Thatcher threatened nuclear strike

#1
In the Sydney morning Herald today: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/th...trike-says-book/2005/11/22/1132421669266.html

Thatcher threatened nuclear strike, says book

By Jon Henley in Paris
November 23, 2005

Margaret Thatcher forced Francois Mitterrand to give her the codes to disable Argentina's French-made missiles during the Falklands war by threatening to launch a nuclear warhead against Buenos Aires, according to a new book.

Rendez-vous: The Psychoanalysis of Francois Mitterrand was written by Ali Magoudi, who met the late French president up to twice a week for secret therapy at his Paris practice from 1982 to 1984.

Magoudi disclosed that Mitterrand believed he would get his revenge on Britain by building a tunnel under the Channel which would forever destroy Britain's island status.

The book, to be published on Friday, is one of several on France's first socialist president to mark the 10th anniversary of his death on January 8, 1996. Despite a now tarnished reputation, he remains a source of fascination for the French in general and the left in particular. Rendez-vous provides revealing insights into the leader's mysterious character, complicated past, paranoia and power complex, but nothing as titillating as his remarks on the former British prime minister.

"Excuse me. I had a difference to settle with the Iron Lady. That Thatcher, what an impossible woman!" the president said as he arrived, more than 45 minutes late, on May 7, 1982. "With her four nuclear submarines in the south Atlantic, she's threatening to unleash an atomic weapon against Argentina if I don't provide her with the secret codes that will make the missiles we sold the Argentinians deaf and blind." Mitterrand reminded the author it was an Exocet missile that had struck HMS Sheffield. "It was fired from a Super-Etendard jet," he said. "All the materiel was French."

In words that the psychoanalyst has sworn to the publisher, Meren Sell, are genuine, the president continued: "She's livid. She blames me personally for this new Trafalgar … I was obliged to give in. She's got them now, the codes."

Mitterrand, who once said Baroness Thatcher had "the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe", went on: "One cannot win against the insular syndrome of an unbridled Englishwoman … But it's a good job I gave way. Otherwise, I assure you, the lady's metallic finger would have hit the button."

France, he insisted, would have the last word. " I'll build a tunnel under the Channel. I'll succeed where Napoleon III failed.

"And do you know why she'll accept my tunnel? I'll flatter her shopkeeper's spirit. I'll tell her it won't cost the Crown a penny."
Now I’m no expert on Exocet but is there such a code that could be used to deactivate the missiles or is this guy just waffling to sell his book?

Amazing how bitter the frogs are about our successes over the years though, that they think building the tunnel and paying for it is some kind of victory. Duh. :oops:

edited to include link
 
#4
Bearing in mind that Sir John Nott is on record as saying: 'they [the French] helped us with technical details of the Exocet, which I think we probably had already' (SCSI Occasional No. 46, June 2002), I'm a little sceptical as to whether Mitterand was telling the truth...


The RN had Exocets aboard Leander class frigates, and, IIRC, the Type 22 had them as well. Also, the idea that all four Polaris boats were in the South Atlantic is laughable (the SSNs, of course, didn't have any means of launching an nuclear attack on Argentina). Add to this the fact that one of the UK's lines of operation was to garner as much diplomatic support as possible at the UN (which turning Buenos Aries into glass might have made a tadge awkward), and you begin to realise that it was probably no coincidence that Mitterand was seeing a therapist.

It's a simply barking mad idea that Thatcher would launch a Polaris or two at Buenos Aries. I think I'm correct in saying that the UK gave assurances that it would not use nuclear weapons at the time of the conflict; the Americans would have hit the roof (and probably gone through it) - the whole thing adds up less well than your average GCSE maths student.

Finally, if you look at Mitterand's record of being less than straightforward with the truth (see his version of his resistance career; the Rainbow Warrior incident, etc, etc) you begin to wonder if 'Mitterand' isn't the French version of 'Mitty'...
 
#5
um, if we had the codes, wouldn't we have used them, and the missiles would have missed our ships?

They didn't, so we didn't.

Like the quote though:
She's livid. She blames me personally for this new Trafalgar … I was obliged to give in.
 
#6
Tin-foil hat anyone?
 
#7
Seem to recall a report/story/rumour (whichever you like to call it) that there was a plan made to bomb buenos aries but it was going to be done conventionally using the Vulcans (planes not star trek ones) in the same way that the black buck attacks on stanley airfield were done. Im pretty sure that the intended target was going to be the airfield that the super etendards took off from. However, how much of this is rumour and how much is fact is probably open to a lot of conjecture - Certainly these raids proved to the Argentinians that there was a capability to launch an airstrike at Buenos Aires. However with regard to a nuclear strike - i cant believe that even Maggie would have done that - although it would be interesting to know what directions Ronald Reagans interests/views lay.
Whilst composing thi, have been perusing the internet and found a site www.psywar.org/falklands.php which - in which the section entitled Black Operations there is a mention of an Operation Mikado which was a proposal to crash land two hercs in Buenos Aires on the Rio grand air base where the exocet carrying super etendards were base - after doing this, an SAS Squadron - presumably parachuted from the hercs before they were crash landed - would destroy all the super etendards, all the exocet missiles and kill all the pilots.
 
#8
OSACIN said:
..................- presumably parachuted from the hercs before they were crash landed - would destroy all the super etendards, all the exocet missiles and kill all the pilots.
And escape to Uruguay, if i remember.
 
#9
No the idea if i remeber was tatitcal air landing on the airfield .run out of herc blow up planes kill pilots . Then head for chile for tea and medals .The book about it mentions a lot of blokes for thought it was a silly plan.And it was eventually called off.











Thinlk the film version will have the sas chickening out .And tom cruise leading delta to save the brits butts :lol:
 
#10
Would a president, even a French one, really discuss issues of national security with his therapist?

Do they not have a version of our official secrets act/disclosure laws ? I'm sure they would, knowing how touchy they are on defence.

This all sounds like a ploy to sell books, stroke the egos ect.

It really annoys me how these authors take pot shots at dead leaders/ generals ect knowing they can not be sued just to sell a few books. " any publiciy is good publicity"

Still like all good yarns there is a grain of truth I suspect, like their boasting about their armaments working or enjoying watching us struggle.
 

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LE
Kit Reviewer
#12
Archimedes said:
...you begin to realise that it was probably no coincidence that Mitterand was seeing a therapist.

...you begin to wonder if 'Mitterand' isn't the French version of 'Mitty'...
Close but not quite, the etymology is like this:

'Mitt' from Old German means 'teller of whoppers'

'Erand' is a vulgar MSM (Middle Surrender Monkey) word for the female genitalia.
 
#13
Operation Mikado was Sir Peter DLB's version of an Entebbe style raid. This daring act of suicidal proportions was to have been carried out by B sqn and was viewed by THEM as something akin to a mission in Blackadder goes Forth. I think a couple of ruperts and NCO's were booted out for voicing their concerns.
 

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LE
Kit Reviewer
#14
Private_Pike said:
Operation Mikado was Sir Peter DLB's version of an Entebbe style raid. This daring act of suicidal proportions was to have been carried out by B sqn and was viewed by THEM as something akin to a mission in Blackadder goes Forth. I think a couple of ruperts and NCO's were booted out for voicing their concerns.
I thought it was just a big wind-up myself, a lot of comedy song and dance about nothing - the Mikado being a comic opera.
 
#15
I shouldn't think what this chap is saying is true. Airborne Exocet, it must be remembered, was quite unreliable. For a start, the one that HMS Sheffield most likely didn't explode, it just burnt off its fuel. It was only because Sheffield was using its Sat Comms that it was unable to use it's radar systems or to be told by its accompanying ships that an incoming had been detected. It must also be remembered that two Exocets were fired on that occassion, the other just burned out and fell into the sea.

The claim that there were four Polaris missile boats is wrong also. There is a claim by Tam Dalyell that one 'R' type sub was moved into range of Argentina, and there is also the evidence left by David Tinker in his diary, where he describes his commanding officer hoping that they would just "drop a big white job" on Argentina. And lastly, it is true that they still had the nuclear depth charges on board, as the MoD chief science officer stated that they were 'partially successful'.

Word to the wise on the MIKADo raid to the Exocet base at Tierra del Fuego, this was attempted but binned on land. The SBS also planted explosives on French cargo ships carrying new AM-39s into Argentina, but were told to cancel the Op as it was expected the war to be over by then. Which is the only sign I can think of to say that the Government had found a way to counter-act them
 
#16
There was a rumour that did the rounds at the time that a Polaris sans warhead had been fired in the South Atlantic to impress upon the Argentinians that the mainland was well within the reach of perfidious Albion, by both aircraft and other means.

Perhaps this rumour has formed the basis for this bit of sensationalist waffle, a bit like the Angel of Mons story discussed in another thread.
 
#17
This is utter toss. Surely if we had this superwondercode we wouldn't have let them sink the Atlantic Conveyor with all our SH, tents, loads of ammo, jet fuel and complete aircraft FOB in, which was as close as we got to losing the war. The Argies had a total of five rockets, out of which one didn't go off. That makes four that were fired. Of those four, three hit their targets and one went off after a chaff bloom.

The three (not four) subs weren't missile subs.

Exocet is a fire-and-forget system; there are no control links to it after it's been launched, so what "code"?

Finally, the frogs didn't send them any more missiles, so the "Cockleshell Heroes 2" raid would have been criminal folly of even greater proportions than the various Mike Rose "Make a Bang in the South Atlantic" suicide squad larks - Mikado was the mainland airfield assault, wasn't there another forlorn hope planned against Stanley airfield as well?
 
#18
Considering that France too had nukes at the time, surely any chucking of Polaris at Paris would have been responded by firing a few megaton of Froggy warheads back at London, thus escalating to a european nuclear war, resulting in (possibly) the break up of NATO, and then the invasion of Western Europe by the Ruskies?

All this over a few island, 10,000 sheep and a handful of penguins?


Doubt it.
 
#19
HVM_Boy said:
Considering that France too had nukes at the time, surely any chucking of Polaris at Paris would have been responded by firing a few megaton of Froggy warheads back at London, thus escalating to a european nuclear war, resulting in (possibly) the break up of NATO, and then the invasion of Western Europe by the Ruskies?

All this over a few island, 10,000 sheep and a handful of penguins?


Doubt it.
It's got to be a wah I know, but I'll bite.

The Polaris was supposedly threatening to turn Buenos Aires into a glass paved car park, not gay Paris.
 
#20
HVM_Boy said:
Considering that France too had nukes at the time, surely any chucking of Polaris at Paris would have been responded by firing a few megaton of Froggy warheads back at London, thus escalating to a european nuclear war, resulting in (possibly) the break up of NATO, and then the invasion of Western Europe by the Ruskies?

All this over a few island, 10,000 sheep and a handful of penguins?


Doubt it.
Thatcher was going to nuke Buenos Aires, not France. Muppet.
 

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