The Falklands – Right or Wrong by law?

Being as today – April 2nd 2016 is the 34th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War I thought I would apply myself to a little piece of International Law to examine the competing claims. Argentina invaded the islands to ‘reclaim’ them under what it saw as a ‘lawful right’ so I thought I would examine this by use of International Law. Now, I should add that this is difficult. What I want to see is a reconciliation between three nations; Argentina, The Falkland Islands and Great Britain. Oddly, Britain has the least to do with this. The sovereignty of the islands is in the hands of the people there. Here in Britain we don’t have a ‘position’ – ours is simply “What they want.” – It isn’t taught in schools in Britain as it is in Argentina, and most British people know very little about it. We leave the decision up to them. It’s the way of the world.

The Falkland Islanders are sometimes also quite confused by all of the ‘hype’. They are a close community, many eight or nine generations long, who can’t understand why a small piece of the world which they have always called ‘home’ should spark such a tug of war. In truth, they want ALL of us to leave them alone! They are a country in their own right. There is no ‘colonialism’ or ‘imperialism’ – just some people in their own home. A quiet corner of the world. Also – despite what the internet might have us all believe, many Argentines – probably most – view this as really not an important thing to everyday life. I have met a good few fanatics – but every cause has, and attracts, those in any country. This said, it is confusing why these islands and their people attract such fierce opinions, so i thought I should try, at least, to clear away a lot of the conjecture by a study of international law.

When it first came out, this post attracted a lot of attention – for good and bad. In this sense I have thought it prudent to write a slight update of the original. The biggest issue has been that – as is well known – I am currently writing a book about the Falklands war from both sides. The Argentine veterans – and one in particular – have all been outstanding. There is no hate nor malice and a general call for reconciliation. The men I have spoken to have been wonderful to deal with. This is not a post, therefore, which aims to promote bias or even opinions upon the subject, but simply a piece of interesting fact. One of the interesting things about the whole Falklands argument is the politics – who said what or wrote what, when, what they might have meant or inferred…historically this becomes a game of ‘one upmanship’ with seemingly no end and greater misunderstanding on both sides. The many ‘keyboard warriors’ who clamour for war or conquest seem to be very different from the men who actually did the real fighting – but such is so often the case.

What I have been asked to do, therefore, is to examine and write about a legal case which, having a little knowledge of from something else I was writing, I was asked to apply here. The hope is (and this is written retrospectively) that an understanding of the legal basis will lead to…well, more understanding. Sadly this is a case still wreathed in a lot of ignorance and opinion. The best result, surely, is that people stop calling for others to take up a cause and fight – and possibly die – for it. We know that those who shout loudest will be hiding under the bed anyway. So to those people who shout loudest and do the least and have not the slightest idea of what warfare is like, I thought I would present a case to silence the keyboard-warrior arguments.

Essentially, we are going to look at the five laws and then see if history can allow us to determine which, if any, apply on either side.

Now, International Law holds – and has always held that there are only five methods by which territorial sovereignty can be acquired; these being Cession, Effective Occupation, Accretion, Subjugation and Prescription. Let us define each and see the relevance to the Argentine case which, if it cannot be proven, must be voided:

1) Cession: a territory may be ceded by treaty under international law. Such cession of territory would include Hong Kong, the Louisiana Purchase, the purchase of Alaska or ongoing discussions with Canada in regards to the Turks & Caicos islands. This is a legal agreement between two volunteering states. Since the law of self-determination came in, it allows that, if a nation wishes to cede occupied territory to another, it must at least take into account the interests of the population. NOTE: There is not, not ever has been a law of ‘Succession’ – only of ‘Cession’ – and this clears up one massive piece of confusion straight away.

Does Cession Apply:  – For Argentina, the answer is no. Neither Britain nor Spain who both held competing claims, ever ceded the Falklands to Argentina by any agreement, implied or real. Technically, France, who held a garrison there which BOTH Britain and Spain protested, can be deemed as having ceded it claim to Spain, however (and here we get technical) Spain absolutely refused to recognise this as an act of cession or of purchase – money changed hands for ‘expenses’ although the wording of the contract was made to mean different things to different people by intention; something which angered Spain no small end . Moreover, the deal was not done between France and Spain but the St. Malo Company and Spain, which was also a touch ambiguous in terms of international law. However, Spain did recognise British sovereignty over the territories in 1863 (the same year that they recognised Argentine independence) which in itself is an implied act of cession – of course, Britain never accepted that territories which it had always called its own could be ceded by a foreign power anyway, but this is a moot point. Spain – who held a claim to those islands at one time – the ONLY other competing claim, recognised cession of that claim in favour of Britain. Britain could therefore claim an implied form of cession (and more likely ‘prescription’ – see below) whilst Argentina could not in this instance. Certain parties in Argentina often claim ‘Uti Possidetis Juris‘- which is not a law but a principle founded at the Congress of Lima in 1848 which uses law of cession – always with consenting signatories, to mutually settle territorial disputes. This does not apply to the Falklands in any way and is an agreement, not a law. It is an applied principle of the law of cession and nothing more.

2) Effective Occupation: Effective occupation occurs when free and newly-discovered territory has sovereignty enacted upon it for a considerable time. To use case law from three cases, such quotes from those rulings as “an intentional display of power and authority over the territory, by the exercise of jurisdiction and state functions, on a continuous and peaceful basis” (Eritrea case) – “by immemorial usage having the force of law, besides the animus occupandi, the actual, and not the nominal, taking of possession is a necessary condition of occupation. This taking of possession consists in the act, or series of acts, by which the occupying state reduces to its possession the territory in question and takes steps to exercise exclusive authority there” (Clipperton Islands Case) and “a definite title founded on continuous and peaceful display of sovereignty” (Palmas Case). Although ‘Effective Occupation’ is not a new concept, it has been Latinised to ‘Uti Possidetis de Facto’ – an application of this law which was successfully proclaimed by Brazil in the Congress of Lima in 1848 when determining its own borders against the former Spanish colonies.

Does Effective Occupation Apply: – Again, for Argentina the legal answer here is no. Argentina has never occupied the Falklands except by force over a period of 74 days in 1982. There was, of course, the case of Luis Vernet who occupied the islands between 1826-1832 with a small group of people (more than half of who were British ironically) but Vernet had asked permission of the British government to come and set up a ranching business, actually suggesting that it would show effective administration of the territory. Vernet was no patriot; he was a businessman playing both sides. When Britain grew concerned over his intentions and ordered him to withdraw, he refused, but was removed by the American ship USS Lexington in 1832 for acts of piracy against three of their ships. However, by contrast, Britain has held effective occupation for over 183 years of continuous and peaceful sovereignty which I think more than satisfies ‘immemorial usage‘ as prescribed by the International Court of Justice.

3) Accretion: Accretion is the physical expansion or territory perhaps as a result of the sea retreating or new territory being created by geological or volcanic means. Naturally this does not apply to any side in any case, so we can move on past this one quickly!

4) Subjugation: Subjugation or ‘Conquest’ occurs when a power physically takes by force a territory and holds it to the end of that conflict. This is directly associated with the idea of ‘Uti Possidetis Ita Possedeatis‘ – “As you possess – so may you continue to possess”(normally given as the most common form of Uti Possidetis and referred to by that more simple term) which pertains solely to ground ‘physically held’ at the end of a conflict. It became a legally accepted term and means of territorial acquisition in the early 1770’s but had died out by the mid-1800’s and was abolished by Article IV of the Hague Convention 1907.

Does Subjugation or Conquest Apply: – Again for Argentina the answer is no. At no time did Argentina subjugate or conquer the Falkland Islands and hold them at the end of any conflict. This puts to bed the idea of ‘Uti Possidetis‘ as no land in the Falklands was held at any time during the revolution from Spain. Britain could claim this from 1833 if so wished, however does not due to the fact that Britain always upheld Hawkins’ 1594 claim. You cannot conquer your own territory!

5) Prescription: Prescription is the acquisition of sovereignty by actual exercise of effective sovereignty over a territory for a ‘reasonable’ and sustained period – normally given as fifty years or more. This is applied in cases of extended negligence and forms the basis of ‘easement by prescription‘ law in use in most countries today. Importantly, the law does state that there should be ‘no protest or contest from the original sovereign.’

Does Prescription Apply: – Once again, for Argentina the clear answer here is no. Argentina has never exercised effective sovereignty over the Falklands except in the case of Vernet and the 1982 invasion – both of which cases were strongly protested and contested by the ‘original sovereign’ – Great Britain. Spain’s 1863 act of cession or of recognition made Britain the only original sovereign of the Falkland Islands. Britain can claim prescription over Vernet’s settlers and others and has held its title for a ‘reasonable and sustained period’ from at least 1863-present since Spain – the only other country which might claim a right to ‘original sovereignty’ formally recognised British sovereignty, thereby satisfying international law. Of course, Spain did begin a period of negligence from 1811 and a case for full British prescription can be made from then and certainly from 1833 onwards.

Conclusions and the case for each side.

Britain: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland can therefore claim Cession, Effective Occupation, Prescription and an implied Subjugation if it wished. It takes only one law to be found evident to prove sovereignty. Now, we should rationalise this however, and seek to understand it. The strongest cases are for Cession and Effective Occupation – Uti Possidetis Juris and Uti Possidetis de facto – Spain ceded its claim in 1863 and the settlers had been there uninterrupted since 1833 and so remain there today. Was there ‘Prescription’? – Well if one case be true, there was. If the other case be true, there would be no need for it anyway – and the same goes for ‘Subjugation’. In effect, and considering that ‘Accretion’ simply doesn’t apply in any case, every single one of the four points of International Law apply to the British case. If Spain held title then ‘Cession’, ‘Prescription’ and ‘Effective Occupation’ apply also. If Argentina ever did hold a claim then again ‘Subjugation’ and ‘Effective Occupation’ side the case to Britain. Finally we might add that, even allowing for an Argentina claim – although based, as we see, on no act of law, then Britain might rightly claim ‘Prescription’ from them and, we might allow, ‘Cession’ too. For in the 1850 Convention of Settlement, Britain and Argentina sat down to work out their differences and end any and all points of grievance. The resulting treaty assured that “all territory – unless otherwise specifically mentioned is to stay in the possession of the conqueror” – if Argentina ever did hold a claim, then here was an act of Cession. It has been argued that Rosas, signing for Argentina, might simply have overlooked the Falklands, but this is not so, for he had written to Lord Palmerston about them twice just before the Convention of Settlement, offering to drop any claim from Argentina. Following the Convention, Rosas wrote and asked if this did, in fact, include the Falkland Islands and was told absolutely yes, with Palmerston stating that “I understand the case to be exactly as described to me in your letters.” Notably, Argentina from here on ceased any protests towards Britain over its possession of the Falklands. There had been eleven protests between 1833-1849, but between 1849-1888 these protests stopped. Forty years of acquiescence until a letter was sent, ignored and the matter largely dropped until Peron placed it again before the UN in 1946.

Argentina: Seen against the legal – and also historical evidence, it is hard to see a justifiable basis for this claim; and that isn’t bias. Argentina cannot claim Cession – for there was none (although some try to confuse cession with ‘Succession’ for which there is no law), there was no Prescription, no Subjugation and no Effective Occupation either, and these are the ONLY ways in which sovereignty can be gained over a territory in this or any age. When the argument flares up, as ever it will, it comes down to these five laws only. However, I think it just and proper to explore some of the conjecture around this case. Firstly there is a case for the Falklands being part of the Argentine Continental Shelf – well the law has no basis for this. America might as well claim Mexico and Canada, or France claim Britain (which is much closer than Argentina is to the Falklands). The ICJ has rules that ‘Continental Shalf’ arguments are invalid as are proximity – something which Argentina should know since such a claim by Uruguay against Argentina was thrown out for these exact reasons in the late 20th century! Next is an argument that the British claim extended only to West Falkland (the Spanish being on East Falkland) – yet again this vanishes if we add that Spain ceded this territory to Britain and the whole has been under Effective Occupation since 1833. Finally there is a charge of ‘Abandonment’ by the British between 1775 and 1833 which should be addressed. The law of Prescription does – after all – allow for abandonment being taken into consideration, but for this we have to look at the prescriptions for this to be in effect. ‘Abandonment’ in those times was a legal definition which stated a period of fifty years or greater with no effective administration, no demonstration of continued usage of that land and a demonstration of no intent to return to that territory. However, Britain had always maintained the international stance that it would return to the Falklands. The plaque left there when the British garrison pulled out even stated as much. Britain administered anything to do with those islands throughout this period, appointed ministers to oversee South Atlantic possessions and relations, had sealing and whaling bases on them and administered and taxed the proceeds of those ventures. The Royal Navy used the islands frequently too and Lord Cornwallis even negotiated their status with Napoleon in the 1802 Treaty of Amiens – yes, even Napoleon – the world’s greatest statesman and military commander knew they were British.

Final thoughts: In conclusion, therefore, there is every legal right for the Falklands to be British and none for them to be Argentine. This is simply the law. There are some who might conjure up certain historical arguments – and we have dealt with those too, but let us be clinical; these all come back to the same five laws of Cession, Effective Occupation, Accretion, Subjugation and Prescription – and Argentina can answer to not one f those whilst the British case stands up from every angle on at least two or more of these laws.

The original ending of this post stated ‘Case closed’ – I wanted to expand upon that and, if I admit a fault, it is in being too headstrong. My purpose has been to quieten some who shout the most ignorance. Those who call for a war and seem to do it by stalking and ‘trolling’ ones friends and family which I have received a few times.

The law is not wholly ‘just’ – we all know this. There is a saying in the UK “The law is an arse” – it is. But without laws there is a problem. I would rather appeal to what is ‘morally right’ than what is ‘legally right’. If we were talking about some barren rocks in the south Atlantic, maybe with a small garrison – from whichever country – then maybe someone would have a case. But these are people. They are lives. Nobody in this day and age could possibly think that avenging some 200 year-old grievance on behalf of a few dozen long-dead men (most of whom were British) is worth disrupting the lives of 3,000 peaceful farmers in this day and age.

There is a new act of law which has come into effect, that of the “Enshrined Right of Self Determination to all People”, and surely this should answer everything. Yes, Britain holds right and title both legally and historically, but in the modern age, this is not a case purely for Britain. Since 1961 Britain has been proactively working to encourage her colonies of a bygone era to become independent. The United Nations has provided a way to do this in a safe and controlled environment. These fledgling nations are encouraged to achieve self-determination and then ‘free association’ with a country of their choice. Full independence is not a requirement, only that they always have the option. The Falkland Islands are getting there. A land and its people are indivisible. There are claims that “The land is ours, the people can be whatever they want” – well, legally no. The land is not Argentine, as we have seen. It never has been. This isn’t ‘against Argentina’, just ‘for the Falkland Islanders’ – I don’t think anybody has a right to claim anybody else’s home.

I believe that the Falklands may one day become an independent country and, if that is their wish, good luck to them! But they like being British, the same as someone from Tenerife likes being Spanish or someone from the USVI likes being American. They aren’t colonists, not are they colonised…they are just people in their own home and on their own piece of land. Most importantly their right; that of Self determination – is a law which trumps any and every law stated above. People are the law now – not land. It is wrong to claim somebody’s home, particularly when you don’t want to live there yourself. I bet that if those in Argentina who clamour for the Falklands were made to live there, they would soon stop shouting. It is a hard life on the islands…can anyone imagine CFK herself walking around the streets of Stanley in her Wellington boots and a woolly hat? In short, I think the people there have more than earned the right to call that place home.

Argentina is a vast and beautiful country. It occurs to me that the world would be a better place if everyone appreciated more what they had already and stopped trying to take from others who want nothing more other than what they have. A wise man told me once that there is only one race – the Human race. When we accept that, the rest is simple and laws are probably unnecessary.

For more on this, and also on my own personal views on the subject please view my latest post: https://rickydphillipsauthor.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/falklands-malvinas-lets-set-the-record-straight/

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “The Falklands – Right or Wrong by law?

  1. PURE LIES!The truth is here.uk RENOUNCE to MAlvinas at the treat of Utrech and NOOTKA!Argnetina is the rightful successor from Spain,by UP.We got the independence from Spain,and uk RECOGNIZED it.1825:uk SIGNED a treaty of Amity and commerce with Argneitna,and MADE NO RESERVATIONS fro MAlvinas,already with several Argentine governors…FOr the true history,see:.https://factsandfictionsofmalvinasislands.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/welcome-to-my-blog-2/

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    • Miguel – You are entirely wrong. International Law cannot be a lie – it is an absolute truth. If not, please feel free to state which of the five international laws on territorial acquisition Argentina has satisfied? – You will not be able to.

      The treaty of Utrecht was concluded with Spain (as was Nootka) and made no provision for the Falkland Islands – indeed you are ‘hoist by your own petard’ here because the Nootka Sound convention actually (by clever wording) renounced the Spanish claim! – But this is to get ahead of ourselves….Argentina is not Spain. There is (as we have seen) no ‘Law of Succession’ in existence, nor ever has been. Therefore there is no ‘rightful successor’ in any case whatsoever.

      Case Law proves – and has always proven that any agreement signed with a sovereign state does not apply to any successor state. It has always been so. Spain is Spain. Argentina is Argentina. There is no ‘succession’ – please read the law again. This is a complete fabrication to play upon the word ‘cession’ – and they are not the same thing.

      Spain did not recognise Argentine Independence until September 21st 1863. Britain recognised ‘The United Provinces’ as you were in 1825. We signed a treaty of Amity & Commerce – as you state. And yes, you are right, the Falklands were not included there…why? Because Argentina / UP had NEVER claimed them at this point. So why would anyone mention them? Your ‘claim’ only surfaced in 1828. Indeed if we may linger here a while, in 1825 Argentina produced a detailed description – and a map which submitted its territorial limits to Britain for recognition as a state – this made NO mention of the Falklands as claimed (your point is now crumbled to dust) and the subsequent map claimed the Falkland Islands as…wait for it…BRITISH.

      You have no ‘true history’ here. The Argentine government indoctrinates you all from birth to believe what you are taught. It is curriculum-based brainwashing from birth to death. It is not real though. What you are feeling is a psychological condition known as ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ whereby you have been fed so many untruths that your brain cannot accept anything which challenges that, in the face of all evidence and absolute proof.

      Finally, Argentina settled all disputes in the 1849/1850 Convention of Settlement – the preamble of which stated that it would settle ‘all outstanding disputes’ – the provision for territory (unless otherwise clearly stated) was that it would remain as sovereign territory of the owner. And so it was. Argentina signed away its claim.
      Rosas did come back to ask Lord Palmerston if it did indeed now mean that the Falkland Islands were British and if Argentina had renounced its claim. Palmerston produced two previous letters from Rosas offering to give up the claim and replied “I understand the matter to be exactly as described to me in your letters.”

      Argentina from here renounced its annual protest and claim (of which it made 11 in 17 years) and acquiesced to the ratification of that treaty, in full knowledge of having signed away its rights to claim, between 1849-1888 and in 1884 produced a now-famous map (the best then seen) detailing its territories (we should explain that these kept growing as your country exterminated and ethnically cleansed all of the Patagonian tribes over a forty-year period and annexed their lands) – and this map clearly stated that the Falklands were British!

      In 1888 Argentina asked Britain if it might like to reconsider the matter. Great Britain ignored the request. Your ‘claim’ was then dormant until Peron invented it for a national cause in 1946 and presented it to the United Nations in what has since been many times debunked as a travesty and a sham.

      In conclusion, my friend, you have satisfied not one of the International Laws for territorial acquisition and sovereignty. You have no claim. Argentina’s ‘claim’ to the Falklands is very much like the Nazi claim to ‘the master race’ – if you assert it often enough, people will believe it. But it is not real and it is not law.

      What it is, is fact. The Falklands are now, have always been and will always be British.

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      • Alex says:

        Since you believe that Argentina’s Malvinas claim is a result of brainwashing, can you please answer the following questions?
        1) How and why all the different factions and political parties that ruled the Argentinian government kept brainwashing in such a coordinated manner?
        2) How was the government able to supress the truth if the National Archives that supposedly debunked it offer all pertinent information to historians and not imprison any historian for saying the truth?
        3) How was the government able to supress the truth if no borders were closed and there was open communication with the rest of the world?
        4) How can Peron invent the claim, if the book written by Paul Groussac that supports Argentina’s claim, “Les Iles Malouines” written in 1910, and translated to Spanish by the Argentine government (and made required curricula) in the 1930s?

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      • I can answer well enough:

        1) Simply because, since Peron rehashed the ‘claim’ it has become a political mainstay. It is something which, with each successive government, brought further popularity. The politicians have funded that which makes them the most popular to the elctorate.

        2) The archives you speak of are in fact very closed, as dozens of respected historians and writers have found. What is there is a ‘de-facto’ case but in fact only really one half of the whole truth. I bet Vernet’s assertion in 1832 that there could be no such thing as a successor-state by law does not make the final cut, along with many other things?

        3) Simple – it didn’t need to. People always believe that which they wish to be true (Caesar said that) and once you get a people to feel in any way aggrieved or threatened, they will walk willingly into the honey-trap. Goebbels knew this too. You don’t need to suppress a willing populace – that is the art of good propaganda and promotion of cognitive dissonance to the truth.

        4) Simple – the history of the spurious ‘claim’ is a study in itself. Argentina signed away its claim in 1850 and ratified that by 38 years of happy acquiescence and acceptance. In 1888 a letter was sent to London to ask if we would reconsider the matter. Doubtless some felt aggrieved and others thought it would make a good political tool. But people write books for all sorts of reasons. Peron took this opinion (he probably read the book!) and fixed upon a popular cause to garner support. An ‘official’ version was decided upon, using words such as ‘pirates’ and ‘illegal usurpation’ and presented to the UN. This 1946 presentation has itself been debunked and found to be a laughable fabrication of lies and half-truths.

        However – none of what you mention deals with the crux of this issue. It all comes down to five laws. The only laws which exist – or have ever existed in the case of territorial acquisition and effective sovereignty. If it isn’t in accordance with these, then the Argentine claim is unlawful and spurious – as indeed it is. There is no lawful claim. There is no historic right. There is no ‘succession of states’ and there never has been. Even Vernet knew this. So what we have is opinion.

        The Argentine claim is based upon “It should be / We want it / It’s not fair” – and I am afraid that this sounds like the tantrums of a whining child, not the policy of a supposed responsible and grown up country in the modern world.

        It says much that, much as you may quote or question “Why this?” and “How comes that?” – All of this comes down to the law. What is lawful is just. Argentina can not claim these islands because it has no right to.

        To take this out of context: If I claim your house, if I write a book about it, invent a story, get your neighbours to agree that my version sounds right, if I keep repeating it, sit outside your house waving banners for you to come out and talk about giving me your house, if I log protests with the police and the local council about the fact that I think it should be my house and flood the internet with announcements about your many evils and how your house should be my house…..then does it become my house?

        The answer is ‘No’. Because cry as I might, and make a nuisance of myself as I might, it is your house.

        See how it works?

        Meanwhile, why don’t you tell me which of the five laws of Territorial Acquisition your claim is based upon? This should be a simple process for you which we can then discuss. I will take a failure to reply as your acceptance of the fact that you have no legal claim to the Falklands and are, in fact, just shelling out the same old diatribe which has been force-fed to you…

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      • Alex says:

        Argentina’s claim is based on the fact we had a garrison there which was expelled by force in 1833. Lawful or not, virtually everyone in Argentina believes that we have a right simply because we had a garrison there at a point where nobody else had one, and we fight for what believe is right. We do NOT believe what is lawful is always just.

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      • Well…. let us be reasonable. A garrison doesn’t constitute sovereignty. Suzerainty at best. I am learning to understand the Argentine viewpoint. However, is it ‘just’ that the rights of some garrison 200 years ago should trump the rights of peaceful people living happily in their homes in 2016? Where is the justice in taking from people today to avenge some implied injustice two centuries ago? I think personally that everyone should move on in a spirit of friendship. It is wrong to claim someone’s home. It is wrong to make people live in a way which they do not want. It is wrong to do harm to someone else because it will make you feel better. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t go there even if they were Argentine, you would just ‘feel better’ about some perceived ‘insult’ which has nothing to do with you. Right or wrong as actions 200 years ago might have been (and I should add that no force was used. The USS Lexington used force in 1832, the HMS Clio in 1833 used no force whatsoever) we have a saying “Two wrongs don’t make a ‘right’.” Politics, history, implied insults, national pride and everything else aside…why isn’t abandoning your claim not considered simply as “The nice thing to do”? Surely as a race – and I mean the human race – we are a little better than this? Argentina is an enormous and beautiful country. be proud of it. And let the Falkland Islanders be proud of their country which they love. It really isn’t a hard issue, it’s just pride. That never did anybody any good, did it?

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      • Alex says:

        You make a good point. I do not see Argentina dropping the claim in the short term, maybe in 50 years when the war veterans are gone.

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      • It is hard – and also complex to understand and, I would add, there is vast amount of misunderstanding surrounding the whole thing. Curiously, the entire thing seems – after a stack of research which I can really do nothing with – that it was largely a French plot by two very bitter men to have Britain and Spain at war with each other! – As ever, blame the French!! I think it is a hard thing and perhaps even a disrespectful thing to the Argentine veterans for Argentina to actually drop their claim and say “We were wrong” – it would feel like treachery to many. Instead, the easy thing would be to issue a statement, recognising the Falklands Islands Government and their status and saying “Let’s work together, let’s be friends” and meaning it. Just state that the new position of the government is one of friendship, not claiming, and that, if the Falklands ever opted for ‘free association’ with Argentina (which as an NSGT they are free to do) then the door would always be open. Surely honour would be even and everybody would be reconciled and much happier?

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    • BTW – The date was 1888 not 1884. 1884 was the year in which you submitted your famous map to the world which stated the Falklands as being British. Talk about putting your foot in it! And these six occasions were not by a court of arbitration (of which none existed in 1884 – or 1888 for that matter) – conversely Great Britain has – since Peron ‘invented’ the ‘claim’ in 1946 has tried on five occasions to discuss the matter and even dragged Argentina’s hide kicking and screaming to the International Court of Justice twice…the Argentine diplomats still ran away and failed to show up.
      Still, this is very big of Britain to do so against an aggressive quasi-Nazi state whose colonial ambitions led to a bloody war and an illegal invasion led against peaceful farmers in 1982. Britain, the world and the people of the Falkland Islands will never trust you again. The Junta fell, but Argentina is long since known as what the outstanding Historian Hugh Bicheno termed ‘another head of the Nazi Hydra’ – one head came off….your words, your claims, your sabra rattling….well, we all know what Hydras do, don’t we old chum?

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    • No such things happened. There were only three invitations to arbitration court; in 1947, 1948 and 1955 – on all three occasions, Britain instigated the move and Argentine stated that it would refuse to accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ. Britain actually submitted an internal report to see if Argentina would be open to a fourth attempt to arbitrate or mediate in the dispute. It was determined that Argentina did not wish to proceed with any legal means of arbitration. Your facts are atrocious.

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  2. Edward Davis says:

    I believe there is another piece of international law can be applied here I do believe that at one time the Americans removed the “Spanish” occupiers from the Islands and returned them to BA for attacking the American sealers I also believe it was a time the British had no presence there. they declared the actions of the Spanish as an “act of war” and as such having beaten then could have claimed the Islands as a spoil of war but instead declared “The Islands without Government” in those days that meant the territory belonged to no one not the Islands did not have a Government. I also Believe The British were the first to re occupy So if I remember what I read anything from before that time would be effectively null and void.
    To you Argentines learn English You are the pirates Piracy is where a criminal element take things by force from the rightful owners but does not include territory as Pirates were solitary and never formed governments. Piracy would be where the Criminals entered Port Egumont and stole the lead plaque declaring the Islands as British territory. Which now if rumor is correct resides in BA.
    And there have never been any Argentine Governors they were Spanish from the Spanish territory of Argentina which did not gain independence until after all the so called Governors had been and gone. But be aware if you claim the Falkland Islands because of having had Spanish Governors then Spain can claim back Argentina as they really did have governors officially appointed there and Britain could claim back parts of the USA and India.
    Holland , Portugal, Belgium, Germany Any country that held territory with a governor appointed could then claim that territory back by your way.

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    • You are right, although I will confirm or sharpen up a few points for you if that’s okay?
      Firstly yes, the USS Lexington did kick out Luis Vernet and his band (or most of them) for piracy. This in itself is interesting considering the charges of ‘Pirates’ always being brought against the British. The Argentine Government (such as it was, they had 24 coups and new governments in one year and three in one day during this period!) saved his skin by claiming that he had acted under their direct orders. It is also ironic that the Lexington’s destruction of the Port Louis settlement is attributed by Argentina to Britain as ‘proof of piracy’ – in effect, the real pirates are calling someone else pirates for something they did not do! Even the Andrew Jackson administration is on record twice as saying that Argentina had not one legal or historical basis to claim the islands which were British since 1594. There’s food for thought!

      The first ‘governor’ was the pirate Vernet (removed by the USA) the only other Argentine governor was Menendez in 1982 for a grand total of 74 days. Both were contested by Britain and the USA.
      America did not have a right to claim the islands as ‘without government’ which was more of an assertion of the Monroe doctrine than anything else.
      But this is to complicate the issue. The fact is that Argentina has not, nor has ever had a single legal claim to the Falkland Islands. There is no ‘historical claim’ without legality although, even if the two could be separated (which they cannot, the law is the law) then there is no historic claim either. What Argentina has is wild assertions, invented by Peron in 1946 and few to children in schools until they believe it (which is Goebbels’ own educational model) founded on a complete reinvention of the truth.

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    • Yes, though they are very clever about ducking it. They use ‘succession’ in place of ‘cession’ and claim the Treaty of Utrecht (which was with Spain, a hundred years before Argentina ever existed and which particular clause guaranteed Spain’s rights to the West Indies…about 3,000-4,000 miles from the Falklands! Talk about ‘Salic law’) and then the Nootka Sound Treaty which is a joke since this also was made with Spain in 1790 in which the wording actually cleverly made Spain sign to disavowing their claim – again Spain is not Argentina and this treaty did not signify ‘Cession’ in any form. There is a clear process for Cession. Their defence is largely “We are Spain, unless we are Argentina, in which case we were Spain but are not…unless it suits us” – it is a smoke screen. Spain recognised British ownership in 1863 when it formally recognised Argentina as an independent country. So if they ‘were’ Spain then they accept that the Falklands are British, whilst if they are not, then they cannot claim any ‘succession’ or any treaty. The trick is not to get blinded. Every single facet comes down to these laws only. Uti Possidetis is ‘Subjugation / Conquest’, Uti Possidetis Juris is a clever term which is just ‘Cession’. Effectively the Spanish recognition of British sovereignty was by ‘Prescription’. If it isn’t here, it does not count.

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