News from US citizens on Falklands

By , Latin America Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

After 10 long weeks, a hardy band of 17 United States citizens living on the Falkland Islands reports that all is well.

One of them spoke at midweek with the US consulate here, reporting that the group was safe and sound. More than half of them live in Port Stanley, the islands' capital now under British siege.

US consul Edward H. Wilkinson said the group was apparently suffering ''no physical discomfort'' and there had been no damage to their homes or property.

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One Port Stanley resident calls the US consulate three times a week to report on island conditions.

That telephone arrangement was established after Argentine authorities refused a US consular request in April to visit the islands and meet individually with the 17, six of whom are children.

At the time of the Argentine seizure of the islands April 2, there were a dozen other US citizens on the islands, but they took advantage of Argentine arrangements to leave.

The remaining US citizens represent only a handful among some 1,850 island residents - many of whom have British citizenship. The majority of residents are registered as Falkland Islanders in British consular rolls. Before the occupation, more than half of them lived in Port Stanley. Now the US citizens report the number of Falklanders in Port Stanley is down to about 130, with the rest having fled to sheep stations and other rural communities on the islands.

In addition to the US citizens, there is one Canadian family, which maintains regular contact with Canadian consular officials in Buenos Aires. There are also 11 Polish seamen who jumped ship in Port Stanley seeking asylum only days before the Argentines took the islands.

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