Admiralty: Material used in Official History of the "Cod War", Iceland, 1958-1961

ADM 306
Admiralty: Material used in Official History of the "Cod War", Iceland, 1958-1961

Admiralty Military Branch files raised to deal with naval fishery protection duties following Iceland's unilateral declaration of a twelve-mile territorial waters limit in 1958.

The files describe the organisation of the initial and subsequent Naval response, and include Foreign Office telegrams and Naval signals, and reports of proceedings and incidents of the period covered by the dispute.

Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Legal status:
Public Record
Board of Admiralty, Historical Section, 1919-1964
Physical description:
49 file(s)
Access conditions:
Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Publication note:
These files and reports form the basis of the Official History of the 1958-1961 "Cod War", written by Captain O'Sullivan RN, published in May 1990 by HMSO as BR 1776(57).
Administrative / biographical background:

Whilst talks were underway to change the Laws of the Sea regarding territorial limits of national boundaries, Iceland unilaterally declared a 12 mile limit in 1958, and in response to what the British Government of the day decided was not either legally or morally binding, ships of the Fishery Protection Squadron and other vessels of the Royal Navy were dispatched to Icelandic waters to protect the then considerable British fishing fleet and interests, which were suffering considerable harassment and threat of arrest by Icelandic gunboats.

Iceland subsequently reacted by extending its territorial waters to 50 miles in 1973, and 200 miles in 1975, provoking further "Cod Wars", accounts of which have not yet been published.

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