Mar 21, 2013 / 9:00 pm
Margaret Thatcher felt betrayed by close ally President Ronald Reagan over the Falkland Islands, according to newly released papers that reveal how isolated Britain's prime minister was in her determination to repel the Argentine invasion by force.
When Argentina seized the British territory off the South American coast in April 1982, Thatcher's government presented a united front in public.
But private papers released Friday by the Thatcher archive at Cambridge University show that the British leader's closest advisers urged her to negotiate over the islands' future rather than go to war. And the Reagan administration backed a peace plan that called for Britain to drop its insistence on self-determination for the islanders, a stance that led Thatcher to say Anglo-American friendship had brought her "into conflict with fundamental democratic principles."
The war was one of the pivotal moments of Thatcher's career. But many doubted she would triumph in retaking the South Atlantic islands, 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometres) from London and home at the time to fewer than 2,000 people.
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