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argentine falklands surrender message up for auction

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LONDON (AFP) – A copy of the original telex informing the British government of the Argentine military surrender in the Falklands War 30 years ago is going under the hammer, auction house Bonhams said Thursday.
The message was sent by Maj.-Gen. Jeremy Moore, the commander of the British land forces that retook the islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.

It states that the junta's forces had laid down their arms throughout the archipelago, and the islands were "once more under the government desired by their inhabitants."

Gen. Mario Menendez, the commander of the Argentine garrison in the Falklands capital Stanley, surrendered to Moore on June 14, 1982.

The telex is set to be auctioned on April 3, the day after the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion. It is expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000 ($3,150 and $4,700; 2,400 and 3,600 euros).

The sale comes amid heightened Argentine political agitation over the Falklands as the anniversary looms.

"In Port Stanley at 9 o'clock p.m. Falkland Islands Time tonight 14th June 1982, Major General Menendes (sic) surrendered to me all the Argentine Forces in East and West Falkland, together with all their impedimenta," the telex reads.

"Arrangements are in hand to assemble the men for return to Argentina, to gather in their arms and equipment, and to mark and make safe their munitions.

"The Falkland Islands are once more under the government desired by their inhabitants. God Save the Queen. Signed JJ Moore."

The message was sent via special forces to the Government Communications Headquarters in southwest England.

Bonhams said the telex comes from a naval-related source.

"This remarkable document encapsulates perfectly the very moment of total capitulation by Argentina's 12,000-strong occupying forces in the Falklands," auction house chairman Robert Brooks said.

"It is a rare find of great historical importance and will excite considerable interest from around the world."

Argentina continues to claim the British-controlled islands, and tensions between London and Buenos Aires are running high ahead of the 30th anniversary of the war.

Argentina has reacted angrily to the deployment of Prince William to the archipelago as part of his job as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot, and to a planned fact-finding trip by British lawmakers next month.

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