Friday, 26 June 2015

Thatcher memoirs detail PM's anger at foreign secretary over Falklands

Previously unpublished memoirs reveal that Thatcher thought Frances Pym was combining with the Americans in attempt to outmanoeuvre her.Margaret Thatcher strongly suspected that her foreign secretary, Francis Pym, was combining with the Americans to outmanoeuvre her at the height of the Falklands war, according to her previously unpublished handwritten memoir of the conflict.

The memoir, written a year after the 1982 war with Argentina, details two key crunch points in the diplomatic phase of the conflict when she clashed with her foreign secretary over attempts involving the Americans to end it peacefully.

In the second key moment – over the Peruvian peace proposals – Pym succeeded in outmanoeuvring her and rallying the cabinet against her – much to Thatcher’s fury.

The remarkable Falklands memoir is one of three personal written by the former prime minister that have been “gifted to the nation” by her estate in lieu of £1m of inheritance tax under an Arts Council England scheme.

The bulk of Thatcher’s private papers were donated to the nation in her lifetime and held at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge. Cambridge University said that Thatcher had stressed she had always wanted her archive to stay in the United Kingdom.

The newly released papers include a personal memoir of the 1984 European summit, where she won her battled for a British rebate, her visit to Moscow for a state funeral in 1985, and the text of her “No Turning Back” speech at the Tory party conference.

Arts Council England described the Falklands memoir as “probably the single most significant historical document Margaret Thatcher ever wrote”.

Chris Collins, historian of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, said its main historical value came from laying out her long and detailed case against Pym – the one cabinet colleague she did not cover with praise for his role in the war.

“Peeping through the pages of the memoir is the uncomfortable thought from MT’s perspective that the foreign secretary was combining with the Americans to outmanoeuvre her during the phase of Falklands diplomacy, not without success,” says Collins.

The first clash came on 24 April on the eve of the war, when Pym returned from Washington with American peace proposals, which he supported and tried to urge on his colleagues. Thatcher says: “This was to be one of the most crucial days in the Falklands story and a critical one for me personally. Early on Saturday morning Francis came to my study in No10 to tell me the results of his efforts. The document he brought back was a complete sellout.”

She told him so in the most direct terms, telling him they would rob the Falklanders of their freedom and was angered to discover he still insisted on putting them before the key cabinet committee: “A former defence secretary & present foreign secretary of Britain recommending peace at that price. Had it gone through the committee I could not have stayed,” she wrote. The row was defused by the simple expedient of putting the plan to the Argentinians first, who refused to accept the terms.Read more HERE

(RG)They all stabbed her in the back in the end.