Obituary: Manuel Ulloa Elias

YOUR obituary of Manuel Ulloa Elias (by Colin Harding, 12 August) portrays a somewhat right- wing playboy figure, and omits mentioning his role in the Falklands War, writes Tam Dalyell.

I would wish to record that when, with Guillermo Makin of Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, I went to see Dr Ulloa in his flat in the Mira Flores district of Lima, we encountered a deeply serious and concerned razor- sharp politician of stature, and a heavyweight ex-prime minister.

In 1984 I went specially at my own expense to see President Belaunde Terry and Dr Ulloa in Lima, to ascertain the truth about the Peruvian peace proposals which played such a significant role in the run-up to the shooting in the Falklands War. Sitting in his study sipping orange juice with his daily newspaper - the Wall Street Journal - on his coffee-table Manuel Ulloa recounted to Dr Makin and myself that on his own typewriter, he himself had set out the detailed peace proposals. He told us of his contacts not only with the British Ambassador to Peru, Charles Wallace, and the British Foreign Office, but also with his friend, and Mrs Thatcher's friend, Hugh Thomas. What did the British take the Peruvians for? Ulloa said. 'We were negotiators. Negotiators have to be in touch with both sides. I know that through Lord Hugh Thomas and other channels, your government and your prime minister knew exactly what we were trying to do. Negotiators have to be in touch with both parties.'

It was simply not true that, as Mrs Thatcher wrote in her celebrated letter to Denzil Davies, then opposition defence spokesman, 'the first indications of the Peruvian proposals reached London at 11.15pm on Sunday May 2nd'. The Belgrano was sunk three hours before and that led to much bloodshed on both sides.

For reasons that Colin Harding gave in his obituary, Ulloa was much involved with Argentina. As one who was to be chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and as an Anglophile Peruvian aristocrat, Ulloa was appalled at the prospect of war between his friends Britain and Argentina, behaving like two bald men quarrelling over a comb.

(Photograph omitted)

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