File No. 819.77/282

Minister Price to the Secretary of State

No. 1349

Sir: Supplementing my despatch No. 1290, of March 10, relative to the concession awarded Mr. Basil B. Duncan, by the National Assembly of Panama, for the construction of a railway on the Atlantic side of Panama, I have the honor to enclose copy of a letter from Mr. Duncan, declaring that there was eliminated from the concession the authorization for a branch line to Penonomé; that the branch lines permitted to be constructed under Article No. 2 of the concession are understood to be incidental short lines for the purpose of reaching banana, sugar and other plantations, and will be extended only to such distances as are necessary to reach such plantation grounds, and giving the assurance that it will be his aim and pleasure to work in harmony with the Government of the United States and its representatives on the Isthmus, and that such will be the spirit of the company which he hopes to form to build the railway referred to.

I have [etc.]

Wm. Jennings Price

Mr. Duncan to Minister Price

Sir: Referring to our conversation at the American Legation relative to my railroad concession from the Panama Government, I beg to confirm my statement to you regarding any possible branch roads referred to in said contract.

I here repeat that the suggestion of a branch line to Penonomé as originally anticipated, was at once eliminated on receipt of information from the War Department to the effect that such branch road would not be favorably considered by said Department.

The branch lines admitted as per Article 2 of contract, refer to working branches, with the view of developing banana, sugar or other planting industries and would only be extended to a distance necessary to reach such plantation grounds.

As you will note in the copy of contract (Art. 2) which I furnished you, no branch road can be constructed by the concessioner without the consent and approval of the Chief Executive (President) of the Republic, who undoubtedly would not give his approval, to any additional extension of road contrary to the wishes of the American Government, which you represent.

Furthermore, I desire to assure you that it would be my aim and pleasure to work in harmony with my country’s Government (The United States) and its representatives on the Isthmus, and such will be the spirit of the company which I shall form to build the railroad under consideration.

I have [etc.]

B. B. Duncan