Naval War College Review

Article Title

To the Edge of Nowhere?


In May 1951, the United States and Iceland signed an agreement on the permanent presence of American forces on the island. The arrangement was in many ways momentous. For the first time in its history, the United States had made a bilateral defense pact with another state. Also, troops were stationed in Iceland in peacetime for the first time since the settlement of the island over 1,100 years ago. When the first contingent arrived, a Bank of England official who dealt with Icelandic matters in London summed up the significance of its appearance by saying that from now on the Icelanders, having survived for so long without per- manent military forces, would live in “the shadow of the Superfortress.”