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'Not Right, but British' (continued)

            The materiel went direct to Ascension Island, halfway between London and the Falklands. This ‘rugged, remote island ... became briefly the busiest airport in the world’.[19] Indeed, Ascension itself was a US contribution: though a British dependency, its airfield had been acquired by the US during World War 2. Without it, the RAF couldn’t have prosecuted a war against Argentina. ‘If Resolution 502 represented the key to the war in political terms, the use of the facilities at Ascension Island was the key to war in operational terms’.[20] The US was also persuaded ‘to move a military satellite from its Soviet-watching orbit over the northern hemisphere to cover the Falklands area’, using up fuel and thereby shortening its useful life.[21]

            The American support was kept secret from the press, and often enough was ‘concealed from senior members of both governments, to prevent embarrassment.’ Not even the British war cabinet, for example, knew that the US Navy was ready to turn USS Guam over to the Royal Navy if a British carrier were sunk.[22]

            The tilt finally became public on May 1, when the National Security Council voted to join European nations in an arms embargo and economic sanctions on Argentina. In the Security Council, a ceasefire resolution received a majority vote, with only Britain and the US voting against. Britain’s veto would have sufficed, but the American ‘naye’ was vital for Britain’s reputation in the United Nations.[23]

Conclusion

            Though influenced at the margins by Cold War considerations, US actions were based almost entirely on the historical relationship between the two countries. ‘I am for you’, a US Senator told Ambassador Henderson, ‘not because you’re right but simply because you’re British’.[24]


[19] Hore 2005, p. 215

[20] Moro 1989, p.43

[21] ‘Relationship’ 1984

[22] Ibid

[23] Claude 1983

[24] ‘Relationship’ 1984


Bibliography

            Claude, Inis (1983), ‘UN Efforts at Settlement of the Falklands Islands Conflict’, in Alberto Coll and Anthony Arend, eds., The Falklands War: Lessons for Strategy, Diplomacy, and International Law (Boston: George Allen & Unwin)

            Dillon, G. M. (1989), The Falklands, Politics and War (New York: St. Martin’s)

            Freedman, Lawrence (2005), ‘The Impact of the Falklands Conflict on International Affairs’, in Stephen Badsey et al, eds., The Falklands Conflict Twenty Years On (London: Frank Cass)

            Freedman, Lawrence, and Virginia Gamba-Stonehouse (1991), Signals of War: The Falklands Conflict of 1982 (Princeton: Princeton University Press)

            Gonzalez, Horacio (2005), ‘An Argentinian Airman in the South Atlantic’, in Stephen Badsey et al, eds., The Falklands Conflict Twenty Years On (London: Frank Cass)

            Hastings, Max, and Simon Jenkins (1983), The Battle for the Falklands (New York: Norton)

            Henderson, Nicholas (1983), ‘Case Study in the Behaviour of an Ally’, The Economist, 12 Nov 1983, pp. 49 et seq.

            Hore, Peter (2005), ‘The “Logistics Miracle” of Ascension Island’, in Stephen Badsey et al, eds., The Falklands Conflict Twenty Years On (London: Frank Cass)

            ‘Jeane Kirkpatrick’ (2006), The Economist, Vol. 381, No. 8590, p. 127

            Levie, Howard (1983), ‘The Falklands Crisis and the Laws of War’, in Alberto Coll and Anthony Arend, eds., The Falklands War: Lessons for Strategy, Diplomacy, and International Law (Boston: George Allen & Unwin)

            Martin, Lisa (1992), ‘Institutions and Cooperation: Sanctions During the Falkland Islands Conflict’, International Security, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 143+

            Middlebrook, Martin (2003), The Argentine Fight for the Falklands (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword) [originally The Fight for the ‘Malvinas’: The Argentine Forces in the Falklands War, 1989]

            Moro, Rubén (1989) (Michael Valeur, tr.), The History of the South Atlantic Conflict: The War for the Malvinas (New York: Praeger), translation of La Guerra Inaudita: Historia del Conflicto del Atlantico Sur (Buenos Aires: Editorial Pleamar, 1985)

            ‘Relationship Sweet and Sour, A’ (1984), The Economist (3 Mar 1984), pp. 23+

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