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46. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

88416. Subject: Secretary Discusses Falkland Island Invasion With Ambassador.

1. (S–Entire text).

2. The Secretary met with UK Ambassador Henderson morning of April 2 to discuss Argentine occupation of the Falkland Islands. The Secretary began by describing the latest information from Buenos Aires on the extent of Argentine military activities in the South Atlantic and said that it was the U.S. judgment that the reports of occupation were accurate. Henderson answered that HMG had reached the same conclusion.

3. Henderson said that his government would like the U.S. to take three important steps: recall the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina; raise the issue of Argentine military action in the Organization of American States (OAS); and embargo U.S. defense sales to Argentina. He also said that his government was raising the issue today in the UN Security Council and would like our support.

4. The Secretary replied that the U.S. would carefully consider the three measures and get back to the British promptly. He assured Henderson that the U.S. wanted to be as helpful as possible in the Security Council and that we would instruct the U.S. delegation to get in touch right away with UK Ambassador Parsons.2 Henderson inquired as to what the Secretary thought the reaction would be in the OAS if the U.S. raised the issue. The Secretary answered that it could [Page 80]be viewed as another anti-colonial, Third World issue, but we would look carefully at it.

5. DAS Holmes asked whether HMG considered getting the Vatican involved in trying to resolve the dispute. The Ambassador said that in his opinion the GOA won’t listen to the Vatican, if it won’t listen to the President of the U.S. The Secretary concluded by stating that it was clear that the GOA was using the Falklands issue at home as a political diversionary move, and the military operation would prove to be a major problem for what we are trying to do in this Hemisphere.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Country File, Europe and Soviet Union, United Kingdom (04/01/1982–07/31/1982 (4)). Secret; Niact Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information Immediate to Buenos Aires, USUN, and the Mission to NATO. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. At 1958Z, April 2, the Department advised USUN of the Haig-Henderson meeting and instructed the Mission to vote for a British resolution calling for “a cessation of hostilities by Argentina, withdrawal of Argentine forces, and a return to negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the dispute,” which British representatives planned to introduce in the Security Council that day. In addition, the Department instructed USUN to make a supporting statement containing the following points: “The US deplores Argentina’s use of force; We call on Argentina to cease hostilities and withdraw its military force immediately; We also urge the parties to resume negotiations in order to settle this dispute peacefully.” (Telegram 88491 to USUN, April 2; Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D820176–0398) In telegram 89843 to USUN, April 3, the Department transmitted the final, cleared text of the U.S. statement. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D820177–0647) The statement as read by the Alternate Representative to the UN Security Council on April 3 is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1982, p. 1298.