El 'caso Odyssey'

Cable sobre la reunión con la ministra Calvo en la que se trata el 'caso Odyssey' y el 'pissarro'

El enviado especial de EE UU sobre asuntos del Holocausto se vio con la entonces responsable de Cultura

Date:2005-11-18 16:06:00
Source:Embassy Madrid
Dunno:05MADRID3566 05MADRID3785
Destination:This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A



1. Summary: Ambassador's courtesy call was characterized by
good atmospherics but little indication that the GOS will
move significantly on the issues of concern to us. Minister
Calvo started by enthusiatically describing U.S.- Spain
cultural cooperation hightlights, especially the upcoming
Picasso exhibit. The Minister agreed with the Ambassador on
the need to fight Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
violations but did not indicate that the GOS would put more
energy into implementing its own excellent anti-piracy plan.
Calvo said that the U.S. firm, Odyssey Exploration Ltd.,
could look for HMS Sussex if it provided a work plan to the
regional government in Andalucia, although work plans have
been delivered in the past. Calvo said that the GOS believed
it was more appropriate for the Thyssen Foundation to respond
to Ambassador O'Donnell's letter to her regarding the
Pissarro painting claimed by Claude Cassirer, although the
GOS is on the Foundation board and has a lot of influence
over what the board does. End Summary


2. International Cooperation and Cultural Communication
Director General Carlos Alberdi Alonso accompanied the
Minister. Economic Officer accompanied the Ambassador.

U.S.- Spain Cultural/Educational Cooperation

3. Minister Calvo mentioned the upcoming 2006 Prado Picasso
exhibit, which will include loaned works from several
American institutions. The Embassy's Public Affairs section
is working to facilitate these loans with a number of U.S.
institutions. Calvo also mentioned that prior to her
political career (she was Andalucia's equivalent of Minister
of Culture before President Zapatero invited her to assume
the national cultural portfolio) she was a professor at the
University of Cordoba. She said that she had worked on the
PRESHCO (Oberlin College, Smith College, The College of
Wooster, Trinity College, Wellesley College, and Wheaton)
Hispanic Studies Program with the University of Cordoba which
was enormously successful. The Minister also mentioned she
was a Bruce Springsteen fan.

IPR Protection Important

4. The Ambassador said the September 28 (ref A) IPR
Roundtable had been a successful instance of U.S.-Spain
cooperation. The Minister agreed and said that the police
had told her that IPR violators made more money than drug
traffickers. She added that IPR violations were a "big
problem" in Spain. Local industry groups have been making
the GOS aware of the extent of the IPR problem.

Cassirer Claim

5. Ambassador mentioned that Ambassador O'Donnell had not
received a response to his June 27, 2005 letter to Minister
Calvo re:the Cassirer claim. Calvo acknowledged that she had
not responded. She also said that Foreign Minister Moratinos
had raised the issue with her. Calvo said that because the
Pisarro painting claimed by Cassirer belonged to the Thyssen
Foundation (of which the GOS is a board member), it would be
more appropriate for the Foundation to respond to Ambassador
O'Donnell's letter. She added that while the GOS "presides
over the patrimony" of the Foundation, the GOS cannot
"unilaterally" decide what to do. She asked her staffer,
Alberdi Alonso, to follow up with Economic Officer on this
matter. (Note: Economic Officer discussed the Cassirer claim
with Alberdi Alonso. He noted that Spanish Cultural
Counselor Sobredo had recently discussed the claim with
Ambassador O'Donnell. Alberdi Alonso said that Ambassador
O'Donnell had conveyed "disappointment" to Sobredo re: this
matter. Alberdi Alonso committed to following up. Embassy
will continue to press the GOS on the desirability of the
Foundation meeting directly with the family to resolve the

Odyssey and the Search for HMS Sussex

6. Ambassador mentioned that the Regional Authority of
Andalucia had still not responded to Odyssey's request to
name an observer to accompany the Odyssey in its search for
HMS Sussex. (Note: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
authorized in an August 18, 2005 diplomatic note to the
Embassy the Odyssey to search for the Sussex as long as the
Odyssey contacted the regional authorities to get a
representative to accompany the Odyssey. The authorities
have, however, never responded to Odyssey's inquiries re; the
topic. See refs B and C.) Calvo said she was intimately
acquainted with this subject and said that the Odyssey had
never provided the regional authorities with a work plan as
had been requested. She suggested that once a work plan was
provided, the issue could be resolved. (Note: Emboffs remain
in regular contact with Odyssey officials in the U.S. and
Odyssey's attorneys in Madrid. The Minister was disingenuous
in her response to the Ambassador because Odyssey has
provided voluminous information to both GOS and Andalucian

7. The atmospherics of the meeting were good. Calvo clearly
has religion like the rest of her cabinet colleagues on the
need have good relations with the U.S. However, with respect
to the three big issues we have with her Ministry, her
ability/willingness to deliver is questionable. On IPR
matters there is philosophical agreement between the U.S. and
Spain on most issues, but so far her Ministry has not
implemented its otherwise excellent anti-piracy plan
vigorously. On the Cassirer claim, the GOS could get the
Foundation to, at a minimum, provide an interim response to
Ambassador O'Donnell's letter without paying a discernible
price. The Odyssey is a six year saga with Minister Calvo on
record in the past as saying that the Odyssey would only
search for HMS Sussex "over her dead body". The American
company is likely to commence the search for the Sussex in
the coming weeks and take the risk of having a Civil Guard
boat boarding the vessel. The U.S. company is in a legally
strong position given the MFA diplomatic note authorizing the
search. Minister Calvo's staffer, Carlos Alberdi Alonso,
said the MFA had mistakenly provided the authorization as
compentency lies with the regional authorities, but given the
MFA note and the overwhelming weight of international law
favoring the U.S. firm, the risk of boarding may well be
worth taking for the Odyssey. .

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