posted on Apr, 18 2013 @ 02:14 PM
Further evidence that Thatcher did not want to retain sovereignty of the Islands was reviled in released government documents in which she was
prepared to do a deal with Argentina after the invasion of the Falklands over the status of the islands, including the question of sovereignty, as she
came under intense pressure from the US to avoid a military response, government papers released reveal
UK government declarations and rhetoric at the time gave the impression that nothing short of the withdrawal of all Argentinian forces, the
reaffirmation of British sovereignty and a return to the position as it was before the invasion would be acceptable. But the papers show Thatcher and
her senior ministers were privately adopting a more flexible approach, including allowing a continuing Argentinian presence on the islands.
Less than two weeks after the Argentinian invasion on 2 April 1982, Thatcher described a "diplomatic solution" as being "a considerable prize".
She was responding specifically to a plan whereby in return for withdrawing its troops Argentina would be represented on an interim commission and on
Falkland Islands councils.
Francis Pym, the foreign secretary, is recorded as saying: "It would be a remarkable achievement if this could be brought about, at a time when
Britain's military position was still weak."
Asked in private evidence to the subsequent Franks committee of inquiry about her reaction to the invasion, Thatcher said: "I just say it was the
worst, I think, moment of my life," the papers reveal. Asked if she was prepared to cede sovereignty over the islands if the islanders agreed, she
The disclosure that Thatcher was contemplating a peaceful solution to the Falklands dispute, even after the British taskforce had set sail, is
contained in confidential annexes to cabinet minutes released under the so-called 30-year rule.
Sir John Nott, then defence secretary, said on Thursday he had not been against a negotiated settlement if the Argentinian troops left the islands.
"I was always prepared to negotiate. It turned out it was not ever possible, but that's a judgment with hindsight,"
Nott added that Pym was desperate for a negotiated settlement, which had irritated Thatcher. There were plenty of opportunities for a diplomatic
settlement but the Argentinian junta was "more intransigent than the prime minister", Nott recalled.
In one paper, stamped Top Secret, Thatcher is recorded as saying that under the plan being discussed by the US and at the UN, "the withdrawal of
Argentine forces would have been secured without military action. Argentina would gain representation on the interim commission and on the local
councils; and a commitment to negotiations to decide the definitive status of the islands by the end of the year, although without any commitment to a
transfer of sovereignty." She added: "Repugnant as it was that the aggressor should gain anything from his aggression, this seemed an acceptable
price to pay.
"But it would be crucial to insure against a second invasion and the best way of achieving this appeared to be to involve the United States
government in the enforcement of the interim agreement and in the security of the Islands thereafter."
On 19 May, two days before British forces landed on the islands, Thatcher told the war cabinet that in a "sincere attempt to reach agreement to avoid
bloodshed", Britain had not insisted on what should be its "full and just demands". Any interim deal, however, must ensure there would be "no
prejudgment of the longer-term future".
The war cabinet noted: "In practical terms, administration mattered more than sovereignty." If only this would have worked, how many lives would
have been saved?....but like you said dreams and wishes don’t cut it the real world.