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Chapter Seventeen THE PERUVIAN INITIATIVE Just before the fighting began in earnest Francis Pym, who was still anxious to continue to explore diplomatic options, gained agreement from his colleagues to meet with UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar. But this was not the only reason why he left for the United States on ι May. He was to discuss with the US Administration how best to implement its latest declaration of support for Britain. On his arrival in Washington he underscored the changed circumstances by observing that whereas the previous week he had come to visit a negotiator, now he came to visit an ally. According to Sir Nicholas Henderson (then British Ambassador in Washington) this remark 'made some members of the Administration wince'. The effect was not wholly unintentional.1 Pym's first meeting was with Secretary of Defence Weinberger to discuss US military assistance. A meeting with Secretary of State Haig was arranged for the next morning and dinner with the UN SecretaryGeneral in New York for the evening of 2 May. On the British side there was therefore no expectation of an imminent new peace initiative and so there had been no prior discussion of how best to handle such an initiative. Since much of the Argentine diplomatic strategy had been, through­ out, to persuade the United States to put pressure on Britain to reach a settlement, the end of the American initiative had reduced their options. It has been suggested that as a result of the military action on ι May the Argentine Junta was anxious for a settlement.2 However, as 272 The Peruvian Initiative was noted above, the Argentine view of the day's events had been much more positive. The assessment of the Chiefs of Staff was that a British attempt to land forces on the Falklands had failed - partly through their own incompetence and partly through the resistance shown by Argentine forces. The losses suffered by the task force were significant, especially in terms of its limited air power, and would render it difficult to mount further attacks. An analysis of the British media revealed a concern with casualties, which explained the apparent unwillingness of the British Government to acknowledge those that had been suffered.'3 With this assessment there was no reason for a more conciliatory attitude and every reason to expect one from Britain. The Origins ofthe Initiative From 30 April, after the announcement of the US 'tilt', there appears to have been some contact between Peruvian and American diplomats. They had alerted the State Department team working on the Falklands to a possible Peruvian initiative. However, when the British Ambassador to Lima, Charles Wallace, met the Peruvian Foreign Minister on the morning of 1 May, he was not given any indication of an imminent effort at mediation. Wallace had asked for a meeting with the Deputy Minister to explain current British policy. He was then invited to see the Foreign Minister, who asked if there were ways 'in which the Peruvians could help break the diplomatic deadlock'. Although he lacked instructions from London, Wallace took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of Resolution 502, stress the difficulties faced by Haig as a result of 'the different lines taken by some of his interlocutors in Argentina' and to suggest that 'it was clear that Argentina attached great importance to the attitudes and opinions in Peru ... Peru could usefully exert its influence ... in convincing Argentina to implement Resolution 502 without any preconditions as soon as possible.' In the ensuing conversation reference was made to Pym's forthcoming visit to Washington.4 President Fernando Belaunde Terry, apparently alarmed by the 273 Collision surge of fighting on that day, decided to set in motion his own initiative. During the morning his officials worked on some ideas of their own, possibly in contact with Argentine officials. After the President and his advisers had met to analyse the situation,5 he decided to ring President Reagan, who was out of town at the time. Half an hour later Haig rang back. According to Belaunde: He told me: 'President Reagan's not in Washington right now. He's in Knoxville, opening an exhibition. But I know that you are very concerned, and so are we. What can we do? How can you help us?' I told him plainly that I was on very good terms with Argentina and that I understood his negotiations with her had not succeeded. 'That's right,' Haig agreed, 'there was intransigence on both...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400861583
MARC Record
OCLC
889251506
Pages
512
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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