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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05PARIS174
2005-01-10 17:42:00
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

MTAG 04 - 04: DEMARCHE ON FRENCH FIRM'S ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN'S MISSILE PROGRAM (S)

Tags:   PARM  PREL  ETTC  HK  PK  CM  GM  FR  MTCRE 
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						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 000174 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

FOR NP/CBM, EUR/PRA, EUR/WE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/2025
TAGS: PARM PREL ETTC HK PK CM GM FR MTCRE

SUBJECT: MTAG 04 - 04: DEMARCHE ON FRENCH FIRM'S ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN'S MISSILE PROGRAM (S)
REF: SECSTATE 270425
Classified By: EST Counselor Robert W. Dry for Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).



1. (S) On 30 December 2004, EST officer delivered a demarche to French Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Point of Contact (POC) David Bertolotti, MFA Deputy Director of Disarmament and Nuclear Non-proliferation, concerning the 10 December shipment of telemetry equipment from the French firm In'Trad to Pakistan, with the possible end-user being New Technologies Islamabad, which is associated with Pakistan's ballistic missile program. Prior to the EST officer presenting the demarche, Bertolotti asked if the issue pertained to a shipment to Pakistan, to which EST officer replied in the affirmative. Bertolotti then noted that the issue had been raised in Washington, and that British government officials had been actively engaging the French. Following these comments, EST officer then presented the demarche.



2. (S) In response to the demarche, Bertolotti provided EST officer with comprehensive comments on the shipment and the reasons behind the Government of France's (GOF) decision not to examine its contents and to allow it to continue on to Pakistan. The reasons provided included logistical considerations, timing issues, legal concerns, and insufficiently precise information. Bertolotti said that while the GOF was fully engaged and concerned about this transaction, it was operating within the constraints imposed by French law, and that the onus of responsibility rested on the British and United States governments to provide more specific, actionable information regarding the purportedly illegal cooperation between In'Trad and Pakistan's ballistic missile program.



3. (S/NF) Bertolotti said that a British Embassy officer had brought this same matter to his attention on 10 December, only hours before the shipment was set to depart Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport for Pakistan. He added, however, that British security representatives in Paris had met with French security counterparts earlier in the day and had requested French intervention to investigate, and, if appropriate, to stop the shipment from departing France. French POC told EST officer that his assumption was that the U.S. Government (USG) was acting on the basis of information provided by the British government, and was double-tracking the British efforts. Bertolotti claimed that the eleventh-hour notification and the non-specific nature of the information provided by the British had left the GOF in an untenable position. He then briefed EST officer on the legal and logistical hurdles the GOF had to contend with regarding the shipment, as well as the broader considerations that went into the French decision to allow the shipment to reach Pakistan.



4. (S) Bertolotti noted that not all telemetry equipment was subject to dual-use licensing in France, and that the equipment may have, in fact, been legal for export. He added that the 10 December shipment had already cleared customs, and that, short of a direct threat to the safety of the flight, GOF customs officials had no legal authority to seize and then search the shipment. Bertolotti added that the imprecise nature of the information provided by British government officials supporting their concerns had made it all the more difficult for the French to take direct action.

Bertolotti further remarked that, from a logistical standpoint, the request for seizure of the shipment had presented obstacles. Primary among these was the fact that the physical location of the shipment was unknown, and that it could have been stored in one of twenty customs storage facilities at the airport. Bertolotti also noted that a similar shipment of telemetry equipment from In'Trad to the Pakistani National Development Complex (NDC) had been investigated and then cleared for delivery to Pakistan by British Customs officials at a London area airport on 04 April.



5. (S) Regarding plans for future French action and monitoring of In'Trad, Bertolotti informed EST officer that French authorities had contacted the director of the four-employee In'Trad firm, and that he had adamantly denied that the telemetry equipment shipped had been prohibited for export, and insisted that the firm was involved only in completely legitimate transactions. These denials notwithstanding, the GOF had, as of 11 December, begun to monitor the activities of this company more closely and was prepared to check all future exports from it. Bertolotti added that, starting sometime in early 2005, the GOF was planning to begin an official, interagency investigation into the company, but added that this was a formal process and often took months to complete.


6. (S/NF) Finally, Bertolotti noted that the GOF wanted to be more helpful regarding the suspect cooperation between In'Trad and Pakistani missile entities, and to implement the necessary action against In'Trad if the firm was, in fact, complicit in shipping prohibited equipment for use in Pakistan's ballistic missile program. He added, however, that in order to take focused, legal action against In'Trad, the GOF needed more precise information regarding the type of equipment being exported, as well as clearer indications that the end-users were associated with Pakistan's ballistic missile program. He then informed EST officer that French security services had already requested more specific information from their British security counterparts linking In'Trad to the NDC, but had not yet received any such information. Bertolotti then queried EST officer if he knew whether the USG was basing its suspicions of In'Trad solely on information provided to it by the British government, or if it was acting in part on corroborating information obtained independently of the British. EST officer replied he was not privy to the sourcing of the information regarding In'Trad, but would raise the issue with Washington.
Bertolotti then requested that the EST officer pass on the GOF request for the USG to provide additional, more precise information that would aid the GOF in its investigation of In'Trad. EST officer replied that he would raise this request with Washington. EST officer said that the USG in any event would appreciate French government investigation and enhanced watchfulness of In'Trad
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