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225. Memorandum for the Record of a Meeting of the National Security Planning Group1

SUBJECT

  • NSPG Meeting on the Falkland Islands, 9:45 a.m., 5 May 1982

1. Present at the meeting: Counselor to the President Meese, Judge Clark, Secretary of State Haig, Deputy Secretary of Defense Carlucci, Chief of Naval Operations Hayward, and the undersigned.

2. The meeting opened with a CIA briefing on the status of the military situation/disposition of naval forces and the domestic scene in both the UK and Argentina on the issue. Noted that the Sheffield was struck 60 miles off the Falkland Islands, well within the exclusion zone while the Belgrano, the Argentine cruiser, was sunk 26 miles outside of the zone.2 At the conclusion of my briefing I suggested that our analysts were becoming somewhat concerned that if the situation worsened the relationship with the United States and Latin American nations will deteriorate and may never return to the status quo antebellum. Further, that with the Argentines looking about for help, they may gravitate towards the Soviets, offering the Soviets opportunities they would not have otherwise. While the political philosophies of Argentina and the Soviet Union certainly differ, special arrangements might be made which would be beneficial to the Soviets, and to the detriment of the U.S. Both Carlucci and Secretary Haig agreed.

3. The Secretary then spoke of the negotiating efforts that he has underway. He pointed out that Prime Minister Thatcher was holding to a very hard position—that the Argentines must totally surrender the Falklands. Secretary Haig sent to the Prime Minister a very strong and steely memorandum which might promote some conciliation towards peace.3 The Secretary urged that the British agree to a ceasefire effective at noon on 7 May which would be followed by a troop withdrawal from the Falklands by the Argentines and the return of the British ships to England. A “contact group” composed of Brazil, Peru, West Germany and the United States would then move into the area and establish a government with the locals. The contact group would [Page 475]then try to negotiate a settlement by 30 April 1983. The Secretary was waiting for the British reply and if favorable he would then forward the proposal to the Argentines through Cuellar in Peru to seek Argentine agreement.

4. There was some discussion whether or not there should be any publicity on this effort. [2½ lines not declassified] It was suggested that DoD advise the British counterparts not to come forward with a request at this time and that Secretary Haig, through his channels, would ask the British not to ask us because we wanted to be in a position of saying we were not asked.

John N. McMahon
Executive Director
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 84B00049R: Subject Files (1981–1982), Box 7, Folder 180: NSPG Meeting re: Falkland Islands Situation. Secret. Drafted by McMahon on May 6. Copies were sent to Casey, Inman, and [name not declassified].
  2. See Documents 208 and 224.
  3. Likely a reference to Haig’s May 5 message to Pym. See Document 222.