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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2007, 03:36 GMT 04:36 UK
UK held secret talks on Falklands
British Task Force sailing to the Falklands
The UK sent a Task Force to reclaim the Falklands in 1982
The UK and Argentina held secret talks over the future of the Falklands six years before the two countries went to war over the islands, it has emerged.

Documents from the National Archives at Kew show the UK considered allowing Argentina to build a base in 1976.

The papers show the government was aware that it would come under criticism if the talks were leaked.

The UK reclaimed the Falklands in the 74-day conflict following an Argentine invasion of the islands in 1982.

Argentine claim

A memo from the then Foreign Secretary Anthony Crossland said: "We would come under criticism for negotiating behind the islanders' backs."

Argentina has had a long-standing claim over the British South Atlantic territory which it calls the Malvinas.

Some 255 British servicemen, more than 650 Argentines and three islanders were killed during the war.

Other documents released by the National Archives show the then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill "advised" the Duke of Windsor, who had abdicated as Edward VIII, not to attend the Queen's coronation in 1953.

The 2 June date for the coronation was also chosen to avoid a clash with the Derby horse race, it was revealed.


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