Britain Announces Argentine Surrender to End the 10-Week War in the Falklands
Triumph By London
Commander Says Enemy Troops Are Assembled 'for Repatriation'
By R.W. APPLE Jr.
Special to The New York Times
LONDON, Tuesday, June 15 -- Argentine forces in the Falkland Islands have
surrendered, halting the war in the South Atlantic, Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher's office announced early this morning.
A spokesman quoted Maj. Gen. Jeremy Moore, the commander of British land
forces in the archipelago, as saying that enemy troops were being rounded up for
eventual repatriation to Argentina. The surrender came at 1 A.M. British time,
(8 P.M. Monday New York time), the official announcement said.
There was no confirmation of the surrender from Buenos Aires by early this
but the Argentine high command announced Monday afternoon that an unofficial
cease-fire had gone into effect on the Falklands.
'God Save the Queen'
General Moore radioed from his command post on Mount Kent: ''Falkland Islands
once more under Government desired by their inhabitants. God Save the Queen.''
It had taken the British three weeks and four days of fighting on the ground to retake
the islands following their landings at San Carlos Bay.
The Prime Minister signaled that the end of the conflict, or at least this
phase of it,
was at hand in a statement to Parliament Monday night in which she said that
Argentine forces in Stanley, the last major enemy stronghold in the Falklands, had
begun throwing down their arms and hoisting white flags.
As the House of Commons erupted in prolonged cheers, the Prime Minister
disclosed that the deputy commander of British land forces, Brig. John
Waters, was negotiating surrender terms with the commander of the 6,500
Argentine defenders of the town, Brig. Gen. Mario Menendez. The surrender
terms, she added, would cover both East Falkland, the island on which
Stanley is situated, and West Falkland, where two small Argentine forces are
Crowds Hail Victory
Within minutes of her statement to the House, crowds gathered outside Mrs.
Thatcher's residence at 10 Downing Street, singing ''Rule Britannia.'' When
she returned from the House, they cheered her and she said, ''What matters is
that it was everyone together - we all knew what we had to do and we went
out there and did it.''
Although it remained possible that fighting would continue on or around
islands, it appeared that Britain's campaign to reclaim its colony, which
Argentine troops seized April 2, had been crowned with victory. Britain's
triumph in the 10-week-old Falkland war was hailed here Monday night as a
brilliant feat of arms, involving the assembly and support of a task force more
than 7,000 miles from this country, hazardous amphibious landings and the
crossing of a barren wasteland in arduous winter conditions.
Argentine Defenses Crumble
The dramatic moves Monday and today toward an end of the war came after
British troops under General Moore stormed into the outskirts - and,
unofficial reports said, into the streets - of the Falkland capital. Argentine
defenses were reported to have crumbled under the onslaught of artillery,
naval gunfire, air attacks and the charge of as many as 7,500 foot soldiers -
paratroopers, marines, Gurkhas and Guards.
Sweeping forward from their positions on the high ground just west of
Stanley, which they had taken on Friday and Saturday, the British forces
overran the main Argentine defensive perimeter in three places - Tumbledown
Mountain, Mount William and Wireless Ridge. The Argentines broke and ran,
falling back into a promontory of only about seven square miles around the
capital and its strategic airstrip, it was reported.
General Moore's offensive plan had originally envisaged a pause there before
the final assault, but as organized opposition collapsed he urged his men
forward and they pushed to the edge of town.
It appeared that the defenders were short of food and water, and British
correspondents in Chile, who have been monitoring the radio links between
General Menendez and the mainland, reported that the circuit went dead after
an officer said the power was failing.
Problems Remain for London
Even with the British triumph, extraordinary problems remain. The Argentine
junta has vowed that it will not give up its claim to sovereignty over the
Falklands, or the Malvinas, as they are called in Argentina, and most British
politicians and military analysts expect Argentine forces to continue harassing
actions from the mainland.
That means that Britain will have to maintain a large and costly garrison
foreseeable future. Mrs. Thatcher has explored with the United States the
possibility of American participation in a multinational peacekeeping force, but
has been given little encouragement. There has also been talk of a possible
administration by the United Nations.
But as the struggle for the Falklands reached its crescendo in the last
the Prime Minister has been insisting that Britain will go it alone, if necessary.
Although the civil population of the islands is only 1,800, she has even begun
to talk of independence.
The most difficult problem facing the Government is its commitment to
self-determination for the Falklanders, who appear to have become even
more unwilling to contemplate any role for the Argentines on the islands as a
result of prolonged enemy occupation