1916.09.20.De James Burness and Sons.Londres

James Burness & Sons
London and 3, Bute Crescent, Cardiff
138, Leadenhall Street

London, 20th September 1916
Messrs Worms & C° - Paris

Dear Sirs,
We have to acknowledge receipt of your favour of the 16th inst. reporting a telephonic conversation you have had with Messrs. Bordes with reference to a call they have received from the Paris Representative of Messrs. Wilson, Sons & Co. Ld. with a view to getting them to send their steamer "Magellan" when on her through the Panama Canal to coal at Puerto Rico (San Juan) instead of at St. Thomas, and we believe it is quite correct that they are willing to accept 45/- for the supply of Pocahontas &/or New River Coal (for such business). Like yourselves we are rather, but not altogether, surprised at Messrs. Wilson, Sons & Co's action in the matter, which was probably due to the initiative of one of the underlings in the office, but which we think would not meet with Mr. George D. Thornley's approval if we had a word with him upon the subject in view of the fact that all the business Messrs. Ant. Dom. Bordes & Fils have to dispose of so far as their depots are concerned has reached them through your good offices, although we note we are not to say anything to them at present upon the subject, in as much as Messrs. Bordes have asked you to keep the matter to yourselves in the meantime. We shall however always be prepared to take it up with them as soon as you authorise us to do so, as after all it really does not matter to either of us where the steamer coals so long as the business is arranged through our media.
In reply to your enquiry as to the relative advantages of the two ports the St. Thomas people tell us, as you will yourselves to be able to see from the map, that there will be a slight deviation for a steamer calling at Puerto Rico (although we are unable to say how much) in as much as presumably the shortest route for a steamer bound to the Panama Canal would be through the St. Croix Channel, to which St. Thomas is quite adjacent, but the gentleman who we consulted and who has a practical knowledge of all the West Indian Islands (which he has personally visited on behalf of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.) tells us Puerto Rico is not to be compared with St. Thomas in matters of despatch as it is quite in its infancy as a coaling station, notwithstanding that it is being extensively advertised by its American entrepreneurs and he adds that the expenses of a steamer bunkering at St. Thomas are practically nil', although we cannot say how the port compares with Puerto Rico in this respect.
We are, dear Sirs,
Yours truly,

James Burness & Sons

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