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348. Telegram From the Department of State to the Deputy Secretary of State (Stoessel) in Singapore1

Todep 30046/166414. For Deputy Secretary Stoessel. Subject: Falklands Crisis: Update for the Deputy Secretary.

1. C–Entire text.

2. It appears that fighting on the Falklands has ended.2 However, Argentina will not renounce its claim to the Islands. Unless Argentina and the United Kingdom agree on a permanent solution, a future resumption of fighting cannot be ruled out.

3. Prime Minister Thatcher seems set on self-determination for the Falklands which would preclude serious negotiations with Argentina over sovereignty, at least in the short term. She is prepared to maintain sufficient forces in the area to thwart another invasion.

4. The White House issued the following statement on June 15, subsequent to the British recapture of Port Stanley:

Begin text:

The United States welcomes the ceasefire which is now in place in the Falkland Islands. We hope the tragic loss of life which has thus far occurred in this crisis can now be brought to an end. For its part, the United States continues to stand ready to assist in any way it can to help resolve this conflict. End text.

5. Talking points for use with foreign leaders:


—We welcome the ceasefire and hope that there will be no further hostilities.

—The fighting has just ended and it is still too early to comment on such aspects of US policy as sanctions.

6. US policy.

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A. Throughout the tragic conflict in the South Atlantic between the UK and Argentina, our policy has been to work for implementation of UN Security Council Res. 502:

—Cessation of hostilities;

—Withdrawal of Argentine forces;

—Diplomatic solution to the conflict.

B. The Reagan administration led the effort to find a peaceful solution.

C. At President’s direction, Secretary Haig undertook intensive discussions with London and Buenos Aires to help parties find a solution. While UK would support the peace framework which emerged, Argentina did not.

D. We have strongly supported subsequent efforts by others, most recently UN Secretary General.

E. We are neutral on the sovereignty of the Islands, the issue which Argentina and the UK are disputing.

F. But basic principle at stake: Use of force to settle disputes cannot be accepted by world community. This is why we have supported the UK.

G. When Argentina rejected our peace proposal for settlement based on UNSC Resolution 502, we took steps to make clear our opposition to first use of force.

H. We provided the UK with materiel support as a part of our over-all defense relationship. But no direct US military involvement.

I. If Argentina and the United Kingdom cannot resolve underlying issues that led to this crisis, there will be continuing tension and further hostilities.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D820315–0692. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by T. Carter (FWG); cleared by Service, Bosworth, Blackwill, K. Shirley (S/S), A. Friedt (D), and in S/S–O; approved by Bremer. Stoessel was in Singapore for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations post-Ministerial meeting June 16–19.
  2. Discussing the end of hostilities on the morning of June 18, Casey, Weinberger, McMahon, and Carlucci agreed “that it was surprising that the surrender came so easily.” (Memorandum for the Record, June 18; Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 89B00224R: Committees, Boards, Boards, and Councils Files, Box 11, Folder 410: Memos for the Record of Mtgs w/Sec and DepSec Defense (May 81–Dec 85))