Hot Water German Foreign Minister Summons US Ambassador

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has summoned the new American ambassador to Berlin over allegations the US has been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.
US Ambassador to Germany John B. Emerson, left, took office just months ago.

US Ambassador to Germany John B. Emerson, left, took office just months ago.

Foto: Maurizio Gambarini/ picture alliance / dpa

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday took the unusual step of summoning the American ambassador to Germany to an afternoon meeting in Berlin in the wake of reports that the US might have spied  on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

Westerwelle  felt compelled to call Ambassador John B. Emerson in following reports on Wednesday night that the US government possibly monitored Merkel's communications, Foreign Ministry sources told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The foreign minister is to meet on Thursday afternoon with Emerson, who has only been in Berlin since August. The meeting is indicative of how seriously Berlin is taking the situation, since normally the government's point of view is relayed through subordinates at the Foreign Ministry to the individual ambassadors.

According to sources at the Foreign Ministry, Westerwelle is expected to make clear the "incomprehension and outrage from the German side" over the reported monitoring of a close ally and partner. The particular details must still be explained and checked to see if the information and assurances given by the US were right, the sources said.