World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

James Cable

Major His Excellency
Sir James Cable
United Kingdom Ambassador to Finland
In office
Prime Minister James Callaghan
Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Thomas Elliott
Succeeded by Andrew Stuart
Personal details
Born (1920-11-15)15 November 1920
Died 27 September 2001(2001-09-27) (aged 80)
Spouse(s) Viveca, Lady Cable (1954–2001)
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Occupation Thinker, author, diplomat, army officer
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1942–1953
Rank Major
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

CMG, (15 November 1920 – 27 September 2001) was a British diplomat and naval strategic thinker. As an author, he became well known for a series of his works published between 1971 and 1994 about gunboat diplomacy. The Telegraph described him as "one of the most influential naval strategic thinkers of the last half-century".[1] During the Second World War he served as an officer in the British Army.


  • Career 1
  • Gunboat diplomacy 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Born in November 1920, Cable was the son of a member of the Consular Service.[1] He was educated at Stowe School in Stowe, Buckinghamshire.[1] After Stowe, Cable went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge to read modern languages.[1]

After graduating he was called up to the British Army in 1941 to serve in the Second World War. Following officer training he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals on 18 October 1942,[2] and rose to the rank of major before joining the Diplomatic Service in 1947,[1] his appointment was confirmed with effect from 18 November 1948,[3] although he did not relinquish his army commission until 28 October 1953, when he was granted the honorary rank of major.[4]

His position took him to Counsellor at the British Embasssy in Beirut, Lebanon.[6] In late 1960s, he published his maiden work, British foreign policy and international relations.[1] Then Cable took a year's sabbatical, during which he finished his second work, Gunboat Diplomacy.[1] He also received a doctorate that year.[1] Cable became the head of the FCO's Planning Staff from 1971 to 1975, and was then briefly Assistant Under-Secretary of State, before returning to Helsinki as Ambassador from 1 October 1975 until his retirement in 1980.[1][7] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order on 28 May 1976.[8]

He continued to write after quitting the FCO, and published several works, including The Political Influence of Naval Force in History (1998), The Royal Navy and the Siege of Bilbao (1979), Britain's Naval Future (1983), Diplomacy at Sea (1985) and Navies in Violent Peace (1989).[1] Cable died on 27 September 2001, aged 80.[1] He is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.[9] Cable and his wife, Viveca had a son.[1]

Gunboat diplomacy

Cable defined gunboat diplomacy as "the use or threat of limited naval force, otherwise than as an act of war, in order to secure advantage or to avert loss, either in the furtherance of an international dispute or else against foreign nationals within the territory or the jurisdiction of their own state".[10] He divided the examples of gunboat diplomacy into four categories: definitive, purposeful, catalytic and expressive. All of them are tools of diplomacy.[1] Cable start a revival of naval strategic thought, and had a great influence on Post-Cold War naval thinking, especially in United Kingdom and United States.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Sir James Cable". The Telegraph. 13 October 2001. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35783. p. 4921. 10 November 1942. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 38898. p. 2116. 28 April 1950. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39995. p. 5697. 23 October 1953. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 41878. p. 7458. 24 November 1959. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44210. p. 4. 30 December 1966. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46736. p. 14222. 11 November 1975. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46937. p. 8577. 18 June 1976. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Sir James Cable, author & ambassador". Flickr. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Cable, James (1981). Gunboat Diplomacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Thomas Elliott
United Kingdom Ambassador to Finland
Succeeded by
Andrew Stuart
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.