Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan U.S. warship to Britain... (Falklands War)
Daily Mail (UK) ^ | 28th June 2012 | Graham Smith

Posted on 06/28/2012 5:58:10 PM PDT by naturalman1975

Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan Britain a U.S. warship if she lost an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War, it has emerged.

The then-president was prepared to support Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher despite the U.S. being officially neutral during the 1982 conflict.

The stunning revelation was made by John Lehman, the former U.S. Secretary of the Navy, to the U.S. Naval Institute on Tuesday.

Mr Reagan would have loaned Britain the use of the amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima should harm have come to either HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes, which the Royal Navy had deployed to defend the islands from Argentinian forces.

Mr Lehman said that he formulated the plans to stand behind Mrs Thatcher with Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger following a British request.

Mr Reagan is said to have approved their proposal without hesitation, telling Mr Lehman: 'Give Maggie everything she needs to get on with it.'

The plans were put together in complete secrecy.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: lph2; ussiwojima
I heard about this years ago. I don't think it was all that secret even at the time.

From what I heard, the message sent to Mrs Thatcher was along the lines of "Of course, the United States will support the United Kingdom over Argentina if it really comes down to it, but the other side of that is, that it would really be best for America if Britain didn't have to ask."

A true alliance between two very close friends - please understand America really wants to maintain good relations with Argentina if we can but in the final analysis, the special relationship will trump all else. America did not want to throw away its cordial relationship with Argentina unless it had to - but if it had to, it would have.

1 posted on 06/28/2012 5:58:17 PM PDT by naturalman1975
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975

Also worth mentioning from an historical point of view that during the Second World War when America was left with only one operational fleet carrier (USS Saratoga) in the Pacific after USS Hornet was sunk and USS Enterprise were heavily damaged, Britain lent the US HMS Victorious (which operated under the code name USS Robin) for nearly a year. I’m sure they reminded the US of that in 1982.


2 posted on 06/28/2012 6:03:28 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975

WOW. I just posted this about an hour ago and it got removed.


3 posted on 06/28/2012 6:05:07 PM PDT by moonshot925
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975

Thanks for that info. Every month I learn something about Reagan that makes Odumbo look like an imbecile.


4 posted on 06/28/2012 6:12:48 PM PDT by max americana (Make the world a better place by punching a liberal in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: moonshot925

Let’s see if this one survives. I wonder what the problem was.


5 posted on 06/28/2012 6:13:19 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975

This was one of the worst kept secrets back in 1982 here in Washington D.C. and the rumor was that 1 of the following 3 of the following carriers out of Norfolk were considered, The Coral Sea, Saratoga and Independence as all could easily handle the U.K.’s Fleet of F-4s(that last flew off the Ark Royal in 1979) which were moved to the midway point and only needed a carrier.

Shocker here since this is what allies are suppose to do!


6 posted on 06/28/2012 6:14:35 PM PDT by Trueblackman (I would rather lose on Conservative principles than vote for a RINO candidate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975

There were two major problems at the time, Reagan had public stated that the U.S. would not take sides in the disagreement, but did support the U.K. privately in the matter and second the feeling among the U.K. public was that the U.K. itself needed to handle the problem since the Falklands belong to them.


7 posted on 06/28/2012 6:21:50 PM PDT by Trueblackman (I would rather lose on Conservative principles than vote for a RINO candidate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975
without hesitation...

Bless you President Ronald Reagan.

8 posted on 06/28/2012 6:24:38 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975
The Argentine Navy in 1982 mostly consisted of ex US Navy ships.


9 posted on 06/28/2012 7:02:48 PM PDT by moonshot925
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Trueblackman

It was certainly considered preferable for British national pride, that they handled it ‘alone’ if at all possible - for that reason, the UK also declined offers of support from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, all of which were ready to deploy ships and troops (I would guess a lot of smaller Commonwealth countries would have been willing as well). I remember a brief flurry to see if we could get our carrier HMAS Melbourne, ready to go as another carrier (answer - probably not due to a dockyard accident that hadn’t yet been dealt with - even without that, we’d have been surging a ship at the end of her life - she might have done the job but it would have been a serious stretch). But Britain decided to go it - mostly - alone.


10 posted on 06/28/2012 7:16:54 PM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: moonshot925

It was removed because you made the mistake, yet again, of posting images that are not allowed due to copyright complaints.


11 posted on 06/28/2012 7:21:15 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: zot

Reagan ping


12 posted on 06/28/2012 7:27:22 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975

Yup, not much of a secret at the time.

That was the only carrier available that had (Brit made) Harriers on board and could support the Brits directly. We would have operated the Iwo and made it available for their Harriers.

Where does anyone think the Brits got nearly all their intel from?

Whom does anyone think the fuel for the Brit aircraft and ships came from?

Our subs were all over that theater.

They are a fellow NATO member. They were attacked. We were required by treaty to support them.


13 posted on 06/28/2012 7:51:47 PM PDT by gandalftb (The art of diplomacy says "nice doggie", until you find a bigger rock.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
That was the only carrier available that had (Brit made) Harriers on board

Incorrect. The Iwo Jima was not the only amphibious assault ship that had embarked, on a regular basis, AV-8As. In addition VMA-231, equipped with 14 AV-8As, made a Med cruise aboard the USS FDR, CV-42, from October 1976 to April of 1977. There were plenty of boats that could have accomodated the Brits.

The U.S. Marine Corps Hawker Siddley AV-8A Harriers from Marine Attack Squadron VMA-231 Ace of Spades approach the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42). VMA-231 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19) for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from 4 October 1976 to 21 April 1977, FDR´s last deployment before her decommissioning on 30 September 1977. his cruise marked the first operations of the Vertical Short Take Off and Landing (VSTOL) aircraft from a carrier.

A U.S. Marine Corps Hawker Siddley AV-8A Harrier of Marine attack squadron VMA-231 Ace of Spades intercepting a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 (Nato code "Bear") in 1976/77. VMA-231 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from 4 October 1976 to 21 April 1977.


14 posted on 06/28/2012 9:36:25 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

A Hawker Siddley AV-8A Harrier of Marine attack squadron VMA-231 Ace of Spades landing on the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) in 1976/77. VMA-231 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19) aboard the FDR for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from 4 October 1976 to 21 April 1977.

15 posted on 06/28/2012 9:42:09 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975
I heard about this years ago. I don't think it was all that secret even at the time.

Nope, it wasn't. I wrote about it in a paper I did on the Falklands War in high school - would've been 1988 or 89.
16 posted on 06/28/2012 9:57:00 PM PDT by tanknetter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Trueblackman
The Coral Sea, Saratoga and Independence as all could easily handle the U.K.’s Fleet of F-4s(that last flew off the Ark Royal in 1979) which were moved to the midway point and only needed a carrier.

I'm not sure about that. The RAF FGR.2s that were reworked RN FG-1s would have had two major issues in operating off US carriers. Both related to their Spey (vice the J-79s of USAF, USN and USMC Phantoms) powerplants and tailoring to operations off the old Ark Royal.

First, the exhaust for the Speys produced different blast patterns. Both because the exhausts were significantly larger than the J-79 and because they were positioned somewhat more downward in order to provide additional lift during the short cat-runs off the Ark. During cross-decking exercises in the 1970s, the RN FG.1s inflicted a fair amount of heat-related damage onto the USN carriers (Indy and Sara, iirc) jet blast deflectors and flight decks.

Second, for operations off of Ark the FG.1s were equipped with a second nose-gear oleo, again as a way of compensating for the shorter catapults this time by pointing the nose up higher and thus conveying a steeper angle of attack on launch. The nose-gear reverted to a single oleo configuration when the aircraft were converted to FGR.2 standard for RAF use. Since the Speys made the Brit Phantoms quite a bit heavier than their J-79 equipped counterparts with an only slightly better maximum thrust (and thrust that was optimized for different operational conditions than the J-79), IIRC while the US catapults could get the FGR.2 into the air, there would be significant carriage constraints in doing so.

Now, the RAF did move a good number of FGR.2s to Ascension during the war, but only to provide CAP. However, had the Brits been serious about using a US big-deck, they would have forward-deployed the RAF Buccaneer force as well (since the Buccs were former RN carrier planes) ... AND would have made moves to get their pilots carrier qualified (which would have taken a LOT of time). Operating a conventional jet off of a carrier takes a heck of a lot of practice ... significantly more than operating a VSTOL platform like the Harrier.
17 posted on 06/28/2012 10:17:47 PM PDT by tanknetter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

The American fuel from Ascension Island was actually a small amount. Gratefully received, but the Task Force didnt rely on it. There seems to be a myth that the TF relied on fuel from the island.

You are correct to state that the UK also got some of its intel from America.


18 posted on 06/29/2012 2:30:20 AM PDT by the scotsman (I)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: naturalman1975
RR didn't plan to "loan" anything to anyone. "Lend" is the verb. He might have lent a carrier. Loan is a noun, not a verb in English English and in American English.
19 posted on 06/29/2012 5:23:51 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: A.A. Cunningham

Read my post, I said “available”.

The USS FDR, CV-42 that you mentioned was decommissioned in 1977 and was sent to the scrapyard. The Falklands War was five years later.

Of course, the Harriers could land on any aircraft carrier, but getting serviced with spare parts is another story.

The Iwo Jima was a platform for Marine Expeditionary Units, MEU’s that carried Harriers only to support Marine Corps units on board.

MEU’s are either deployed out of Norfolk or San Diego. At the time, the Iwo Jima was the only MEU platform operating in the Atlantic Ocean that could directly and fully support Brit Harriers that were almost identical to the Marine Harriers onboard.


20 posted on 06/29/2012 9:11:09 AM PDT by gandalftb (The art of diplomacy says "nice doggie", until you find a bigger rock.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: the scotsman

In 1956 the USAF reopened the RAF Ascension Island airfield, now called Wideawake Airfield USA and have continued to operate it since. The runway was lengthened and widened in the mid 1960s to allow for larger aircraft.

USAF and NASA have a missile tracking facility at Cat Hill.

In 1982, the RAF re-garrisoned the airbase as a staging base for the Falklands War. Operation Black Buck, the long range bombing raids, were carried out from there.

Every hangar, drop of fuel from the tank farm, bunk bed and coffee pot was initially provided to the RAF courtesy of the USAF.

Of course the RAF resupplied later, but the USAF laid the red carpet for the initial Falklands campaign. We did much of the air to air refueling for Vulcan bombers of Black Buck as the Victor refuelers were in short supply. We air refueled the Victor refuelers that went on to the Falklands.


21 posted on 06/29/2012 9:39:13 AM PDT by gandalftb (The art of diplomacy says "nice doggie", until you find a bigger rock.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: tanknetter

I was quoting my Senior Chief, who was a young airman in Norfolk during the Falkland’s War. He was on the Indy and said that a large number of U.K. Officers were in Norfolk assessing which carrier would be best to handle their F-4s. According to him this was the most far fetched approach if the they had lost the HMS Hermes as she was the best of the two carriers they fielded. The Iwo class could handle the Harries, but was more a Helo carrier than Harrier Carrier as I worked with the Guam in the mid 1990’s. A big deck carrier of the Midway or Forest Class would have been a better selection for a mix of F-4s and Harriers. Heck Reagan could have loaned them the old Lexington CV-16, if they just wanted to operate Harriers from a big deck.


22 posted on 06/29/2012 10:21:34 AM PDT by Trueblackman (I would rather lose on Conservative principles than vote for a RINO candidate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Trueblackman

Well, by that point the Lex had lost all her defensive armament, plus would have required rehabilitation of a lot of her spaces, particularly the weapons magazines and handling equipment.

But the irony of loaning the Brits a ship named “Lexington” (or Saratoga or Independence for that matter) would have been utterly delicious.


23 posted on 06/29/2012 10:54:22 AM PDT by tanknetter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the ping. It was better than we didn’t have to do it.


24 posted on 06/30/2012 2:39:07 PM PDT by zot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
Read my post, I said “available”.

I'm well aware of what you said and I'm well aware that you are wrong. I mentioned the 1977 deployment onboard the FDR only to provide photographic evidence that you were wrong in your claim. Sit up in your chair higher so reality doesn't sail so far over your grape.

The USS FDR, CV-42 that you mentioned was decommissioned in 1977 and was sent to the scrapyard. The Falklands War was five years later.

I'm well aware of the disposal of FDR. Midway and Coral Sea, same class as the FDR, remained in service into the 90s.

The Iwo Jima was a platform for Marine Expeditionary Units, MEU’s

Incorrect. MEUs were known as MAUs back then along with the MABs and MAFs. The renaming transition for all MAUs to MEUs began to occur in late 1982 after the Falklands skirmish was over. As only two examples, you should be aware that in 1983 the 24th MAU was deployed to Beirut when the BLT was destroyed and the 22nd MAU was diverted to Grenada prior to relieving the 24th. 24th MAU and 22nd MAU were redesignated 24th MEU and 22nd MEU in February 1988. Perhaps you're too young to remember that.

At the time, the Iwo Jima was the only MEU(sic) platform operating in the Atlantic Ocean that could directly and fully support Brit Harriers that were almost identical to the Marine Harriers onboard.

Incorrect. The Iwo Jima was not the only LPH homeported in Norfolk and Harriers had embarked aboard other LPHs as well as LHAs prior to the Falklands. Numerous boats; 12 LPHs, 5 LHAs not to mention the CVs and CVNs, were available to be loaned to the Brits.

You're entitled to your own opinion, wrong as it may be, but you aren't entitled to your own facts.

25 posted on 07/08/2012 8:54:16 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: A.A. Cunningham

“I’m well aware of the disposal of FDR”

The FDR, that you say could have been used in the Falklands, was scrapped 5 years before the Falklands War......but I’m still wrong? Oh, you were only referring to that class of ship and that several others in that class were operational... OK, fine, no disagreement, thank you for the clarification.

MAU’s were renamed as MEU’s with no force structure changes, just a renaming to more clearly defined the multiple capabilities of forward deployed MAGTF units. A distinction without a difference.

Let’s both be corrected along with the incorrect article.

Of the class of amphibious assault ships capable of directly (maintenance and arms) supporting Harriers, and home ported in Norfolk in 1982:

The Iwo Jima LPH-2 was home ported for major refitting from July 1981 to May 1983, unavailable.

The Guadalcanal LPH-7 was home ported from Nov 81 to Aug 82, unavailable.

The USS NASSAU LHA-4 was deployed from Jan to June 82 and available during the Falklands War.

The USS Guam LPH-9 was deployed from Mar to Dec 82 and available during the Falklands War.

The USS INCHON LPH-12 was in port at Guantanamo Bay Feb to March 82, then at Norfolk until Aug 82 and could have been available during the Falklands War.


26 posted on 07/09/2012 9:17:45 AM PDT by gandalftb (The art of diplomacy says "nice doggie", until you find a bigger rock.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson