Classified By: Consul General Peter W. Bodde, reasons 1.5(b) and (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY: In a June 4 letter to Church of Scientology (CoS) President Helmuth Bloebaum, Baden-Wuerttemberg (B-W) State Secretary Rudolf Boehmler refused CoS Germany's request for dialogue with B-W state authorities (reftels), listing "widespread parliamentary opposition" as a primary concern. Scientology officials cite alleged pressure from the national Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a reason for B-W's refusal to engage. The CoS will continue to pressure B-W authorities for informal contacts as a precursor to substantive dialogue but realize that a breakthrough is unlikely. We will stay engaged on the margins and reiterate our support for dialogue (formal or informal) between the parties. End Summary.
2. (SBU) CoS Germany contacted the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Chancellery on March 2, requesting an informal dialogue with a "neutral committee" of ad hoc officials from the B-W state government. Poloff voiced USG support for Scientology's request during a March 11 meeting with Hans-Werner Carlhoff, the head of Baden-Wuerttemberg's Interministerial Working Group on Sects (reftels). At that meeting and in subsequent contacts, Carlhoff underlined the importance of USG support for the Scientologist initiative, and promised to follow up.
3. (SBU) Boehmler's letter to Scientology President Bloebaum did not mention USG involvement, merely noting unanimous B-W parliamentary opposition to the CoS as an organization and the government's continued belief that CoS matters are most appropriately handled by the Interministerial Working Group on Sects. The letter cited two different recent instances (December 10, 2003 and April 24, 2004) where B-W Parliament members had spoken out against Scientology and its activities in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In our subsequent engagement with CoS officials, they expressed disappointment with the decision and asserted that they would continue to lobby for dialogue and an end to "state-sponsored discrimination" against the CoS in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
4. (C) COMMENT: CoS Germany's Human Rights Office Director Ingo Lehmann told us that he had learned that the national Office for the Protection of the Constitution had pressured Baden-Wuerttemberg and other states to refuse CoS requests for dialogue because they would interfere with pending CoS litigation against the OPC. Scientologists have long been active in trying to get the OPC to stop surveillance of CoS activities, and we believe that any step towards "normalization" of relations could damage the OPC's case for regarding Scientology as an anti-constitutional movement and maintaining surveillance of CoS groups. Given B-W's consistent hostility towards Scientology, however, it is unlikely that national-level pressure from the OPC, even if true, is solely responsible for the state's continued intransigence. END COMMENT. BODDE