Thatcher papers show Falkland doubts

tags: UK, Argentina, Margaret Thatcher, Falklands War, 1982



Some of Margaret Thatcher's closest policy advisers voiced strong concerns that the Falklands Islands were not worth the fight, from the earliest days of the campaign, according to the latest release of files from the former Conservative prime minister's personal papers.

The papers show that, contrary to the jingoistic spirit at the time, the divisions over the Falklands went to the very heart of Downing Street with both Thatcher's senior economic adviser, Sir Alan Walters, and her chief of staff, David Wolfson, proposing schemes offering to buy-out the 1,800 islanders rather than send a taskforce to the South Atlantic. The scepticism extended to the head of the Downing Street policy unit, Sir John Hoskyns, who voiced the fear of making "almighty fools of ourselves" and worried that an essentially minor issue could precipitate the downfall of the Thatcher government.

Hoskyns also told her press secretary, Bernard Ingham, that it was "rather unwise" to talk about the islanders' wishes being paramount, and criticised the public tone being struck: "If we talk about it as a combination of Stalingrad and Alamein we risk looking absurd. This is not a battle for our homeland and civilisation."...



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