Dodgy French ratbags tried to smuggle Exocets to the Argies

Margaret Thatcher gave Francois Mitterand a good bollocking after the Poms found out that the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys were trying to smuggle Exocets into Argentina at the height of the Falklands war:

Margaret Thatcher warned that Britain’s relationship with France would suffer a “devastating” blow if the latter allowed Exocet missiles to be smuggled to Argentina during the Falklands War.

In a secret telegram to French president Francois Mitterand, the Prime Minister even cast doubt on the future of the Nato alliance, should he fail to stop shipments of the anti-ship missile, then being used with awful effect against Britain’s task force in the South Atlantic.

The sea-skimming Exocet was the most feared weapon in the Argentinian armoury, accounting for the destroyer Sheffield and the container ship Atlantic Conveyor, and posing a mortal threat to Operation Corporate, the mission to recover the Falklands.

Fortunately for Britain, only five of the missiles, manufactured by France’s Aerospatiale, had been delivered before the invasion of the islands on April 2 1982.

One had been used up in training and following the attacks on Sheffield and Atlantic Conveyor just one was left. The junta was desperate for more.

Files released at the National Archives in Kew today convey Whitehall’s desperation to stem the flow of Exocets, even to the extent of considering an attack on a suspected shipment in neutral Brazil.

So febrile was the atmosphere that the Attorney-General, Sir Michael Havers, suggested his own “James Bond” plan to deal with the threat.

Thatcher’s broadside to Mitterand came on May 29, four days after the sinking of Atlantic Conveyor and her cargo of troop-carrying helicopters considered vital to the British advance on Port Stanley.

The French president had telephoned the Prime Minister to say that Peru, an ally of Argentina, was pressuring his country to deliver a batch of Exocets ordered before the war.

The British were in no doubt about the true destination of the missiles and Thatcher made it clear that the French would pay dearly for putting their reputation as a reliable arms supplier before the Anglo-French alliance.


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  • Gazzaw

    Maggie probably reminded the French of their somewhat lacklustre martial record (Agincourt, Crecy, Quebec, Trafalgar, Nile, Waterloo & sundry Peninsular War battles to name but a few) against England. Their only significant victory at Hastings was in fact gained by the Normans (a bunch of Scandinavian overstayers) and not the French. One would not have expected any better from the French in endeavouring to supply Exocets to the Argies. True to form.

    • Travis Poulson

      Still, having said that one can only wonder what the outcome would have been if they had shipped them more Exocets. Next question is, why? Rid their country of krauts and what do you get in return? a stab in the back.

      • Richard McGrath

        I would like to have seen Thatcher bomb a few French nuclear power plants as a disincentive.

  • Al

    Do you know who the All Black was who beat up the elderly man? It’s unclear whether he got name suppression so they’re all playing it safe.

    • Gazzaw

      Eh? Should you be calling Sportstalk?

    • Travis Poulson

      What does that have to do with this post? This isn’t the general debate thread.

    • Off topic. Do you fancy a ban?

    • Richard McGrath


  • Sooty

    What else would you expect from from a bunch of frenchies?

  • ConwayCaptain

    Oh Well Frank the Dutchman is leading LA Belle France into La Merde. Herman Van Rumpoy is saying that if Britain leave the UK the EU could collapse.
    Well Les Crapauds, Les Eyties, El Espanols and the rest are doing a very good job of breakinmg up the EU on theor own account,

  • Greg

    The French only side where there’s a benefit to themselves, they have no loyalty and very short memories eg second world war.

    • Gazzaw

      And even then Greg loyalties were very much divided. France had by far the highest percentage of collaborators and over 30,000 French volunteers served in the Charlemagne SS Division alone. Sure there were more served in the Free French forces and there was a very active resistance movement but the numbers who actually served and cooperated with the Germans were very high given that Germany had invaded France three times in seventy years.

  • A.random.reader

    If American gun manufacturers aren’t responsible for the actions of people using their guns.

    Then why would the French be responsible for the actions of the Argentinians using their missiles?

    You can’t have it both ways.

    • Greg

      What a dumb statement!