Mr. CHENEY: Questions have been raised about why we had these committees established. I think it was preordained that there would be such an investigation once it became clear the administration was trading arms to Iran. Congress clearly has a legitimate role of oversight in reviewing the conduct of foreign policy by the administration, and the President himself supported these activities and encouraged us to form these Select Committees.

I also think it is important that credit be given to the President. He has given his complete cooperation and support to our investigation throughout. He has provided administration witnesses without ever claiming executive privilege, provided thousands of pages of documents, classified and unclassified, provided access to his own personal diary, and given these committees and the nation an in-depth look at some of the most sensitive and excruciatingly painful events of his administration.

I think it is also important to point out that once President Reagan understood the serious nature of the problems associated with these events, he moved boldly and decisively to make corrections. He reassigned the responsible individuals, created the new NSC staff under the able leadership of Frank Carlucci and General Powell, brought in a new White House Chief of Staff, a new Director of the CIA, appointed the Tower Commission, cooperated with the commission's investigation and took their criticisms to heart, supported the call for an independent counsel and, of course, gave his complete cooperation to these committees.

It takes a strong, confident leader to subject himself and his administration to the very thorough nature of this Congressional investigation. We are here today concluding the public phase of our hearings on time in large part because of the cooperation of the President and his administration.

President Reagan has enjoyed many successes during his more than 6 years in office. Clearly this was not one of them. As the President himself has said, mistakes were made—mistakes in selling arms to Iran, allowing the transaction to become focused on releasing American hostages, diverting funds from the arms sale to support for the Contras, misleading the Congress about the extent of NSC staff involvement with the Contras, delaying notification of anyone in Congress of the transactions until after the story broke in Lebanese newspapers, and tolerating a decisionmaking process within the upper reaches of the administration that lacked integrity and accountability for key elements of the process.

But there are some mitigating factors, factors which, while they don't justify administration mistakes, go a long way to helping them explain and make them understandable:

—The need is still evident today to find some way to alter our current relationships with Iran;

—The President's compassionate concern over the fate of Americans held hostage in Lebanon, especially the fate of Mr. William Buckley, our CIA Station Chief in Beirut;

—The vital importance of keeping the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance alive until Congress could reverse itself and repeal the Boland amendment;

—The fact that for the President and most of his key advisers these events did not loom as large at the time they occurred as they do now;

—Congressional vacillations and uncertainty about our policies in Central America,

—And finally, a congressional track record of leaks of sensitive information sufficient to worry even the most apologetic advocate of an expansive role for the Congress in foreign policymaking.

It is also, I think, important to point out what these hearings did not show. There is no evidence that the President had any knowledge of the diversion of profits from the arms sale to the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance. In fact, all of the evidence indicates that he had no knowledge whatsoever of the diversion.

There is also no evidence of any effort by the President or his senior advisers to cover up these events. On the contrary, the evidence clearly shows that the President and the Attorney General were the ones primarily responsible for bringing these events and matters to the attention of the Nation.

In other words, these hearings have demonstrated conclusively in my opinion that the President has indeed been telling the truth. What does it all mean? What does it signify? These events have been characterized by some pretty strong statements by my colleagues on the committees and by some in the press over the past 8 months.

We have heard talk of a "grave constitutional crisis," listened to expressions of moral indignation and outrage—and even been treated to talk about a "coup in the White House,"—a junta run by a lieutenant colonel and an admiral.

My own personal view is that there has been far too much apocalyptic rhetoric about these events, most of it unjustified. If there ever was a crisis—which I doubt—it ended before these committees were established. And to the extent that corrective action was required, the President took it unilaterally before our Committees had taken a single word of public testimony.

Saying that the investigators have sometimes gotten carried away in an effort to outdo one another's colorful phrase-making in no way justifies the mistakes that were made. But what is required here, it seems to me, is a little calm, dispassionate analysis if we are going to learn from our study of these events. In some respects, what we have uncovered in the course of these hearings is just the latest chapter in an unfinished book about the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

The struggle between the President and the Congress for control over policymaking and implementation continues unabated. Nor should we be surprised that Secretaries of State and NSC Advisers find themselves at odds over the wisdom of various policies or engage in intense competition for the ear of the President. Many of the substantive issues involved in the Iran-Contra affair have challenged previous Presidents and are bound to arise again in future administrations.

Thomas Jefferson had to cope with the problem of Americans held hostage overseas, and certainly Ronald Reagan's successors will confront the problem of Soviet efforts to expand their empire by military means through the use of surrogates in third world conflict.

As these committees finish the fact-finding phase of our inquiry, the focus must now shift to the search for ways to improve our government's capability and performance in the conduct of foreign policy. In the final analysis, an effective foreign policy needs cooperation and commitment from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.