Diplomacy Hands Below the Sea

Britain and France sign a pact for a cross-Channel train tunnel

The occasion had all the trappings of a lovefest. In the northern French city of Lille last week, schoolchildren waved tiny Union Jacks and Tricolor flags. Scottish bagpipers in kilts and bearskin hats played reels and strathspeys, and French military bands blared out God Save the Queen and the Marseillaise. But nothing embodied the spirit of Franco-British cooperation more than a joint announcement by President Francois Mitterrand and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that their governments had approved the construction of a 31-mile-long rail tunnel linking the two countries. For nearly two centuries, rulers, entrepreneurs and engineers have dreamed of spanning the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!