Argentina 1976–2 April 1982
This chapter explains why the Argentine coup had less impact on the British labour movement than the overthrow of Allende in Chile. It notes that Labour and Conservative policies towards the Argentine military regime were not markedly different; both promoted arms sales and imposed no sanctions. It provides evidence that ministers violated their own guidelines on human rights and outlines the political and military links between Britain and the junta. It argues that the pro-business outlook of the FCO made it receptive to lobbying by British arms manufacturers. It asserts that standard British accounts have downplayed the importance of economic and strategic factors in the Falklands dispute. It provides evidence that the British government was interested in the oil and marine resources in the South Atlantic and Antarctica and outlines how this affected policy towards the Argentine regime. It also discusses whether the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands could have been prevented.