A misjudged prank recording that appeared to show US president Ronald Reagan at odds with Margaret Thatcher almost sparked an international incident, confidential documents have revealed.
The tape, supposedly a recording of President Reagan and the then UK prime minister arguing over the Falklands War, was sent to Dutch newspapers during the 1983 British general election.
Submitted anonymously, a transcript claimed the president urged Mrs Thatcher "to control yourself", to which the Iron Lady responded: "We have to use violence (on Argentina). At this moment it is being used to punish them as quickly as possible."
The staccato exchange allegedly began: "R: I urge you to control yourself. That's absolutely necessary, for otherwise the area will be devastated.
"T: Listen, our goals are completely different.
"R: Why was the Belgrano destroyed? The Argentines were leaving at the time."
The audio and attached letter were eventually dismissed as a forgery. Contemporary reports credited the work to punk-rock band Crass, but, in documents released today, the UK government feared at first more subversive forces were at play.