Very interesting (apparently reported a month ago in the Telegraph, but I can't find the link):
Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan Britain a U.S. warship if she lost an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War, it has emerged. The then-president was prepared to support Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher despite the U.S. being officially neutral during the 1982 conflict. The stunning revelation was made by John Lehman, the former U.S. Secretary of the Navy, to the U.S. Naval Institute on Tuesday. Mr Reagan would have loaned Britain the use of the amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima should harm have come to either HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes, which the Royal Navy had deployed to defend the islands from Argentinian forces...
...These specifications made the USS Iwo Jima an ideal replacement as, although primarily a helicopter carrier, it was able to operate the U.S. version of the Sea Harrier. It is likely that the ship would have been manned by a mix of retired seamen and privately contracted Americans familiar with the ship's operating systems. Admiral James 'Ace' Lyson, commander of the U.S. Second Fleet in 1982, helped plan the possible deployment of a U.S. ship in the South Atlantic.Curious about the timing. The first point at which the Argentines could plausibly have struck the Hermes or Invincible would have been around May 1. If damaging or sinking one of the two would have triggered the loan of Iwo Jima, it's hard to imagine her arriving on station before mid-June, with what I presume would be the complications of assembling the crew, training the RN officers and men, resupply, etc. Unless I'm drastically overestimating, this means that the US was willing to make a commitment to support the UK in what it presumed might be an extended war. I also have to wonder how much consideration was given to the possibility that the Iwo Jima might be lost; if the Argentines could sink one carrier, then they quite possibly could sink another. The legal implications of a US warship operating with what amounted to a mercenary crew under RN command would likely also have generated headaches.
Fascinating stuff all around.