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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 10BERLIN164, WESTERWELLE ON AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, TAC NUKES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10BERLIN164 2010-02-05 15:03 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
VZCZCXRO7703
OO RUEHSL
DE RUEHRL #0164/01 0361532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 051532Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6496
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0690
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 000164 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2020 
TAGS: OTRA MARR NATO PARM PINS PREL PGOV GM AF IR
SUBJECT: WESTERWELLE ON AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, TAC NUKES 
 
Classified By: Classified by Political M-C George Glass for reasons 1.4 
 (b,d). 
 
1.  (C) German FM Westerwelle told Amb February 5 that it was 
important to refocus Afghanistan efforts on civilian 
reconstruction; that we needed to avoid suggesting German 
troops engaged in less risk than other countries; that he did 
not invite Iranian FM Mottaki to Germany or seek a meeting 
with him; that any discussion of non-strategic nuclear 
weapons needed to be conducted at 28 at NATO; and that he 
could not influence any decision by the European Parliament 
on the SWIFT agreement.  END SUMMARY. 
2.  (C) The Ambassador asked about Westerwelle's first 100 
days in office.  Though in an ebullient mood, Westerwelle 
said things were very difficult (FDP slipped another 
percentage point in the polls hours before the meeting).  He 
said he had been in France February 4 for a joint cabinet 
meeting, but that nothing substantive came of it.  He 
observed that one never really knew what was going to happen 
with Sarkozy involved. 
 
-------------- 
AFGHANISTAN 
------------- 
 
3.  (C) The Ambassador reviewed his own recent trip to 
Afghanistan.  He shared his impression that the Germans were 
doing a superb job at all levels from the RC-North commander 
on down.  He learned how critical mentoring and partnering 
with Afghan security forces had become.  He noted that the 
U.S. was sending substantial forces to RC-North, where they 
would conduct training and be under German command. 
Westerwelle responded that this was important for Germany and 
for international cooperation.  The Ambassador added that the 
U.S. was sending substantial helicopter support as well.  He 
said that Germans could be proud of their troops in 
Afghanistan.  Westerwelle responded that this was good news. 
He said that the London Conference bore an excellent 
conclusion, and was particularly useful for its focus on 
civilian progress.  He emphasized the importance of 
underscoring civilian reconstruction. 
4.  (C) With a request for confidentiality, Westerwelle 
referred to the January 20 "Bild Zeitung" interview with 
General McChrystal, in which the general is quoted as urging 
the Germans to take more risks.  Westerwelle recounted that 
he himself had had to answer questions about this article for 
ten days, explaining that the Germans were not "peace 
soldiers" while  other countries provided the combat troops. 
He said it was important that German troops not be 
"relativized" and cast as second-class troops.  He observed 
that Germany had originally deployed 3,500 troops, increased 
that mandate to 4,500, and was now planning an increase of 
another 500 plus a reserve.  He emphasized that this was a 
major contribution compared with other European countries. 
5.  (C) The Ambassador noted that he had gained the 
impression in Afghanistan that police training was more 
challenging than he had originally understood.  Troops were 
usually required to provide force protection.  But German 
police training was the best. 
6.  (C) The Ambassador asked how the prospective February 26 
Bundestag debate to extend the Bundeswehr mandate in 
Afghanistan would play out.  Westerwelle said the question 
was how large a majority would approve the new mandate.  He 
said that SPD caucus chief Steinmeier displayed good will on 
this issue.  However, SPD chairman Gabriel wanted to 
politicize the issue for domestic political gain. 
Nevertheless, he thought some in the SPD would support the 
new mandate.  However, Westerwelle expected no support from 
the Greens.  Westerwelle noted that the May NRW state 
elections were also affecting the issue in a negative way. 
That said, he said he could not see Steinmeier opposing the 
larger mandate.  He hoped the Ambassador would speak with 
Steinmeier. 
 
------ 
IRAN 
------ 
 
7.  (C) Asked about the February 5 visit of Iranian FM 
Mottaki to the Munich Security Conference, Westerwelle 
emphasized that he (Westerwelle) had not invited Mottaki to 
come to Germany, and Westerwelle had also not requested a 
meeting with Mottaki.  Rather, it was Mottaki who was asking 
to see Westerwelle.  Westerwelle said he had still not 
decided whether he would talk to Mottaki or not.  He 
reflected concern that Tehran might try to exploit Mottaki's 
visit to Germany as a distraction, and continue executing 
people during the visit.  In any case, Westerwelle said his 
position was exactly the same as the U.S. on Iran, and he 
would share the results of any meeting with Mottaki, if it 
took place. 
 
BERLIN 00000164  002 OF 002 
 
 
8.  (C) Westerwelle said he would meet Russian FM Lavrov and 
(separately) Chinese FM Yang February 5.  He suggested that 
Moscow had been changing course on Iran sanctions since the 
Qom revelations.  The Russians now saw Iran as playing games 
on the nuclear issue.  However, he observed that China was 
"hesitant," or even in opposition to sanctions.  Reflecting 
on his recent visit to China, Westerwelle said he had not 
perceived any "good will" there at present.  He said he would 
ask Yang again about Iran and then share the results with the 
U.S.  Westerwelle opined that it was important also to focus 
on Brazil as an opinion leader in the Third World.  He noted 
that President Lula had received Ahmadinejad warmly several 
months ago.  He added that he was uncertain what the Saudis 
thought, but that the other Persian Gulf countries seemed to 
be in an existential panic about the Iranian nuclear program. 
 
----------- 
TAC NUKES 
----------- 
 
9.  (C) Touching briefly on arms control, Westerwelle stated 
unequivocally that tactical nuclear weapons was an issue for 
NATO.  He said that when he had received Kissinger, Schulz, 
Perry and Nunn on February 3 to talk about their global zero 
proposal, tactical nuclear weapons was not discussed.  He 
said that the four statesmen were very supportive of 
President Obama. 
 
---------- 
TFTP 
--------- 
 
10.  (C) The Ambassador raised the challenge of getting the 
European Parliament to approve an agreement to share data 
with the U.S. on tracking terrorist finance.  The Ambassador 
noted the extensive efforts of the Treasury Department and 
other U.S. agencies to explain the importance of the program 
to our common security.  He asked how one could get better 
support for the program.  Westerwelle replied that the German 
government had been able to come up with a solution for 
itself a few months ago when the issue first surfaced. 
(Comment: In fact, German Interior Minister de Maziere's vote 
to abstain in the EU Council vote on TFTP on November 30 
reflected the complete deadlock within the Coalition 
Government between TFTP advocates in the CDU-controlled 
Interior Ministry and TFTP opponents in the FDP-controlled 
Justice Ministery. End Comment.) However, Westerwelle said 
that now that the issue was in the European Parliament, he 
had no ability to influence it.  He said that he was very, 
very aware of the Secretary's interest in this issue. 
Nevertheless, he had a sense that almost all groups in the 
European Parliament had concerns with the proposed agreement. 
 He emphasized that this was not an issue that only concerned 
his party, the FDP, but rather many others as well. 
11. (C) Westerwelle shared that he had not yet appointed a 
new Coordinator for German-American cooperation. 
 
---------- 
COMMENT 
--------- 
 
12.  (C) Westerwelle (who spoke with ease in English) was in 
a buoyant mood and more confident on his issues than we have 
seen him so far.  He seemed ready to defend any intimation 
that he was less than supportive of a troop surge (Defense 
Minister zu Guttenberg told the Ambassador two days ago that 
Westerwelle had worked for no increase of German troops for 
Afghanistan, see Berlin 157) with invocations of the 
importance of civilian reconstruction.  On Iran, he leapt at 
the chance to tell us he had not invited Mottaki.  His dodges 
on both tactical nuclear weapons and terrorist finance were 
all but practiced.  His comment that he was unable to affect 
the vote in the EU Parliament on TFTP was a bit disingenuous; 
on February 4, an MFA official acknowledged to visiting 
Treasury officials in Berlin that German MEPs were in fact 
leading the charge against TFTP in the EU Parliament with the 
tacit support of the FDP, if not of specialists in the 
Justice Ministry and MFA themselves. Westerwelle still cuts a 
good image in meetings and in the press here, even though his 
party continues a bout of free fall in the polls.  His 
ministry, though, still wonders (privately to us) where he 
gets his policy direction from.  END COMMENT. 
13.  (U) The Ambassador did not have the chance to clear this 
cable before departing Berlin. 
 
 
 
Murphy