FORMER First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Henry Leach warned about the risks of cutting the Royal Navy a year before the Falklands invasion, newly-released papers have shown.
Previously unseen files released by the National Archives show how Margaret Thatcher became embroiled in a row with Sir Henry over her government’s planned defence cuts.
He said proposals would have meant cutting the navy’s anti-submarine warfare carriers by a third, halving the destroyer-frigate force, and abandoning its anti-air warfare capabilities altogether.
‘We are on the brink of an historic decision,’ wrote Sir Henry.
‘War seldom takes the expected form and a strong maritime capability provides flexibility for the unforeseen.
‘If you erode it to the extent envisaged I believe you will foreclose your future options and prejudice our national security.’
The secret files have been released under the 30 year release rule