Maggie Thatcher the cons and The falkland misery

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by oldgoat, Apr 21, 2008.

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  1. Its from the guardian.

    As and when I am able to find the info behind my conspiricy theores and drunken ramblings i will post it on this site.
    assuming of course I have not been deleted and george Orwell was my father/uncle?

    Margaret Thatcher's government offered to hand over sovereignty of the Falkland islands at a clandestine meeting with a senior Argentinian official less than two years before the invasion of the British territory, it is revealed today.
    Colleagues of the British minister involved set up a diversionary cover story to explain his absence, saying he was off to Switzerland to do a little painting with his wife.

    The secret meeting is disclosed in the official history of the Falklands by Sir Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies at King's College, University of London.

    He reveals that in June 1980, the Foreign Office drew up a proposal, approved by the cabinet's defence committee, whereby Britain would hand Argentina titular sovereignty over the islands, which would then be leased back by Britain for 99 years.

    The British and Argentinian flags would be flown side by side on public buildings on the islands. British administration would continue with a view to guaranteeing the islanders and their descendants "uninterrupted enjoyment of their way of life".

    The driving force behind the plan was the Foreign Office minister Nicholas Ridley.

    He proposed a secret meeting with his Argentinian opposite number, Comodoro Cavandoli, in Venice in September 1980. He would be accompanied by his wife, ostensibly on a private holiday.

    However, Lord Carrington, the foreign secretary, was worried about the choice of venue. "Why Venice?" he asked. "It all looks very hole in the corner."

    Eventually, a Swiss location was chosen - the Hotel du Lac, situated in the picturesque lakeside village of Coppet, about 10 miles from Geneva.

    The government invented a cover story - that "Mr Ridley's visit to Geneva with his wife is private, for a short holiday break, and that he hopes to do a little watercolour painting".

    Mr Ridley had already agreed the sale of Lynx helicopters and naval missiles to Argentina and he and Mr Cavandoli seemed to enjoy a mutually warm relationship. Their meetings in Switzerland appeared to go well - certainly, Mr Ridley thought so - and they met again in New York soon afterwards.

    However, the plan was wrecked after Mr Ridley, whose mission was not helped by a rather offhand and patronising manner, made an ill-fated trip to the Falklands in November, where he tried to sell a deal to the islanders. Suspicion about the government's long-term intentions grew, fuelling opposition among both Conservative and Labour MPs to any such deal.

    Sir Lawrence also reveals how the Thatcher government came under unrelenting pressure from Washington to agree a ceasefire after the Argentinian invasion and before the islands had been recaptured.

    Lady Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan were engaged in heated exchanges as Washington's concern about its relations with South American countries led to strong pressure on Britain to come to a deal with the Argentinian junta.

    Alexander Haig, the US secretary of state, proposed a ceasefire with an international peacekeeping force, including US troops. Lady Thatcher told Reagan in a telephone call at the end of May 1982 that Britain could not contemplate a ceasefire before Argentina withdrew from the Falklands.

    According to Sir Lawrence, she asked Reagan: "How would the Americans react if Alaska were invaded and, as the invaders were being thrown out, there were calls for the Americans to withdraw?" She is said to have been "dismayed" by Reagan's attitude and wanted him to know just how "upset" she was.

    Washington pointed out that the US had secretly supplied Britain's special forces with communications satellites and ammunition. But Lady Thatcher was adamant. "We have lost a lot of blood, and it's the best blood," she told Sir Nicholas Henderson, Britain's ambassador to the US, on an open line. "Do they not realise," she added, "that it is an issue of principle? We cannot surrender principles for expediency."

    Meanwhile, France from the start proved to be Britain's staunchest ally.

    But today's official history makes clear that Britain's claim to the Falklands is not as strong as has been made out. Sir Lawrence points out that Britain relied, not on prior discovery, but on a small settlement established in 1766 but abandoned in 1774. When Britain recognised Argentinian independence in 1825, it did so without any claim to the Falklands, which were then under an Argentinian governor living there.

  2. Re: The US response. One must remember that at the time Alex Haig was Secretary of State and that Jeanne Kirkpatrick was Ambassador to the UN with Cabinet status. General Haig, a former SACEUR, was strongly supportive of the UK position but was being undercut at the UN and with the president by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, a woman who never met a Latin dictator she did not like.

    It is my understanding that although we did not provide overt support to the UK we did retask some overhead assets and provided so much data that some DoD sattelites were dedicated to providing the data transfer.

    I also seem to recall a squid friend telling me that some USN assets were sent to do "exercises" not far away. The assets involved were tankers, salvage/repair types.

    Most of the US public were strongly anti-Argy pro-UK. News media were very supportive of UK position.

    It was shameful that Reagan did not fire Kirkpatrick. She was undercutting policy and her Secretary. A very odd woman. Once a socialist she became so right wing that she contemplated running for president as a Republican as she viewed George H.W. Bush as a left-wing sort.
  3. I've heard the leaseback story before and can well believe it. This was shortly after the problems in Rhodesia and the British Gov't was in full scale retreat from our colonial past, often by whatever means necessary.

    Re the Washington angle, the Americans were allied with both Argentina and the UK and didn't really want to see two allies fighting. A good radio programme is linked from this page:
  4. Er... the fact that the FCO had been attempting to reach a settlement over the islands was known well before Freedman's book came out.

    The Argentines thought 'leaseback' (term first used in public domain in Hansard in 1980) a good idea, but the Falkland Islanders didn't. Their supporters in the Commons inflicted one of the most severe maulings on a govt minister seen for years when he tried selling the proposal to them, at which point it was clear that the measures needed to institute such a handover would never get through parliament.

    The Argentines went off muttering about a breach of faith. The FCO tried negotiating some more, but the Junta decided to invade and we hadn't the int assets to spot it (or chose to ignore the signs).

    If the theory you're on about is the one you put forward on another thread that Thatcher encouraged the invasion so that she could win the war and
    thus the election the following year, there is not a shred of factual evidence to support it. The fact that successive governments had attempted to negotiate about sovereignty (see, for instance, the effort by Lord Shackleton at the behest of Jim Callaghan) has been well known for years and years; Laurie Freedman has added the detail - and none of it supports the idea that there was any evil conspiracy by Thatcher.
  5. As you point out there does not appear to be a connection between Maggie and the Falkland war. Under the FOI try asking for docs from that time. Call me in 2010 when you get the answer.

    But exactly who was the prime minister in 1980?

    Are you saying that a government body was conducting “TALKS” about the eventual releasing of an Island complex that had already been tagged as “OIL”, “MINERAL” heavy did not want any involvement in the future exploitation of such areas.

    HEy. Heavy crude $117.00 per barrell.

    Do you really want me to link all the Oil sharks to this web site?????
  6. my bold.

    And as an after thought You are able to provide the sticky text that "AN O so " political person in the UK was capable of cementing the UK rights to a smelly island far far away.

    Before or after the oil and mineral compilation.
  7. Is this the same Jim Callaghan before 1980 or after 1980?.

    And before the witchhunt starts, my personal life diktates that i throw a party when the witch dies.

    Sadly, the people behind her will allways be safe.

    Look at the Defence Review 1981.
  8. Old news and nothing I haven't read before; keep the tinfoil hat on, they're looking for you...

    I'm pretty sure there had been no actual exploration for hydrocarbons back then; it was just analysis of the seismic survey and bore hole data of the area in comparison with the North Sea, having conditions conducive to the formation of anticlines, and being on the continental shelf area likely to be exploitable with existing technology. It wasn't until the late '90s that exploratory drilling took place, which found strong indications of viable reservoirs of oil.
  9. This sort of thing has historically happened several times before look at Diego Garcia circa 1970

  10. Seems like a partial answer to a question discussed in this thread (clicky) - I was one of those wondering whether the FCO were up to no good, as I'd been told by someone after the war.
  11. On your first question, the answer - and this info is all in the public domain and has been for years - is quite simply 'yes'. Anyone suggesting that crude oil would be $117 per barrel in 25 years time would have been quietly led away by men in white coats (or put in the House of Lords). It might help if you read Volume I of Freedman's Official History of the war, rather than work on the assumption that a Grauniad report that deals with, at most, about ten pages of the book represents the full story.

    My reference to the Shackleton mission was in a bid to illustrate that the idea of giving the Args some sort of sovereignty over the islands was a continuation of FCO policy, not something dreamed up by Thatcher. But again, if you read Freedman, you'd get a better idea and have some or possibly all of your questions answered.

    Up you about linking, but I daresay that the COs would be a mite upset if you mean that a bunch of forces-hating tin-foil hat wearers suddenly materialise and start posting forces-hating tin-foil hat rubbish on here.
  12. One can say many bad things about the Foreign Office - but one can never accuse them of patriotism.
  13. Or competence...
  14. Old news, it was all part of the 3 part insanity which were the '57, '66 and '81 defence white papers.
  15. So Slim Will offers to sell or give at a future date and then someone cums along and takes by extreme military means.
    Er cum on.