Falklands War 1982 – the first 3 days of April

1 Apr

April 1st – the President of the United Nations’ Security Council appeals to Argentina not to invade.
US Secretary of State, Alexander. Haig, sends a message to Lord Carrington, indicating that the United States Government will do all it can to help.

In Buenos Aires, the British Ambassador asks for, and is given, a written statement of the Argentine position; “Since the problem raised is disregard of Argentine sovereignty, – I judge pointless the despatch of a person to examine the events in the Georgias since Argentina considers this incident resolved. In fact the workers there are carrying out their tasks under normal lawful conditions without any breach of the agreement previously reached between our two countries – bearing in mind the antecedents and course of the negotiations undertaken from 1964 to today we would have accepted the despatch of the representative proposed by Great Britain if his task had been to negotiate the modalities of transferring sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and their dependencies to the Argentine Republic which is essentially the central cause of the present difficulties. I cannot omit to draw attention to the unusual British naval deployment towards our waters reported in the international press which can only be interpreted as an unacceptable threat of the use of military force. This obliges us to refer to the UN organization where Argentina will circulate a note on the antecedents of this case.”

At the UN, the British representative, Sir Anthony Parsons, demands from the Security Council a Resolution calling on the Argentine Government to refrain from the use of force in the South Atlantic.

Argentina responds that: “It was ironic and inadmissible for the Council to be convened by the United Kingdom on that day to consolidate the spoils of colonial plundering. Argentina rejected being accused when in fact what should be judged, if justice was to be served and peace preserved, was the conduct of the accuser.”

Intelligence reports suggest that a naval task force will be assembling off Stanley the following morning. This is relayed to Governor Hunt, and relayed to the British Ambassadors in Washington, New York and Buenos Aires.

Governor Hunt warns the population of the Islands, and places the Royal Marines detachment on stand-by.

British forces in the UK are put on immediate notice of deployment.

ARA Guerrico, an Argentine navy corvette with two helicopters and 40 marines aboard, joins the Bahia Paraiso at South Georgia.

April 2nd – US President Reagan telephones General Galtieri in the early hours of the morning to warn him of the potential  consequences of an invasion. Galtieri rejects the President’s offer of mediation.

Governor Hunt declares a  State of Emergency on the islands at 3.25am.

Operation Rosario commences at 4.30am with Argentine special forces landing at Mullet Creek.

Moody Brook Barracks are attacked, but the Royal Marines have already left.

5.30am: Argentine Marines land in amphibious vehicles at York Bay.
6.30am: special forces attack Government House, encountering the British defences, and Argentina suffers the first casualties of the conflict.
7.15am: an armoured column making its way from Yorke Bay to Stanley is engaged by a small party of Royal Marines.
The main invasion force arrives off Stanley at 8.30am.
9.15am: Governor Hunt surrenders the town.

Brigadier General Mario Menendez is appointed as Argentina’s governor on the renamed ‘Malvinas’.
Rex Hunt, his staff , together with the surrendered Royal Marines, are airlifted to Montevideo.

At 4.30pm, the Governor’s telex-operator has a conversation with an operator in London.
LON (London): HELLO THERE WHAT ARE ALL THESE RUMOURS WE HEAR THIS IS LONDON
FK (Falklands): WE HAVE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS
LON: WHAT ABOUT INVASION RUMOURS
FK: THOSE ARE THE FRIENDS I WAS MEANING
LON: THEY HAVE LANDED
FK: ABSOLUTELY
LON: ARE YOU OPEN FOR TRAFFIC IE NORMAL TELEX SERVICE
FK: NO ORDERS ON THAT YET ONE MUST OBEY ORDERS
LON: WHOSE ORDERS
FK: THE NEW GOVERNORS
LON: ARGENTINA
FK: YES
LON: ARE THE ARGENTINIANS IN CONTROL
FK: YES YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH THOUSANDS OF TROOPS PLUS ENORMOUS NAVY SUPPORT WHEN YOU ARE ONLY 1600 STRONG. STAND BY.

President Galtieri broadcasts the initial success of the invasion and is greeted by jubilant crowds (estimates exceed 200,000), in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.

Britain breaks off diplomatic relations and gives Argentina’s Ambassador 4 days to leave the country.
An emergency meeting of the Cabinet approves the formation of a task force to retake the islands.
Australia, New Zealand and Canada withdraw their Ambassadors from Argentina.

A Decree from the new Governor, activates a postal code designation for the Falklands – 9409
Jeane Kirkpatrick, the US President’s foreign policy adviser, goes on American television to assert; “ .. that if the islands rightly belonged to Argentina its action could not be considered as ‘armed aggression’.”

April 3rd – at 7.30am local time on South Georgia, the commander of the ARA Bahia Paraiso demands the surrender of Grytviken, erroneously claiming that Governor Hunt has already surrendered the Dependencies.

11.40am: Argentine troops are transported by helicopter from the Bahia Paraiso to King Edward’s Point on South Georgia. A squad of Royal Marines engage the Puma helicopters bringing one down.
11.47am: ARA Guerrico gives supporting fire, but her guns jam after only half a dozen rounds have been fired.
11.59am: one seaman on the ARA Guerrico  is killed by small arms fire from Royal Marines on the shore.1 More Argentine troops land from the Bahia Paraiso.
12.48am: outnumbered, Royal Marines commander, Lieutenant Keith Mills, surrenders South Georgia.

Prime Minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, speaks to Parliament which is sitting in emergency session; ” The House meets this Saturday to respond to a situation of great gravity. We are here because, for the first time for many years, British sovereign territory has been invaded by a foreign power. After several days of rising tension in our relations with Argentina, that country’s armed forces attacked the Falkland Islands yesterday and established military control of the islands…. “

On the advice of two former Prime Ministers, Harold Macmillan, and James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher forms a committee to oversee the crisis. Dubbed the ‘War Cabinet’, the committee is made up of, in addition to the PM, Foreign Secretary Francis Pym, Defence Secretary John Nott, Home Secretary William Whitelaw, Chancellor of the Exchequer Geoffrey Howe and Conservative Party Chairman Cecil Parkinson.

The Bank of England freezes all Argentine assets and Argentine imports are banned.
Argentina responds by a tit-for-tat freezing of British assets and a ban on imports.
A diplomatic approach is made to the European Union and, in particular, West Germany, for an embargo of goods to, and from, Argentina.
France agrees to stop supplying Argentina with Exocet missiles, Super Etendard aircraft and Pucara aircraft engines. She  will also withdraw her technical teams.

At the United Nations, Sir Anthony Parsons, engineers the passage of a Security Council Resolution. During the debate, Argentina’s representative states; “.. that his Government had proclaimed the recovery of its national sovereignty over the territories of the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands in an act that responded to a just Argentine claim, an act of legitimate defence in response to the acts of aggression by the United Kingdom. Argentine jurisdiction extended throughout the islands, an Argentine Governor being there. He emphasized that in that manner an end had been put to a situation of tension and injustice that had been a constant element of disturbance to international peace and security. He added that his country would act in conformity with the principles and purposes of the Charter and make every effort to reach a just and peaceful solution.”

Security Council Resolution 502 – 
” The Security Council,
Recalling the statement made by the President of the Security Council at the 2345th meeting of the Security Council on 1 April 1982 calling on the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to refrain from the use or threat of force in the region of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas),
Deeply disturbed at reports of an invasion on 2 April 1982 by armed forces of Argentina,
Determining that there exists a breach of the peace in the region of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas),
1. Demands an immediate cessation of hostilities;
2. Demands an immediate withdrawal of all Argentine forces from the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas);
3. Calls on the Governments of Argentina and the United Nations to seek a diplomatic solution to their differences and to respect fully the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

 

Taken from The Falklands Islands History – http://falklandstimeline.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/falklands-history6.pdf

http://falklandstimeline.wordpress.com/1982-2/

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