Sunday, December 19, 2010



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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09RANGOON205 2009-04-02 07:07 2010-12-12 21:09 SECRET Embassy Rangoon

DE RUEHGO #0205/01 0920733
P 020733Z APR 09
S E C R E T RANGOON 000205 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2019 

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Larry Dinger for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d) 


1. (S) As the review of U.S. policy regarding Burma 
continues amid signs that the military regime wants to engage 
with Washington, we offer some thoughts about the senior 
generals, what motivates them, what they might want from 
engagement, and what the U.S. might place on the table. 
Burma's military machine is top-down, xenophobic and utterly 
focused on preserving national unity. At the same time, 
senior generals are embarrassed by their international pariah 
status and crave respect. Some are concerned with Burma's 
ever-growing dependence on China and its geostrategic 
location amidst historical foes. Others, having seen a 
glimpse of the international community's benevolence 
following Nargis, no doubt wish for a lifting of sanctions 
and economic assistance. No matter the motivations, a 
dialogue with Burma's senior military leaders will be slow, 
frustrating, and, within the U.S., politically charged. 
While dialogue is unlikely to yield major, near-term 
political outcomes such as changes to the constitution, it 
might sow seeds for future change by illustrating to the next 
line of leaders what an improved relationship with the U.S. 
could look like. Above all, a dialogue could lead to 
tangible benefits for Burma's long-suffering people, a 
worthwhile goal in itself. End summary. 

How do they think? 

2. (S) All major decisions in Burma are made at the very 
top. Senior general Than Shwe, Vice Senior General Maung 
Aye, and their inner circles call the shots. Than Shwe's 
dominant personality is keenly felt. Subordinates appear to 
share only good news, leaving the senior generals potentially 
ignorant of many realities. In this information vacuum, the 
generals continue to pursue their "roadmap to democracy" and 
ruinous, top-down economic policies. While self interest 
clearly is a factor in their thinking, it would be a mistake 
to think they are motivated exclusively by self-enrichment. 
These are true believers who are convinced they are divinely 
entrusted in the tradition of the Burmese "warrior kings" 
with doing what is best for the country and the people. They 
feel they are simply misunderstood by the outside world. 

3. (S) These are career military men, most with combat 
experience in Burma's past internal conflicts, who value the 
unity and stability of the state as a top priority. The 
senior generals assert, and seem genuinely to believe, that 
the military is the only guarantor of that unity and 
stability. Thus, they see a dominant role for the armed 
forces in governance to be essential. The senior generals 
inculcate this military ethos, indoctrinating new cadets to 
be "the triumphant elite of the future." 

4. (S) Since only very senior career military men make real 
decisions, such men would need to participate in any serious 
engagement effort with the civilian-led U.S. The Burmese 
military would be far more comfortable at the table in a 
mil/mil environment, their comfort zone. 

5. (S) The generals see themselves as devout Buddhists. 
State media have recently inundated the public with scenes of 
senior generals and their families consecrating the 
newly-constructed Uppatasanti Pagoda in Nay Pyi Taw, a 
replica of Rangoon's legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. Of course, 
such acts of Buddhist merit-making have a public relations 
aspect, but they also do reflect a philosophical base. 

6. (S) Families matter. The senior generals spoil their 
children and grandchildren. They seek to protect their 
families--some were sent to Dubai in September 2007 to ride 
out the Saffron Revolution protests and crackdown. The 
generals also seek to ensure a firm financial footing for 
their families' futures through lucrative positions at home 
and bank accounts offshore. The application of our visa bans 
against the generals' immediate family members irritates. 

7. (S) Western rationality is not always apparent in regime 
decision-making. Than Shwe reportedly relies on favored 
soothsayers. We hear one such seer advised moving the 
capital to the interior because Rangoon would be subject to 
street disturbances and a horrific storm. Numerology also 
factors in. Witness the overnight shift to a currency 
divisible by nines in 1987 and the release of 9,002 prisoners 
last September, reportedly to ensure an auspicious 2009. 
Such decision methods may sound strange to us, but they are 
everyday elements in the lives of many Burmese. 

8. (S) The senior generals are xenophobic. They don't seem 
to understand foreigners and certainly don't trust them, 
particularly those who challenge their legitimacy. This may 
be a reason why Than Shwe reportedly abhors Aung San Suu Kyi, 
who grew up overseas, married a UK citizen and then returned 
to Burma to challenge the military's authority. 
Historically, the Burmese have fought wars with all their 
neighbors, including China, India, and Thailand. While the 
current regime relies heavily on China for investment, trade 
and support in international institutions and accepts a 
degree of Chinese advice as a consequence, it is very 
unlikely that the senior generals would defer to Chinese (or 
any outsider's) demands on core issues, particularly on the 
military's central role in governance. 

9. (S) The generals are paranoid about the U.S., fear 
invasion, and have a bunker mentality. Past U.S. rhetoric 
about regime change sharpened concerns. One rumored 
explanation for Than Shwe's decision to move the capital to 
Nay Pyi Taw, far from the coast, was supposedly to protect 
from a sea-borne invasion force. The regime was truly 
convinced the U.S. was prepared to invade when a helicopter 
carrier sailed near Burmese territorial waters for 
humanitarian purposes after Cyclone Nargis last May. 

10. (S) Than Shwe and his colleagues view the current 
period as one chapter in Burma's long history. They profess 
that democracy requires a guided process of "gradual 
maturity." They believe the U.S. and the West in general are 
trying to force democracy on a country that is not yet 
developed enough to handle it. This is more than a cynical 
excuse to retain power. They think they know best. 

11. (S) At the same time, the generals are proud and crave 
the acceptance of the international community. They hate 
being subject to sanctions and aspire to be treated with the 
respect accorded other world leaders, including some 
authoritarian ones. Interactions with key foreign visitors 
and Burmese attendance at international fora always make 
headlines in the government newspaper. 

Why might the regime want to talk now? 

12. (S) Indications are that the senior generals are hoping 
for a fresh USG approach and are willing to explore 
engagement. Even before the U.S. elections, the generals 
were testing the waters. Last August, they suggested a 
senior U.S. military official should visit Burma. More 
recently, they have made clear they want conversations in 
Washington and have asked to upgrade from Charge d'Affaires 
to Ambassador for that purpose. They recently suggested 
narcotics and POW/MIA issues might be useful topics for 
initial discussion. They provided unusually high access 
when EAP/MLS Director Blake visited Burma last week. What 
motivates the desire to talk? 

13. (S) When the U.S. response to Cyclone Nargis last May 
was a major humanitarian effort rather than a much-feared 
invasion, the generals were reportedly surprised and 
gratified. More broadly, some senior leaders have drawn a 
lesson from the Nargis response that international 
humanitarian assistance can be valuable. Some in the military 
are nervous about an overdependence on China; all recall the 
difficult history with that looming neighbor. President 
Obama's engagement theme intrigues. The generals want the 
international respect that a more normal relationship with 
the U.S. would bring. They feel a degree of pain, or at 
least irritation, from sanctions, and want relief. It may be 
that some neighbors, ASEAN leaders, maybe even the Chinese, 
are urging the generals to try dialogue. 

14. (S) Also, it is entirely possible that the most senior 
generals are looking for an escape strategy. Retirement has 
never been an option for Burmese leaders. Historically, 
Burmese kings or generals and those close to them either have 
died in office, been killed, or been deposed and imprisoned. 
The current senior generals are getting old, but they have no 
desire to be held to account for what the outside world 
perceives as their crimes against the people. Than Shwe 
reportedly has mentioned to some interlocutors, including 
Indonesian President Yudoyono, his strong desire not to 
appear before an international tribunal. All the top 
generals undoubtedly want assurances that, if they 
voluntarily step aside, they and their families will retain 
their assets and will not be prosecuted. 

What might the regime propose? 

15. (S) Senior generals likely perceive that they have 
already made concessions. They allow foreign embassies and 
cultural units like the American Center to operate. They 
have received high-level UN visits, including four thus far 
in 2009. They have committed to a "roadmap to democracy," 
drafted a constitution, held a referendum, and announced 
elections. They have released some political prisoners, 
including several high-profile ones like Win Tin, though not 
yet Aung San Suu Kyi. 

16. (S) We should not expect significant progress on 
political core issues in the near term. The regime is very 
unlikely to reverse course on its "democracy" roadmap, to 
rehash the 1990 elections or to revisit the new constitution. 
The senior generals will not leave the scene willingly 
unless they are confident of their own safety and of 
financial security for themselves and their families. 

17. (S) Some possible offers: 

--The regime might accept some tweaks to the election 
process; a degree of international observation is reportedly 
already on offer. 

--They might relax some terms of ASSK's current detention. 

--They could possibly be persuaded to release some political 
prisoners in advance of the elections. At a minimum, they 
might consider resumption of ICRC access to political 

--The regime would likely seek cooperation on perceived 
win/win issues like counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, 
anti-trafficking, economic-policy advice, and disaster-risk 
reduction. They likely would relish mil/mil and law 
enforcement training opportunities. 

--There also may be willingness to make concessions on 
lower-profile issues that affect the operation of our 
Embassy, such as visas, increased in-country travel 
permission, and an expansion of our presence to include a 
re-opening of the former U.S. consulate in Mandalay and/or a 
USAID mission to oversee humanitarian assistance. 

--Symbolic gestures carry much weight with the Burmese. The 
regime has already signaled it wants to upgrade its COM in 
Washington from Charge to Ambassador. It aspires for the 
U.S. to use the country name "Myanmar," not "Burma." 

If the U.S. engages, what might we raise and offer? 

18. (S) Any engagement effort would likely take time, not 
just one meeting or two, but a series of encounters that, 
ideally, would gradually build confidence and a willingness 
on the Burmese side to open up. That is the "Asian way." In 
the early stages, it would be useful to dispel any regime 
concern that the U.S. intends to invade or dominate. We 
should hint that Burma stands to gain from decent 
relationships with the outside world and that there are 
alternatives to reliance on China. When leaders change their 
ways they can have a fruitful relationship with the United 
States based on shared mutual interests. 

-- Still, it would be important up front to reiterate key, 
long-term themes: the need to release political prisoners, 
including ASSK, and initiate genuine dialogue. 

-- Early on, we should accent shared mutual interests, such 
as the win/win topics mentioned above: counter-narcotics; 
trafficking in persons; disaster risk reduction; and remains 
recovery from WWII, with a note that U.S.-facilitated 
training in such areas could be possible. 

-- The effects of the worldwide economic recession offer 
opportunities. Burma's economy is suffering. Positive 
political steps from the regime side could lead to an easing 
of broad-based economic sanctions, spurring growth and 
diversification in Burma's economy. We could dangle World 
Bank and IMF technical assistance and, with progress, loan 
packages. We could consider revisiting current restrictions 
on the ability of UNDP to work with low-level GOB entities. 
With sufficient progress, the sanctions specifically targeted 
at the regime and its cronies could be on offer, too. 

-- We should make clear our desire to provide increased 
humanitarian assistance (outside of regime channels) to help 
meet crying needs. Unstated but true: such aid would subvert 
the regime both by building civil-society capacity and 
illustrating to the grassroots in Burma that the outside 
world helps and the regime doesn't. We should seek regime 
cooperation on the Rohingya issue, offering USG assistance to 
build livelihood opportunities in Northern Rakine State. 

-- We could formally open a PD outreach center in Mandalay, 
utilizing the U.S. consulate that closed in 1980. 
Countrywide, we could offer increased educational exchanges. 
Those who studied in the U.S. even many years ago retain fond 
memories and view the U.S. in a positive light. Access to 
quality education is priority one for Burma's citizens. 

-- We could consider accepting the country name "Myanmar." 
"Burma" is a vestige of colonial times that actually elevates 
the Bamar majority over other ethnic groups. Practically 
everyone inside uses the term Myanmar, as do all countries in 
Southeast Asia, though the NLD has thus far refused to bend 
on that topic. 

-- We could accede to the regime request to upgrade their 
COM in Washington from CDA to Ambassador. 


19. (S) Some propose that getting started at a better 
relationship is more important than insisting on 
difficult-to-achieve democracy and human-rights outcomes in 
the near term. In that view, U.S. regional and global 
interests should drive Burma policy. Others remain adamant 
that to demand less than the right democratic and 
human-rights outcomes would be to sacrifice the efforts of 
Nobel-laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and others in a wishful 
expediency. Any walk down the road of dialogue will require 
great patience and thoughtful judgments about how much to 
offer and how much to demand. The regime's inclination 
toward engagement is surely driven by its own perceived 
interests (reducing sanctions, achieving respect, modulating 
China's influence). However, the senior generals likely see 
rapid movement to the West's democracy and human-rights goals 
as downright dangerous. Still, one never knows how flexible 
the other side will be until negotiations begin. Also, the 
looming 2010 elections may be an opportunity. The process 
will be flawed, but an aspect may be stage one of a 
transition toward a next set of (mostly military) leaders. 
U.S.-Burmese dialogue now could signal to that next 
generation what a positive relationship with the U.S. might 
offer, planting seeds for future change. 

20. (S) Given the likelihood that major successes on the 
democracy front will be slow in coming, we believe it 
important for the U.S. to undertake a long-term effort to 
build the groundwork for future democracy. Per our MSP, we 
want to follow up on post-cyclone aid with a broader 
humanitarian-assistance endeavor. If properly designed, such 
assistance builds the basic capacity of people at the 
grassroots to survive and to think beyond mere subsistence to 
political goals. Such aid is subversive more directly as 
well: recipients understand who helps them (international 
donors) and who doesn't (the regime). In this context, 
"humanitarian" aid can encompass health, non-state education, 
micro-finance, and other local initiatives, all with 
civil-society capacity-building components. The U.S. should 
also focus on elements within the regime that show genuine 
interest in our regional priorities. The units involved in 
counter-narcotics, anti-trafficking, and infectious-disease 
efforts would be good places to start. They have shown 
willingness to act appropriately, but they need training. 
Aside from contributing to our regional goals, assisting such 
elements might encourage some broader re-thinking of regime 
attitudes toward the Western world. 

စကၤာပူတကၠသိုလ္က စစ္ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္သားသမီးမ်ားကို ဥေရာပႏွင့္ ၾသစေတးလွ် ဗီဇာမ်ားရရွိရန္ ေဆာင္ရြက္ေပးမႈ

(ပံုမွာေတြ ့ရတာေရခ်ယ္ ေတဇ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္) 
(ေရွ႕ယာစြန္မွာ ေရခ်ယ္ေတဇ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္) 
 (ဝဲစြန္မွာ ေရခ်ယ္ေတဇ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္) 
စီးပြားေရးပိတ္ဆို႔ထား ဥေရာပသမဂၢအဖြဲ႔၀င္ ႏိုင္ငံတစ္ခုျဖစ္တဲ့ အီတလီႏိုင္ငံမွာ ဦးေတဇ သမီးအငယ္ဆံုး နာမည္ေတြ အဆင့္ဆင့္ေျပာင္းထားတဲ့ ေရခ်ယ္ေတဇ ေရာက္ရွိေနတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။
စကၤာပူႏိုင္ငံမွာ ပညာသင္ၾကားေနရင္းကေန ဒီႏွစ္ ေမလမွာ ေရာက္ရွိသြားတာျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ အီတလီမွာ ေက်ာင္းတက္ေနတာလား ၊ တျခားကိစၥတစ္ခုနဲ႔ ရက္တိုခရီးစဥ္လားဆိုတာ မသိရေသးေပမယ့္ ၿပီးခဲ့တဲ့ ႏို၀င္ဘာလဆန္းမွာ စကၤာပူကေနရန္ကုန္ကို တစ္ေခါက္ျပန္လည္ေရာက္ရွိခဲ့ပါတယ္။သူ႔မွာ အစ္ကို ျပည့္ၿဖိဳးေတဇ နဲ ့ထက္ေတဇ ဆိုၿပီး ရွိပါတယ္။ သူတို ့ေမာင္ႏွမအားလံုးဟာ စကၤာပူႏိုင္ငံDover Road က United World College ofSouth East Asia မွာ ၂၀၀၅ခုႏွစ္ထဲက ပညာသင္ၾကားေနတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။
ျပည့္ၿဖိဳးေတဇ က ဥေရာပ သမဂၢတရား ရံုး ကို ေလွ်ာက္ထား ခဲ့ေပမယ့္ တရားရံုးက ပယ္ခ်ခံရပါတယ္။
ညီျဖစ္သူ ထက္ေတဇ လည္း ၀င္ခြင့္ ဗီဇ မရရွိခဲ့ေပမယ္ ေရခ်ယ္ ေအး ဆိုတဲ့ နာမည္နဲ ့ေလွ်ာက္ ခဲ့တဲ့ ေရခ်ယ္ေတဇ ကေတာ့ စကၤာပူ မွာ ပညာေရး အက်ိဳးေဆာင္ လုပ္ငန္း လုပ္ေနတဲ့ အီတလီ ႏိုင္ငံသူ ႏွစ္ဦး
ဖယ္လီစီတာ နဲ ့ေမဂေရး တို ့ရဲ ့အကူအညီ နဲ ့ရရွိ သြား ခဲ့ပါတယ္။
(က်န္ရွိ ေန သည့္ မွတ္တမ္း မ်ား ကို ထပ္မံေဖာ္ျပပါ မည္)



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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09RANGOON536 2009-08-17 11:11 2010-12-12 21:09 SECRET Embassy Rangoon
DE RUEHGO #0536/01 2291149
O 171149Z AUG 09
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 RANGOON 000536 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2019 

RANGOON 00000536 001.2 OF 004 

Classified By: P/E Chief Jennifer Harhigh for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d) 

1. (S) During a one-hour meeting with Prime Minister Thein 
Sein on August 14, Senator Webb requested a meeting with Aung 
San Suu Kyi (ASSK) and urged her release from house arrest, 
noting the positive impact it would have on bilateral 
relations and Burma's standing in the world. The Senator 
also sought the release and deportation of detained American 
John Yettaw. Using classic regime rhetoric, the PM 
criticized sanctions as harming the economy and hindering 
democracy, and explained the regime's roadmap, promising 
free, fair and inclusive elections. That said, the Prime 
Minister made clear that Burma wants better relations with 
the U.S. as well as the ability to communicate directly with 
Washington; the regime has tapped Science and Technology 
Minister and former Ambassador to the U.S. U Thaung as a 
direct line to the GOB. The tone of the meeting was positive 
and cordial, with both Senator Webb and the Prime Minister 
citing the benefits that improved bilateral relations could 
offer if certain issues are resolved. End summary. 


2. (U) Codel Webb's August 14 meeting with the Prime 
Minister and other GOB Ministers took place at Government 
House in Nay Pyi Taw, Burma. Participants included: 

Codel Webb: 

Senator Jim Webb 
Senate Professional Staff Member Marta Mclellan Ross 
Charge d'Affaires Larry Dinger 
DATT Colonel Brey Sloan 
Political/Economic Chief Jennifer Harhigh 


General Thein Sein, Prime Minister 
U Thaung, Minister of Science and Technology 
U Nyan Win, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Brig. Gen. Kyaw San, Minister of Information (also spelled 
Kyaw Hsan) 
Maj. Gen. Khin Aung Myint, Minister of Culture 
Col. Thurein Zaw, Deputy Minister, Ministry of National 
Planning and Economic Development 
Col. Thant Shin, Chief of Staff, Office of the Prime Minister 
U Kyaw Kyaw, Director General, Protocol Department, MOFA 
U Ye Lwin (notetaker) 

Visit, Meeting with Head of State Can Enhance Bilateral 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 

3. (C) PM Thein Sein greeted Senator Webb warmly, noting he 
is very impressed with the Senator's achievements. He said 
the GOB views the Senator's visit as a very important event, 
and noted that the meeting with Senior General Than Shwe, 
Burma's head of state, will help enhance the bilateral 
relationship. Senator Webb replied that despite the 
differences between the U.S. and Burmese governments, under 
the right conditions there can be a new road forward. He 
hopes for frank discussions. Senator Webb congratulated the 
government for taking a step forward and preparing for 
elections. Implementation of electoral laws would be an 
important signal to the world. With progress on those areas 
and the resolution of other issues, it will be possible to 
have a new dialogue. The Senator said he understands that 
Burma faces challenges and that stability in Burma's 
multi-ethnic state is a complicated issue. Webb said he has 
talked and written about the need for a new approach on 
sanctions with Burma, but noted that events in the last few 
months make any change in U.S. sanctions policy difficult. 

RANGOON 00000536 002.2 OF 004 

Senator Requests ASSK Meeting, Questions her Detention 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 

4. (C) Senator Webb asked the PM to allow him to meet with 
ASSK as an important signal to the U.S. He questioned the PM 
why authorities believe it is necessary to continue ASSK's 
house arrest, adding that most of the world judges the GOB by 
how it treats ASSK. 

5. (C) The PM replied that ASSK's trial is over and that 
the verdict was in accordance with the law. ASSK's legal 
status is purely a domestic issue. ASSK was given only the 
minimum sentence of three years. The SPDC halved that 
sentence, and she will be able to serve the remaining 
eighteen months at home. If she follows the rules, the 
sentence might be further reduced. The PM continued that 
UNSYG Ban was not allowed to meet ASSK because her trial was 
still underway during his July visit. The situation is 
different now, allowing the GOB to accommodate the Senator's 
request. Webb reiterated that he is interested in exploring 
"a new road" with Burma, and added that from the world's 
perspective, it will be very difficult to accept elections as 
"open" if ASSK is kept away from the public. 

Seeks Deportation of Detained Amcit 

6. (C) Senator Webb also requested the release and 
deportation of American John Yettaw as a goodwill gesture. 
He said he does not defend Yettaw's actions, but stressed the 
American's ill health. The PM replied that Yettaw has been 
punished according to his crimes. The GOB has procedures 
that it must follow in such cases, but he pledged that the 
government will consider the request positively. 

GOB Seeking Better Bilateral Relations 

7. (C) Turning to bilateral relations, the PM noted that 
the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1947, 
before Burma's independence. Vice-President Nixon visited in 
1958 and again in 1985. Ne Win had an official visit to 
Washington in 1966. Senators McCain and Kerry have visited. 
Burma received assistance from the U.S. before 1988 for 
counternarcotics, security cooperation, poppy eradication, 
education, health, and human resources. Post-Nargis, the 
U.S. provided generous emergency assistance, for which Burma 
is grateful. The GOB is trying to find remains of American 
WWII soldiers and repatriate them. 

8. (S) Thein Sein stated that Burma believes in peaceful 
coexistence and strives for positive relations and good 
communications with all countries. In that regard, he 
continued, Burma has designated U Thaung, the Minister of 
Science and Technology and a former Ambassador to U.S. 
(present at the meeting), as the "communicator" for relations 
with Washington. The U.S. and Burma had very good relations 
before, the PM stated, and the GOB wants to engage in direct 
communication and dialogue. Efforts via UN SYG Ban and UN 
Special Envoy Gambari have not been direct, the PM said, and 
he urged Senator Webb to "please tell the U.S. Government" 
that Burma wants direct relations with the U.S. (Note: 
Separately, Director General for Protocol Kyaw Kyaw told the 
Charge that U Thaung can be available for direct conversation 
with Washington. End note.) The PM also proposed the two 
countries upgrade their representation to Ambassadors in both 

Stability, Security Shape Regime's Outlook 

9. (C) The PM avoided polemics, but nevertheless repeated 
traditional regime rhetoric regarding Burma's diverse ethnic 
background and the resulting need for stability and security. 
The regime is doing its best to solve problems and educate 

RANGOON 00000536 003.2 OF 004 

the people about democratic practices, he said. The 
government must take an all-inclusive approach; the focus 
should not be on one individual or organization. Security, 
development, human rights, and democracy are all related. 
Burma must have security and stability for peace and 
tranquility, he stressed. 

PM Calls for Investment, Criticizes Sanctions 

10. (C) Turning to economics, the PM noted that the 
worldwide financial crisis and sanctions were taking a toll 
on Burma's economy. Burma has an agricultural base and 
produces enough rice to feed its people and export a surplus. 
However, beyond food security, Burma needs industrialization 
to develop. The country has natural resources, he stated, 
but needs outside investment and technology. Western 
sanctions create more poverty, hinder the development of 
democracy, and create hatred of the West. Economic 
development will lead to political stability and democracy. 

Elections Will be Free, Fair, Inclusive 

11. (C) The PM explained the regime's "Roadmap to 
Democracy," saying Burma has learned the lesson of Iraq and 
Afghanistan: don't move toward democracy in haste. The 
constitution had been approved by 92.48 percent of the 
people. Planned elections in 2010 will be free, fair, and 
inclusive, he insisted. Political party and election laws 
will be issued soon. All "eligible" parties will be able to 
participate. The PM invited Senator Webb to return for 
another visit and to tell President Obama "we wish him very 

Senator Webb: U.S. and Burma Can Work Together 
--------------------------------------------- -- 

12. (C) Senator Webb responded by citing the Obama 
Administration Burma policy review and noting that he had had 
many discussions about Burma with then-Senators Clinton and 
Obama. He came to Burma now to help shift bilateral 
relations to a different path. The U.S. and Burma have all 
the ingredients for a natural friendship once certain issues 
are resolved. Both were colonized by the British, both have 
many nationalities. Diversity is a challenge but also a 
strength. The Senator said he is aware of the situation 
inside Burma since 1947, which has been complicated for a 
long time by China. U.S. and Burma can work together, and the 
U.S. can provide balance in the region. 

13. (C) Senator Webb acknowledged the PM's point that a 
country needs development to foster democracy. He referred 
to Vietnam, where he had helped by serving as a bridge 
between the government and U.S.-based Vietnamese. He had 
observed parallels between Burma and Vietnam during his 2001 
personal visit to Burma. He noted that one of his friends 
had closed his business in Burma because of sanctions, 
putting people out of work. Burma's citizens could have a 
better life if relations were better. The Senator concluded 
by reiterating that the GOB must address a number of issues 
to gain the trust and support of the United States. The PM 
again thanked the Senator for visiting and added "we will 
consider your points." 

Biographic Note 

14. (C) U Thaung is currently Minister for Science and 
Technology. He served as Ambassador to the U.S. from 
1991-1996, and has also served as Ambassador to Canada. He 
is a former Minister of Labor and Minister of Industry-1 and 
has held various GOB positions related to mining and 
industry. He reportedly graduated from the same Defense 
Service Academy class as Vice Senior General Maung Aye and is 
believed to have served with Senior General Than Shwe in the 

RANGOON 00000536 004.2 OF 004 

Psychological Warfare Department. Many observers consider 
him a regime insider with close ties to those two senior 

15. (SBU) Codel Webb declined the opportunity to clear on 
this message.