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Viewing cable 09USNATO501, DUTCH SAY U.S. AFGHANISTAN MESSAGE MUST BE A

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09USNATO501 2009-11-05 09:09 2011-01-20 08:08 CONFIDENTIAL Mission USNATO
VZCZCXRO9707
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHNO #0501/01 3090942
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 050942Z NOV 09
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3563
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 1055
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/USNMR SHAPE BE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 USNATO 000501 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/4/2019 
TAGS: MARR MOPS NATO PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: DUTCH SAY U.S. AFGHANISTAN MESSAGE MUST BE A 
STRONG ONE 

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Ivo Daalder for Reasons 1.4(b) 
& (d) 

1. (C) Summary. In a November 3 meeting, Dutch PM Cabinet 
Director Richard van Zwol told USNATO Ambassador Daalder the 
Dutch were in a political deadlock over their Afghanistan 
contributions and the Prime Minister was attempting to 
unlock it. He urged the US to deliver a strong message 
privately in the next few weeks to help the DUtch government 
in its efforts to revise its Afghanistan policy. Van Zwol 
reassured the Ambassador that media reporting on the November 
2 meeting between the German and Dutch FMs that suggested the 
two Allies were pursuing the issue of nuclear weapons 
forward-basing bilaterally were inaccurate. Van Zwel said 
Dutch FM Verhagen stressed with his German counterpart that 
the debate regarding nuclear weapons on European soil had to 
be conducted in the context of NATO. End Summary. 

--------------------------------- 
Staying the Course in Afghanistan 
--------------------------------- 

2. (C) In a frank discussion about the Dutch contribution to 
the ISAF mission, the Ambassador explained to Van Zwol, Dutch 
PM Foreign Policy and Defense Asvisor Karel van Oosterom, and 
Dutch Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO Jan Versteeg 
that the United States had not made its final decision about 
resourcing issues in Afghanistan, but would stay the course 
until significant progress was achieved. The Ambassador 
noted that the United States wanted the Netherlands to remain 
as well and would convey strong message to Dutch leaders in 
that regard in the month ahead. It would be hard to explain 
a Dutch withdrawal just as the US and others were stepping up 
their contributions to the mission. Van Zwol said the Dutch 
were in a political deadlock and the Prime Minister was 
attempting to unlock it. He urged the US to deliver a 
strong message privately in the next few weeks; no other type 
of message would work. The US should emphasize in its 
discussions with Dutch leaders that the push now will be on 
progress in the next 12-18 months, with the view to 
transferring responsibility to the Afghans as soon as 
possible. In order to get a positive decision to stay, the 
Dutch Labor Party, which is the main stumbling block in the 
coalition government, would need to be able to point to a 
new situation to explain any change in policy. Greater 
emphasis on a transfer to Afghan lead and on moving from 
combat to training would help, as might the announcement of a 
new approach by the Obama administration. 

3. (C) Van Zwol and Oosterom confirmed that the Dutch would 
not be a lead nation under any circumstances and warned it 
would be extremely difficult to remain in Uruzgan. The 
Ambassador said he was hopeful that the Dutch would keep 
their troop contributions in the four-digit range, leave 
their enablers, and send more trainers. Pulling out of 
Uruzgan, given the Dutch investment in the province and the 
ISAF focus on counter-insurgency, would be a waste of the 
collective wisdom and trust they had built there over th 
eyears. Van Zwol suggested it was best to focus first on a 
Dutch commitment to remain and then discuss where they might 
deploy. 

4. (C) Van Zwol also advised that, when discussing 
Afghanistan with Dutch Finance Minister Bos, it would be 
useful for the United States to make the issue personal for 
him. Van Zwol said Bos would respond well to the idea that 
remaining in Afghanistan is an issue of leadership for a 
Deputy Prime Minister of a party with a proud history. Van 
Zwol also suggested that Bos has future ambitions, and the 
United States should point out that he should not lose 
international credibility by insisting on the Dutch 
withdrawal from Afghanistan at this critical moment. 

------------------------ 
NATO and Nuclear Weapons 
------------------------ 


USNATO 00000501 002 OF 002 


5. (C) Ambassador Daalder used the meeting to ask for 
clarification on Dutch FM Verhagen's November 2 meeting with 
new German FM Westerwelle, and whether the Dutch were 
planning a unilateral, bilateral, or trilateral (with the 
Belgians) effort to remove US nuclear weapons from European 
soil. Van Zwol explained that, while a nuclear free world 
was a matter of personal interest to FM Verhagen, the Dutch 
would address the issue of forward-basing of US nuclear 
weapons in the multilateral context of NATO only. Noting 
that the Germans had opened Pandora's box on the issue of 
US nuclear weapons in Europe, Van Zwol assured the Ambassador 
there was no Dutch/Belgian/German cabal to deal with the 
issue. For the past several decades, NATO Allies had not 
discussed the issue so as not to rock the boat. The new 
German coalition agreement changed that, he said, by firmly 
and openly calling for frank discussions on NATO's nuclear 
weapons policy. 
DAALDER