Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands has been comprehensively rejected by a catalogue of facts gleaned from original sources in Argentine and United Kingdom archives by two British researchers, Doctor Graham Pascoe and Peter Pepper.
They presented their findings, based on eight years of dedicated research, at a seminar (on Tuesday) in the London School of Economics to refute assertions made by the Argentine Embassy in London at the same university in December at which the Argentine claim was publicly presented in Britain for the first time. The British researchers say Argentina's statements, like Argentine books, leaflets and letters to British Members of Parliament, contain many serious errors and are guilty of many relevant omissions. Dr Pascoe, a language lecturer, and Mr Pepper, who has unrivalled knowledge of early events in the 175-year dispute, outlined their copious findings to an audience including members of the Falkland Islands Association led by their chairman, Mr David Tatham, a former Governor of the Falkland Islands, the Falkland Islands Government London representative, Sukey Cameron, a British Foreign Office representative, academics and journalists. Their conclusions are to be published in a one-thousand page book entitled "The Falklands Saga: A Critical Study of the Falkland Islands in History and International Law". This will be lodged in universities and other centres of research as an invaluable research tool, whose importance and relevance is enhanced by the fact that it is based on examination of original sources in London and Buenos Aires, archives, hitherto not available in United Kingdom and Argentine research documents. The researchers claim that their study has also detected serious historical errors in the recently published "Official history of the Falklands Campaign" compiled by war historian, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman.. They have pointed out these errors to the British Government. Alongside their presentation the two British researchers have published a forty-page booklet entitled "Getting it Right: The Real History of the Falklands/Malvinas"which is to be made available to the Argentine and British Governments and to the United Nations and the Organisation of American States which annually debates the dispute. This booklet contains a useful summary of the researchers' main findings, which stretch back to declarations by Pope Alexander in 1492 granting all new lands in the Americas to Spain following their discovery by the explorer Christopher Columbus, centuries before the Falkland Islands were themselves discovered and before the modern Argentine State was founded. Argentina did not inherit a unitary claim to the Falkland Islands from Spain as it claims. (Modern Popes and the Vatican Foreign Office attach no validity now to these ancient Papal declarations and say the issue is for modern academics to work out.). The British researchers say these Papal pronouncements were made by "the most corrupt and immoral Pope in history" who was also a Spaniard. The researchers' conclusions say that British and Spanish Treaties of the 17th and 18th century do not prohibit British possession of the Falkland Islands and that a 1825 Anglo-Argentine Treaty of Friendship and Navigation does not support Argentina's sovereignty claim as Argentina incorrectly asserts. The researchers reject Argentine arguments that Britain expelled an Argentine population from the Falklands in 1833: they continued to live there. Argentina dropped sovereignty claim in 1850Argentina dropped its claim to the Falkland Islands by ratifying the 1850 Convention of Settlement. Failure to mention this is a "gross distortion of history" by Argentina. Argentina did not mention the Falklands to Britain for the next 34 years nor did any message to the Argentine Congress refer to it for 91 years until 1941. The Argentines also published thousands of copies of a map which indicated that the Falklands were not Argentine territory. The Argentine argument that the Falkland Islanders have no claim to self-determination – a principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter – is "absurd. They have the same right to self-determination as any other immigrant people in the New World. The Argentines have never had a valid claim to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. These islands were claimed by Argentina only after the Second World War after decades of acquiescence and acknowledgment of British sovereignty". The British researchers say the 2007 Argentine London seminar and pamphlets do not make a case for sovereignty. "All these islands are British... The Falklands dispute was ended over 150 years ago with Argentina's agreement, there is no need for any 'solution'". The chairman of the meeting, Professor George Philip of the London School of Economics also pointed out that Britain's case rests on 175 years of peaceful British settlement, (interrupted only by Argentina's 1982 aggression of invasion and occupation, ended by the British Task Force.). By Harold Briley, London