C O N F I D E N T I A L RIGA 000361
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2018
TAGS: MARR PARM PREL PL LH LG
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR GUIDANCE ON MISSILE DEFENSE PLANS
REF: VILNIUS 441
Classified By: DCM Stuart M Seldowitz. Reason: 1.4 (d)
Â¶1. (U) This is an action request. Please see para 4.
Â¶2. (C) Press reports that the US was considering Lithuania as
an alternative site for deployment of missile defense (MD)
assets should negotiations with Poland fail have seen wide
publication in the Latvian press on June 18. As a result,
MOD State Secretary Rinkevics, recalling previous public
statements by Latvian officials expressing a willingness to
host elements of the MD system if needed, asked DATT for
latest USG thinking on missile defense.
Â¶3. (C) We expect this to be only the first of many inquiries,
both governmental and press. Given the discussions that the
USG has had with Lithuania (reftel), we believe that we need
to provide an updated view to the Latvians of our thinking.
Even if the discussions in Lithuania were only superficial,
the Latvians will be both nervous and jealous if they feel
they are not being kept in the loop. If Latvia is not
technically feasible as a site, we should let the Latvians
know that as well. On the press side, we can expect more
coverage in coming days, especially in the Russian language
press, on this issue and we will need guidance both on
overall MD plans but also guidance on what we can say about
the possibility of using any of the Baltic states as sites.
Â¶4. (C) Action requested: Please provide points for use in
engaging the Latvian government on our latest thinking on
missile defense, including whether Latvia is even technically
feasible as a host site. We expect whatever information we
provide the GOL to quickly reach the highest levels of
government. Please also provide latest press guidance,
including on the potential of basing assets in either
Lithuania or Latvia.