To proceed with excavation, Porter was required to obtain individual agreements with each proprietor and tenant, and according to the ambassador, “This was altogether the most discouraging episode in the history of the undertaking.” Speculation abounded that the United States was willing to pay exorbitant sums to gain the right to tunnel. Given the unrealistic monetary demands of the owners and occupants of the various properties, Porter decided to allow the “excitement to subside,” waiting two years before restarting negotiations. Using an appeal to public sentiment and assurance that the . government had not allocated funds for the project, he obtained permission to proceed with the subterranean excavations in early 1905. The agreement strictly limited access to the grounds to three months. Porter secured the services of Paul Weiss, an accomplished mining engineer, whose professional skill and devotion to the delicacy of the task proved well beyond the ambassador’s expectations.