Cablegate: Brazil: Bilateral Pol-Mil Talks
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 BRASILIA 001291
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/19/2009
TAGS: MARR MASS MCAP PREL BR POL MIL
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: BILATERAL POL-MIL TALKS
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Virden,
Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)
1. (C) Summary and Introduction: Annual U.S.-Brazil Political-Military consultations, held in Brasilia, May 14, reflected general accord on the health of the bilateral pol-mil relationship but identified areas where collaboration and coordination remained thin. USdel head P/M Assistant Secretary Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. offered to help close the SIPDIS gap on outstanding issues, particularly where specific written agreement that would facilitate expanded cooperation was lacking. While the A/S acknowledged that ties between the two militaries were strong, such agreements, he said, would enhance them more. Brazilian officials, led by Foreign Ministry (MRE) Director General for North and Central America and the Caribbean Ambassador Washington Pereira, welcomed U.S. clarification on such matters as Article 98, a proposed Defense Cooperation Agreement, GSOMIA, and ACSA, but conceded little in bringing any negotiated agreement closer to closure. Looking at the regional situation, the Brazilian side highlighted bilateral efforts with Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia, but stopped short of implying a more active political engagement with Colombia (unless specifically requested from the GoC.) Focusing on its upcoming peacekeeping mission to Haiti, the GOB asked that the USG assist that country's post-Aristide political leadership to reach out to pro-Aristide elements and Caricom. Regarding Brazil's F-X jet fighter competition, A/S Bloomfield made an indirect pitch for the Lockheed-Martin F-16 by noting continued AMRAAM availability for the U.S. package. The F-X decision process, according to the Ministry of Defense, now rests with the Presidency. The GOB side expressed reluctance for any significant change to the mission of regional security instruments such as the InterAmerican Defense Board and the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security. End Summary
DCA & SOFA ----------
2. (SBU) In order to achieve the unmet potential in the current mil-mil relationship, A/S Bloomfield explained how a defense cooperation framework agreement (DCA) would be a very practical tool for facilitating cooperation in several defense areas such as exchanges, training, and joint exercises. He shared with the GOB a non-paper explaining the purpose of a DCA as well as a SOFA, identifying the elements contained in the latter. The U.S. side stated that a SOFA was necessary for entry into a DCA. The A/S offered to send USG experts to explain both types of agreements and, in so doing, to clarify the differences between the two. Ambassador Pereira was open to the possibility of a DCA but remained skeptical that the Brazilian Congress would approve a SOFA because of Constitutional concerns. However, he acknowledged that since the SOFA applied only to discrete groups of U.S. servicemen, the issue could still be left open for internal GOB review. Ministry of Defense (MOD) Director for International Affairs Air Force General Carlos Velloso also welcomed the Assistant Secretary,s suggestion for exploratory talks. Velloso noted that discussion of a SOFA would go beyond the purview of just the Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries, and include the Ministry of Justice among others; the A/S replied the same holds true for the U.S. side, insofar as Brazil wants to discuss reciprocal treatment.
3. (SBU) General Velloso indicated that the Ministry of Defense had already begun review of the draft General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) facilitating the exchange of classified military information. While the MOD wanted an agreement, Velloso stated that a number of "restrictions and caveats" have been voiced within the Ministry about "illegal" USG requirements (Note: Velloso subsequently downplayed, then dismissed, the notion of illegal requirements. End note). As a result, the review process within the Ministry had ground to a halt. He promised the MOD would continue to review the agreement to see what is feasible. OSD Senior Country Director for Brazil Luiz Sanchez replied that over 60 countries, including five in the Western Hemisphere, had already signed GSOMIAs with the U.S. In every case, no such "legal" concerns had been voiced by the parties. Sanchez said the USG would appreciate Brazil,s specific concerns. He also offered to arrange a GSOMIA orientation visit to the U.S. as a confidence building measure to alleviate MOD concerns, a proposal welcomed by the MOD.
4. (SBU) General Velloso recognized the importance of signing an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) in support of Brazil's upcoming PKO mission to Haiti. However, he pointed to several legislative hurdles that had to be addressed before Brazil could sign it. For example, Brazilian Law 8666, he said, did not allow for "cross servicing." According to Velloso, several passages within the ACSA may need to be deleted or modified. Again, Sanchez noted that 47 nations already have ACSAs in place, including six in South America. Sanchez reiterated the rationale for an ACSA and asked whether the MOD understood its routine, non-binding nature. Again, the U.S. side requested Brazil,s specific concerns and suggestions.
Article 98 ----------
5. (U) A/S Bloomfield explained that while there is profound feeling behind the USG rhetoric, U.S. policy sought neither to undermine the ICC/Rome Statute nor to be punitive. Moreover, the USG, he pointed out, is not looking to harm its military assistance programs, which serve our interests as well. The American Servicemen's Protection Act, however, was a clear effort to use assistance as leverage to dissuade countries from joining the Rome Statute, and the USG would enforce the law. Noting that 89 Article 98 agreements had already been concluded (over half with countries that have at least signed the Rome Statute), Bloomfield said the USG is comporting with the Rome Statute by following the Article 98 procedure. While the USG recognizes Brazil,s strong advocacy for accountability and responsibility, the A/S made clear we do not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction over U.S. citizens. Moreover, he emphasized, the threat to U.S. citizens of politicized prosecution has been shown to be a real world phenomenon.
6. (C) MRE United Nations Division Deputy Chief Achiles Zaluar responded that the MRE was gratified the Bush administration wanted to avoid a confrontation over Article 98. The ICC, Zaluar noted, enjoys considerable public support in Brazil, and the GoB believes the Court is an important international institution. Brazil did not want to give the impression international law automatically did not apply to some countries. Moreover, Zaluar said, the U.S. Article 98 model agreement appeared to exempt all U.S. nationals and not just sent persons. "Things would be different if we were talking only about USG officials and soldiers," he pointed out, "but a blanket condition for all U.S. citizens could be detrimental if (this policy was) applied by all countries to the ICC." Brazil,s extradition stance, he argued, was similar to the EU,s and the GoB could offer "additional guarantees" if that would alleviate USG concerns. He stated that Brazil would extradite to the United States before the ICC and urged the USG in its dealings with Brazil to think "out-of-the-box." Ambassador Pereira proposed the GoB continue to study the issue with the clarifications that the UGS provided. Intelligence Sharing /"3 1"
TBA Cooperation -------------------------------------------
7. (C) MRE Illicit Transitional Crime Division Chief Marcos Pinta Gama shared USG optimism about bilateral intelligence and law enforcement cooperation, pointing out that Brazilian agencies benefit greatly from cooperation with counterpart USG agencies. He cited extensive information exchange on crime, drugs and anti-terrorism and specifically praised the bilateral, Embassy-led Law Enforcement Working Group (LEWG), established in 2003. Pinta Gama did refer to a State Department website citing "financial support" from the TBA for terrorist groups and asked that such a determination be "better established." He described the "3 1" mechanism as instrumental in showing the reality in the TBA and the challenges faced there. Pinta Gama also suggested that Chile and Uruguay be added to the "3 1" Group. MRE's crime chief felt that additional bilateral cooperation and more fluid threat information exchange could be achieved between Brazilian civil aviation authorities and the TSA, particularly in the absence of armed air marshals in Brazil.
Regional Challenges -------------------
8. (C) MRE South America Division Chief Rubem Barbosa provided an overview of the state of Brazil,s neighbors, and Pinta Gama reviewed Brazil,s border monitoring coordination efforts with its Andean neighbors. Regarding Colombia, the GoB remained concerned with possible spillover effects. To improve tactical cooperation, Presidents Uribe and Lula established a bilateral working group to exploit the information gleaned from SIVAM, now completely operational. Pinta Gama praised the work of the Regional Intelligence Center in Tabatinga which monitors the flow of drugs along the Colombian border. Brazil, Barbosa stated, perceived significant political progress under Uribe and remained "moderately optimistic" about that country's prospects. He reiterated Brazil,s offer to host a meeting between the UN and the insurgents, if the GoC concurred. A/S Bloomfield asked how Brazil could play an even more constructive role in Colombia. Barbosa emphasized the GoB would not "impose its views" on the Colombian people. Brazil would lend more active participation, he said, if it were welcomed by the Colombians themselves. Brazil wanted a clear signal or indication for its broader involvement and would only act if Bogota specifically requested its assistance.
9. (C) Brazil shares its longest and most porous border with Bolivia. Ambassador Pereira said the GoB viewed with "grave concern" the "seismic changes" occurring in Bolivia, including the disturbing convergence of an energized indigenous movement with the drug problem. Pereira underscored the Brazil's unshaken support for President Mesa and President Lula,s efforts to keep Morales on a democratic path. Brazil, he said, was also doing everything it could to prevent Bolivia,s economic collapse and warned that "moderation" had to continue. Barbosa explained that Brazil continued to work with Venezuela on a wide range of issues including trafficking-in-persons and cross border drug trafficking. However, Venezuela must respect democratic principles and move towards a democratic solution -- a stance the Lula administration continued to demand of Chavez. Barbosa opined that Lula,s close ties with Chavez helps to "moderate" the Venezuelan leader.
PKO/HAITI --------- 1
0. (C) Zaluar announced that the bill authorizing Brazil's participation in the Haiti peacekeeping operation had just passed the Chamber of Deputies, adding that President Lula personally had been involved in the process. (Note: The bill passed the Senate on May 19. End note) Brazil, he explained, wanted Haiti,s underlying social and development issues to be addressed during this UN operation, and the international community, and especially the U.S., should provide generous financial support. The MRE believed that Haitians had turned to drug trafficking only when there was no other viable economic alternative after international assistance was cut off. Pointing to continued repercussions from President Aristide's departure from power, Zaluar urged the U.S. to press Haiti's current leadership to reach out to Caricom and the pro-Aristide forces. Caricom support, he felt, was vital to a political solution and so far, the new leaders seemed not to have a good understanding of the regional context of the Haiti situation. A/S Bloomfield expressed USG appreciation for Brazil's decision to lead in this important hemispheric operation, and the United States understood the need for the country's economic and social development. He said he would carry the message regarding the behavior towards pro-Aristide elements and Caricom back to Washington.
Defense Modernization Programs
------------------------------ 11. (SBU) One of Brazil's most important military modernization efforts is the new generation F-X fighter program. General Velloso indicated that the long-running F-X competition process had progressed from the Air Force through the MOD to the Presidency where a decision on the selection of the F-X had not yet been made. The Ministry of Defense remained closely engaged with the Presidency, the General assured, and its technical imput on the fighter options was being weighed carefully. A/S Bloomfield emphasized that the USAF's principal interest is not commercial but rather to sustain a close, long-term relationship with the Brazilian Air Force, which is held in high regard among the US military. Regarding authorization to release the AMRAAM missile as a part of the U.S. F-16 package, the USG had confronted and overcome old attitudes in the U.S. Congress because "the partnership with Brazil was a greater interest even than our regional proliferation concerns." Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM) Commission Vice President Air Force General Alvaro Pinheiro stated that with the opening of the Manaus command center, SIVAM was "completely operational." He cited continuing spare parts issues with Raytheon, although he conceded there were no more "technical problems." Southcom J-5 Brazil Desk Officer LTC Sam Prugh indicated that the USG supported greater regional sharing of radar data to develop a complete, seamless picture that would better protect Brazil's borders. Special Conference on Hemispheric Security
12. (SBU) MRE OAS Division Chief Nelson Tabajara praised the successful outcome of the Special Conference, including the Declaration on Security in the Americas (DSA). He described the DSA as evidence of the historical evolution of hemispheric security issues within the OAS. To reach consensus on such a significant document, a lengthy preparatory process was indeed necessary. In Brazil,s opinion, the DSA correctly emphasizes threats beyond simply traditional territorial confrontations. Tabajara concluded by asserting that the Declaration serves as both a guide and a starting point because future work, including perhaps additional conferences, will be needed to bolster hemispheric security. Eli Sugarman from the Office of Regional and Strategic Security, Bureau of Arms Control, echoed Brazil,s position and emphasized the need to move forward with implementation of the DSA. Sugarman also agreed that continued consultations are needed to discuss concrete ways to implement the more action oriented provisions of the DSA.
Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs) --------------------------------------------- ----
13. (SBU) Sugarman stated that one of the most significant outcomes of the Special Conference on Security was the creation of a permanent OAS "Forum for Confidence and Security Building" to consider new measures and review implementation of past ones. The U.S. hopes to use this Forum to consider a "new generation" of CSBMs to address emerging transnational threats of the 21st century. Tabajara agreed that the pursuit of a new generation of non-military measures is important. Since original measures have succeeded in considerably lowering mistrust, he felt a new generation of measures could continue this momentum and further promote stability and military transparency in the hemisphere.
OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security (CHS), General Assembly Resolutions --------------------------------------------
14. (C) Tabajara affirmed that Brazil was satisfied with the work of the CHS, and he highlighted Brazil,s recent draft resolution on combating extreme poverty as a security concern for Brazil and others. Sugarman stressed the need for a more effective CHS Chair next year to ensure that the CHS is able to fulfill its numerous mandates, including those related to Special Conference follow-up. The process of introducing resolutions also ought to be reconsidered, he added. For example, although the U.S. supports Brazil's resolution on extreme poverty, we were caught by surprise when it was introduced at the last minute without prior consultation. Sugarman,s reference to a U.S.-drafted resolution on Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) surprised the Brazilians because they were unaware that such a draft resolution was being considered. Sugarman explained that further consultations were needed before the draft would be formally introduced. He concluded by suggesting a series of regular (quarterly) consultations between the U.S. and Brazilian OAS delegations to ensure better coordination on hemispheric security issues.
Inter-American Defense Board Modernization ------------------------------------------
15. (SBU) The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), A/S Bloomfield stated, should be part of a new array of effective and relevant regional security institutions, and the U.S. favors a range of proposals to modernize it. The U.S. military, he noted, is increasingly called to perform nontraditional tasks, such as providing advice to outgunned police forces faced with heavily-armed organized crime elements. Yet, the OAS lacked the expertise to assist in large measure because it cannot call upon the IADB for help. The USG recognizes, however, that making changes to the IADB is a consensus matter for its members. Among the proposed reforms, the A/S pointed to a proposal to divide the Board into subunits for hemispheric security responsibilities and for traditional defense.
16. (SBU) MRE OAS Division Chief Nelson Tabajara responded that while the GoB also supports the IADB, it is skeptical about the benefits of reforming the Board. While sympathetic to USG concerns, the GoB, believes the IADB serves a unique role in the region by providing a forum to discuss traditional military tasks and its mission should not be "diluted." New threats where there are no single paradigms or solutions, should be accommodated through "new mechanisms and assets...on a case by case basis" depending upon the threat, Tabajara explained. The A/S acknowledged that the two countries differ on their perceptions how to utilize the IADB. MOD Vice-Admiral Murillo Barbosa acknowledged the increase in non-traditional tasks undertaken by the Brazilian military, including Amazon development, counterdrug operations, and assistance to the Rio de Janeiro police. However, he seconded Tabajara,s point about preserving the IADB as a forum for defense issues focusing on "traditional" threats.
Comment ------- 17. (C) While the upcoming Haiti PKO was the principal issue on the minds of Brazilian interlocutors during the talks, within the Brazilian delegation there appeared to be a disconnect between the PKO mission and the need for various agreements, such as a GSOMIA and an ACSA, to be in place to assure the mission's effectiveness and success. We believe our message may have sunk in. Subsequently, we have learned that the MRE has approached various diplomatic missions in Brasilia, inquiring about their governments' respective agreements with us. As Brazilian peacekeepers arrive in Haiti, we may see movement on these agreements. Finally, while the Brazilians no doubt came away with a better understanding of issues of major importance to us, such as Article 98, they conceded little except their stated intention to continue reviewing these topics.
18. (U) Assistant Secretary Bloomfield has cleared this message.