Cablegate: Germany Requests Assurances On Virus Export
DE RUEHRL #1588 3491314
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151314Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6068
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS BERLIN 001588
STATE FOR ISN/CB AND OES/IHA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC MOPS PARM TBIO GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY REQUESTS ASSURANCES ON VIRUS EXPORT
1. (SBU) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 4.
2. (SBU) German MFA Deputy Head of Division for Export
Control Markus Klinger provided the following non-paper to
Econoff, seeking additional assurances related to a proposed
export of extremely dangerous pathogens to the U.S. Army
Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases. The
Army's end use certificate provided to Germany is lacking an
official seal. Klinger's deputy, Nancy Reck, noted that
Germany had made two follow-up requests to the Army seeking
assurances and clarifications related to this proposed
export. The GOG seeks assurances from the USG or US Army
that the end use certificate and the information contained
therein are legitimate and accurate.
3. (SBU) Begin text of informal translation of German MFA
"For Official Use Only"
Against the background of our partnership in the area of
non-proliferation and our excellent cooperation in the
matters of export controls, we would like to bring the
following issue to the attention of your government.
A German firm has applied for the approval of the export of
184 genetic elements with nucleic acid sequences of viruses
for the production of recombinant viruses. The viruses will
be used in optical imaging to identify host factors required
for viral replication. The recipient in the USA is,
according to the enclosed end use certificate, the Department
of the Army "US Army Medical Research Institute for
Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)" Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Specifications in English about the goods, the recipient and
end use can be seen from the end use certificate.
The goods are controlled by the Australia Group and are
subject to compulsory export approval (List position
C1C353A). This matter concerns the complete genome of
viruses such as the Zaire Ebola virus, the Lake Victoria
Marburg virus, the Machupo virus and the Lassa virus, which
are absolutely among the most dangerous pathogens in the
world. The delivery would place the recipient in the
position of being able to create replicating recombinant
infectious species of these viruses.
Because of the particular criticality of these goods, the
German federal government practices an exceptionally
restrictive approval policy for such exports. An approval
here can only be issued if an improper end use in association
with the development or production of biologic weapons
approaches can be foreclosed with a probability approaching
The enclosed end use certificate is on the letterhead of the
U.S. Army. The required official seal is missing, however.
A decision about the export has not yet been made. Given the
foregoing, we would appreciate confirmation that the end use
certificate really is from the Department of the Army and of
the accuracy of the data contained therein.
We look forward to the continuation of our excellent
cooperation in matters of non-proliferation and export
End text of informal translation of German MFA non-paper.
4. (SBU) Action Request. Post requests guidance on
responding to the GOG request in the non-paper.