HL Deb 22 June 1883 vol 280 cc1264-5

, in rising to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he will lay on the Table of the House a copy of a Paper prepared in the Intelligence Department and mentioned by H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge in a Memorandum addressed by him to Mr. Childers, and printed in the Channel Tunnel Correspondence, page 303? said, that one of the chief arguments against the construction of the Tunnel was that, in consequence of its construction, this country would be exposed to surprises on the part of enemies. His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge had addressed a Memorandum to Mr. Childers, in which he stated that he was satisfied, from all historical evidence, that the danger of surprise would be very great indeed; and someone having remarked that we need have no fear of surprise, because hostilities were always preceded by a declaration of war, His Royal Highness combated that argument, and said in the document, which he (the Earl of Shaftesbury) hoped would be laid on the Table of the House, because he regarded it as very important, as showing the necessity for taking all possible precautions for insuring the security of the country— That hostilities had frequently commenced during the course of diplomatic correspondence, having boon preceded by no declaration of war, and that fortresses had been seized without resistance from the defenders, because they had no reason to expect hostilities. He (the Earl of Shaftesbury) was the more inclined to ask for the Paper in question, because His Royal Highness stated that the documents upon which his opinions were founded were in no sense confidential, and that no diplomatic difficulty could be caused by their publication. He hoped, therefore, that the noble Earl would comply with the request contained in his Question.


, in reply, said, the document in question was a War Office and not a Foreign Office Paper; but, in consequence of the Notice of the noble Earl, he had communicated with the War Department on the subject, and had ascertained that there would be no objection to the publication of the document which the noble Earl desired to have. It had been communicated to the Channel Tunnel Committee, with a great many other Papers, and would be published in their Report. Although, as he had said, there would be no objection to lay the Paper on the Table at the proper time, the War Office was of opinion—and he (Earl Granville) shared their view—that it was not desirable to pick out this particular document and print it separately from the others, which were very voluminous, but that the whole should be presented together to Parliament.

House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter before Eleven o'clock.