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  1. ITV Report

Thatcher papers from 1982 released to public

Margaret Thatcher Photo:

More than 40,000 of Margaret Thatcher's personal and private papers from 1982 - the year the Falklands War began - have been released to the public.

They have been locked up in Cambridge's Churchill Archive until today.

The papers reveal one political surprise - a row between Grantham-born Thatcher and the Americans over the conflict.

"The Americans pushed for a peace settlement which didn't include the islanders' right to determine their own future, which has always been a core principle for her. She was very upset - she wrote a very long letter to Monroe and tried to persuade him to change the American policy, but it doesn't happen and we do indeed accept that. But as luck would have it the Argentinians then turn it down so she was kind of saved by them."

– Chris Collins, Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Among the Falkland papers, intelligence from the Cambridge based British Antarctic Survey, was the first notice Thatcher received that the Argentinians had landed in South Georgia.

The former Prime Minister's strong views and minute attention to detail are also recorded in papers relating to an official visit to China

One of the papers in the 1982 archive

When looking at the programme for the visit, she refusing one particular item - she is invited to lay a wreath at the monument to revolutionary martyrs at Tianamen Square and she says no. Everybody else has done it, but she states that this is not a reason for her to do it.

And she is very interested in details for the menu of the return banquet that the English give - she wants it to be a good meal, "prestigious" but not too expensive.

There is also the first intriguing mention in the Thatcher archive of future Prime Minister Tony Blair - who failed to make an impression on her. In May 1982 there's a by-election in Beaconsfield and Tony Blair stands for Labour. Conservative central office analysed the by-election and didn't notice him, they do not comment upon him at all.

The papers will shortly go online for the public.