Cablegate: U/S Tauscher's Meetings with French Officials

DE RUEHFR #0193/01 0501301
P 191301Z FEB 10 ZDK

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 000193


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2020

Classified By: DCM Mark Pekala, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d).

1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: Under Secretary of State for Arms Control
and International Security Ellen Tauscher's February 2
meetings with French counterparts from the Elysee
(presidency) and MFA included discussions of U.S. disarmament
priorities, the NPT Review Conference (NPT RevCon), the
Nuclear Security Summit, and missile defense. Meeting
separately with NSA-equivalent Jean-David Levitte, Presidency
Strategic Affairs Advisor Francois Richier, and MFA Strategic
Affairs Director Patrick Maisonnave, U/S Tauscher reassured
the French that while "a world without nuclear weapons" is a
sincere USG ambition, the United States will not move
precipitously and will take allies' interests into account.
U/S Tauscher discussed next steps on NPT RevCon preparations,
including thinking creatively about outcomes and minimizing
the threat of disruptive Egyptian behavior. U/S Tauscher
also clarified USG missile defense priorities, especially
political support for territorial defense at the 2010 Lisbon


2. (C) U/S Tauscher stressed to Levitte, Richier, and
Maisonnave that the U.S. position on disarmament is not far
from that of France. President Obama's ambition for a world
without nuclear weapons is sincere, but grounded in reality,
and the United States will not act precipitously or
jeopardize core French interests or our relationship. U/S
Tauscher added that disarmament language in coming
international forums, such as the April Nuclear Security
Summit and the May Review Conference for the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT RevCon), is important to the
United States. However, the United States also wants a
strong focus on non-proliferation. Tauscher stressed that
the USG wanted to work with France to strike the right
balance between disarmament and nonproliferation. The United
States remains committed to an effective deterrent, and the
President's recent budget proposal includes a significant
increase for the maintaining of U.S. nuclear forces.
Additionally, the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)
will strengthen extended deterrence, focusing on the quality
of the deterrent force rather than quantity.

3. (S/NF) Expressing relief at the USG commitment to
coordination with France, Richier and Maisonnave nevertheless
both stressed the French commitment to its nuclear deterrent,
and Richier said the French worry that any unwelcome changes
to U.S. declaratory policy in the NPR could signal a U.S.
intention to insert the same policies into the NATO Strategic
Concept. Richier noted that any such attempt could impact
France's ability to integrate its nuclear forces into NATO.
In such a situation they would have to declare their
strategic forces totally independent. U/S Tauscher responded
that the French would not be surprised by the NPR because
consultation would be ongoing, adding that the United States
has no intention of acting unilaterally on nuclear issues in
the NATO context. Richier noted that France was working on a
paper that looks at its nuclear policy. As a result of their
review, the GOF has concluded that their criteria for use are
very limited.

4. (S/NF) Levitte asked when the administration was planning
on pushing for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty (CTBT), as U.S. ratification would be key to Chinese
ratification, the true French goal. U/S Tauscher said that
getting the post-START treaty ratified would be a first
priority, but that discussions of CTBT would start soon,
including an upcoming report by the National Academy of
Sciences. Levitte stated that only when the U.S. ratifies
the CTBT will it be possible to put real pressure on the
Chinese. On a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), Richier
said the French have "reason to believe" that China has been
pushing Pakistan to keep up its opposition to starting
negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament, adding that
Pakistan does not seem to care that it is isolated.


5. (SBU) Richier and Maisonnave both reiterated France's
position that the April Nuclear Security Summit in Washington
should address radiological threats in addition to nuclear
material. They also expressed GOF opposition to language in
the draft communique calling for a "world without nuclear

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weapons." U/S Tauscher suggested that while the United
States would insist on having disarmament language in the
communique, the formulation agreed to in the G8 statement
from the July 2009 L'Aquila summit may allow consensus.
(NOTE: "We are...committed to...creating the conditions for a
world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals
of the NPT". END NOTE.) Richier and Maisonnave agreed that
France could accept this language. They did note their
concern that it may be difficult for all 44 countries invited
to the Nuclear Security Summit to agree to this language,
since some are not NPT members.


6. (S/NF) Richier and Maisonnave agreed with U/S Tauscher's
analysis that Egyptian FM Aboul-Gheit will, if unchecked,
work to undermine the RevCon with an aggressive posture on
the Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) resolution.
U/S Tauscher outlined ongoing U.S. efforts to gain consensus
language on the NWFZ, but underlined the need to contemplate
a more forward-leaning strategy. She suggested considering
possible phone calls from Presidents Obama and Sarkozy
directly to Egyptian President Mubarak in the mid-March
timeframe to sensitize the Egyptian president to the
importance of the RevCon in strengthening the NPT and the
unhelpful role the Egyptian MFA is playing. The French
agreed on the likely need to elevate the issue beyond
Aboul-Gheit. In this context, U/S Tauscher also brainstormed
with the French on a final "package deal" that could be
offered to the Egyptians, including new consensus language on
a NWFZ, a conference on civilian nuclear power in the Middle
East, and/or pushing Israel to accept CTBT. (NOTE: The latter
two were uncleared, spontaneous French suggestions. END
NOTE.) U/S Tauscher said that, if Egypt is still not willing
to budge, it may be worth finding other Non-Aligned Movement
states that could be separated from Egypt with promises of
assistance that Egypt would no longer receive.

7. (C) Levitte said that progress on Middle East peace prior
to the RevCon would help greatly in creating a constructive
atmosphere, adding that he would pursue discussions on this
linkage at the February 5-7 Munich Security Conference.

8. (C) Richier suggested that, in the absence of an
acceptable and substantive final document, it may be possible
to capitalize on other events prior to the RevCon, including
the September UN Security Council summit, the Nuclear
Security Summit, and the March OECD-hosted civilian nuclear
energy conference in Paris. Richier said it may be worth
looking into how to repackage the positive results achieved
or expected at these events in a statement or document at the
RevCon that acknowledges their importance in strengthening
the NPT.


9. (C) Levitte said that the French ambassador in Tehran
believes that there is a growing split between the population
and the regime that may be irreparable. The Iranian
population thinks that action against the regime by the
international community is good and France believes that it
is important to support publicly those protesters taking to
the street. Levitte noted that he had talked to Iranian
Foreign Minister Mottaki in Davos, Switzerland, in an attempt
to get the Iranians to accept the Tehran Research Reactor
Deal. Mottaki stated that Iran had "new ideas" but did not
provide any details. Levitte stated that Iran was counting
on tension between Washington and Beijing.


10. (C/NF) Levitte said the GOF is in the early stages of an
interagency review on missile defense (MD). According to
him, the "old guard" sees MD as a threat to France's nuclear
deterrent, but he added that President Sarkozy has publicly
stated that MD is in fact a welcome complement to deterrence.
France has no money for a NATO system, but would be happy to
contribute specific capabilities. He added that President
Sarkozy would not see specific proposals on the way forward
for several weeks. Richier added that the more details the
United States can provide on its own plans, the easier it is
to "arbitrate between different factions" in the French

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government. In the NATO context, Maisonnave's deputy and
NATO specialist Muriel Domenach said France's concerns about
funding required for MD were amplified by its judgment that
the costs for programs approved for common funding inevitably
seem to rise after approval is given.

11. (C) U/S Tauscher and DAS Frank Rose clarified that the
U.S. Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) was the U.S. national
contribution to a NATO system, and that the USG would provide
all funding. U/S Tauscher stressed that the main U.S.
priority was to gain political support at the head of state
level for making territorial MD a NATO mission at the 2010
NATO summit in Lisbon. Tauscher noted that the United States
wants NATO's Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense
(ALTBMD) to provide the backbone to the Phased Adaptive
Approach but that we would not make the Lisbon Summit a
donors' conference.


12. (C) On the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)
Treaty, Maisonnave noted that the French government believes
that the Treaty is dead. But, paradoxically, everyone
believes it is a good treaty and there is no consensus on how
to move forward. Germany, for example, does not believe it
is dead. The French believe that it would be better to take
a Vienna Document-type approach to achieve some of the
objectives of the CFE Treaty.

13. (C) Both Richier and Maisonnave raised the issue of the
EC-151 Eurocopter. Richier noted that France classified it
as a civilian helicopter. The French were concerned that the
U.S. review on this issue continued to be postponed. U/S
Tauscher agreed to look into this matter. She noted that a
visit to the French factory was to occur soon and promised to
get back to the French as soon as possible.

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