|03THEHAGUE1890||2003-07-25 15:08:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy The Hague|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS THE HAGUE 001890
1. Finance Minister Zalm's "agreement" with U.S.
authorities regarding installation of radiological detectors
in the port of Rotterdam received prominent attention in the
afternoon (7/24) and morning (7/25) Dutch media. According
to the press, Zalm expects he can soon launch the new
security measures but has first to discuss the matter with
shipping companies that utilize the Rotterdam port.
Ministry of Finance press spokesmen are directly quoted in
defense of the initiative noting that that the detection
devices can " prevent the smuggling to the U.S. of material,
which may be used for the production of nuclear weapons and
that "shipping will hardly be delayed." In response to one
newspaper's report that the Netherlands will bear the costs
of the equipment, Zalm's spokesman emphasized that, usually,
"the minister does nothing for free" implying that the Dutch
may in return ask for U.S. support on other issues. The
press also carried comments from a spokesman for EU
Commissioner Bolkestein suggesting that the matter is more
properly handled in a U.S.-EU context under the umbrella of
the European-American Customs Agreement.
2. Comment: Officials from the Ministry of Finance and
other government agencies we contacted today had been caught
by surprise by the breaking of this story. They have not
yet been given instructions regarding conclusion and
implementation of final agreement on the portals and were
unwilling to speculate on a possible timetable. Dutch
officials had previously indicated their preference for a
low-key approach in order to minimize the possibility of
conflict with the European Commission over competence.