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Cablegate: Cjcs Mullen Outlines Strategic Framework For

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #1589/01 3291837
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251837Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7631
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/CJTF HOA PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 001589

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MASS AF FR
SUBJECT: CJCS MULLEN OUTLINES STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR
INCREASED CONTRIBUTIONS TO AFGHANISTAN WITH FRENCH CHIEF OF
DEFENSE

Classified By: Ambassador Charles Rivkin for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: CJCS Admiral Mike Mullen met with
French Chief of Defense(CHOD)General Jean-Louis Georgelin
to discuss the possibility of increasing the number of
French troops committed to Afghanistan, in advance of the
December 3-4 NATO Ministerial meetings. This discussion
was precipitated by the expected release of a new US
strategic framework for Afghanistan in the next two
weeks. US attendees were: CJCS ADM Mullen, Ambassador
Rivkin (US Ambassador to France), CAPT Mike Gilday (CJCS
Executive Officer), and COL T. Bruce Sweeney (US Defense
Attache to France). The French attendees were: GEN
Georgelin, Vice Admiral Rogel (French Deputy Chief of
Joint Staff for Operations), Rear Admiral Prazuk (French
Communications and Public Affairs Chief), and Mr.
Magnien, (Diplomatic Advisor to the CHOD).
GEN Georgelin indicated that the French indeed have
additional capacity to provide soldiers for Afghanistan,
but that the French Joint Staff currently does not have
the political support to do so. GEN Georgelin did not
provide a number of additional troops that could be
deployed, and did not respond to the Chairman regarding
suggested numbers. Gen Georgelin then discussed the
French President's public statement of "Not one more
soldier for Afghanistan," followed by suggestions of how
the US and NATO might approach France to get political
support for additional French troops. This is a DAO Paris
drafted message also reported as an IIR. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------
POLITICAL SITUATION: NO MORE TROOPS
--------------------------------------------
2. (C) The official French political position on
additional troops is that France "will not provide one
more soldier" for Afghanistan, as stated by President
Sarkozy in October 2009. In fact, GEN Georgelin spoke
with CJCS to discuss the possibility of additional French
troops for Afghanistan the day prior to President
Sarkozy's public statement. President Sarkozy made his
announcement without consulting Gen Georgelin. When GEN
Georgelin later met with the French President, Mr.
Sarkozy told GEN Georgelin he could perhaps add police
trainers, civilian or administrative personnel to boost
the total numbers of the French contribution, but no
additional soldiers would be sent for now. GEN Georgelin
stated that the President does not think that Afghanistan
is popular with French voters or other politicians and
that the President is concerned about the regional
elections in March and the success of his political party
in those elections.

--------------------------------------------
FRENCH CHOD's SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE
--------------------------------------------
3. (C) GEN Georgelin reviewed how the French troop level
in Afghanistan has increased over time, as well as how he
has managed to shape the French contribution into a more
effective combat force. GEN Georgelin has overseen a
significant increase from approximately 2000 troops to
over 3700 on the ground. This was partly effected by
changing off-site troop contributions into on-site
contributions (such as reducing French Naval support
personnel in the Indian Ocean while increasing French
Army troops in-country), and also by a direct increase in
the overall numbers of French troops committed to the
Afghanistan effort. Finally, GEN Georgelin has also
directed a change in mission for troops in Afghanistan in
order to provide a more potent combat force. By reducing
French contributions to the Operation Enduring Freedom
training mission (French troops had been running the
Officer's Training at the Afghan National Army Training
Command), and switching those billets to straight combat
troops, GEN Georgelin has effected an actual increase in
combat soldiers for his engaged units within the existing
3700 troop ceiling. French combat forces were recently
reinforced with two additional platoons of infantry
through this process.

--------------------------------------------- -
NATO FORCE GENERATION CONFERENCE FOR AFGHANISTAN
AND HOW TO GET THE FRENCH TO APPROVE ADDITIONAL FORCES
--------------------------------------------- -
4. (C) ADM Mullen said that he expected a Force
Generation Conference to be part of the NATO Ministerial
meeting in early December 2009, provided that President
Obama made his strategic decision for Afghanistan, and
that the strategic framework was provided to NATO allies.
GEN Georgelin then suggested that although a full court
press of reciprocal calls and visits might be appreciated
and even helpful, what was really necessary to get
approval of additional troops for Afghanistan was a
direct discussion between President Obama and President
Sarkozy. He said that President Obama must tell
President Sarkozy how important the French troop
contribution in Afghanistan was, how his vision in
Afghanistan was correct and aligned with that of the US,
how important and successful French re-integration into
NATO has been (including GEN Abriel, the French Supreme
Allied Commander for Transformation), and how much the US
needed his help personally, as well as how much we needed
additional French troops in Afghanistan. GEN Georgelin
further suggested that we should ask for additional
troops to take on training missions, thus lowering the
risk. Finally, GEN Georgelin declared that President
Obama must ask now, because it will be more difficult to
get a positive result closer to or after the regional
French elections in March. In effect, President Obama
must speak to President Sarkozy now, and flattery will
get you everywhere in this case.

5. (C) Finally, GEN Georgelin discussed the fact that
successful French Presidents since De Gaulle have put
the United States and NATO at some distance in order
to have independent freedom of action, both politically and
militarily. President Sarkozy has not done this, but has
been, until recently, a true Atlanticist. Sarkozy's
early trip to the US, his decision for France to rejoin
NATO as a full member, and other moves have put him at
odds with the French electorate and French elite. Thus,
President Sarkozy is currently trying to distance himself
from the US and improve his domestic popularity and
appeal. Georgelin said that the President may be feeling
vulnerable just now, and even if he agrees to additional
troops for Afghanistan (if President Obama asks him) he
will not take the position publicly until after the
French regional elections in March.

--------------------------------------------- -
WHAT CAN FRANCE CONTRIBUTE?
--------------------------------------------- -
6. (C) General Georgelin did not specify a number for
additional troop contributions. CJCS stated that he was
looking for a total of 5,000 - 25,000 additional troops
from all NATO countries and suggested 2,000 from France.
The French laughed (with the Chairman) at this. CJCS
later opined once again that France could provide 2,000
troops and this also generated some nervous laughter.
Georgelin said that the numbers discussed within the
French Joint Staff have been approximately 1,500 troops,
which would put total French contributions at 5,250.
Although 5,250 is a large number for the French, it is
sustainable given the total number of French forces and
their reduced presence at overseas bases forecast by the
French Government's White Paper.

7. (C) GEN Georgelin believes that NATO has
accomplished an awful lot in Afghanistan, further believes
that more can be collectively accomplished there, and
thinks GEN McChrystal's strategy and way of thinking is
the right way to go in Afghanistan. He feels that ISAF
will be successful in changing dynamics in Afghanistan
if we all go forward together, and he sees French forces
as an integral part of that successful effort.
RIVKIN

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