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Viewing cable 05MADRID2588, AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH MOD BONO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MADRID2588 2005-07-08 15:03 2010-12-08 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002588

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR A/S FRIED AND EUR/WE
NSC FOR HADLEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2015
TAGS: PREL MARR SP VZ
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH MOD BONO

Classified By: Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary. The Ambassador held a successful first
meeting on July 6 with Minister of Defense Jose Bono and CHOD
General Felix Sanz. Bono thanked the Ambassador for the
USG's warm reception during his visit to the U.S. in early
May, particularly during his productive meeting with
Secretary Rumsfeld. Bono said he hoped the Ambassador's

SIPDIS
arrival would help further the excellent U.S.-Spain defense
relationship. He cited the USG's unimpeded access to the
bases at Rota and Moron as symbols of Spain's commitment to
cooperate with the USG. Bono discussed the upcoming
deployment of Spanish forces to Afghanistan and requested USG
airlift support for this deployment in the form of four USAF
C-17s. He expressed appreciation for the USG's confidence in
authorizing the transfer of Tomahawk missile technology to
Spain. The Ambassador asked about the status of the S-80
submarine weapons system contract. Bono said that Spain had
made a decision "favorable to a U.S. company," but said he
would not announce this decision immediately so that it would
not appear to be a quid pro quo for the Tomahawks. The
Ambassador pressed Bono on the Venezuela weapons sale, making
clear that this was still an issue of contention for the USG.
Bono insisted that the naval vessels and aircraft would be
non-offensive and would probably not be delivered for another
six years, during which time Bono expected Chavez would leave
the scene. Further, Bono said that if Spain found that
Venezuela were "pursuing a path against the principles of
democracy," the GOS would not sell the vessels to Venezuela.
End Summary.

2. (C) The Ambassador met with Bono at the Ministry of
Defense, accompanied by DCM, Political Counselor Kathy
Fitzpatrick, DATT Captain Kevin Little, and ODC commander
Captain Carlos Sotomayor. Bono was accompanied by CHOD
General Sanz, Secretary General for Defense Policy Admiral
Francisco Torrente, Army Chief of Staff General Jose Antonio
Garcia Gonzalez, and MOD Chief of Staff Miguel Fernandez
Palacios Martinez. Bono said he was very appreciative of the
USG's warm reception during his early May visit to the U.S.,
which he viewed as a clear signal that U.S.-Spain defense
relations could not be better. He was especially pleased
with his meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld. With the
Ambassador's arrival, Bono said he hoped the excellent
relations would continue at the same level.
//BILATERAL ISSUES - CUBA, 3U COMMERCIAL DISPUTE//

3. (C) Bono expressed interest in the Ambassador's Cuban
ancestry. The Ambassador shared his experiences growing up
in Cuba and as an immigrant to the U.S. He said Cuba was
clearly an important issue for the U.S. and Spain, but only
one of many that he would deal with during his tenure in
Madrid. The Ambassador noted that the most important point
on Cuba was that both the U.S. and Spain believed in a free
Cuba that would promote democratic values in the region. He
cited the USG's disagreement with Spain's move to block EU
invitations to national day events, saying that while it
appeared to be a minor issue, it sent the wrong message and
demoralized the opposition.

4. (C) Bono raised the issue of the U.S. commercial vessel,
the "3U." He said the MFA had requested that the MOD be
prepared to board the 3U since it was conducting operations
in Spanish waters in disregard of Spanish sovereignty. DCM
explained that there was a discrepancy between the USG and
GOS views on this issue, since we believed the 3U was
operating appropriately as a commercial vessel, while the MFA
insisted it was a scientific vessel and required GOS
authorization in order to proceed with its plans to lay cable
through Spanish waters. DCM said that the USG had duly
requested authorization for the 3U through a note verbale,
but that the issue remained in dispute. Bono made clear his
desire that this issue not become a problem in bilateral
defense relations.

//BONO - SPAIN COMMITTED TO DEFENSE COOPERATION//

5. (C) Bono described the USG's unimpeded access to the
Spanish navy base at Rota and the air base at Moron as
indications of Spain's commitment to defense cooperation,
saying the USG essentially could essentially operate from
both bases as if they were its own. Bono raised the issue of
stalled USAFE-Spanish Air Force discussions on Spain's desire
to use some Moron air base ramp space to park its Eurofighter
aircraft, on the understanding that the Spanish aircraft
would vacate the space if the U.S. needed full capacity for
any contingency. The Ambassador said he was aware of the
problem and would travel to Moron the next day to see it for
himself. He said the issue would be dealt with through
appropriate channels.

6. (C) Bono discussed the upcoming deployment of Spanish
troops to Afghanistan to co-lead the Herat FSB, lead a PRT in
western Afghanistan, and provide additional security for the
parliamentary elections in the fall. Bono said it would be
useful if the USG could provide airlift in the form of four
C-17 aircraft to help transport Spanish forces to the region.
He said media coverage of such assistance would be an
opportunity to showcase the high level of U.S.-Spain defense
cooperation. The Ambassador said we appreciated the value of
promoting such cooperation and would convey his request to
the Department of Defense.

//THANKS FOR THE TOMAHAWKS, STILL NO S-80 ANNOUNCEMENT//

7. (C) Minister Bono said he had received a letter from
Secretary Rumsfeld authorizing the transfer of Tomahawk

SIPDIS
missile technology to Spain. The Ambassador said Spain
should be proud of that honor, since we had only shared that
technology with two other allies, the UK and The Netherlands.
Bono said he understood this and appreciated the USG's
confidence in Spain.

8. (C) The Ambassador asked about the status of the S-80
submarine weapons system contract, in which two U.S. firms
are competing with French and German companies. Bono
responded that Spain had essentially made the decision
already and that it would be favorable to a U.S. company.
However, Bono claimed that he wanted to put some distance
between the Tomahawk decision and the Spanish decision on the
S-80 so that the two issues would not appear linked. Also,
Bono said he planned to attend the Bastille Day parade in
Paris on July 14 and did not want to disappoint the French
government, which has pushed hard in support of a French
company on the S-80 contract, before that event.

//VENEZUELA//

9. (C) The Ambassador raised Spanish arms sales to Venezuela,
noting that we understood that Spain had already made the
commitment to transfer the vessels to Venezuela, but that the
USG did not share the Zapatero government's apparent faith in
the Chavez regime to use the weapons for non-offensive use.
Bono said that he had discussed this issue with Secretary
Rumsfeld, noting in that conversation that several countries
sold weapons to Venezuela, including the U.S. Bono asserted
that he had explained the Venezuela arms sale in detail and
believed he had satisfied Secretary Rumsfeld's concerns. The
Ambassador said that, notwithstanding Bono's conversation
with Secretary Rumsfeld, there was still deep concern
regarding this issue at the highest levels of the USG. Bono
said that the media had mischaracterized the nature of the
items being sold to Venezuela, insisting that they would be
non-offensive transport aircraft and coastal patrol vessels.
The Ambassador said the USG would look very skeptically on
any transfer of USG technology to Venezuela as part of this
sale. Bono responded that since the vessels would be built
as coastal patrol ships and not as military vessels, the
would not carry any U.S. technology of concern.

10. (C) On Venezuela's political direction and possible role
in undermining regional stability, Bono asserted that Spain
had the same fundamental concerns as the USG. He said that
if Spain determined that the Chavez government was "pursuing
a path that is against the principle of democracy that both
the U.S. and Spain share," the GOS would not sell the weapons
to Venezuela. Bono said that the actual transfer of the
weapons would not take place for six years and he speculated
that it was highly unlikely that Chavez would still be in
power by that time.
AGUIRRE