Thursday, 21 March 2013
There's an even simpler take on the Falklands. Argentina conveniently forgets to tell anyone is that they signed the Falklands away in 1850 when they ratified the Treaty of Arana, and this was admitted in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies in 1950.
The Convention of Settlement was signed on 24 November 1849, and ratified by both sides in Buenos Aires on 15 May 1850. In the 19th century both sides had to ratify treaties for them to take effect. General Rosas, the Argentine dictator, was prepared to concede Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands in the Convention, which settled all of "the existing differences" between the two nations. Since the "existing differences" included the Falklands, Argentina renounced any claim when it ratified the Treaty.
Prior to the ratification of the treaty on 15 May 1850, Argentina sent annual protests, via the Argentine Congress, to the British government, thus maintaining its claim to the Falklands. These protests ceased following the Treaty; not surprising, since the Falklands were one of the "differences" that the Treaty settled. There were no more protests until 1888, and the matter wasn't raised before the Argentine Congress until 1941, which was 99 years later. That lack of protest during 38 years following the Treaty counts as 'acquiescence' to Britain's claim.
A number of historians have commented on the relation of the Convention of Settlement to the Falklands dispute. The Mexican diplomat and historian Carlos Pereyra considers that General Rosas gave up the claim to the Falklands in order to end Britain's involvement in the River Plate. Pereyra adds that the effect of the Convention was as if it had had an unwritten article stating that “Britain retained the Falkland Islands.” Pereyra’s book was reprinted in Buenos Aires in 1944, with the same statements.
It should be noted that the Treaty didn’t need a separate clause relating to the Falklands, since it addressed all differences between the two nations, of which the Falklands was only one. The Argentinians need not have ratified the Treaty if they had they objected at the time to the Falklands being included. It should be noted that General Rosas had previously offered to give up all claim to the Falklands if only the British government would settle Argentina’s debt to Barings Bank. The Argentinians were not, at the time, particularly attached to a bunch of cold, windswept rocks in the middle of the South Atlantic.
The impact of the treaty was also raised in a 1950 debate on Argentina's claim to the Falklands by a member of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, Absalón Rojas. Rojas complained that the treaty restoring “perfect friendship” between Britain and Argentina without any reference to the Falklands was a serious omission and a weak point of the Argentine claim. As a result Rojas blamed General Rosas for the loss of the Falklands.
Other Argentinian historians have indicated that the Convention of Settlement has a negative impact upon Argentina's modern sovereignty claim. These include historian Ernesto Fitte, and Alfredo R. Burnet-Merlín. Both indicate that the omission of any mention of the Falklands in the treaty was a “a concession to Britain or a culpable oversight”. [Kevin Jones]
Read more Arana-Southern Treaty