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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 000467
EUR, PM, H
EO 12958 DECL: 04/20/2019
TAGS PREL, PGOV, MARR, OREP, RS, PL
SUBJECT: POLAND - CODEL LEVIN DISCUSSES MISSILE DEFENSE,
REF: WARSAW 375
Classified By: Ambassador Ashe for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: In meetings with CODEL Levin, the Polish Prime Minister's chief of staff, the President's deputy national security advisor, and the speaker of the Polish parliament expressed unanimous support for a large U.S. military footprint in Poland to bolster Article 5 guarantees. PM chief of staff Slawomir Nowak told CODEL that, regardless of the U.S. decision on Missile Defense, Poland expects the U.S. to "honor its commitments" to bring a Patriot battery to Poland. All three Polish officials requested that the U.S. keep Poland updated on the status of dialogue with Russia, suggesting that Russia, not Iran, poses the greater threat to Poland. CODEL's meeting with FM Sikorski is reported septel. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), visited Warsaw April 15-16 to discuss Missile Defense and Polish interest in a U.S. Patriot battery rotation with Polish officials, including Prime Minister Tusk's chief of staff Slawomir Nowak, Deputy Chief of President Kaczynski's National Security Bureau Witold Waszczykowski, and Parliamentary Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski (Civic Platform, PO). The Senators' meetings with Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski are reported septel.
U.S. "ROCK SOLID" ON ARTICLE FIVE
3. (C) Senator Levin began all three meetings by conveying the President's message that the U.S. commitment to the NATO Article 5 guarantee is "rock solid." While U.S. support for Poland may differ in form under the Obama administration, U.S. support for Poland will be strong. When asked whether Warsaw felt assured that NATO would honor its Article 5 commitments to Poland, Waszczykowski said "we still have our doubts," adding that some European members -- particularly France -- prefer talk to action, he wryly added "that's why we bought F-16s and not French Mirages, and why we went through with the Missile Defense deal."
PATRIOTS AND AMERICAN BOOTS
4. (C) Senator Levin warned all three interlocutors that if the Czechs reject the proposed MD radar site, the Polish component of MD would be put in jeopardy under current U.S. legislation. Nowak expressed confidence that the Czechs would ratify the agreement with the U.S., suggesting they are simply waiting for a U.S. decision on MD. Speaker Komorowski acknowledged the provisions of U.S. law, but stated Poland does not want to be responsible for Czech problems. Senator Collins acknowledged the political cost to Poland of supporting MD, and asked for Komorowski,s views on how to maintain support for the United States if it pursues a different course.
5. (C) Asked whether Poland would be reassured by the presence of Patriot batteries in lieu of MD, Nowak told CODEL Levin that, regardless of MD's fate, the GOP expects the USG to "honor its commitments" on Patriots. Poland intends to build a comprehensive air-defense system and has identified Patriots as "the most important element" of its defense modernization efforts. Nowak said Poland "will not suffer" if the U.S. withdraws from MD, but repeatedly asserted that the GOP is "counting on Patriots." (NB: At one point, Nowak even intervened when his interpreter mistakenly said the Poles "would like Patriots." "No, we are counting on them," Nowak emphasized in English.)
6. (C) Waszczykowski was less adamant about Patriots, stating that Poland and the U.S. had a binding political agreement on security matters, which he hoped the United States would respect. He added that Poland "wants U.S. boots on the ground" -- not necessarily as a tripwire, but as a deterrent. Nowak similarly stressed Poland's strong interest in "deepening" military cooperation, ideally to include a large U.S. footprint in Poland. He mused that one Patriot battery and ten MD interceptors do not constitute the "impressive presence" that Poland is hoping for.
7. (C) Speaker Komorowski and Nowak both pointed out that, by agreeing to host the MD site, Poland had paid a "high price" -- especially in its relations with other EU members and with Russia. Komorowski expressed concern that Poland had again become a Russian target after a dozen years of improving relations -- senior Russian officials have threatened to target Poland with nuclear missiles, are stirring up
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anti-Polish sentiment among Russians, and are acting against Poland's interests in Ukraine.
8. (C) Komorowski argued that the U.S. needs to fulfill its symbolic agreement to show involvement in defense of Polish territory. If the new administration is changing U.S. political priorities, it also needs to engage in dialogue with Poland, not just Russia. Most important for Poland is U.S. involvement in Polish security, through physical presence of American forces in Poland, NATO facilities in Poland, fulfilling the commitment to provide Patriot missiles, and greater U.S.-Polish cooperation.
DIALOGUE WITH RUSSIA
9. (C) Komorowski, Nowak, and Waszczykowski stressed the importance of keeping Poland updated on the status of U.S.-Russia talks. Nowak stressed the GOP's strong interest in a positive outcome, but reminded the CODEL that U.S. negotiators had promised the USG would overcome Russian objections to MD. "The MD site is an American base. The burden of achieving Russian agreement is on the U.S. side," he said. Even so, Nowak said, Poland had agreed to accept confidence-building measures with the Russians and was also working to convince Moscow that MD is not a threat to Russia's nuclear arsenal. Regardless, Russia will find it difficult to accept any "tangible manifestation" of a NATO presence in Poland or the Czech Republic.
10. (C) Nowak said Poland had not discussed Patriots with the Russians. Russia should not have a say in Poland's defense modernization planning. Noting that Poland's armed forces are "defensive in nature," Nowak reiterated that Poland's primary goal is to increase interoperability with allies.
11. (C) Presidential Advisor Waszczykowski reacted more emotionally. While Washington is entitled to talk to Russia, to work toward a solution to the Iranian threat, and to make its own decision about the MD initiative, the U.S. should take care not to undermine Poland's security. He then wondered aloud, "How long will it take you to realize that nothing will change with Iran and Russia?" Waszczykowski asserted that Moscow is trying to regain its sphere of influence and stressed the critical importance of an increased U.S. or NATO presence for Poland's security. He added that Russia continues to deny its historical wrong-doings against Poland, imposes economic sanctions against Poland at will, and frequently disrupts the flow of oil and gas.
THREAT FROM IRAN?
12. (C) In all three meetings, Senator Nelson expressed doubt that Iran would abandon its nuclear weapons or missile programs, but noted that the Iranian threat to Europe could be met for the foreseeable future with the AEGIS and THAAD systems. Waszczykowski, who served as Poland's Ambassador to Tehran (1999-2002), agreed that Iran poses an increasing threat to the United States and Europe. He said that the Iranian regime has no incentive to warm relations with Washington because the regime has built its own legitimacy on the cornerstone of anti-Americanism.
13. (C) Nowak and Komorowski told the CODEL that Poland does not perceive a direct threat from Iran. Nowak stated that, as an active and loyal ally, Poland had agreed to host the MD site because of the threat Iran poses to the U.S. and others in NATO. He noted that Poland's desire to be a strong ally was also the basis for its activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nowak said Poland perceives a greater threat from non-state actors, but conceded that Iran's support for terrorist organizations was troubling. He added that Poland's decision to host MD had moved it "closer to the top of Iran's list," and, as a result, made Patriots more important to Poland's security.
14. (U) CODEL Levin has cleared this message.
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DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE, ISN/CTR; NSC FOR SHERWOOD-RANDALL
EO 12958 DECL: 02/10/2020
TAGS AF, CH, IR, IZ, MARR, NATO, PARM, PL, PREL, RS
SUBJECT: U/S TAUSCHER MEETS FM SIKORSKI, MOD KLICH
REF: STATE 12108
Classified By: Ambassador Lee Feinstein; Reason 1.4 (B) AND (D)
Â¶1. (C) SUMMARY. During February 8 meetings with Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher and Ambassador Lee Feinstein, Foreign Minister Sikorski and Defense Minister Klich said they were pleased with the successful completion of the protocol amending the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement. Sikorski said he wanted to move forward on discussions regarding U.S. alternative presence options in Poland after the Patriot rotation begins. He said he would support increased pressure on Iran. He expressed skepticism about Russiaâ€™s approach toward Tehran, especially in light of Chinaâ€™s recent assertiveness. Klich said the second planned Patriot rotation would likely take place in the heat of the fall Polish Presidential election season and asked Washingtonâ€™s help in managing public expectations. Klich also requested more armored vehicles and road-clearing equipment to support Polish operations in Afghanistan. END SUMMARY.
SIKORSKI ON U.S. PRESENCE, RUSSIA, CHINA, AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Â¶2. (C) U/S Tauscher and Ambassador Feinstein met Foreign Minister Sikorski for a courtesy call following the conclusion of the Strategic Cooperation Consultative Group (SCCG) on February 8. Sikorski told U/S Tauscher and Ambassador Feinstein that he was gratified that the United States and Poland had reached ad ref agreement on the protocol amending the BMDA. Sikorski said Poland wanted more information about proposed U.S. alternative presence options in Poland, and asked for more details. He expressed interest in an F-16 presence, but also asked about C-130s, and Special Forces.
Â¶3. (C) Sikorski asked how the United States assesses its efforts to engage Russia. He expressed concern that the United States would feel pressured to make concessions, at Polandâ€™s expense, to gain Russiaâ€™s support in the Security Council in the face of an increasingly â€śhostileâ€ť China. He proposed an intelligence exchange regarding whether Russia has tactical nuclear weapons in the Kaliningrad oblast, and complained about the planned French sale of Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia. U/S Tauscher said that the United States was realistic about Russia. Moscow was increasingly frustrated with Tehran, she said, adding that Washington had made some progress on this and other issues with the Russian Government. Ambassador Feinstein said that trans-Atlantic solidarity would be more important -- not less -- in the circumstances of a more assertive China.
Â¶4. (C) The Ambassador delivered reftel demarche to Sikorski on the human rights situation in Iran and pressed Sikorski to issue a public statement on the issue. Sikorski affirmed Polandâ€™s support for increased pressure on Iran. He also suggested a special focus on Iranian civil society during the Community of Democracies conference to be held in Poland in June.
Â¶5. (C) Sikorski said that the London Conference on Afghanistan was useful because it finally convinced Karzai that it was his last chance to make necessary reforms and take more responsibility for Afghanistanâ€™s security situation. DFM Najder raised Ukraineâ€™s transfer of T-72 tanks to Iraq, offering that Poland could sell the same type of tanks if Ukraine could not meet its obligations.
Â¶6. (C) Sikorski reiterated that PM Tusk is eager to hold a bilateral meeting with President Obama on the margins of the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. The Prime Ministerâ€™s Chancellery is exploring ways to extend Tuskâ€™s U.S. trip by including stops in additional cities, with the aim of creating a larger window within which to schedule an Oval Office meeting.
KLICH: PATRIOTS, POLITICS, AND EQUIPMENT REQUESTS
Â¶7. (C) U/S Tauscher and the Ambassador met with Defense Minister Bodgan Klich on February 8 before the opening of the
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SCCG. Klich said he expected the Polish Sejm and Senate to ratify the supplemental SOFA agreement by the end of February or early March, and hoped President Kaczynski would quickly sign. Klich said he understood the configuration of the first Patriot rotation, but noted that the second rotation would occur in the heat of the presidential election. For that second rotation, he argued, it was important to manage public expectations during a sensitive political period. U/S Tauscher and the Ambassador made it clear that the Patriots would not be integrated into Polandâ€™s air defense system. Such a move would require a U.S. Presidential decision, and the President has made no such decision. It would be important for Poland to work with the United States to cultivate realistic public expectations for future Patriot rotations.
Â¶8. (C) Klich expressed satisfaction with the results of the NATO defense ministerâ€™s meeting in Istanbul Klich and Gagor said that Poland would like to extend the loan term of its existing Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) vehicles. There are currently 30 on loan until November 2010 and Poland needs an additional 50 MRAPs if possible by April/May when it plans to increase its troop contributions to Afghanistan. He also requested one Road Clearing Package (RCP).
Â¶9. (C) Turning to defense cooperation with third countries, Klich said that the Baltic states were very pleased with the U.S. proposal for NATO contingency planning, which is crucial for reassuring NATOâ€™s eastern members. He also noted that Poland wants the United States to have the status of â€śassociative partyâ€ť in the newly established Polish/Ukrainian/Lithuanian brigade. Klich emphasized that Poland is thinking outside of Europe and wants to have a deeper dialogue with the United States. on China. He added that he recently had a good visit to China, during which Poland signed a bilateral defense cooperation agreement.
Â¶10. (U) Participants in the meeting with FM Sikorski:
U.S. Participants: -U/S Ellen Tauscher -Ambassador Lee Feinstein
Polish Participants: -FM Radoslaw Sikorski -DFM Jacek Najder -DFM Andrzej Kremer -Director of the Ministerâ€™s Secretariat, Michal Miarka
Â¶11. (U) Participants in the meeting with MOD Klich:
U.S. Participants: -U/S Ellen Tauscher -Ambassador Lee Feinstein -Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Inspection -John Plumb, Principal Director, OSD Missile Defense Policy
Polish Participants: -DefMin Bogdan Klich -Franciszek Gagor, Chief of the General Staff -Lt. General Mieczyslaw Cieniuch -Piotr Pacholski, Director of Missile Defense Office
Â¶12. (U) U/S Tauscher has reviewed this message. FEINSTEIN
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DEPT FOR EUR/CE (GLANTZ, KARAGIANNIS)
OSD FOR MITCHELL, AMBASSADOR VERSHBOW, ADMIRAL MULLEN
EUCOM FOR ADMIRAL STAVRIDIS
USAREUR FOR GENERAL HAM
EO 12958 DECL: 02/22/2020
TAGS PREL, MARR, MOPS, PGOV, PL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS DEFENSE MINISTER KLICH
Classified By: Classified BY Political Counselor Dan Sainz, reason 1.4 (b, d)
Â¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Defense Minister Bogdan Klich told the Ambassador on February 18 that Poland is eager to see the fruits of bilateral defense cooperation, which he described as based on a solid political foundation. He emphasized the importance to Poland of an April arrival of the first Patriot battery rotation. Klich did not repeat recent Polish government points about the configuration of future rotations of the Patriot battery. End Summary.
Â¶2. (C) During a February 18 meeting with the Ambassador, Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said there is a good political framework for continued U.S.-Polish defense cooperation, and noted Under Secretary Tauscherâ€™s February 8 visit had been a very successful one. Klich said he does not expect anything will happen to undermine that solid foundation. He added that the bilateral supplemental SoFA, signed December 11, provides a strong legal framework for defense ties. The SoFA ratification vote in the Sejm (the lower house of Parliament) was overwhelmingly in favor, and Senate approval would also come quickly. (Note: The Senate voted 88-1 in favor of SOFA ratification later on February 18.) Klich said President Kaczynski would sign the SoFA ratification bill quickly.
HOPING FOR PATRIOTS IN APRIL
Â¶3. (C) Klich said Poland has a strong desire to see the fruits of bilateral defense cooperation, and he highlighted the political importance of an early first rotation in Poland of the U.S. Patriot battery. He said Poland hopes the first rotation will occur in April. The Ambassador said the United States wants the rotation to be viewed as a bilateral success. In answer to Klichâ€™s questions about timing, the Ambassader said the United States has said the first rotation would take place within 90 days of SOFA ratification. He said a more precise time frame will be determined at the last bilateral planning meeting for the Patriot rotation, which will take place in the first week in March.
MILITARY FACILITIES FOR ALTERNATIVE U.S. PRESENCES
Â¶4. (C) Klich called for talks on other forms of an enhanced U.S. security presence in Poland. He said he had authorized Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski and ChoD Franciszek Gagor to take part in such talks. Klich highlighted Polish interest in all of the options presented by DOD A/S Vershbow at the October High Level Defense Group discussions: F-16s, C-130â€™s, as well as â€śstable, not temporaryâ€ť special operations forces. When asked, Klich confirmed that the GoP is particularly interested in U.S. F-16 rotations. Speaking personally, he said he also had a strong interest in a special operations force presence, since he had signed a bilateral special operations cooperation agreement with Secretary Gates a year ago. ChoD Gagor added that the biggest multilateral exercise Poland is hosting this year, â€śJackal Stone 10,â€ť will feature special operations forces. Klich added that as part of the first in-depth infrastructure review in postwar Poland, the Defense Ministry had decided to close 20% of defense facilities, but would be &saving8 three complexes for U.S. forces.
GETTING THE WORD OUT ON DEFENSE COOPERATION
Â¶5. (C) The Ambassador noted that the bilateral agenda for defense cooperation is a full one, and both governments should work together to inform public opinion about the many useful exchanges under way. Klich strongly agreed that Defense Ministry and Embassy staff should follow up in this area. Deputy Defense Minister Komorowski added that if A/S Vershbow visits Warsaw in the coming months, it might be a good occasion to do some joint public diplomacy work about planning for other forms of an enhanced U.S. security presence in Poland. (Note: Amb. Vershbowâ€™s planned mid-March trip has been postponed.)
Â¶6. (C) COMMENT: Klichâ€™s emphasis on a hoped-for April arrival
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of the first Patriot battery is consistent with other government statements and press leaks that signal a decision to focus on the timing of the first deployment, as opposed to other aspects of it. In that regard, Klich did not repeat government appeals that Patriot rotations be integrated into the Polish air defense system and include â€śliveâ€ť missiles, as he did in a meeting the previous week with Under Secretary Tauscher. The emphasis on the timing of the first deployment corresponds with developments in the presidential race, and Foreign Minister Sikorsky,s active candidacy for the Civic Platform nomination. FEINSTEIN