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 08REYKJAVIK225, ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS, TIME FOR USG TO GET INVOLVED?

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. #08REYKJAVIK225.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08REYKJAVIK225 2008-10-08 19:07 2011-01-13 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXRO1575
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHRK #0225/01 2821924
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 081924Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3835
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 REYKJAVIK 000225 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/FO A/S Dan Fried 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/07/2018 
TAGS: EFIN ECON PGOV IC
SUBJECT: ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS, TIME FOR USG TO GET INVOLVED? 
 
REF: Reykjavik 223 
 
Classified By: DCM Neil Klopfenstein for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.(C)  Summary: The Icelandic economic crisis continues with no end 
in sight.  The possibility of a Russian loan bailout as well as 
concerns voiced by some American bankers raise the question of 
whether greater USG involvement in the crisis is merited.  The 
Icelandic Central Bank announced this morning that its attempts to 
peg the krona to an index were not working and it would no longer fix 
the rate.  The krona devalued, then stabilized later in the day, but 
there are significant differences in the exchange rate depending on 
the financial institution.  The Financial Supervisory Authority used 
the powers from emergency legislation to take control of Glitnir Bank 
and the takeover went well.  Kaupthing remains independent for now; 
their Swedish branch will receive a 700 million USD loan from the 
Swedish Central Bank.  Relations with Britain are under strain 
following UK Chancellor Darling's announcement that he seized the UK 
assets of Icelandic banks, and the media reported that PM Brown wants 
to sue the Icelandic government to refund British depositors.  Prime 
Minister Haarde stressed in a press conference at 4 pm that the 
current situation would not affect many decades of friendship between 
Iceland and the UK.  Haarde said he had talked to his colleagues in 
the Nordics and that the Norwegian Prime Minister had offered 
Norwegian assistance.  Regarding the Russian loan offer, the PM asked 
at the press conference why Iceland shouldn't call on the Russians if 
they could help?  Despite public assertions that some of Iceland's 
friends had failed to provide help, the Embassy does not believe the 
Icelanders have adequately checked out all possibilities of 
cooperation with U.S. entities.  We urged Iceland reps to reach out 
to U.S. authorities immediately so that "our friends said no" - means 
they really asked the right questions.  End Summary. 
 
2. (U) The Central Bank announced that the fixed rate for the krona 
was not holding and they would no longer hold the rate.  The krona 
devalued a bit, and then stabilized at the end of the day.  We 
noticed that the exchange rate varies from institution to 
institution, which less confidence in the krona abroad.  The Central 
Bank rate is 114 ISK/USD, Kaupthing's rate is 96.7 ISK/USD and UBS (a 
Swiss bank)'s rate is 271 ISK/USD.  Today Landsbanki lowered its 
daily foreign currency withdrawal limits from 200,000 ISK to just 
50,000 ISK. 
 
3. (U) The Financial Supervisory Authority (FME) took control of 
Glitnir Bank last night.  The FME has replaced the board of directors 
and promised similar action as has been taken at Landsbanki.  The 
Minister of Commerce reported at a press conference at 4 pm that the 
takeover was smooth and had gone well.  The only bank of the largest 
three to remain independent, Kaupthing, announced that their Swedish 
unit was receiving a 5 billion Swedish krona, or 700 million USD, 
loan from the Swedish Central Bank. 
 
4. (C) The Director General of the Economic Department of the 
Ministry of Finance, Thorsteinn Thorgeirsson, told Econoff he was 
very concerned with the deteriorating situation with the British.  He 
pointed to the media reports that Prime Minister Gordon Brown wanted 
to sue Iceland over guaranteeing British deposits in Icelandic banks 
in the UK and UK Chancellor Darling's televised speech on the 
Parliament floor stating that he had seized and frozen assets of 
Icelandic banks in UK.  In his 4 pm press conference today, Prime 
Minister Haarde stated that the Icelandic Government will work with 
the British government to find a solution to ensure the British 
deposits in the Icelandic accounts IceSave are safe.  Haarde added 
the current situation would not affect many decades of friendship 
with the UK. 
 
5. (C) In reaction to Icelandic government assertions yesterday that 
the Icelanders were turning to Russia because friends (i.e., the 
U.S.) had failed to respond to pleas for help, the Embassy checked 
with both Icelandic and U.S. institutions to ascertain whether the 
Icelanders had requested help or advice from other than the Federal 
Reserve.   We have only been able to confirm that Central Bank 
officials have talked to the Chairman of the New York Fed - but not 
since last week -- and, as Treasury briefed the ambassador on October 
6, U/S McCormack phoned the Finance Minister that day.  We are at a 
loss to explain why the Icelanders have not picked up the phone to 
discuss what they need and what we might be able to help them with, 
though the stature of Central Bank director David Oddsson may have 
something to do with a reluctance to open other lines of 
communication.   American bankers here tell us that U.S. support is 
badly needed, that the Icelandic bank assets are not toxic, and that 
their problem is short term liquidity worsened by a crisis of 
confidence. 
 
6. (C) The U.S. has strategic interests in the high north and a 
sturdy security relationship with post-Keflavik Iceland that both 
sides have labored to develop.  Today the Embassy urged senior reps 
in the PM's office and elsewhere to at least explore what 
confidence-building cooperation (other than the credit swaps the Fed 
turned down) may be possible to develop.  We doubt that it would be 
 
REYKJAVIK 00000225  002 OF 002 
 
 
in the interest of the U.S. or NATO for the Icelanders to be beholden 
to Russia, however "friendly" the loan terms may be. 
 
 
VAN VOORST