Friday, November 25, 2005

Thatcher 'threatened to nuke Argentina': "'Excuse me. I had a difference to settle with the Iron Lady. That Thatcher, what an impossible woman!' [French President Mitterand] 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 Mr 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 materiel 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.'

"Mr Mitterrand - who once described Mrs 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."

Set this down as another close call.... The arms trade, nuclear weapons. One of these days, with the hubris and madness of politicians, especially at war....

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