The Falklands War’s 30-Year Dénouement

GENEVA – In April 1982, the United Kingdom faced the imminent use of force by the Argentine junta in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). When Sir Anthony Parsons, the UK representative to the United Nations, appeared before the Security Council to call for action, he did not do so “to discuss the rights or wrongs of the very longstanding issue between Great Britain and Argentina over the islands in the South Atlantic.” The British were requesting Security Council action for one reason: “to deter any threat of armed force.”

Parsons submitted a draft, which became Security Council Resolution 502, demanding the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of the Argentine forces, and calling on both governments “to seek a diplomatic solution to their differences.” The rest of the story is well known.

On June 14, 1982, the Argentine forces surrendered to the British Commander. The hostilities had ended, but the dispute over the Falklands’ sovereignty remained. Soon after the conflict, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution requesting that Argentina and the UK resume negotiations in order to find a peaceful solution to the sovereignty issue as quickly as possible. The British government, however, refused to talk.

Now, on the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, the British government remains steadfast that there will be no sovereignty negotiations with Argentina unless the islanders so request, because their right to self-determination must be respected.