So, thanks to the 30- year rule we now know that following the Argentine invasion of 1982 the US administration wanted Thatcher to agree a diplomatic solution to the Falklands dispute, and that she was, reluctantly, willing to agree to it.
Thatcher commented (in a paper stamped Top Secret) on the US proposal for a peaceful settlement, thus:
“[T]he withdrawal of Argentine forces would have been secured without military action. Argentina would gain representation on the interim commission and on the local councils; and a commitment to to negotiations to decide the definitive status of the islands by the end of the year, although without any commitment to a tranfer of sovereignty…
“…Repugnant as it was that the agressor should gain anything from his agression, this seemed an acceptable price to pay.”
Above, Thatcher and Reagan: not always in step
Even after the British task force had landed, Thatcher and her advisers were discussing the possibility of changing the staus of the Falklands to “Some kind of association with the UN…if only the Argentinians could be brought to acquiesce to it” (Robert Armstrong, cabinet secretary, to Thatcher, 25 May).*
Of course, the reluctance of the Reagan administration to back a British military attack on Argentinian forces was known at the time. Christopher Hitchens was revealing nothing new in 1993, when he wrote:
“In the case of the Falkland/Malvinas archipelago, it appeared that Britain had the right of self-defense under the UN charter and also that the Argentine junta had tried to salvage its domestic front by a cheap military adventure in the South Atlantic. A compromise of the kind put forward by Jeane Kirkpartrick and Alexander Haig (who were using the same Argentine torturers and fascists to train the Nicaraguan contras) would have left the junta in power, and very probably in possession. Opposed as I was to this collusion, I didn’t take the standard British left line that Thatcher was whipping up chauvinism and imperialist nostalgia. The insular John Bull position seemed to ignore the wider imperial context, and it was on the whole pleasurable and instructive to see the dismay on the faces of the Reaganites when they realized that they were going to have to drop either their British or Argentine allies.”
What these new “revelations” tell us for the first time, is how willing the Thatcher government was to consider various US peace plans and to countenance the possibility of giving up British sovereignty over the islands. This was in spite of major tensions between the UK and US that put the so-called “special relationship” under serious strain.
All of which just goes to confirm the bankruptcy of those (at the time and since) who sought to portray this conflict as some kind of “anti imperialist” struggle by the Galtieri regime against a last outpost of British colonialism and/or Anglo-American imperialism.
I was involved in a bitter (but very instructive) faction fight within what was called the Workers Socialist League, over the issue at the time and for a couple of years later. It convinced me that most people in the West who rant and rave about “imperialism” haven’t the slightest notion of what the word means in the Marxist tradition and, in fact simply want an excuse to support a less powerful capitalist class against their own, more powerful capitalist class. It’s called ‘dependency theory’, as developed by bourgeois economists in the 1960s to explain Latin American subordination to US capital and then adopted by a certain type of radical nationalist in Latin America and elsewhere to justify alliances with their own ruling classes .
I was pretty sure that my comrades and I were right at the time. These “revelations” simply confirm it once and for all.
P.S: A most instructive discussion here
* See the Guardian report, here