Search

 

Cablegate: Spanish Defense Minister Chacon Receives U.S

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #0678/01 1700636
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 180636Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4952
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0178
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1533

C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 000678

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR ELAINE SAMSON, EUR/WE
OSD FOR COL PATRICK MCCLELLAND

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR NATO SP
SUBJECT: SPANISH DEFENSE MINISTER CHACON RECEIVES U.S.
AMBASSADOR

REF: A. MADRID 610
B. MADRID 568

Classified By: Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre, for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: New Spanish Minister of Defense Carme
Chacon, who took office April 14 but has been on maternity
leave since May 19, told Ambassador Aguirre during a
congenial one-on-one breakfast meeting June 10 that she
looked forward to working with the United States and would
like to meet with her U.S. counterpart when an opportunity
presents itself. The two discussed the bilateral defense
relationship, with special emphasis on Spanish overseas
deployments, especially Kosovo and Afghanistan. Chacon and
the Ambassador also covered the June 3 congressional
notification of the sale of Tomahawk missiles to Spain; the
status of Spain's request for the LAIRCM aircraft protection
suite; U.S. use of the Spanish bases of Moron and Rota,
including ship visits and sensitivities related to Gibraltar;
NATO enlargement; and opportunities for Spanish cooperation
with the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Minister Chacon
described herself as a friend of the United States, as
evidenced by her eagerness to meet with the Ambassador even
before she returns to work o/a June 30. The very friendly
meeting lasted 90 minutes and included the presentation by
the Ambassador of a stuffed animal Bald Eagle chick for
Minister Chacon's newborn son. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Minister Chacon told the Ambassador she would like a
pull-aside with Secretary of Defense Gates at the next NATO
defense ministerial opportunity. While interested in seeing
Secretary Gates, Chacon did not foresee traveling to the
United States. Note: Spanish Secretary General for Defense
Luis Cuesta had told the DCM on May 29 that MOD Chacon
(because of her maternity leave) would not be going to the
June NATO meeting but would attend in September, and would
probably seek an appointment with SECDEF at that time (ref
A).

3. (C) On a number of issues, Minister Chacon made it clear
she was pleased to discuss but not yet aware of Spanish
equities. She offered no comment, for example, when the
Ambassador raised NATO enlargement, urging that Spain support
Membership Action Plans (MAP) for Ukraine and Georgia. She
likewise asked the Ambassador about the status of LAIRCM but
seemed satisfied the U.S. Embassy was doing all it could to
help protect Spain's Head of State and Head of Government
aircraft. While unfamiliar with U.S. procedures for
notifying the intent to sell TLAM to Spain, she was pleased
with the Ambassador's efforts to push for notification and
interested in the outcome. On Gibraltar, MOD Chacon was
pleased to learn the U.S.-Spanish Permanent Committee would
hold an informational meeting June 17, and yet expressed the
Spanish hope U.S. ships would call at Rota whenever possible.

4. (C) Regarding Afghanistan, MOD Chacon assured the
Ambassador Spain was considering the possible deployment of
Spanish police trainers. She noted the original request had
been for Civil Guard trainers. The Ambassador explained that
either Spanish National Police or Civil Guard expertise would
be welcome, and left it up to Spain to determine the most
appropriate contribution. Minister Chacon assured the
Ambassador that Spain also remained committed to Kosovo. She
went on to suggest that the Spanish military, absent GOS
recognition of Kosovo's independence, had greater credibility
with Serb forces and might therefore have a calming effect in
the region. The Minister told the Ambassador that Spain's
parliamentary cap of 3,000 on personnel deployed overseas was
real, and said she could not imagine it being raised or
eliminated.

5. (C) On AFRICOM, the Ambassador noted the June 8-11 visit
of General Ward was an important opportunity to exchange
views on a subject of great strategic interest to both
countries. Chacon was aware of the June 9-10 meetings and
expressed a desire to place a Spanish liaison officer in
AFRICOM. Reiterating the AFRICOM Commander's message to the
CHOD, the Ambassador said AFRICOM would be pleased to have a
Spanish officer, probably toward the end of 2008 once the
command was better prepared to host one. Chacon noted that
Spanish public opinion would be critical in determining the
level of GOS engagement with the new command. While the GOS
was interested in being a part of efforts in Africa, much
work remained to be done and she asked that the USG
coordinate closely with Spain on next steps.

6. (C) The Ambassador referenced the June 13 extradition to
the United States of notorious Syrian arms dealer Monzer
Al-Kassar. Though Minister Chacon seemed to disregard media
speculation of an increased threat to Spanish personnel in
Lebanon and elsewhere, the Ambassador urged the Minister to
be aware of possible repercussions and to take necessary
steps to protect Spanish forces participating in UNIFIL.

7. (C) COMMENT: Chacon's cordial invitation and subsequent
approach to the Ambassador, even while she is still on
maternity leave, echo the cooperative tone she adopted while
serving as Minister of Housing. The Minister's assertion the
deployment ceiling would not be raised, in apparent
contradiction of Chief of Defense GEN Sanz's statements in
the context of June 5 meetings with U.S. military visitors,
may or may not reflect an entrenched GOS position and could
be more an indication that Chacon is technically still on
leave. Senior members of her policy staff have told Post
certain initiatives await the new Minister's input or
go-ahead (reftels) and the CHOD indicated he planned to lobby
internally to advocate eliminating the political cap. In
anticipation of the end of Chacon's maternity leave and
planned June 30 return to the Ministry, on the eve of Spanish
summer vacations, only time will tell how Spain plans to meet
its international obligations. Adding overseas missions
within current deployment ceilings will require some
combination of creative accounting (including setting aside
law enforcement training personnel), the use of political
capital to relax congressional strictures on individual
missions, and the possible incorporation of Latin American
troop contributing countries under Spanish auspices from
Lebanon to Afghanistan.
AGUIRRE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC