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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

A Channel Tunnel

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The Channel Tunnel is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in The Times on 11 march 1913.



A Channel Tunnel

The Times (11 march 1913)

TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.

Sir, — I welcome General Sir R. Talbot's letter dealing with the Channel Tunnel which appeared in your issue to-day. The matter seems to me of such importance that I grudge every day that passes without something having been done to bring it to realization. Built from national fund, it would in peace be a most valuable asset, while in war with any nation but France it would vastly increase our strength both for offensive and defensive purposes. The advantages which I see for a national tunnel are briefly as follows :—

1. If constructed by the nation for anything like the estimate advanced by capable engineers it should be a source of great profit to the country.

2. It should stimulate our trade with the Continent, since bulk need not be broken.

3. It should bring to England very many thousands of Continental travellers every year who are at present deterred by the crossing.

4. Should we ever be forced to send troops to the Continent, it provides a safe line of communication besides ensuring an unopposed transit.

5. It enables food to be introduced into the country in war time, and would help us to hold out, even after a naval defeat. All the supplies of the Mediterranean are available via Marseilles.

6. It passes out some of our exports in war time, and to that extent relieves the Fleet of the duty of convoying them.

These six reasons seem to me to be weighty ones. Against them there is only one that I have ever heard, the fear of invasion. This can of course only mean invasion by France, which cannot surely be regarded as a serious danger, although I admit that every defensive precaution should be taken. As to invasion, by any other country, it means that they have first to win and to hold both ends of the tunnel. Such a contingency is, I hold, beyond all bounds of common sense.

Yours faithfully,

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
Athenaeum Club, March 10.


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