Rex Hunt Transcript

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Rex recounts his meeting with General Menendez on the Argentinean invasion of the Falkland Islands.

'And there were… there was a battery of television cameras and other cameras in front of me and a whole ark of… of studio lights, now we didn’t have lights like that in the Falklands [laughs] at all so they must have flown those in top priority with the medicine and the ammunition.

And there they were all beamed at me, all the lights on… this rather pompous little man, I thought, came up to me with his hand outstretched to shake my hand and I very ostentatiously put my hand… both hands behind my back and the cameras stopped whirring and the fixed smile disappeared off the General’s face and he… he said something snatched in Spanish, which I didn’t get but the interpreter looked very embarrassed, he was right behind me, right behind the General, and he looked very embarrassed at me and said,

“The General says it’s very ungentlemanly of you to refuse to shake his hand.” I said without thinking, “Well you tell the General, it’s very uncivilised of him to invade my country.”

And before the poor interpreter could get that out to the General, I’d said what I’d rehearsed I was going to say in my office and that was, “You have landed unlawfully on British territory and I order you to remove yourself and your troops forthwith.”

Where upon he came back straight at me in good English, so he’d understood everything, and said, “We have taken back what is rightfully ours and we shall stay forever.” Well as you know, thanks to Margaret Thatcher and the Task Force, forever became two and a half short months.'

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