Letters reveal Falklands War tensions

2013-03-22 13:10
Margaret Thatcher (File, AP)

Margaret Thatcher (File, AP)

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London - Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher faced opposition from within her own government over the Falklands War, with one MP warning her "it'll make Suez look like common sense".

Newly released papers from Thatcher's personal archive show heated correspondence with senior Conservative members about whether Britain should go to war over Argentina's 1982 invasion of the islands.

One MP is quoted as having said "we're making a big mistake, it'll make Suez look like common sense".

Another stated "nobody thinks we are going to fight the Argentinians. We should blow up a few ships but nothing more".

Among the documents Thatcher kept is a copy of the Daily Mail questioning whether "she had the stomach for it" (war).

Flaring tensions

There is also a draft letter, never sent, to the US president Ronald Reagan rejecting his attempts to broker a peace deal.

"Throughout my administration I have tried to stay loyal to the United States as our great ally." she wrote.

"In your message you say that your suggestions are faithful to the basic principles we must protect. I wish they were, but alas they are not," she added.

Falkland Islanders earlier this month voted 99.8% in favour of remaining British, although Argentina rejected the vote as meaningless.

The two countries fought a brief but bloody war in 1982 at a cost of 649 Argentine and 255 British lives.

Tensions have flared anew in recent years as Britain opened the islands' waters to oil exploration.

Read more on:    falkland islands  |  margaret thatcher  |  argentina

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