Reagan (l) and Thatcher got on better with each other than their sub-ordinates did
Reagan and Thatcher got on better with each other than their subordinates did

Top United States officials were labelled "fascists" by a British diplomat in secret cables amid suspicions they were helping Argentina wage war on the Falkland Islands.

The damning accusation was levelled at top US officials Jeane Kirkpatrick and Thomas Enders, Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs, in 1982 by Britain's ambassador to Washington, Sir Nicholas Henderson.

Argentina launched an armed invasion of the British-controlled Falkland islands in April that year.

Prior to the conflict, Kirkpatrick allegedly used her White House influence to try to make then UK PM Margaret Thatcher reach a truce with the Argentine military dictatorship over the latter's desire to snatch the island in the teeth of opposition from native islanders.

Enders visited Argentina from the US in the months preceding the military regime's failed invasion of the islands in the South Atlantic.

Kirkpatrick's and Enders's activities were mentioned discreetly by Henderson in his final dispatch as ambassador to Downing Street.

"Comparing Kirkpatrick with Enders, it is difficult to improve on the apophthegm going the rounds of the State Department that whereas the latter is more fascist then fool, Kirkpatick is more fool than fascist," he wrote.

"She appears to be one of America's most reliable own-goal scorers: tactless, wrong-headed, ineffective and a dubious tribute to the academic profession to which she expresses her allegiance."

Anti-war tract

Fitzpatrick's manner was also criticised by Britain's man at the United Nations, Sir Anthony Parsons. He recalled attending a meeting on the Falklands attended by Kirkpatrick, when she pointedly recited an anti-war tract by world-famous Argentinian author, Jorge Luis Borges.

Britain's low opinion of some of the officials who surrounded president Ronald Reagan has been revealed by the release of secret files by the National Archives. Reams of documents covering the period of the Falklands War ceased to be secret under the 30-year rule.

Reagan and Thatcher enjoyed a famously warm relationship during their parallel spells in power but the feeling failed to spread throughout all ranks of the diplomatic corps.