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Cablegate: Westerwelle Firm On Removal of Nuclear Weapons


DE RUEHRL #1271/01 2821248
P 091248Z OCT 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001271



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2019

B. BERLIN 1241

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor George Glass for reasons 1.
4 (b,d).

1. (C//NF) Summary: A well-placed FDP source said that on
the first day of coalition negotiations (October 5) between
the CDU, CSU and the FDP, FDP leader Westerwelle argued for
the removal of the remaining non-strategic nuclear weapons
from German soil. Interior Minister Schaeuble (CDU) asserted
that the weapons serve as a deterrent. Other foreign policy
issues discussed included support for Afghanistan and
Turkey's accession to the EU. Source said that Chancellor
Merkel (CDU) may push to complete the negotiations by October
18, but noted that the FDP is in no hurry. He provided
Emboffs with a list of the membership of the negotiations
plenary and working groups as well as timetable. Cabinet
composition will only be decided at the end of coalition
negotiations. End summary.

Westerwelle Firm on Removal of Nuclear Weapons
--------------------------------------------- -

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2. (C//NF) Formal coalition negotiations between Guido
Westerwelle's Free Democratic Party (FDP), Chancellor
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian
Social Union (CSU) on a coalition agreement began on October
5. FDP strategist shared with Emboffs and visiting Senior
Germany Desk Officer October 7 information on issues
discussed during the first two days of these negotiations as
well as the negotiations schedule and working group make-up.
Source serves as his party's notetaker for the negotiations
and has been a long-standing close Embassy contact.

3. (C//NF) Source said that on October 5 negotiations
included discussion on arms control in general and removal of
the remaining non-strategic nuclear weapons from German soil.
He said that Federal Interior Minister Schaeuble argued that
the weapons serve as a deterrent to Iran. (Note: Regarding
Schaeuble, source commented that he is "neurotic" in that he
sees threats everywhere. He questioned whether Schaeuble's
influence is as great as it once was and whether he will stay
in his position. End note.) According to source,
Westerwelle asserted that nuclear weapons on German soil do
not serve as a deterrent against Iran since they could not
reach Iran. He said that Westerwelle underlined that
President Obama is moving forward toward a "nuclear-free
world" and that he wants Germany to be in the lead. Source
said that Chancellor Merkel quipped in response that Germany
is not that important in this regard -- the world would
hardly take notice if there were action on this matter.
According to source, Merkel wanted to avoid discussion of
this topic. Source also said that there was criticism of
Social Democratic Party Foreign Minister Steinmeier that he
did not respond adequately to President Obama's Prague speech
in which he discussed arms control. In response to Poloff
query, source said that the issue of removal of nuclear
weapons is very important to Westerwelle and that he could
well seek to include something specific in the coalition

Turkey's EU Membership; Afghanistan; Transatlantic Relations
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

4. (C//NF) Source said that Turkey's accession to the EU was
also discussed, with general agreement that Turkey is not
ready for membership and could not fulfill membership
criteria. Source said that there was agreement that no
decision would have to be reached on this issue within the
next four years in any case. Westerwelle also spoke against
any type of automatic decision in favor of membership for
Turkey. There was also general agreement that the EU is not
ready for new members at this time beyond Croatia.

5. (C//NF) Afghanistan was also an issue, but source only
noted that there was general agreement on the need to
continue efforts in Afghanistan. Source also stressed that
the three parties support strong transatlantic relations and
continuity in foreign policy.

The Devil's in the Details; What's the Rush?

6. (C//NF) Source assessed some differences in Merkel's and
Westerwelle's approach to the negotiations, although he also
noted that the atmosphere was "very friendly and relaxed."
He observed that Merkel preferred less detail and more
general provisions, whereas Westerwelle was interested in a

detailed agreement that would guide the coalition over the
next four years. In addition, source noted that Merkel is
trying to push the negotiations along since she would like to
have the new government in place before she travels to
Washington in early November and before the EU summit at the
end of October. Source indicated that Westerwelle might try
to use Merkel's desire for speed to his advantage in the
negotiations. While he did not indicate that the FDP would
prolong negotiations intentionally, he noted that the FDP was
in no hurry to complete them.

Ministries Divided Among Parties Last

7. (C//NF) Regarding the possible make-up of the cabinet,
source said that no decisions will be made until the end of
coalition negotiations and that the current membership of
working groups should not be seen as an indication of who
will end up in which ministry (see ref B). Source also said
that the coalition agreement may only say which ministerial
posts go to which coalition parties, without any names being
given. The names would only be provided later, perhaps after
the Chancellor is voted in by the Bundestag. Source noted
that only two positions are certain: Angela Merkel will be
Chancellor and Guido Westerwelle will be Vice Chancellor. He
added that Westerwelle will most likely also become the next
foreign minister. He then commented that during October 5
negotiations, Economics Minister zu Guttenberg demonstrated
his interest in foreign policy and Hermann Otto Solms (FDP)
showed he could play an increasingly important role in the
financial area. Source provided Emboffs with the names of
those serving in the plenary rounds of the negotiations and a
schedule of when those rounds will take place.

--Plenary Members from the CDU: Chancellor Merkel, Interior
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Chancellery Chief Thomas de
Maziere, Education Minister Annette Shavan, CDU/CSU Caucus
Chief Volker Kauder, CDU General Secretary Ronald Pofalla,
Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Juergen
Ruettgers, Minister President of Hesse Roland Koch, Minister
President of Lower Saxony Christian Wulff.

--Plenary Members from the CSU: Minister President of Bavaria
and CSU Chair Horst Seehofer, Economics Minister Karl-Theodor
zu Guttenberg, Head of CSU Bundestag group Peter Ramsauer,
CSU Secretary General Alexander Dobrindt, Bavaria State
Parliament President Barbara Stamm, Bavaria Plenipotentiary
Markus Soeder, Bavaria Finance Minister Georg Fahrenschon,
Bavaria Justice Minister Beate Merk.

--Plenary Members from the FDP: Party Chair Guido
Westerwelle, FDP Secretary General Dirk Niebel, Bundestag
Vice President Hermann Otto Solms, FDP Deputy Caucus
Chairperson Birgit Homburger, Lower Saxony Minister for
Economics Philipp Roesler, FDP deputy chair Rainer Bruederle,
Deputy Minister President for NRW Andreas Pinkwart, Deputy
Chairperson Bundestag Education Committee Cornelia Pieper,
Bavaria State Chairperson Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.


8. (C//NF) Westerwelle has made the removal of nuclear
weapons from Germany one of his flagship issues in the
foreign policy arena and has raised this in various fora in
the past. It is not clear how hard he will push to have a
specific provision on this included in the coalition
agreement. Judging by source's description of the
discussion, Merkel would rather have a more general provision
regarding disarmament included and preferred to avoid
prolonged discussion on this issue.

9. (C//NF) The CDU/CSU is the only party that still supports
German participation in the NATO nuclear share and the
deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany. While the
CDU/CSU leadership is willing to fight for the current
policy, it is concerned that the ongoing Nuclear Posture
Review could significantly change U.S. policy on the
deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe,
putting it at a significant political disadvantage vis-a-vis
the rest of the German political establishment. In fact,
senior Chancellery officials have already requested that they
be pre-notified about any possible change in U.S. policy (ref
C). We expect that in these coalition negotiations, the
CDU/CSU may hedge their bets against a possible U.S. policy
change by agreeing to language that commits the next
government to seek consultations on this issue at NATO, with
the caveat that any decision must be made by the Alliance as

a whole and must take account of the large number of Russian
non-strategic nuclear weapons oriented against NATO member
states. Post will seek meetings with source after the
plenary negotiation rounds to see if additional readouts are

10. (C//NF) FDP source is a young, up-and-coming party
loyalist, who has offered Emboffs internal party documents in
the past. Excited with his role as FDP negotiations
notetaker, he seemed happy to share his observations and
insights and read to us directly from his notes. He also
provided copies of documents from his "negotiations" binder.

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