Viewing cable 02VATICAN4361
Title: THE ZAMBIAN MAIZE CRISIS: MOVING THE HOLY SEE TO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
02VATICAN43612002-09-08 10:37:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
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 SECTION 01 OF 03 VATICAN 004361 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), AF/S, EB (CEKUTA), 
EB/TTP/ABT (C. JACKSON); ROME FOR HARDY-BASS, ROME PLEASE 
PASS FODAG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2012 
TAGS: PREL EAID EAGR EAID EAGR EAID EAGR VT VTPREL VTPREL
SUBJECT: THE ZAMBIAN MAIZE CRISIS:  MOVING THE HOLY SEE TO 
"YES" ON BIOTECH AGRICULTURE 
 
REF: A. A) LUSAKA 1481 
     ¶B. B) LUSAKA 1468 
     ¶C. C) LUSAKA 1383 
     ¶D. D) STATE 163549 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  04361  01 OF 03  081058Z 
     ¶E. E) STATE 163951 
     ¶F. F) USUN 2146 
     ¶G. G) FROWICK/MOZENA EMAILS 08/22/2002 
     ¶H. H) STATE 152979 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR JIM NICHOLSON, 
REASON E.O. 12958 1.5 (B) (D). 
 
¶1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST.  SEE PARA 3. 
 
¶2. (C) SUMMARY:  SINCE THE START OF THE ZAMBIAN GMO FOOD AID 
CRISIS, EMBASSY VATICAN HAS PRESSED HARD AT VARIOUS LEVELS OF 
THE HOLY SEE FOR A STRONG STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF U.S. FOOD 
ASSISTANCE FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA AND BEYOND.  BUILDING ON OVER 
A YEAR OF DIALOGUE ON THE SAFETY OF GMO'S, THE VATICAN IS 
FINALLY MOVING TOWARD ACCEPTANCE OF THE SAFETY OF GMO'S, BUT 
HAS PREFERRED TO FOCUS NARROWLY ON THE SITUATION IN ZAMBIA. 
OUR MUTUAL INTEREST IN FEEDING THE WORLD'S HUNGRY OFFERS AN 
OPPORTUNITY TO SECURE A MORE POSITIVE PUBLIC POSITION FROM 
THE HOLY SEE ON THE SAFETY OF BIOTECH FOOD FOR HUMAN 
CONSUMPTION.  WHILE SUCH A STATEMENT WOULD DOUBTLESS BE 
CAREFULLY WORDED AND NOT COMPLETELY ELIMINATE VATICAN 
CONCERNS AT ENVIRONMENTAL DANGERS FROM BIOTECH CROPS, IT 
COULD FACILITATE OUR BROADER EFFORT TO ERODE EUROPEAN AND 
OTHER INTERNATIONAL NON-SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIONS TO BIOTECH 
FOODS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶3. (C) ACTION REQUESTED: FOLLOWING UP ON THE SECRETARY'S 
STATEMENT ON GMO FOODS AT THE JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT, POST 
REQUESTS DEPARTMENT CONSIDER A LETTER FROM SECRETARY POWELL 
TO VATICAN FM TAURAN URGING THE HOLY SEE TO ISSUE A PUBLIC 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  04361  01 OF 03  081058Z 
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE SAFETY FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION OF 
US FOOD ASSISTANCE, SIMILAR TO EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND UN 
STATEMENTS IN REFS C AND F (PROPOSED TEXT AT PARA. 9 BELOW). 
LETTER SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY AMBASSADOR AS SOON 
AS POSSIBLE, IDEALLY BEFORE AMBASSADOR RETURNS TO THE U.S. 
FOR CONSULTATIONS ON SEPTEMBER 13.  SEE PARA 9 FOR SUGGESTED 
DRAFT LANGUAGE FOR THE LETTER. END ACTION REQUEST. 
 
¶4. (SBU) FOLLOWING REPORTS THAT CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN ZAMBIA 
HAD SUPPORTED THE GOZ'S DECISION TO WITHHOLD U.S. PROVIDED 
FOOD AID (REF G), POLOFF MET AUGUST 22 WITH UNDERSECRETARY OF 
THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR REFUGEES AND MIGRANT PEOPLES 
FATHER MICHAEL BLUME, AND AUGUST 23 WITH JESUIT REFUGEE 
SERVICE PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA JENNY CAFISO TO 
URGE THEM TO MAKE CLEAR THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE SAFETY OF U.S. 
FOOD ASSISTANCE.  BOTH TOOK ON BOARD OUR POINTS ON FOOD AID 
FROM REF H, AND REFERRED US TO THE JESUITS AT THE LUSAKA 
OFFICE OF THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE.  SUBSEQUENTLY, DCM AND 
POLOFF MET AUGUST 29 WITH VATICAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, 
MONSIGNOR CELESTINO MIGLIORE.  MIGLIORE HAD NOT HEARD OF THE 
ZAMBIAN IMBROGLIO, BUT PROMISED TO LOOK INTO IT. 
 
¶5. (C)  AT A SEPTEMBER 5 FOLLOW-UP MEETING WITH VATICAN MFA 
SOUTHERN AFRICA DIRECTOR MONS. FRANCESCO CAVINA, POLOFF 
OFFERED COPIES OF THE EC AND UN STATEMENTS SUPPORTING US FOOD 
ASSISTANCE.  NOTING THAT THE USG AND HOLY SEE SHARE A STRONG 
COMMON INTEREST IN HELPING TO FEED HUNGRY PEOPLE AROUND THE 
WORLD, POLOFF URGED THE HOLY SEE TO ISSUE A STATEMENT SIMILAR 
TO THOSE OF THE EC, UN, AND WHO.  CAVINA, WHO HAD BEEN 
BRIEFED BY MIGLIORE, SAID THE VATICAN HAD DECIDED TO TAKE 
ACTION TO CLARIFY THE CHURCH'S POSITION.  THEIR PLAN OF 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        VATICA  04361  01 OF 03  081058Z 
ACTION, HOWEVER, CENTERED ON A STATEMENT BY THE ZAMBIAN 
BISHOPS' COUNCIL EMPHASIZING THE NEED TO FEED THE HUNGRY NOW, 
WITH THE FOOD ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE ALREADY IN ZAMBIA, WHILE 
SETTING ASIDE FOR LATER ARGUMENTS ABOUT AGRICULTURAL 
SUSTAINABILITY.  CAVINA ALSO SAID THE PAPAL NUNCIO IN LUSAKA 
HAD CONVOKED THE JESUIT DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR 
THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION (REF G) AND WOULD REMIND HIM OF THE 
NEED NOT TO CONTRADICT BASIC HOLY SEE POSITIONS ON SOLIDARITY 
(I.E. ON THE MORAL IMPERATIVE OF USING AVAILABLE FOOD TO FEED 
HUNGRY PEOPLE). 
 
¶6. (C)  WHILE WELCOMING THIS PROGRESS, POLOFF URGED CAVINA TO 
WORK UP A BROADER MESSAGE ON THE SAFETY OF BIOTECH FOOD, 
DELIVERED FROM THE HOLY SEE ITSELF.  UNDERSCORING THE REF H 
POINT THAT THE USG PROVIDES 63 PERCENT OF THE WFP'S GLOBAL 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTO3377 
 
PAGE 01        VATICA  04361  02 OF 03  081059Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 
      COME-00  USNW-00  DODE-00  WHA-00   PERC-00  SRPP-00  DS-00 
      EB-00    FDRE-01  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00 
      LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OIC-02 
      OMB-01   PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00 
      SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    TRSE-00  USIE-00  EPAE-00  PMB-00 
      DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /009W 
                  ------------------E4181B  081059Z /38 
O 081037Z SEP 02 
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
INFO AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LILONGWE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LUANDA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY MAPUTO PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 
USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 VATICAN 004361 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), AF/S, EB (CEKUTA), 
EB/TTP/ABT (C. JACKSON); ROME FOR HARDY-BASS, ROME PLEASE 
PASS FODAG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2012 
TAGS: PREL EAID EAGR EAID EAGR EAID EAGR VT VTPREL VTPREL
SUBJECT: THE ZAMBIAN MAIZE CRISIS:  MOVING THE HOLY SEE TO 
"YES" ON BIOTECH AGRICULTURE 
 
FOOD ASSISTANCE AND THE DANGEROUS PRECEDENT THAT WOULD BE SET 
BY THE ZAMBIAN REJECTION OF U.S. MAIZE, POLOFF INSISTED THAT 
THE ISSUE WAS FAR BROADER, WITH POTENTIALLY DISASTROUS 
CONSEQUENCES FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.  CAVINA WAS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  04361  02 OF 03  081059Z 
NON-COMMITTAL, NOTING THAT THE HOLY SEE HAD A DELICATE 
RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT MWANAWASA, A SEVENTH DAY 
ADVENTIST.  CAVINA RELATED THAT THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT HAD 
JUST LAST JULY COLLUDED IN A "BAIT AND SWITCH" SETUP OF THE 
PAPAL NUNCIO OVER THE ARCHBISHOP MALINGO ISSUE. (NOTE: 
MALINGO IS THE POPULIST FAITH HEALING ZAMBIAN ARCHBISHOP WHO 
ALMOST GOT HIMSELF EXCOMMUNICATED LAST YEAR AFTER "MARRYING" 
KOREAN DIVORCEE MARIA SUNG IN A MASS UNIFICATION CHURCH 
CEREMONY IN NEW YORK. SUNG, NOW HIS EX-"WIFE," CURRENTLY 
RESIDES IN LUSAKA AND, ACCORDING TO CAVINA, AMBUSHED THE 
NUNCIO IN FRONT OF TV CAMERAS INSIDE THE ZAMBIAN MFA. END 
NOTE.) 
 
-------- 
COMMENT: 
-------- 
 
¶7. (C) FOR THE PAST EIGHTEEN MONTHS POST HAS WORKED TO GET TO 
HOLY SEE TO BUILD ON ITS CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC PUBLIC STANCE 
TOWARDS BIOTECHNOLOGY. IN OUR VIEW, A STRONG PUBLIC STANCE IN 
SUPPORT OF AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY IS A NATURAL FOR ANYONE 
INTERESTED IN PROMOTING FOOD SECURITY IN THE DEVELOPING 
WORLD.  THE ZAMBIAN FOOD CRISIS, AS TRAGIC AS IT IS, MAY 
PRESENT A "DEFINING MOMENT" FOR OUR BIOTECH DIALOGUE WITH THE 
HOLY SEE.  NOBODY, AND ESPECIALLY NOT THE POPE, CAN ARGUE 
THAT A PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE SHOULD APPLY WHEN IT MEANS 
REAL HUMAN BEINGS WILL GO HUNGRY OR EVEN STARVE.  WITH U.S. 
FOOD AID SO VITAL TO ADDRESSING THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN FOOD 
CRISIS, THE HOLY SEE SHOULD BE SINGING FROM THE SAME SHEET 
WITH US. WE ARE, IN FACT, COORDINATING POSITIONS AT THE UN ON 
A CONVENTION TO BAN ALL FORMS OF HUMAN CLONING -- THE "FLIP 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  04361  02 OF 03  081059Z 
SIDE" OF THE GMO FOOD DEBATE.  POST BELIEVES THAT THE TIME IS 
RIGHT FOR A HIGH-LEVEL APPROACH, WHICH COULD NUDGE THE HOLY 
SEE OFF THE FENCE, AT LEAST AS REGARDS THE SAFETY FOR HUMAN 
CONSUMPTION OF BIOTECH FOODS.  WHILE ANY HOLY SEE STATEMENT 
WOULD DOUBTLESS BE CAREFULLY WORDED AND NOT ERASE VATICAN 
CONCERNS AT ENVIRONMENTAL DANGERS FROM BIOTECH CROPS, IT 
COULD GREATLY FACILITATE OUR BROADER EFFORT TO ERODE EUROPEAN 
AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL OBJECTIONS TO AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS 
OF BIOTECH FOODS.  (NOTE: WE WILL NEED TO ADDRESS THE HOLY 
SEE'S CONCERNS AT POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF GMO CROPS 
IN THE FUTURE, AND POST HAS AN ACTION PLAN FOR THAT TO BE 
REPORTED SEPTEL. END NOTE.) 
 
¶8. (SBU)  POST REQUESTS THAT SECRETARY POWELL CONSIDER 
SENDING VATICAN FM ARCHBISHOP JEAN LOUIS TAURAN A LETTER 
URGING THE HOLY SEE TO ISSUE A STATEMENT THAT TRACKS WITH THE 
EXISTING UN AND EC STATEMENTS ON BIOTECH FOOD SAFETY. POST 
OFFERS BELOW SUGGESTED LANGUAGE FOR A POWELL/TAURAN LETTER, 
SUBSTANTIALLY DRAWN FROM THE LARSON/DIOUF LETTER TRANSMITTED 
IN REF E. 
 
¶9. (SBU)  PROPOSED LANGUAGE FOR LETTER TO VATICAN FM TAURAN, 
BEGIN TEXT: 
 
YOUR EXCELLENCY, 
 
THE UNITED STATES IS DEEPLY CONCERNED AT THE UNFOLDING 
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA.  I KNOW THAT HOLY 
SEE, WHERE THE CENTRALITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON IS OF PARAMOUNT 
CONCERN, SHARES OUR CONCERN ABOUT THE MILLIONS OF AFRICAN 
LIVES NOW AT RISK FROM HUNGER AND STARVATION. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        VATICA  04361  02 OF 03  081059Z 
 
THE UNITED STATES IS CURRENTLY SEEKING TO HELP PROVIDE SAFE 
FOOD TO ALL THOSE IN NEED -- IN SOUTHERN AFRICA AND ELSEWHERE 
WHERE NEEDS ARE GREAT.  THE UNITED STATES PROVIDES 
SIXTY-THREE PERCENT OF THE FOOD ASSISTANCE GIVEN TO THE WORLD 
FOOD PROGRAM, AND ALREADY THE UNITED STATES HAS PROVIDED OVER 
SEVENTY PERCENT OF THE FOOD ASSISTANCE ON THE GROUND IN 
SOUTHERN AFRICA.  THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE SUPPLY TO REPLACE 
THE RISING NEED FOR FOOD TO AVOID MASS STARVATION IN THIS 
REGION.  UNFORTUNATELY, SOME INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS, 
INCLUDING SOME ELEMENTS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, HAVE ARGUED 
AGAINST DISTRIBUTING U.S. FOOD ASSISTANCE BECAUSE IT CANNOT 
BE GUARANTEED TO BE FREE OF "TRANSGENIC" SEEDS. 
 
THE UNITED STATES IS DEEPLY CONCERNED THAT CONFUSION ABOUT 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6341 
 
PAGE 01        VATICA  04361  03 OF 03  081059Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 
      COME-00  USNW-00  DODE-00  WHA-00   PERC-00  SRPP-00  DS-00 
      EB-00    FDRE-01  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00 
      LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OIC-02 
      OMB-01   PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00 
      SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    TRSE-00  USIE-00  EPAE-00  PMB-00 
      DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /009W 
                  ------------------E4181F  081059Z /38 
O 081037Z SEP 02 
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
INFO AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LILONGWE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LUANDA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY MAPUTO PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 
USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 VATICAN 004361 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), AF/S, EB (CEKUTA), 
EB/TTP/ABT (C. JACKSON); ROME FOR HARDY-BASS, ROME PLEASE 
PASS FODAG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2012 
TAGS: PREL EAID EAGR EAID EAGR EAID EAGR VT VTPREL VTPREL
SUBJECT: THE ZAMBIAN MAIZE CRISIS:  MOVING THE HOLY SEE TO 
"YES" ON BIOTECH AGRICULTURE 
 
THE SAFETY OF THESE FOOD PRODUCTS 
-- THE SAME FOOD AS IS CONSUMED BY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS 
EVERY DAY -- WILL LEAD TO FURTHER HUNGER AND STARVATION.  WE 
KNOW THAT COUNTRIES WISH TO MAKE INFORMED CHOICES ABOUT FOOD 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  04361  03 OF 03  081059Z 
SAFETY FOR THE GOOD OF THEIR PEOPLE.  THE SCIENCE ON THESE 
FOOD PRODUCTS IS CLEAR:  BIOTECH FOODS AVAILABLE TODAY ARE AS 
SAFE TO CONSUME AS ARE THEIR CONVENTIONAL COUNTERPARTS. 
 
THE UNITED NATIONS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, AND THE 
EUROPEAN COMMISSION AMONG OTHER ORGANIZATIONS HAVE RECENTLY 
ISSUED STATEMENTS SUPPORTING THIS VIEW.  THE UNITED STATES 
BELIEVES THAT A CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS STATEMENT FROM THE HOLY 
SEE, A MORAL LEADER WHOSE VOICE IS RESPECTED THE WORLD OVER, 
REGARDING THE SAFETY OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS WOULD 
GREATLY HELP TO OVERCOME PREVAILING HESITATIONS IN AFRICA AND 
BEYOND.  IN THIS WAY, THE HOLY SEE COULD MAKE A POSITIVE 
CONTRIBUTION TO ALLEVIATING THE SUFFERING OF HUNGRY PEOPLE 
NOT JUST IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, BUT EVERYWHERE PEOPLE RECEIVE 
FOOD ASSISTANCE. 
 
IF WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO OVERCOME THIS GRAVE CRISIS OF 
HUMAN SUFFERING IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, WE CAN THEN TURN OUR 
ATTENTION TO REVITALIZING AFRICAN AGRICULTURE AND 
PRODUCTIVITY TO PREVENT FUTURE CRISES.  I LOOK FORWARD TO A 
POSITIVE COLLABORATION ON THIS VITAL MATTER. 
 
SINCERELY, 
COLIN POWELL 
SECRETARY OF STATE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
END TEXT. 
 
NICHOLSON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 

 2002VATICA04361 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL