File No. 819.77/268

The Secretary of State to Minister Price

No. 346

Sir: Referring to your No. 1207, of December 21 last, stating that it is the desire of Mr. Basil Burns Duncan of Panama City to present to the National Assembly of Panama his application for a concession to construct a railroad along the Atlantic coast of Panama between the mouth of the Chagres River and the Chiriqui Lagoon, I have to say that the Department has received a letter from the Secretary of War, to whom your despatch was referred, in which he states that in a previous application the concession which Mr. Duncan then desired included the construction of a main line of railroad from near the mouth of the Chagres River to the Chiriqui Lagoon and of a branch line to Penonomé. The Secretary of War adds that:

It is believed that such a branch line might prove detrimental to the defense of the Canal, and for that reason a concession for its construction was not favorably considered by the War Department. If the construction of this branch line, [Page 1187] or any other branch line in the same vicinity, is eliminated from the application for a concession, there is no objection, from a military point of view, to the concession being granted.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Frank L. Polk