File No. 819.77/275
Minister Price to the Secretary of State
Panama , March 9, 1917, 5 p.m.
Your March 8, 4 p.m. The National Assembly has given Duncan the railway concession, but the provision for specific branch line was not included, however the following provision appears which Duncan claims is for the purpose of affording the opportunity to construct short side lines to banana and other plantations:
The contractor is authorized to construct branch railroads at any time, and to any length, and in any direction that he may think convenient, and which he considers necessary for the development of the enterprise, being guided always by the stipulations of this contract; but in order that the contractor take advantage of the privileges granted in this article he shall be obliged, when he thinks the construction of a branch line necessary, first to solicit by writing the authorization of the executive power in order to begin the work of surveying and construction.
The concession, which is seventy-five years, cannot be transferred to any foreign Power, nor without approval of Panaman Government to anyone else. The National Assembly is due to adjourn on March 15.