Thatcher 'threatened to nuke Argentina'
Margaret Thatcher forced François Mitterrand to give her the codes to disable Argentina’s deadly French-made missiles during the Falklands war by threatening to launch a nuclear warhead against Buenos Aires, according to a book.
Rendezvous—The psychoanalysis of François Mitterrand, by Ali Magoudi, who met the late French president up to twice a week in secrecy at his Paris practice from 1982 to 1984, also reveals that Mitterrand believed he would get his “revenge” by building a tunnel under the Channel which would forever destroy Britain’s island status.
The book, to be published on Friday, is one of several on France’s first Socialist president to mark the 10th anniversary of his death on January 8 1996. Despite a now tarnished reputation, he remains a source of fascination for the French in general and the left in particular. Rendezvous provides revealing insights into the man’s mysterious character, complicated past, paranoia and power complex, but nothing as titillating as his remarks on the former British prime minister.
I had a difference to settle with the Iron Lady. That Thatcher, what an impossible woman!” the president said as he arrived, more than 45 minutes late, on May 7 1982. “With her four nuclear submarines in the south Atlantic, she’s threatening to unleash an atomic weapon against Argentina if I don’t provide her with the secret codes that will make the missiles we sold the Argentinians deaf and blind.” He reminded Magoudi that on May 4 an Exocet missile had struck HMS Sheffield. “To make matters worse, it was fired from a Super-Etendard jet,” he said. “All the matériel was French!”
In words that the psychoanalyst has sworn to the publisher, Meren Sell, are genuine, the president continued: “She’s livid. She blames me personally for this new Trafalgar ... I was obliged to give in. She’s got them now, the codes.”
Mitterrand 0- who once described Thatcher as “the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe”—went on: “One cannot win against the insular syndrome of an unbridled Englishwoman. Provoke a nuclear war for a few islands inhabited by three sheep as hairy as they are freezing! But it’s a good job I gave way. Otherwise, I assure you, the Lady’s metallic finger would have hit the button.”
France, he insisted, would have the last word. “I’ll build a tunnel under the Channel. I’ll succeed where Napoleon III failed. And do you know why she’ll accept my tunnel? I’ll flatter her shopkeeper’s spirit. I’ll tell her it won’t cost the Crown a penny.” - Guardian Unlimited Â