US embassy cable - 05MADRID2588 (original version)

AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH MOD BONO (original version)

Identifier: 05MADRID2588
Wikileaks: View 05MADRID2588 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Madrid
Created: 2005-07-08 15:06:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL MARR SP VZ American
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 002588 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR A/S FRIED AND EUR/WE 
NSC FOR HADLEY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2015 
TAGS: PREL, MARR, SP, VZ, American - Spanish Relations, Defense and Political 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH MOD BONO 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre; reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Ambassador held a successful first 
meeting on July 6 with Minister of Defense Jose Bono and CHOD 
General Felix Sanz.  Bono thanked the Ambassador for the 
USG's warm reception during his visit to the U.S. in early 
May, particularly during his productive meeting with 
Secretary Rumsfeld.  Bono said he hoped the Ambassador's 
 
SIPDIS 
arrival would help further the excellent U.S.-Spain defense 
relationship.  He cited the USG's unimpeded access to the 
bases at Rota and Moron as symbols of Spain's commitment to 
cooperate with the USG.  Bono discussed the upcoming 
deployment of Spanish forces to Afghanistan and requested USG 
airlift support for this deployment in the form of four USAF 
C-17s.  He expressed appreciation for the USG's confidence in 
authorizing the transfer of Tomahawk missile technology to 
Spain.  The Ambassador asked about the status of the S-80 
submarine weapons system contract.  Bono said that Spain had 
made a decision "favorable to a U.S. company," but said he 
would not announce this decision immediately so that it would 
not appear to be a quid pro quo for the Tomahawks.  The 
Ambassador pressed Bono on the Venezuela weapons sale, making 
clear that this was still an issue of contention for the USG. 
 Bono insisted that the naval vessels and aircraft would be 
non-offensive and would probably not be delivered for another 
six years, during which time Bono expected Chavez would leave 
the scene.  Further, Bono said that if Spain found that 
Venezuela were "pursuing a path against the principles of 
democracy," the GOS would not sell the vessels to Venezuela. 
End Summary. 
 
2. (C) The Ambassador met with Bono at the Ministry of 
Defense, accompanied by DCM, Political Counselor Kathy 
Fitzpatrick, DATT Captain Kevin Little, and ODC commander 
Captain Carlos Sotomayor.  Bono was accompanied by CHOD 
General Sanz, Secretary General for Defense Policy Admiral 
Francisco Torrente, Army Chief of Staff General Jose Antonio 
Garcia Gonzalez, and MOD Chief of Staff Miguel Fernandez 
Palacios Martinez.  Bono said he was very appreciative of the 
USG's warm reception during his early May visit to the U.S., 
which he viewed as a clear signal that U.S.-Spain defense 
relations could not be better.  He was especially pleased 
with his meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld.  With the 
Ambassador's arrival, Bono said he hoped the excellent 
relations would continue at the same level. 
//BILATERAL ISSUES - CUBA, 3U COMMERCIAL DISPUTE// 
 
3. (C) Bono expressed interest in the Ambassador's Cuban 
ancestry.  The Ambassador shared his experiences growing up 
in Cuba and as an immigrant to the U.S.  He said Cuba was 
clearly an important issue for the U.S. and Spain, but only 
one of many that he would deal with during his tenure in 
Madrid.  The Ambassador noted that the most important point 
on Cuba was that both the U.S. and Spain believed in a free 
Cuba that would promote democratic values in the region.  He 
cited the USG's disagreement with Spain's move to block EU 
invitations to national day events, saying that while it 
appeared to be a minor issue, it sent the wrong message and 
demoralized the opposition. 
 
4. (C) Bono raised the issue of the U.S. commercial vessel, 
the "3U."  He said the MFA had requested that the MOD be 
prepared to board the 3U since it was conducting operations 
in Spanish waters in disregard of Spanish sovereignty.  DCM 
explained that there was a discrepancy between the USG and 
GOS views on this issue, since we believed the 3U was 
operating appropriately as a commercial vessel, while the MFA 
insisted it was a scientific vessel and required GOS 
authorization in order to proceed with its plans to lay cable 
through Spanish waters.  DCM said that the USG had duly 
requested authorization for the 3U through a note verbale, 
but that the issue remained in dispute.  Bono made clear his 
desire that this issue not become a problem in bilateral 
defense relations. 
 
//BONO - SPAIN COMMITTED TO DEFENSE COOPERATION// 
 
5. (C) Bono described the USG's unimpeded access to the 
Spanish navy base at Rota and the air base at Moron as 
indications of Spain's commitment to defense cooperation, 
saying the USG essentially could essentially operate from 
both bases as if they were its own.  Bono raised the issue of 
stalled USAFE-Spanish Air Force discussions on Spain's desire 
to use some Moron air base ramp space to park its Eurofighter 
aircraft, on the understanding that the Spanish aircraft 
would vacate the space if the U.S. needed full capacity for 
any contingency.  The Ambassador said he was aware of the 
problem and would travel to Moron the next day to see it for 
himself.  He said the issue would be dealt with through 
appropriate channels. 
 
6. (C) Bono discussed the upcoming deployment of Spanish 
troops to Afghanistan to co-lead the Herat FSB, lead a PRT in 
western Afghanistan, and provide additional security for the 
parliamentary elections in the fall.  Bono said it would be 
useful if the USG could provide airlift in the form of four 
C-17 aircraft to help transport Spanish forces to the region. 
 He said media coverage of such assistance would be an 
opportunity to showcase the high level of U.S.-Spain defense 
cooperation.  The Ambassador said we appreciated the value of 
promoting such cooperation and would convey his request to 
the Department of Defense. 
 
//THANKS FOR THE TOMAHAWKS, STILL NO S-80 ANNOUNCEMENT// 
 
7. (C) Minister Bono said he had received a letter from 
Secretary Rumsfeld authorizing the transfer of Tomahawk 
 
SIPDIS 
missile technology to Spain.  The Ambassador said Spain 
should be proud of that honor, since we had only shared that 
technology with two other allies, the UK and The Netherlands. 
 Bono said he understood this and appreciated the USG's 
confidence in Spain. 
 
8. (C) The Ambassador asked about the status of the S-80 
submarine weapons system contract, in which two U.S. firms 
are competing with French and German companies.  Bono 
responded that Spain had essentially made the decision 
already and that it would be favorable to a U.S. company. 
However, Bono claimed that he wanted to put some distance 
between the Tomahawk decision and the Spanish decision on the 
S-80 so that the two issues would not appear linked.  Also, 
Bono said he planned to attend the Bastille Day parade in 
Paris on July 14 and did not want to disappoint the French 
government, which has pushed hard in support of a French 
company on the S-80 contract, before that event. 
 
//VENEZUELA// 
 
9. (C) The Ambassador raised Spanish arms sales to Venezuela, 
noting that we understood that Spain had already made the 
commitment to transfer the vessels to Venezuela, but that the 
USG did not share the Zapatero government's apparent faith in 
the Chavez regime to use the weapons for non-offensive use. 
Bono said that he had discussed this issue with Secretary 
Rumsfeld, noting in that conversation that several countries 
sold weapons to Venezuela, including the U.S.  Bono asserted 
that he had explained the Venezuela arms sale in detail and 
believed he had satisfied Secretary Rumsfeld's concerns.  The 
Ambassador said that, notwithstanding Bono's conversation 
with Secretary Rumsfeld, there was still deep concern 
regarding this issue at the highest levels of the USG.  Bono 
said that the media had mischaracterized the nature of the 
items being sold to Venezuela, insisting that they would be 
non-offensive transport aircraft and coastal patrol vessels. 
The Ambassador said the USG would look very skeptically on 
any transfer of USG technology to Venezuela as part of this 
sale.  Bono responded that since the vessels would be built 
as coastal patrol ships and not as military vessels, the 
would not carry any U.S. technology of concern. 
 
10. (C) On Venezuela's political direction and possible role 
in undermining regional stability, Bono asserted that Spain 
had the same fundamental concerns as the USG.  He said that 
if Spain determined that the Chavez government was "pursuing 
a path that is against the principle of democracy that both 
the U.S. and Spain share," the GOS would not sell the weapons 
to Venezuela.  Bono said that the actual transfer of the 
weapons would not take place for six years and he speculated 
that it was highly unlikely that Chavez would still be in 
power by that time. 
AGUIRRE 

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