Mr. EGGLESTON: Mr. Secretary, let me ask you to direct your attention to exhibit 20 in your exhibit book.

Secretary WEINBERGER: Twenty.

Mr. EGGLESTON: Mr. Secretary, you would not have seen this document, I take it, contemporaneously?

Secretary WEINBERGER: No.

Mr. EGGLESTON: It is the cover memo to the January 17th Finding. I want to ask you about a particular line in it

Secretary WEINBERGER: This is a memorandum that you are showing me or directing my attention to from Admiral Poindexter to the President?

Mr. EGGLESTON: Yes, sir. It is dated January 17th. The back page of this document contains the January 17th Finding with the President's signature on it and is also dated January 17th.

Secretary WEINBERGER: Yes. There is, however, a page before that on which the President's initials are put on, but not in his handwriting.

Mr. EGGLESTON: That is correct. I think in the last sentence it indicates that the President was briefed verbally by Admiral Poindexter. If you could return to the very first page, there is just one line of this that I wanted to ask you about.

Secretary WEINBERGER: Right.

Mr. EGGLESTON: It is about half way down the very first paragraph, and it reads as follows: "The Israelis are very concerned that Iran's deteriorating position in the war with Iraq"—I really just want to ask you, it wasn't a complete sentence, I just want ask you about that concept. Was it the view of the Department of Defense that Iran had a deteriorating position in the war with Iraq?

Secretary WEINBERGER: No, quite to the contrary, it wasn't—that wasn't the opinion—it wasn't my opinion and it wasn't anybody's opinion that I talked to.

Mr. EGGLESTON: Were you consulted during this time period about whether or not the relative positions of the Iranians and the Iraqis in the war?

Secretary WEINBERGER: No.

Mr. EGGLESTON: Do you know whether the President was advised that there was a contrary view to the one that is expressed in the cover memo?

Secretary WEINBERGER: I don't know that. I never saw the memorandum to the President, never had a chance to respond to but I certainly did not have the view that Iraq was winning or anything of the kind. Quite the contrary. As a matter of fact, it was basically Iraqi military strategy not to pursue any kind of decision military end to that. They had been trying to get a cease fire and trying to get the war ended by negotiation. They have specifically eschewed the idea of a military victory as far as I can tell.

Mr. EGGLESTON: So if you had been consulted at that time, you would have advised the President that you disagreed with that Israeli view?

Secretary WEINBERGER: In the strongest possible terms.

Mr. EGGLESTON: To the extent that the President relied upon that concept and decided to go forward, that in your view was simply an erroneous assumption on their part?

Secretary WEINBERGER: Yes.