Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/16): Channel Tunnel
Must consider cross-channel commns. in light of a Europ. free trade area. E.P.C. favoured more interdepartmental consn. before consultg. French. Since then much public interest has bn. aroused. In France, Suez Canal Co. sees it as alternative investment. American Co. in the field. We must move fast, in case Fr. Govt. give facilities for a survey.
B.T.C. view is in favour. Mght cost £200 M. for rail tunnel only. But we mght get dollars for it.
Wd. sooner spend that amount of money on roads - or on improving ports.
Agree we must look at it seriously. But doubt if it's wise to say anything in public yet.
French Co. has firm concession to build. Br. Co. think they can raise the money in U.S.
Ferry Services to Rhine mght be more profitable.
No serious mil. objns. - tho' haven't consulted C.O.S.
i) Study this - incldg. alternative means of improving cross-channel transport.
ii) Do we associate ourselves with a survey? Interim report on that point from interdepl. Cttee.
iii) Study also wtr Suez Canal Co. cd. (under Articles of Assocn.) transfer its assets to this enterprise. Mght suit us better to see Co. go into liquidation. L.O.'s cd. give an opinion on this.
Ty. to study (iii) separately. Cd. we buy more shares to get controlling interest?
iv) M'while, no public statement to be volunteered.
Taken from C.C. 37(57) - Meeting held on 2 May 1957.