WikiLeaks cable: Lange's last laugh

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

January 16, 2006
Lange's last laugh

date:2006-01-16T23:41:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:06WELLINGTON41
destination:VZCZCXYZ0001 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHWL #0041 0162341 ZNY SSSSS
ZZH P 162341Z JAN 06 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
PRIORITY 2276 INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 4276
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0139 RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY
0262 RHMFISS/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUETIAA/DIRNSA FT GEORGE G MEADE MD
PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/JCS WASHINGTON
DC PRIORITY RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC
HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
classification:SECRET
reference:
?S E C R E T WELLINGTON 000041

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND INR/EAP
OSD FOR LIZ PHU
PACOM FOR POLAD HUSO

E.O. 12958: DNG: ...
?S E C R E T WELLINGTON 000041

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND INR/EAP
OSD FOR LIZ PHU
PACOM FOR POLAD HUSO

E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 01/16/2013
TAGS: PINR, PREL, NZ
SUBJECT: LANGE'S LAST LAUGH

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires David R. Burnett; reasons 1.4 (B and D
).

1. (C) Former NZ Prime Minister David Lange's private papers
included a copy of the highly classified 1985-86 Government
Communications Security Bureau annual report detailing its
activities, including cooperation with the U.S. National
Security Agency. According to an article in the January 15
Sunday Star-Times newspaper, the paper had been given
permission by Archives NZ - and by the Labour Cabinet - to
view the documents following Lange's death in August 2005.
It is not clear if the Cabinet was aware that the papers
included a GCSB document, but Cabinet Chief Executive Maarten
Wevers told Charge January 16 that his staff should have
known the document was there and removed it from the
archivable materials. Wevers said he was under instructions
from duty Minister Jim Anderton to review Cabinet and GCSB
procedures to determine how the lapse ocurred and to make
sure it never happened again.

2. (S) The Sunday Star-Times also excerpted memos to Lange
from then Minister of Trade & Industry David Caygill and
Lange's Chief of Staff John Henderson outlining conversations
with the U.S. Ambassador at the time, covering his concerns
that the anti-nuclear legislation had eroded trust in New
Zealand, thereby threatening intelligence cooperation. The
newspaper stressed the Ambassador's concern that if New
Zealand were expelled from the "five-eyes" arrangement, the
door would be opened for the United States to conduct
intelligence gathering operations against the Kiwis. The
Star-Times labelled the then Ambassador's language "a clear
threat" and "bully tactics," even though the language used
made clear that the Ambassador was raising a potential
concern and did not know whether the aftermath of the
anti-nuclear flap would result in expulsion of New Zealand
from the SIGINT community.

3. (C) Comment: The Star-Times article is an embarrassment
to the Government and to the Prime Minister personally, since
she is the Minister charged with intelligence oversight. It
raises questions about the Government's competence and its
"non-aligned" credentials. The PM values the intelligence
relationship very highly. It has ensured that New Zealand
still has some access and influence in Washington while
allowing Clark to maintain the Labour Party's public
ambivalence about the U.S. at home. Maarten Wevers told
Charge that Clark has instructed he and Minister Anderton to
kill the story as quickly as possible, so that she does not
have to face questions about the U.S.-NZ intelligence
relationship during CDR PACOM Fallon's visit to New Zealand
later this week. End Comment.

4. (C) Embassy will not address the intelligence
relationship even on background. However, we do intend to
background select journalists on our view of the former
Ambassador's comments about the importance of trust,
stressing the difference between an honest diplomatic
exchange on matters of mutual concern and "bullying." A
fairly accurate and sympathetic two-part docudrama on the
ANZUS crisis has just aired over the past two weekends, and
has created an appetite for discussion of the U.S.-New
Zealand relationship (and the late David Lange's lack of
veracity) which we would like to exploit while we can.

5. (U) Full text of the Sunday Star-Times article can be
found at: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/sundaystartimes/

Burnett

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