Defence and Oversea Policy Committee Sub-Committee on the South Atlantic and the Falkland Islands: minutes 1-67, memoranda 1-71

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 148/211
  • Date: 1982 April 23 - 1982 August 12

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 148/212
  • Date: 1982 April 6 - 1982 July 15

The Defence and Oversea Policy Committee, Sub-Committee on the South Atlantic, OD (SA), operated as a 'War Cabinet' during the Falklands conflict. It comprised of the Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, the Foreign Secretary, Francis Pym, the Home Secretary, Willie Whitelaw, the Secretary of State for Defence, John Nott, Conservative Party Chairman, Cecil Parkinson and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Terence Lewin. Other senior Defence and Foreign Office staff attended as required. The committee first convened to discuss the situation in the South Atlantic on 7 April 1982 and continued to meet regularly throughout the conflict. The minutes and memoranda in CAB 148/211 and CAB 148/212 can be used in conjunction with the briefs for the Prime Minister contained in PREM 19/643-653.

CAB 148/211 and CAB 148/212 have been digitised.

Falkland Islands Review Committee (chaired by Lord Franks): transcript of oral evidence by Lord Carrington (29 September 1982 and 29 December 1982)

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 292/22
  • Date: 1982 January 1 - 1982 December 31

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 292/62
  • Date: 1982 January 1 - 1982 December 31

Lord Carrington, who resigned as Foreign Secretary shortly after the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, was the only witness to be recalled to give evidence to the Falkland Islands Review Committee (the Franks inquiry). He feared this meant he would be singled out for criticism in the final report. In evidence, Lord Carrington defended the conduct of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the run-up to the Argentine invasion on 2 April and told the committee: 'I hope that you will judge my actions on what I knew and not what you know now'. He repeated his criticism of the decision to withdraw HMS Endurance from the region but said there was 'not one single person on my side in the Cabinet' and his efforts to change his colleagues' minds had been in vain. Lord Carrington insisted that there was 'no evidence' that Argentina had planned to use force to invade the islands.

CAB 292/22 and CAB 292/62 have been digitised.

Falkland Islands Review Committee (chaired by Lord Franks): transcript of oral evidence by the Prime Minister and others (25 October 1982)

  • Catalogue ref: CAB 292/47
  • Date: 1982 January 1 - 1982 December 31

A transcript of the Prime Minister's oral evidence to the Franks inquiry given behind closed doors in October 1982. Mrs Thatcher described in her own words the build up to the Argentine invasion, a moment she called the 'worst, I think, of my life'. Mrs Thatcher also admitted that she never had expected Argentina to invade as she considered it a 'stupid thing even to contemplate doing'. Despite his resignation over the crisis, former Foreign Secretary Peter Carrington received the full backing of the Prime Minister who described his loss to the committee as 'a devastating blow for Britain'.

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