The U.S. ambassador to France urged George W. Bush's administration to wage a trade war against European Union nations over their resistance to genetically modified crops, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
Europe's reluctance to accept genetically modified crops, or GM foods, into the market has threatened to cut off a key export market for American farmers.
GM foods are still viewed with far greater suspicion in most of Europe than in the United States, where they've been common on dinner tables for years.
According to the leaked cable, Ambassador Craig Stapleton, a friend and former business partner of Bush, sent a message to Washington in 2007 suggesting the U.S. government, "calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.
"The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, according to a report in The Guardian.
The Guardian reports that other newly released cables also suggest U.S. diplomats were pushing GM crops on reluctant trade partners as a "commercial imperative" - including lobbying the Vatican to drop its public opposition to the food.