|03ZAGREB1365||2003-06-13 16:09:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Zagreb|
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 ZAGREB 001365
1. (C) On June 13, President Mesic attended the ceremonial
opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. The Ambassador
used the festive occasion to declare that the imposing,
state-of-the art chancery is a concrete example of the United
States' long-term commitment to Croatia. Rather than use his
remarks on this occasion to step away from GoC actions which
have harmed the bilateral relationship (ref), the approach
and tone of Mesic's speech was disappointing and open to
interpretation. While he did note some positive elements of
the U.S. - Croatia relationship, he also raised contentious
subjects like the U.S. use of sanctions to punish other
states, the possibility that the U.S. would seek to
marginalize the UN or seek to slow the progress of EU
unification. While Mesic rejected the idea that "the U.S.
would even think about" these actions, he seemed to be
conveying his doubts about U.S. policies. Mesic went on to
re-assert Croatia's sovereignty and declared that the U.S.
should accept "a Croatia which uses its own head much more
than a Croatia reduced to a subservient role."
2. (C) Our GoC interlocutors were quick to point out that
Mesic does not represent the formal position of PM Racan's
government. Indeed, since Mesic was elected, he has been a
willing partner with the Government in limiting the role of
Croatia's presidency in an effort to prevent recurrence of
the excesses of the Tudjman regime. Croatia's President now
plays more of a ceremonial role, and his statements are at
times less nuanced than the GoC positions; that was certainly
the case last month when he called U.S. action in Iraq
3. (C) After the Embassy ceremony, we called President
Mesic's Foreign Policy Adviser Tomislav Jakic (the likely
author of the speech) to express our dissatisfaction with the
message delivered. We told him -- and other GoC
interlocutors -- that we thought the occasion and location
was inappropriate for such an ambiguous and condescending
message. We also told him the message itself was wrong and
unhelpful. Jakic was defensive, saying the speech was
intended to reject unequivocally the criticisms of U.S.
policy, but said he would inform the president.
4. (U) Begin text of Mesic address:
Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to be able to attend the ceremonial opening of
the new Embassy of the United States of America in the
Republic of Croatia. I wanted to be here today in order to
affirm in this way as well Croatia's friendly feelings
towards the United States. And I also wanted to see at close
range and visit this impressive structure. This is the best
response to all those who speculate about the United States
losing interest in this part of the world and in Croatia.
Our two countries have long-standing relations. They can be
traced to the fairly distant past, to the time when many
Croats and people from Croatia, then part of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, left in order to seek a place in the
sun on the other side of the ocean, in the New World. There
is no need to recall the names of famous individuals who have
come from our lands and made a significant contribution to
the development and progress of the United States.
Similarly, there is no need to recall what the United States
had done on the global scale, but also within the scope of
our bilateral relations, in promoting democracy, freedom and
human rights. Let me repeat: there is no need to recall all
that, because we know it. I would simply like to say the
following: Croato-American relations have always been, and
will be, relations of taking and giving on both sides.
Of course, our relations have passed through different
phases, they have seen their ups and downs. But at any
moment we in Croatia have seen and experienced ourselves as
sincere friends of the United States.
There have been and there are no anti-American feelings in
Croatia. We have always been and we are friends of the
United States. However, just as in any relations, it takes
two to sustain relations of friendship. In other words, the
United States also ought to understand that our friendship is
sincere and durable even when our thinking about a particular
issue may differ from the thinking in Washington, D.C.
We know that the United States has been the firm mainstay of
the free world. Therefore, we know that this excludes the
possibility that the United States might even think of
punishing any of its friends, with whom it shares the same
values and ideals, for remaining true to the fundamental
tenets of international relations - the freedom of
individuals and nations and their full equality.
We know that the United States played an irreplaceable role
in the foundation of the United Nations, and that it should
be given the credit, perhaps more than anybody else, for the
sustenance of the world organization in times and conditions
which were anything but propitious. Therefore, we reject any
thought that the United States could even think of
marginalizing the global organization or even refrain from
supporting it and thereby endanger its very survival.
We know that the project of united Europe, in the difficult
and extremely dangerous times of the cold war and of the
East-West confrontation, could not even have started without
the sincere and full support of the great ally on the other
side of the Atlantic. Therefore, we believe that any
speculations according to which the United States does not
regard European unification with the same enthusiasm with
which its supported that millennial project for decades to be
absurd and utterly unfounded.
Today Croatia sees and realizes its place in the world within
the circle of democratic countries, in the ranks of the
global antiterrorist coalition, in the United Nations, and
tomorrow - both in the European Union and the NATO. We have
never pursued our foreign policy by relying now on this
country, or group of countries, and now on another.
In line with the same principles, we want to have equally
good relations with all countries, large and small, powerful
and less powerful ones alike.
We are aware of our European identity but also our global
We are aware, of course, of the specific role and place of
the United States in the world in which we live. It is
therefore completely clear that one of our foreign policy
priorities is the continuation and broadening of good
relations and even of alliance with the United States.
But we are an independent, sovereign state, and until we
transfer, by our own free will, part of our sovereignty to
the European Union, we shall make our own decisions, bearing
in mind first and foremost the interest and welfare of our
citizens - over the short and long term alike.
We shall always be ready to listen to others, but we also
expect others to be sensitive to us. Knowing the history of
the United States, we are certain that it will best
understand such a position and know to appreciate a Croatia
which uses its own head much more than a Croatia reduced to a
Let me take this opportunity to convey cordial and friendly
greetings to President George Bush and to the American people.
Let me also wish the diplomatic representative of the United
States, who will now work in this modern and impressive
building at the outskirts of our capital, a pleasant
performance of their duties in this traditionally friendly
environment, geared to the continuous progress and
development of ever better, mutually beneficial relations
between our two countries.