Secret Margaret Thatcher papers reveal Tory split over Falkland Islands issue

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s papers revealed that there was division within Conservative Party over how government should respond to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands.

Updated: Mar 22, 2013, 13:01 PM IST

London: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s papers have revealed that there was a wide division within the Conservative Party over how the government should respond to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands.

The papers made public for the first time revealed that while the Tory Party publicly showed a united front in 1982, the-then British Prime Minister demonstrated polarized opinions she had to contend with in the early days of the crisis.

According to Sky News, the papers are among those released by the Thatcher Archive Trust as it opens its files from a year, which came to define the Lady’s career.

Historian Chris Collins, from the trust, said the papers reflected the ‘chaos’ within the party and more widely following the surprise attack from Argentina.

He added that the papers reveal how stressful this situation was, it was a massive undertaking which tested her to the full.

Collins said that in the early days of the conflict there was great confusion and doubt on behalf of the party and more widely.

On April 6, four days after the incursion, the Chief Whip, Michael Jopling, prepared a note for the Prime Minister saying that she may like to have general re-action to events in the Falkland Islands.

According to the report, Thatcher has marked the comment with two blue biro lines.

Thatcher is the first British Prime Minister whose private and official papers have been released in this way.

Charles Moore, her authorised biographer, said that the Thatcher archive is a marvellous resource for all those interested in her career as Prime Minister and in this country’s recent political history.

The latest release is open to the public at the Churchill Archive Centre in Cambridge and is available online.

A hand-written note by Thatcher, prepared after April 2, 1982, possibly in preparation for a speech or press conference, shows that she settled on a brief, but broadly supportive position on the Duke of York’s deployment as part of the Falklands task force, the report added.