Letter: Argentina's case

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Why can't Britain face up in the Falklands issue?

If the rival British and Argentine claims went for judgement to the International Court the balance of probability is that the Court would find in favour of Argentina. Certainly the British action in taking over the Islands in 1832 would be unthinkable now.

Nevertheless the islanders say that they are only prepared to settle down and live in peace and friendship with Argentina after the Argentines have dropped their claim. Until they do there will be no access to the Islands for Argentines and no talks. This is impractical politics. It is also a permanent finger in the eye of Argentina. The islanders justify their stance by emphasising their Britishness and denigrating Argentines and Argentina.

The Islanders deserve a permanent British guarantee of their security, democracy and way of life; that is such things as language, law and education. It is up to Britain to find a way of bringing Argentina to join in this guarantee.

The islanders did not create the problem. It is a problem between Britain and Argentina; and there is no escaping responsibility by saying we must leave it to the 1,500 voters on the Islands to decide.

We should look again at Prince Charles's words. He hoped that the two democracies, one big and one little, could live together in peace and friendship. He did not say this could only happen once the Argentines had dropped their claim. It is up to Britain to make a start and open discreetly a dialogue.


Eye, Suffolk