|03THEHAGUE1846||2003-07-22 09:16:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy The Hague|
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 THE HAGUE 001846
1. (C) Summary: In July 15 conversations with visiting
Assistant Secretary Jones and the Ambassador, senior Dutch
officials expressed concerns about Franco-German efforts to
take concrete steps to implement decisions from the April 29
"Mini-Summit," especially the establishment of a distinct EU
military headquarters at Tervuren, Belgium. The PM's foreign
policy advisor shared his broader concern about German-French
efforts to woo the UK (exploiting the pressures currently on
Blair) and to pull other Europeans into their orbit. While
there appear to be differences within the Dutch foreign
policy team as to how real a threat this is, they agree the
idea is moving ahead, and urge a nuanced U.S. response so as
not to "corner" the proponents and thus give impetus to their
plans. End Summary.
2. (C) In a July 15 meeting with the Ambassador, PM
Balkenende's Foreign Policy Advisor Rob Swartbol (protect)
raised concerns that the France/Germany/Belgium/Luxembourg
April 29 Mini-Summit agenda, in particular, the idea of a
separate EU military headquarters, was gaining ground within
some European governments. Swartbol said the EU's mission in
Congo had lent momentum to the idea and suggested that a
recent French, German and UK political directors meeting in
Paris was aimed at getting the British onboard. He asserted
there was also a serious European effort to support the
broader German-French agenda. The EU headquarters idea is
just one example. Swartbol suggested several streams were
feeding the initiative. First, many in Europe were anxious
to heal the rifts after Iraq and thus want to come together
on a major foreign policy issue. Others are motivated by
resentments against the U.S. In any event, France and
Germany are forming a rallying point for Europe that could
gain momentum and should not be ignored by the U.S.
3. (C) Swartbol again raised this issue at a luncheon for
visiting Assistant Secretary Jones on July 15. MFA Deputy
Political Director Herman Schaper (protect) said the Tervuren
headquarters idea would not evolve into a "European SHAPE"
since too many countries (including the Netherlands) oppose
it. He thought it would instead become like the Eurocorps,
i.e., another element in the tool box of the European allies.
A/S Jones said the U.S. had been concerned that Prague
Summit decisions and Berlin Plus were being undercut by the
April 29 Mini-Summit. Schaper said the German Chancellor's
office had been putting pressure on the Netherlands to join
the project, claiming that the UK was now more supportive.
His suggested approach was to avoid dramatizing French-German
efforts, and said there would never be consensus for an ESDP
based on distancing Europe from the U.S. MFA Director for
Security Policy Maurits Jochems (protect) suggested that the
U.S. reach out to the French and German defense ministries,
which oppose the Tervuren idea.
4. (C) Comment: Dutch concern about the potential for
Franco-German efforts to create rifts within Europe and
across the Atlantic prompted the cautionary note to be
sounded by the PM's Foreign Policy Advisor. He is clearly of
the view that, while the U.S. should not resist European
integration, Washington needs to be aware and careful of
Paris-Berlin initiatives. However, all agreed that
heavy-handed U.S. objections to the proposal would likely
have the opposite effect and result in the Franco-German
proposal gaining more European support. End Comment.