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Viewing cable 09BERLIN1271, WESTERWELLE FIRM ON REMOVAL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BERLIN1271 2009-10-09 12:12 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Berlin
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRL #1271/01 2821248
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091248Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5455
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001271 
 
NOFORN 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MNUC MARR GM
SUBJECT: WESTERWELLE FIRM ON REMOVAL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS 
FROM GERMANY IN COALITION NEGOTIATIONS 
 
REF: A. BERLIN 1162 
     B. BERLIN 1241 
 
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor George Glass for reasons 1. 
4 (b,d). 
 
1.  (C//NF) Summary: A well-placed FDP source said that on 
the first day of coalition negotiations (October 5) between 
the CDU, CSU and the FDP, FDP leader Westerwelle argued for 
the removal of the remaining non-strategic nuclear weapons 
from German soil.  Interior Minister Schaeuble (CDU) asserted 
that the weapons serve as a deterrent.  Other foreign policy 
issues discussed included support for Afghanistan and 
Turkey's accession to the EU.  Source said that Chancellor 
Merkel (CDU) may push to complete the negotiations by October 
18, but noted that the FDP is in no hurry.  He provided 
Emboffs with a list of the membership of the negotiations 
plenary and working groups as well as timetable.  Cabinet 
composition will only be decided at the end of coalition 
negotiations.  End summary. 
 
Westerwelle Firm on Removal of Nuclear Weapons 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2.  (C//NF) Formal coalition negotiations between Guido 
Westerwelle's Free Democratic Party (FDP), Chancellor 
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian 
Social Union (CSU) on a coalition agreement began on October 
5.  FDP strategist shared with Emboffs and visiting Senior 
Germany Desk Officer October 7 information on issues 
discussed during the first two days of these negotiations as 
well as the negotiations schedule and working group make-up. 
Source serves as his party's notetaker for the negotiations 
and has been a long-standing close Embassy contact. 
 
3.  (C//NF) Source said that on October 5 negotiations 
included discussion on arms control in general and removal of 
the remaining non-strategic nuclear weapons from German soil. 
 He said that Federal Interior Minister Schaeuble argued that 
the weapons serve as a deterrent to Iran.  (Note: Regarding 
Schaeuble, source commented that he is "neurotic" in that he 
sees threats everywhere.  He questioned whether Schaeuble's 
influence is as great as it once was and whether he will stay 
in his position.  End note.)  According to source, 
Westerwelle asserted that nuclear weapons on German soil do 
not serve as a deterrent against Iran since they could not 
reach Iran.  He said that Westerwelle underlined that 
President Obama is moving forward toward a "nuclear-free 
world" and that he wants Germany to be in the lead.  Source 
said that Chancellor Merkel quipped in response that Germany 
is not that important in this regard -- the world would 
hardly take notice if there were action on this matter. 
According to source, Merkel wanted to avoid discussion of 
this topic.  Source also said that there was criticism of 
Social Democratic Party Foreign Minister Steinmeier that he 
did not respond adequately to President Obama's Prague speech 
in which he discussed arms control.  In response to Poloff 
query, source said that the issue of removal of nuclear 
weapons is very important to Westerwelle and that he could 
well seek to include something specific in the coalition 
agreement. 
 
Turkey's EU Membership; Afghanistan; Transatlantic Relations 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 
 
4.  (C//NF) Source said that Turkey's accession to the EU was 
also discussed, with general agreement that Turkey is not 
ready for membership and could not fulfill membership 
criteria.  Source said that there was agreement that no 
decision would have to be reached on this issue within the 
next four years in any case.  Westerwelle also spoke against 
any type of automatic decision in favor of membership for 
Turkey.  There was also general agreement that the EU is not 
ready for new members at this time beyond Croatia. 
 
5.  (C//NF) Afghanistan was also an issue, but source only 
noted that there was general agreement on the need to 
continue efforts in Afghanistan.  Source also stressed that 
the three parties support strong transatlantic relations and 
continuity in foreign policy. 
 
The Devil's in the Details; What's the Rush? 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C//NF) Source assessed some differences in Merkel's and 
Westerwelle's approach to the negotiations, although he also 
noted that the atmosphere was "very friendly and relaxed." 
He observed that Merkel preferred less detail and more 
general provisions, whereas Westerwelle was interested in a 
 
detailed agreement that would guide the coalition over the 
next four years.  In addition, source noted that Merkel is 
trying to push the negotiations along since she would like to 
have the new government in place before she travels to 
Washington in early November and before the EU summit at the 
end of October.  Source indicated that Westerwelle might try 
to use Merkel's desire for speed to his advantage in the 
negotiations.  While he did not indicate that the FDP would 
prolong negotiations intentionally, he noted that the FDP was 
in no hurry to complete them. 
 
Ministries Divided Among Parties Last 
------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C//NF)  Regarding the possible make-up of the cabinet, 
source said that no decisions will be made until the end of 
coalition negotiations and that the current membership of 
working groups should not be seen as an indication of who 
will end up in which ministry (see ref B).  Source also said 
that the coalition agreement may only say which ministerial 
posts go to which coalition parties, without any names being 
given.  The names would only be provided later, perhaps after 
the Chancellor is voted in by the Bundestag.  Source noted 
that only two positions are certain: Angela Merkel will be 
Chancellor and Guido Westerwelle will be Vice Chancellor.  He 
added that Westerwelle will most likely also become the next 
foreign minister.  He then commented that during October 5 
negotiations, Economics Minister zu Guttenberg demonstrated 
his interest in foreign policy and Hermann Otto Solms (FDP) 
showed he could play an increasingly important role in the 
financial area.  Source provided Emboffs with the names of 
those serving in the plenary rounds of the negotiations and a 
schedule of when those rounds will take place. 
 
--Plenary Members from the CDU: Chancellor Merkel, Interior 
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Chancellery Chief Thomas de 
Maziere, Education Minister Annette Shavan, CDU/CSU Caucus 
Chief Volker Kauder, CDU General Secretary Ronald Pofalla, 
Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Juergen 
Ruettgers, Minister President of Hesse Roland Koch, Minister 
President of Lower Saxony Christian Wulff. 
 
--Plenary Members from the CSU: Minister President of Bavaria 
and CSU Chair Horst Seehofer, Economics Minister Karl-Theodor 
zu Guttenberg, Head of CSU Bundestag group Peter Ramsauer, 
CSU Secretary General Alexander Dobrindt, Bavaria State 
Parliament President Barbara Stamm, Bavaria Plenipotentiary 
Markus Soeder, Bavaria Finance Minister Georg Fahrenschon, 
Bavaria Justice Minister Beate Merk. 
 
--Plenary Members from the FDP: Party Chair Guido 
Westerwelle, FDP Secretary General Dirk Niebel, Bundestag 
Vice President Hermann Otto Solms, FDP Deputy Caucus 
Chairperson Birgit Homburger, Lower Saxony Minister for 
Economics Philipp Roesler, FDP deputy chair Rainer Bruederle, 
Deputy Minister President for NRW Andreas Pinkwart, Deputy 
Chairperson Bundestag Education Committee Cornelia Pieper, 
Bavaria State Chairperson Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. 
 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (C//NF) Westerwelle has made the removal of nuclear 
weapons from Germany one of his flagship issues in the 
foreign policy arena and has raised this in various fora in 
the past.  It is not clear how hard he will push to have a 
specific provision on this included in the coalition 
agreement.  Judging by source's description of the 
discussion, Merkel would rather have a more general provision 
regarding disarmament included and preferred to avoid 
prolonged discussion on this issue. 
 
9.  (C//NF) The CDU/CSU is the only party that still supports 
German participation in the NATO nuclear share and the 
deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany.  While the 
CDU/CSU leadership is willing to fight for the current 
policy, it is concerned that the ongoing Nuclear Posture 
Review could significantly change U.S. policy on the 
deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe, 
putting it at a significant political disadvantage vis-a-vis 
the rest of the German political establishment.  In fact, 
senior Chancellery officials have already requested that they 
be pre-notified about any possible change in U.S. policy (ref 
C).  We expect that in these coalition negotiations, the 
CDU/CSU may hedge their bets against a possible U.S. policy 
change by agreeing to language that commits the next 
government to seek consultations on this issue at NATO, with 
the caveat that any decision must be made by the Alliance as 
 
a whole and must take account of the large number of Russian 
non-strategic nuclear weapons oriented against NATO member 
states.  Post will seek meetings with source after the 
plenary negotiation rounds to see if additional readouts are 
possible. 
 
10.  (C//NF) FDP source is a young, up-and-coming party 
loyalist, who has offered Emboffs internal party documents in 
the past.  Excited with his role as FDP negotiations 
notetaker, he seemed happy to share his observations and 
insights and read to us directly from his notes.  He also 
provided copies of documents from his "negotiations" binder. 
Murphy