Catalogue description Records of the Defence Departments

Details of Division within FCO
Reference: Division within FCO
Title: Records of the Defence Departments
Description:

The records produced by the various Foreign and Commonwealth Office departments which handled the international aspects of the United Kingdom's defence interests, including those of the Commonwealth. They deal with defence and defence procurement matters generally, as well as dealings with the international defence organisations, and records of departments interested in atomic energy and disarmament questions.

Records from the following departments are included: Atomic Energy and Disarmament Department (FCO 10); Defence Department (FCO 16); Western Organisations and Co-ordination Department (FCO 41); Defence Department (FCO 46); Disarmament Department and Arms Control and Disarmament Department (FCO 66); Non-proliferation and Defence Department (FCO 177).

Date: 1967-1991
Related material:

For earlier material on colonial defence matters see Colonial Office, Division within CO

For other earlier material on defence matters see Division within DO

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 7 series
Administrative / biographical background:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and its predecessors have always maintained close links with the defence departments for a number of strategic reasons. The need to ensure the UK's best interests diplomatically is a matter often closely allied to defence issues, for example to ensure that defence sales are properly managed, or to ensure the most effective defence of the UK or the Commonwealth. The stationing of defence attach├ęs in British embassies and high commissions overseas also entails close liaison with the Ministry of Defence and the Chiefs of Staff.

Since the second world war, the issue of disarmament and arms control has been of great international significance, naturally involving the overseas departments. Finally, the UK is a member of a number of international defence organisations, most notably the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the UK's relations with these organisations are handled by the FCO. For this reason, there are a number of departments in the FCO dealing in defence, rather than diplomatic issues.

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