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Interest in the oil resources around the Falklands was never a secret

14 May, 2020

• THE interest of successive British (and Argentinian) governments in the oil resources around the Falkland Islands was never a secret.

It seems unlikely, to judge by the review of her book on the origins of the 1982 war, that Dr Grace Livingstone’s researches will be found to have added much of substance to our existing knowledge (That sinking feeling, Review, May 7).

It certainly doesn’t follow that economic policy rather than sovereignty – and the protection of British citizens from a peculiarly brutal regime – was the cause of Britain’s decision to go to war; nor does it justify in the slightest degree the reviewer’s categorical assertion that “when Thatcher attacked the Belgrano she was more interested in oil than islanders”.

Incidentally, bearing in mind that 323 people died in that attack I wonder whether I am alone in finding your headline peculiarly tasteless?

As for Margaret Thatcher’s relations with the Chilean leader General Augusto Pinochet, governments of various political colours, not only the United Kingdom but in Europe, America and China, had supported his regime for almost a decade.

It should also be remembered that Chile gave vital assistance to our troops at a time when they were dangerously exposed in the South Atlantic.

Pinochet’s subsequent arrest during a private visit to London has always seemed to me one of the more shameful and cowardly official actions in recent British history.



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