Cablegate: Dcm's Meeting with Mfa State Secretary Bernardino
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 001731
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV SP
SUBJECT: DCM'S MEETING WITH MFA STATE SECRETARY BERNARDINO
REF: STATE 89241
Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR KATHLEEN M. FITZPATRICK FOR REASONS
1.4 (B) and (D)
1. (C) DCM paid an initial call May 10 on MFA State
Secretary Bernadino Leon, who said this was his first meeting
with a foreign embassy since taking office. Leon made a
point of saying that the new government wanted to have
excellent relations with the U.S., especially on
counter-terrorism in light of March 11. He said Spain likely
would increase its Euro corps presence in Afghanistan and he
expressed optimism that Spain would agree to a Provincial
Reconstruction Team (PRT) (but said the decision was still
pending at MOD). DCM mentioned our desire for 500-800 more
troops; Leon demurred on numbers, saying likely would not be
that high, and the exact count had not yet been determined.
2. (C) Leon also said Spain was considering sending a
Guardia Civil/police contingent to Haiti to help train the
police and contribute to democratization there. He said MFA
felt that would be Spain's most useful contribution, rather
than peacekeeping forces. He also offered Spain's help on
economic issues in the lead up to the US-EU summit.
3. (C) DCM noted our desire, now that we have expressed our
disappointment on the Iraq troop withdrawal decision, to move
forward to continue our excellent relations with Spain under
the new government. DCM said U.S. would welcome support in
the EU on counter-terrorism issues such as Passenger Name
recognition and terrorist financing. DCM also noted that he
thought that positive steps on Afghanistan, along the lines
Leon foreshadowed, would likely be very well received in
4. (C) Noting that Iran was another area of cooperation
between the US and Spain, with Spain chair of the IAEA board
of governors, DCM said our experts on Iran were ready and
willing to come to Madrid to brief the new government. Leon
said Zapatero specifically wanted to maintain the good ties
that Aznar had with Khattami, saying that Spain could be
useful in this regard.
5. (C) On Iraq/UNSC resolution, Leon reconfirmed that Spain
was not pursuing a parallel draft with France and Germany,
but noted Spain could be helpful with these two countries as
discussion progressed, as well as with the Latin Americans
now on the UNSC (Chile and Mexico). He averred that Spain
would adopt a "completely cooperative" approach on this issue.
6. (C) Leon noted his personal affinity with the U.S. He
said his grandmother was an American citizen (from Baltimore,
of a shipping family called Bevan, sent to Malaga on business
and remained in Spain). Also present at the meeting was
Rafael Descaller who essentially will have the number three
post at the MFA. Descaller mentioned his very favorable
experience as a Fullbright scholar at Stanford. Descallar
also mentioned Latin America as another are of common
U.S.-Spanish interest. Leon agreed that he and DCM should
maintain a regular dialogue and open lines of communication.
7. (C) DCM also took the opportunity to ask about Spain's
plans regarding its Embassy in Iraq after June 30 (reftel).
Leon replied that the GOS might consider elevating the
Spanish Charge to the rank of Ambassador. Leon said he would
take this under consideration.
8. (C) At the close of the meeting, Leon noted that
difficult issues like the Couso case (the Spanish cameraman
killed during gunfire in the Palestine Hotel incident last
year and a major cause celebre here), would have to be dealt
with but could wait until an appropriate time. He reiterated
his desire for open contacts and said he wanted to invite DCM
to lunch in the near future.
9. (C) Comment: Leon's professed desire for good relations
with the U.S. echoes sentiments we have heard from many in
the new government -- and also parallels the lack of specific
details on concrete cooperation.