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1982 Apr 9 Fr
Archive (Rentschler MSS)

Falklands: Jim Rentschler diary (Haig shuttle) [arrives in Buenos Aires]

Document type: Declassified documents
Document kind: Diary
Venue: -
Source: Thatcher Archive (copy of the text per the late Ambassador Rentschler)
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Jim Rentschler was the NSC official responsible for European matters, who handled the Falklands for the White House throughout the crisis. He gave a photocopy of the original diary to the Margaret Thatcher Foundation for publication in 2003. The full Falklands diary can be read here as single text.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 390 words
Themes: Defence (Falklands War, 1982), Foreign policy (USA)

Friday 9 April 1982

A beautiful blue-sky morning here in Central London, with just enough time for a quick pace around Portman Square before moving off in a Good Friday motorcade to Heathrow. Some thirteen hours of flight time (fifteen total elapsed) lie ahead on the long dog-leg route across the South Atlantic to Argentina, the first part of which lands us in Dakar for refuelling. . [fo.154 begins]

Airborne again, we are still racing the sun in its westerly course and are just now beginning to lose, having kept pace with it most of the day. There is another four-hour leg ahead of us, some of which I devote to a good steak dinner, and the rest to a mixture of reading, writing and snoozing. Also a few asides with the SecState [Secretary of State Haig] who, exiting from the VIP head, beards me in the front cabin while I am bent over my Thatcher dinner memcon and tells me that Begin [Prime Minister of Israel] is now poised to strike in southern Lebanon. Terrific! - just what our gallant delegation leader needs at this particular moment. The Middle East seems remote by the time we reach B.A. - 10 p.m. Argentina time, but god only knows what hour it must be back in London, let alone inside my bod [sic] - and motorcade down a highway I last traversed in December of 1959. Such a melancholy memory trip .

But the knots of cheering people en route and the klaxoning of the car horns interrupt this sad reverie; the local patriots are waving their blue-and-white flags and chanting AR-GEN-TIN-A AR-GEN-TIN-A! We will here this sound from larger and larger crowds before we leave B.A. Meanwhile, towering above the Retiro train station and the dark vastness of the River Plate, our headquarters on the 23rd floor of the Buenos Aires Sheraton provides a spectacular view of the nighttime city, long and loudly animated by the tooting car horns below us. One ironic note: this Sheraton site is built on the same plaza which holds the Torre Inglesa, a clocktower built to commemorate English naval exploits on the river a century ago. It registers 1 a.m. by the time I settle into a very comfortable bed, a good place to be after having touched down in four different continents within 48 hours ...

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