INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Mfa State Minister Hoyer Defends Withdrawal Of

Published: Thu 12 Nov 2009 05:05 PM
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SUBJECT: MFA STATE MINISTER HOYER DEFENDS WITHDRAWAL OF
TACTICAL NUKES, NEW CFE INITIATIVES
Classified By: AMBASSADOR PHILIP D. MURPHY. REASONS: 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY. MFA State Minister Werner Hoyer strongly
defended the new government's commitment to seek the
withdrawal of all remaining nuclear weapons from Germany
during a November 10 meeting with EUR A/S Phil Gordon and
Ambassador Murphy, arguing that there was not one credible
scenario in which tactical nuclear weapons could be usefully
deployed. He emphasized the seriousness of the commitment by
noting that it would be one of the benchmarks by which the
government would ultimately be judged. Hoyer said equivalent
efforts should be made on conventional arms control and to
that end, called for more creativity in bringing the
Russians back on board with CFE. Hoyer expected that Germany
would increase its contributions to Afghanistan after the
upcoming international conference, but said it was too soon
to talk about numbers. He claimed the Dutch may take on new
responsibilities in the north after withdrawing from Uruzgan.
Given the strong leftward shift of the Social Democratic
Party (SPD), Hoyer thought it was unlikely that former FM
Steinmeier would stay on much longer as parliamentary caucus
chairman. END SUMMARY.
TACTICAL NUKES
2. (C) Gordon noted that up to now, FM Westerwelle had said
all the right things about needing to go to NATO to address
the proposal for the withdrawal of all remaining nuclear
weapons from Germany. However, it was not clear whether
Germany had thought through all the broader ramifications of
its proposal. Gordon noted that the withdrawal could lead
some to conclude that the U.S. was un-committing from
Europe and further undermine confidence in Article 5 among
newer NATO members. Withdrawal from Germany would also put
other host nations in a politically difficult position,
especially those like Turkey, who favored keeping the
weapons. Once this becomes a public debate, no government
may be able to withstand the pressure to have the weapons
withdrawn.
3. (C) Hoyer responded that during the coalition
negotiations, defenders of the status quo could not come up
with one credible scenario in which tactical nuclear weapons
could be usefully deployed. Therefore, he argued, the
supposed deterrence of these weapons was meaningless. Hoyer
insisted that he took Article 5 seriously, but thought there
were better, more credible ways of providing the required
deterrence. He admitted, however, that the Baltic air
policing mission, for example, and other initiatives like it,
had proven insufficient for the newer Allies. He
acknowledged the large stockpile of Russian tactical nuclear
weapons, calling them pure nonsense, but did not condition
withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Germany with
reciprocal cuts by Russia. Hoyer said the commitment to seek
the withdrawal of nuclear weapons was one of the top 10 to 15
benchmarks by which the new government would ultimately be
measured. Therefore, its importance should not be
underestimated.
CFE
4. (C) Hoyer thought it was important to balance nuclear arms
control with continued efforts on the conventional side to
avoid giving the impression that the build-up of conventional
armaments was less important. He called for more
creativity in finding a way out of the deadlock over the CFE
Treaty. Toward that end, the MFA favored new initiatives
that would force the Russians to respond and not allow them
to continue to blame NATO for the impasse. Gordon pointed
out that even if one were to take the Georgia issue off the
table, the continued Russian demand for abolishing flank
limits is unacceptable to many Allies and probably could not
pass muster in Congress.
EUROPEAN SECURITY TREATY AND OSCE SUMMIT
5. (C) Hoyer said that in addressing the Medvedev proposal,
it is was important to stick to current European security
structures, noting that without the Helsinki Process, the
previous night's celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall
would have never been possible. While open to possible
reforms of the OSCE, Hoyer shared U.S. skepticism about the
need for a new treaty. He also agreed that an OSCE Summit
hosted by Kazakhstan was hard to justify, given Kazakhstan's
human rights record and the lack of substance to discuss.
AFGHANISTAN
6. (C) Asked what the prospects were of Germany doing more in
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Afghanistan, Hoyer said he agreed with the U.S. approach that
it was important to first define the objective and then
figure out the strategy before deciding on resources. In
this regard, Germany viewed the upcoming conference as key
for establishing the necessary basis for the international
community's continued engagement in Afghanistan. Hoyer said
he expected that Germany would probably end up having to do
some topping up in all fields, military as well as
civilian, but it was too soon to talk about specific numbers
yet. Based on a recent visit to the Netherlands, Hoyer was
hopeful of getting the Dutch involved in the north of
Afghanistan. He said they felt bad about their upcoming
exit from Uruzgan in the south and seemed eager to do
something to compensate for that.
GRIM FUTURE FOR STEINMEIER
7. (C) Hoyer said that now that the Social Democrats are in
opposition, they would forget extremely quickly what
positions they used to support and move to the left. As a
result, he thought it was unlikely that former FM Steinmeier
would survive very long as the new chair of the SPD
parliamentary caucus. The new designated party chairman and
secretary general have completely disassociated themselves
from the old SPD leadership and its policies. Hoyer said
that if the new leadership stayed on its current course,
Steinmeier, who was the SPD policy mastermind over the past
10 years, could only stay on by repudiating almost everything
he had stood for.
MURPHY
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