29 Dec 2012

Papers reveal Margaret Thatcher's thinking over Falklands

6:07 am on 29 December 2012

Declassified British government papers have given a new insight into the thinking of the former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, on the eve of the Falklands War with Argentina 30 years ago.

The documents reveal that the invasion took Mrs Thatcher completely by surprise.

The papers also reveal that American president Ronald Reagan issued a last-ditch appeal to Margaret Thatcher to abandon her campaign to take back the Falkland Islands.

The documents show that Mr Reagan instead suggested to the British Prime Minister in 1982 that the islands should be handed over to international peacekeepers. As British troops closed in on final victory, the United States president made a late-night phone call to Mrs Thatcher, urging her not to completely humiliate the Argentines.

However, a defiant prime minister insisted that she had not sent a British taskforce across the globe just "to hand over the Queen's islands to a contact group".