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
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
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.