to the said Secretary. In this letter the President had instructed the Secretary of Government and Justice to write the Panaman Minister, Morales, at Washington to confer with the Department of State and to attempt to obtain the smallest amounts that the Department would be satisfied with for payment to the families of the men killed and injured in settling and closing this incident. He stated in the letter that the Secretary should do this in view of the possible upholding by the Supreme Court of the decision of the lower court, after the Supreme Court had completed its inquiry which they had recently decided to hold themselves.

I took occasion at this point to state to him that I was amazed at the decision of the Criminal Judge, and was in addition much disappointed over the decision recently handed down by the Supreme Court in this matter. I stated to him that I very much feared that the recent decision of the Supreme Court indicated simply another long delay contributing to a wearing-out process, and asked his opinion as to when a conclusion of their inquiry might be expected. He replied that it ought to be within a month and that he thought it would be. I expressed my appreciation for all that he had done and assured him of the gratification of our Government for all that he might do to press this matter and conclude it in a way satisfactory to our Government, including the prosecution of those involved.