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Criticism greet Thatcher over a Falklands slip-up

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher returned from a short US visit Thursday to face a storm of criticism after admitting an error of judgment in failing to deter Argentina from seizing the Falkland Islands.

Critics pounced on a letter she signed two months before Argentina attacked the islands. The letter was sent to a member of the Conservative Party who had questioned the wisdom of withdrawing the icebreaker Endurance, the only British ship on duty near the Falklands. Mrs. Thatcher replied that the 75-man marine garrison permanently stationed on the islands was sufficient deterrent against any aggression. The letter was made public while Mrs. Thatcher was in the United States.

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