The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 54
|I.||—West-south-west, by sea, to Canada and the Eastern ports of the United States; across Canada to British Columbia by rail; and thence south-west and south-south-west to Australasia, China, and our extreme Eastern Colonies.|
|II.||—South-south-west, to the coast of South America and viâ, Cape Horn to Australasia and our extreme Eastern Colonies.|
|III.||—An intermediate line, south-west, to the West Indies, and eventually by the Panama Canal to Australasia and the Chinese Seas.|
|IV.||—South-south-east and east to India, Australasia, and the Chinese Seas viâ the Cape of Good Hope.|
|V.||—Viâ, the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and Red Sea to India, Australasia, and the Chinese Seas; and|
|VI.||—The line, as yet unopened but of great Imperial importance, uiâ the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia to Baghdad and the Persian Gulf, and from Baghdad through Mid-Persia to join on with the Indian rails extended to Sístán so as to envelop Baluchistan. The necessity of this route to India and the Australian and Chinese Seas forms the subject of this paper.|
If the links in each one of the above chains of communication could be rendered so strong as to be invulnerable, the perfection of defence would have been reached. This may be too much to hope.page 2
It may be necessary to concentrate on one or more of these lines.
Shortest line from Great Britain to India.
Each of these questions is considered in detail further on.
If it can be shown to be a secure line, or to be capable of being rendered secure, and, as well, capable of satisfying the requirements of provisioning Great Britain, it is elevated at once to the rank of a first- class commercial highway. If, also, it can be shown to be necessary to the integrity of the kingdoms of Turkey in Asia and Persia, and to bean absolute necessity in order to strengthen them, both materially and ad-ministratively, so as to render it possible that they should justify their very existences as units amongst the civilised rations now closing in on them, this commercial highway becomes an Imperial strategic one of the very greatest necessity, and one the development of which should not be delayed.
To be developed in time, if to be of ultimate use.
Time was ripe for this work thirty years ago. There is such a thing as overripeness and its resulting decay and rottenness: cankers of various natures eat into the heart of a nation as well as into that of fruit, and not the least insidious are the unseen,—intrigue, discontent, disloyalty, &c. Finally, the worm alone remains, and its generator, the originator of intrigue and disloyalty, becomes its natural possessor.
Let not the history of the Mesopotamian Railway be that of the Suez Canal; where we feared to tread, eventually others walked fearlessly, with serious consequences to us, both past and to come. The consequences to the Empire, if supineness now still prevents action, will be infinitely more dire, and we may well then think that
"Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat."
The Turkish strategic highways are Imperial British highways, and must be constructed by British capital and worked by organised British and Turkish departments, all Christendom being allowed to participate equally in their commercial advantages.
The route well supported at intervals by vest foot-producing countries to both East and West:
but bulk broken—there an auxiliary only to the Ocean lines.
The canal routes insecure and badly supported.
The Australasian Colonies to be defended by postponing possibility of their being attacked in force.