Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 07PARIS743, CODEL TANNER: MEETING WITH FRENCH POLITICAL

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07PARIS743.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07PARIS743 2007-02-27 13:01 2010-11-29 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO8959
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #0743/01 0581314
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271314Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5193
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 000743 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2017 
TAGS: PREL FR
SUBJECT: CODEL TANNER:  MEETING WITH FRENCH POLITICAL 
DIRECTOR ARAUD 
 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
Summary 
 ------- 
 
1. (C)  During a meeting with Codel Tanner on February 22, 
French MFA Political Director Gerard Araud reviewed the 
current state of the bilateral relationship, commented on 
NATO's continuing purpose, and compared France's and 
Britain's historically distinct orientations towards the U.S. 
 He also discussed Afghanistan and Iran, two outstanding 
cases of U.S.-French cooperation.  On Afghanistan, Araud 
highlighted France's continued participation in NATO 
operations, but called for a more explicitly defined 
"political strategy" for reaching a desired end-state.  On 
Iran, he emphasized the need for continuing pressure on Iran, 
through P-5 unity, which is impacting on Ahmadinejad's 
weakened position, and which offers the only hope for a 
negotiated outcome.  End Summary. 
 
NATO's Purpose 
--------------- 
 
2.  (C) MFA Political Director Gerard Araud hosted Codel 
Tanner, in Paris for the annual discussions of the NATO 
Parliamentary Assembly (NPA) Economic Committee with the 
OECD, to a meeting and luncheon on February 22.  Ambassadors 
Stapleton and Morella also attended.  Both sides saluted the 
historical links and continuing cultural and economic ties 
between the U.S. and France, along with our wide-ranging 
diplomatic cooperation.  Araud took the opportunity of the 
visit of the U.S. members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly 
to offer, in his typically plain-spoken fashion, a thumb-nail 
history of U.S.-French relations since World War II, 
including our different approaches to NATO.  Recalling an 
Cold War bromide, Araud said that NATO's original purpose had 
been "to keep the Germans down, the Russians out, and the 
Americans in."  Its current purpose is -- for the newer 
central European and Baltic members, given their fear of 
Russia, "rational or not" -- to keep the Americans in.    For 
other members, NATO provides a way to meet their defense -- 
without having to pay for it.  Araud decried the abysmally 
low defense spending by the European allies.  Among the 
Europeans, only the French and the British come close to 
carrying their weight, an exception which can be explained by 
their history as global powers, and their residual desire to 
exert influence. 
 
Trans-Atlantic Ties:  The Cases of Britain, France and Germany 
--------------------------------------------- ----------------- 
 
3.  (C) Taking up this theme, Araud offered the Codel a 
historical disquisition on the differences between France's 
and Britain's post-war relationship with the U.S.  Britain, 
for its part, tries to "ride the tiger," influencing U.S. 
policy behind the scenes.  This is what they have tried to do 
on Iraq:  "With what success, we might ask?"  France, on the 
other hand, tries to defend its interests, "tries to exist 
(as an independent player)."  The U.S. often views this 
simply as opposition, or anti-Americanism, which it isn't: 
"We're trying to exist, and to exercise our right to have our 
own opinion, including on how to address international 
crises.  That means that we may agree in some cases -- as on 
Iran where we work extremely closely, coordinating daily.  In 
others, as in Iraq, we disagreed, and still do.  This is not 
anti-Americanism, it's France developing its own analyses and 
exercising its own policy."  Stepping back, Araud recalled 
that the 1956 Suez Crisis had marked the end of both France 
and the UK's great power aspirations. Each, however, drew a 
different lesson from their joint failure.  U.S. opposition 
to the Suez operation, (which together with the Soviet 
Union's threat to use nuclear weapons had scuttled the 
Anglo-French operation), had led the British to conclude that 
"nothing was possible without the Americans," and that their 
influence would have to be applied through the U.S., by being 
at its side, and having its voice heard as America's most 
trusted ally.  The French took a distinctly different course, 
that of autonomy and independence (as symbolized in its 
decision, a few months after Suez, to create its own nuclear 
force).  Germany was a case apart, for historical reasons. 
With a military that was totally integrated into NATO, it was 
America's model ally.  Now things are changing: for the first 
time since WW II, during the Iraq crisis, Germany opposed the 
U.S.  While the British and French conception of their own 
roles -- "the special relationship" and 
independence/autonomy, respectively -- still apply, Germany's 
is now a question mark. 
 
Afghanistan 
----------- 
 
 
PARIS 00000743  002 OF 003 
 
 
4. (C) In the back and forth that followed Araud's 
presentation, Ambassador Stapleton noted that we describe the 
current state of the relationship as "normal," a 
characterization which Araud's historical synopsis supported. 
 It's a relationship we value, said the Ambassador; and we 
certainly do not take the French for granted.  Rep John 
Tanner (D-TN) agreed on the value of a diversity of opinion. 
Reaffirming strong U.S. support for NATO, he pointed to 
Afghanistan as the Alliance's defining issue.  The U.S. 
appreciates France's support in this crucial battle. 
Congressman Paul Gillmor (R-OH), Vice-President of the NPA, 
noted the importance of the NATO to the U.S, France's 
commitment of resources to defense, and the commonality of 
interests in our joint effort in Afghanistan.  (NOTE: 
Congressmen Tanner and Gillmor earlier met with French 
television  and print media to push for strengthened Allied 
support in Afghanistan. END NOTE.)  Araud agreed, citing the 
recent dispatch of the French aircraft carrier Charles de 
Gaulle to the region, which will allow France to increase its 
participation in airstrikes in Afghanistan.  However, 
France's concern is lack of a "political strategy" concerning 
Afghanistan, a point Chirac tried to make at the Riga Summit. 
 Perhaps France's proposed Contact Group wasn't the right 
solution, said Araud, as it raises the question of 
neighboring countries' roles, and Afghanistan's as well.  But 
at the end of the day, success in Afghanistan will be 
political, "and we are simply not convinced we have a 
political strategy, an end-game in view, a roadmap to 
success.  If what we are doing simply amounts to killing 
Taliban every Spring, some of us, five years from now, will 
have tired of this.  That's our concern; we're not 
criticizing NATO, which is doing it's job.  It's the 
political strategy that's missing.  For example, Iran is a 
natural ally in the fight against the Taliban.  And there is 
the drug problem, which affects you, us and Russia.  We're 
concerned about where we're going." 
 
Iran 
---- 
5. (C) Responding to Congressman Dennis Moore's (D-KS) 
question about the French view of Iran, Araud underlined how 
closely the U.S. and France have been working together over 
the past four years.  He distinguished Iran from North Korea, 
"a criminal regime which doesn't care about the suffering of 
its people."  Iran, on the other hand, is a "sort of 
democracy," a proud country, where public opinion counts for 
something, and which doesn't want to be seen as a pariah 
state.  This complex reality calls for a dual policy:  a 
readiness to negotiate, but in a context of international 
pressure.  During the negotiation of UNSCR 1737 a difference 
opened up between the U.S. and the EU-3, said Araud, with the 
U.S. seeking a stronger text, while the Europeans insisted on 
one that could be supported by the P-5.  Araud contended that 
now the U.S. agrees, retrospectively, that the Europeans were 
right on insisting on a unanimous outcome, one that could not 
be interpreted as the West ganging up on Iran.  UNSC 
unanimity (and especially China's vote) sent a powerful 
message of Iran's isolation, impacting strongly on Iranian 
public opinion.  Araud admitted that "mercantile" factors 
were driving some, especially the Russians.  While the French 
Treasury "is furious" about U.S. warnings to European banks 
about their operations with Iran, said Araud, those efforts 
work -- they're very effective.  Araud commented that the 
U.S. military option is taken very seriously in Iran.  As 
recounted to him by well-known French journalist Bernard 
Guetta, who recently returned from Tehran, "the Iranians are 
terrified; they take the U.S. military threat seriously -- 
people don't want it."  Another important factor is 
Ahmadinejad's growing weakness.  "He was elected because he 
wasn't corrupt, he promised housing and good administration, 
but he hasn't delivered.  And there was his recent defeat in 
the municipal elections.  That said, although the music has 
changed, the words haven't":  The Iranians continue to refuse 
to suspend enrichment.  Therefore we must keep up the 
pressure.  And the pressure is working.  So now we must work 
on a second sanctions resolution, and keep the door open to a 
"double suspension" deal with Iran.  We haven't failed, 
emphasized Araud.  According to Guetta, he said, many people 
close to Supreme Leader Khamenei had "incredibly violent 
things to say about Ahmadinejad whom they regard as an 
upstart.  They want him out.  The subdued celebration of 
Revolution Day, including Ahmadinejad's speech, in which he 
did not mention the Holocaust, was significant.  Araud also 
pointed to a recent press interview with Velayati in which he 
affirmed that the Holocaust was a historical reality.  We 
have two to three years, concluded Araud, to work on this 
before Iran gets the bomb.  We will and must continue to work 
on this together -- including with the Russians and Chinese. 
 
(6). (U)  Codel Tanner did not have the opportunity to clear 
this cable before departing Paris. 
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
 
PARIS 00000743  003 OF 003 
 
 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 
 
STAPLETON