Letter: Falklands claims

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Sir: We cannot let Ambassador Pfirter's justification for Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands go unanswered (letter, 18 March).

First, it is not surprising, considering the membership of the UN Decolonisation Committee, that Argentina has found some support for its claim there. But in today's world we seriously question the relevance of the Decolonisation Committee. There are few remaining overseas territories, and all the British ones, including the Falklands Islands, have no wish whatsoever to sever the constitutional link with the mother country.

Second, contrary to Mr Pfirter's assertion, it was a British seafarer, Captain John Strong, who made the first recorded landing on the Falklands in 1690, and British sovereignty was claimed in 1765, not 1832. Even then, there was no settled population in the Islands.

Third, many of the present inhabitants of the Falkland Islands are the descendants of the first settlers, sixth- and seventh-generation Islanders whose families have lived here longer than many Argentines, including President Menem's family, have lived in their country.

We just wish that Argentina would stop pursuing a claim which we at least regard as ill-founded and anachronistic. The best way for Argentina to respect our way of life - as Mr Pfirter says they wish to do - is let us get on with it free of the threat of colonisation - for that is what it would be - by Argentina.

Councillor JAN CHEEK

Falkland Islands Government

Stanley, Falkland Islands