Argentine surrender in the Falklands War

The last stage of the Falklands War was the surrender of the Argentine Governor at Port Stanley.

Argentine prisoners being guarded by 2 PARA. (maroon berets)


At 2100 hours on 14 June 1982, the commander of the Argentine garrison in Stanley, General Mario Menéndez, surrendered to Major General Jeremy Moore. The surrender was contrary to the Argentine Army code stating that a surrender should not happen unless more than 50% of the men were casualties and 75% of the ammunition was spent.[1]

The terms of the surrender document were slightly changed after negotiation by General Menéndez. The phrase unconditional surrender was changed for the term surrender. The Argentines were granted:

  • The Argentines units will retain their flags.
  • The units will remain under control of their respective officers
  • The surrender ceremony will be private (not public)
  • The Argentine officers will retain their sidearms.
HMS Andromeda and SS Canberra
off Port Stanley on 16 June 1982

Surrender document

Present at the signing of the letter of surrender were:

The letter of surrender read:[3]

Headquarters, Land Forces

Falkland Islands

I, the undersigned, Commander of all the Argentine land, sea and air forces in the Falkland Islands [Menéndez's signature, scribbled over the crossed-out word of "unconditionally"] surrender to Major General J.J. MOORE CB OBE MC* as representative of Her Britannic Majesty's Government.

Under the terms of this surrender all Argentine personnel in the Falkland Islands are to muster at assembly points which will be nominated by General Moore and hand over their arms, ammunition, and all other weapons and warlike equipment as directed by General Moore or appropriate British officers acting on his behalf.

Following the surrender all personnel of the Argentinian Forces will be treated with honour in accordance with the conditions set out in the Geneva Convention of 1949. They will obey any directions concerning movement and in connection with accommodation.

This surrender is to be effective from 2359 hours ZULU on 14 June (2059 hours local) and includes those Argentine Forces presently deployed in and around Port Stanley, those others on East Falkland, (Menendez's signature) West Falkland and all outlying islands.

[Menéndez's signature] Commander Argentine Forces
[Moore's signature] J. J. MOORE Major General
[Pennicott's signature] Witness

2359 hours 14 June 1982

Captured Argentine equipment

A pile of discarded Argentine weapons in Port Stanley.

Quantities are approximates:

Some of the equipment was rendered useless by Argentine personnel before the surrender.

The Argentine Rattenbach commission (Spanish: Informe Rattenbach)[4] was assembled after the war to investigate the causes of defeat. It recommended serious penalties for some of the officers in charge, but its influence on the later trial was practically nil.[5]


Telegram from General Moore reporting the Argentine surrender.

On 20 June, the British retook the South Sandwich Islands and declared hostilities to be over after removing Argentina's Southern Thule garrison at the Corbeta Uruguay base. Corbeta Uruguay was established in 1976, but the Argentine base was only contested through diplomatic channels by the UK until 1982.

The war lasted 74 days, with 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen, and three civilian Falklanders killed.

The British Government decreed that all classified information would be available to the public in the year 2082. However, following the Freedom of Information Act, a great deal of formerly classified material is now available.

The surrender document is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.[6] As noted in the museum, the time of surrender was backdated three hours in order that both Zulu time (UTC) and the local time were recorded as 14 June even though technically it was already 15 June in London, in order to prevent possible confusion by Argentine troops who might have mistakenly thought that they were permitted to keep fighting until the next day, 15 June 1982.

Relations between the UK and Argentina were not restored until 1989 and only under the umbrella formula which states that the islands sovereignty dispute will remain aside.

14 June has been a public holiday in the Falkland Islands since 1984, officially called as "Liberation Day".


  1. "That under the military code of conduct Menendez would not be expected to surrender until he had lost half his men and three-quarters of his ammunition, otherwise he should expect to be court-martialled." - Freedman, Lawrence: Signals of War (1990) Faber and faber. ISBN 0-571-14144-7
  2. Vicecomodoro is a rank equivalent to wing commander in the Royal Air Force
  3. Document of surrender facsimile Archived 2011-05-01 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Informe Rattenbach (in Spanish)
  5. "Rattenbach report". Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  6. Extract from the Surrender document - IWM Archived 2008-11-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2004-03-24


  • Guerra Bajo la Cruz del Sur, Eduardo Jose Costa ISBN 950-614-749-3

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