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Falklands 'at invasion risk'.

DEFENCE chiefs warned seven years before the Falklands War that the islands would be almost impossible to defend in the event of an Argentine invasion.

Files show that in 1975 Defence Secretary Roy Mason urged Prime Minister Harold Wilson to seek a "political solution" to the long-running dispute over the islands.

A Ministry of Defence briefing note from February 1975 warned that the problems of providing a force sufficient to defend the islands in the face of an invasion were "formidable".

While the garrison of 33 Royal Marines was considered sufficient to counter an "adventurist operation", a force of brigade group strength would be needed to repel a full-scale Argentinian invasion.

Although it was possible to send reinforcements by sea, the note said, such a move could provoke the Argentinians to mount an invasion before they could reach the islands.

Other options included mining the approaches to the capital Port Stanley, or stationing a nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine off the islands as a deterrent to any invasion force.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 29, 2006
Words:167
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