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Montevideo, December 2nd 2022 - 06:06 UTC

 

 

Copy of 1983 Franks Report on events leading to Falklands War, becomes part of Islands' heritage

Thursday, March 3rd 2022 - 09:54 UTC
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Lord Lee of Trafford hands the copy at the Falklands' Government Office in London to representative Richard Hyslop Lord Lee of Trafford hands the copy at the Falklands' Government Office in London to representative Richard Hyslop
The Franks Report copy with the signatures of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Secretary of Defense, John Nott  The Franks Report copy with the signatures of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Secretary of Defense, John Nott

A copy of the 1983 Franks Report signed by Margaret Thatcher and Minister of Defense John Nott has been donated to the Falkland Islands Historic Dockyard Museum as part of the 40th anniversary of the Liberation of the Islands.

The Franks Report officially the Falkland Islands conflict review was produced by the Franks Committee, looking at the decisions taken by the UK government in the run up of the 1982 invasion and occupation of the Falkland Islands by the Argentine military government.

The copy was donated by Lord Lee of Trafford at the Falklands' Government Office in London to representative Richard Hyslop.

In July 1982 then Prime Minister Thatcher announced that following consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and from other parties the government had decided to appoint a committee of Privy Counsellors, under the chairmanship of Lord Franks, with the purpose “to review the way in which the responsibilities of Government in relation to the Falkland Islands and their Dependencies were discharged in the period leading up to the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982, taking account of all such factors in previous years as are relevant; and to report”.

The Committee called as witnesses all the parties it considered relevant to its deliberations. These included Thatcher, the then Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, and other members of the cabinet. It also looked at the use of intelligence information and how this was presented to the UK Government.

The Committee's report was presented to parliament by Mrs. Thatcher on 18 January 1983. Whilst critical of some of the actions of the government, the report cleared the government of any blame for the invasion. The report concluded that the Committee “would not be justified in attaching any criticism or blame to the present Government for the Argentine junta's decision to commit its act of unprovoked aggression”. It argued that the invasion “could not be foreseen” but that some British Government policies “may have served to cast doubt on British commitment to the Islands and their defense”.

However the Franks Report has been mired in controversy since its publication, and described as “a classic establishment job”. It is reported that Thatcher read the main conclusions of the report to cries of “whitewash” and ironic cheers from the opposition.

Lord Franks is reported to have believed that, while there must be some criticism of government actions, as no government can be held to blame for the reckless aggression of another, there could be “no hanging conclusion”. To the charge of a whitewash, he is reported as saying that it should be remembered the report was produced in the aftermath of victory and that “there is a time and place for blame”, and that the report should be read carefully and to read between the lines.

William Wallace of Chatham House also interpreted the Franks Report as containing two readings. According to Wallace, on first reading it “exonerated the government in office of all blame”, but could also be read as a coded document much more critical of British government policy from 1977 to 1982 and less damning of the intelligence apparatus.

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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