Cablegate: Deputy Foreign Minister Regrets Unhelpful Mod

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 02 MADRID 004063


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2014


Classified By: Political Counselor Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d)

DFM Leon Agrees that Bono's Comments Were Unhelpful

1. (C) Deputy Foreign Minister Bernardino Leon told DCM
Manzanares Oct. 14 that he agreed that DefMin Bono's comments
last week about US-Spain relations and the US role in the
Spanish National Day Parade were extremely unhelpful. Leon
promised there would be no further comments from President
Zapatero that could be construed as anti-American, but that
Bono was hard to control (note: Bono is a skilled politician
who loves publicity and is known for his long-winded public
comments). Leon said, however, that the Ambassador's
non-attendance at the King's National Day reception --
however taken out of context by the press -- had struck a
difficult chord in the government.

DCM Confirms Ambassador Had No Intention of Snubbing the King

2. (C) Manzanares responded that the Ambassador had no
intention to snub the King or the Spanish people, and had in
fact spoken with the King who was understanding of the
Ambassador's difficulty in attending the reception as well as
the Ambassador's prior decision, known to the GOS, not to
attend the National Day parade. Manzanares told Leon that
comments from senior government officials that put the issue
in the most negative light possible were very unhelpful, and
reached Washington just as fast as they reached the press in
Madrid. Manzanares said the perception both in Madrid and
Washington is that the current government exhibits very
strong anti-Americanism, though we do not think that it is
the intent of the government to portray itself in this way.

3. (C) Leon said that there exists in Spain not so much
anti-Americanism per se, but a broad anti-Bush administration
sentiment, focused not on personalities but on policy.
Manzanares asked Leon how the Zapatero government planned to
put itself right with either a new Bush administration or a
Kerry administration, noting that democracies need to come to
terms with one another no matter which government was in

U.S. Policies Post-Election

4. (C) Manzanares noted that even if another party wins the
U.S. election, most of our foreign policy challenges - Iraq,
Iran, counter-terrorism, etc. will remain the same, so that
the Spanish government needs to come to terms with this and
find ways to put the relationship back on track. Leon said
that the U.S. should look at Spain's actions more than recent
words. For example, Leon said that Spain sent over 1000
troops to Afghanistan -- a large deployment for Spain -- as a
sign of goodwill toward the U.S. Manzanares replied that we
very much appreciated Spain's participation in Afghanistan,
but there need to be more signals. Leon promised there would
be other such signs. Manzanares noted that the U.S. was not
concerned about Spain's desire to move toward what Spain saw
as the "heart of Europe." The U.S. believes Europeans can
remain close to the U.S. as well as their European

Leon Offers to Publicly Stress U.S.-Spain Cooperation

5. (C) What we object to, Manzanares continued, is being
the "political football" Spain uses as it seeks to reinforce
its European policy. "Anti-Americanism is not a foreign
policy, " Manzanares said. Leon agreed, and asked if it
would be helpful if he would draft a public statement (or
op/ed) highlighting the importance of U.S.-Spanish
cooperation. Manzanares said that would be very helpful and
would welcome the idea of such a piece by the Spanish

U.S. Has Been Patient

6. (C) Reviewing relations since the March 14 elections,
Manzanares underscored that the US had been very patient and
mature these last few months. The U.S. has refrained from
responding to aggressive anti-US rhetoric as we looked for
the new government to settle in, become more experienced and
as we ourselves focused on our longer-term interests in
Spain. Continued anti-U.S. rhetoric from high GOS levels,
however, was forcing us to reconsider this restraint and
respond more aggressively. Leon said he understood and hoped
that this would not be necessary. Returning to the theme of
Zapatero's comments, such as those in Tunis several weeks
ago, Manzanares asked Leon why Zapatero had not taken the
opportunity to retract his statements after Secretary Powell
had spoken to FM Moratinos. Leon said that Zapatero had not
intended the remarks the way they were taken and pointed to
comments Zapatero had made in Bilbao the following day as
being pro-American. Manzanares pointed out that we had not
seen these comments in Bilbao and they were not highlighted
in the press here.

Other issues:

6. (C) Cuba: Leon said the GOS did not want a wholesale
change in the EU policy toward Cuba, but rather to modify it
somewhat to allow EU Ambassadors and diplomats access to
Castro and other Cuban officials in order to press home the
need for reform. Leon underscored there were no personal
relations with Castro among members of the Socialist
government in the way that existed during the previous
Socialist government under Felipe Gonzalez. Leon said if the
other Europeans did not agree with Spain on the Cuba issue,
Spain would not adopt a unilateral policy.

7. (C) Western Sahara: Leon noted the excellent meeting he
had had with A/S Burns several weeks ago in which they
discussed Western Sahara. He said that Spanish and U.S.
positions were relatively the same, and pointed to the French
position -- embodied by Chirac himself -- as being the
problem in finding a way forward. Leon characterized
Chirac's position in support of Rabat as "stronger than that
of the King of Morocco." He pledged to continue to work with
the USG on the issue.

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