Mr. ASPIN: Mr. Secretary, let me just for a little bit go over a few of these issues and then maybe I will reserve some of my time. Let me ask a little bit about the policy that was undertaken and your attitude towards that policy. I take it that you, based upon your reaction to that NSDD that was circulated, the draft that was circulated in 1985, that your opposition to this policy was opposition to the whole idea, not just to the opposition to the arms sales.

Secretary WEINBERGER: Oh, yes. I thought it, first of all, was not possible to get a better relationship with Iran, with the Iranian Government in its present hands. I didn't think there was anybody we could deal with that was not virulently anti-American, and I just didn't think it would work and I was, as you say, against the wlnole policy.

Mr. ASPIN: Now, this is different

Secretary WEINBERGER: I did add a word in my comment to the effect it would be good if we could get a relationship with Iran as we used to have it under the Shah. It would be desirable to try to do something like that, but we couldn't do it with this situation.

Mr. ASPIN: Let me ask you why you drew that conclusion. I take it that the opposition of other people, in principle, the Secretary of State, his view was that if we could get some, he was not opposed to new initiatives with the Iranian Government. He said he opposed the idea of selling arms in order to further that initiative. And that seems to be the general reaction of most people, was that the idea itself was not a bad idea, but that the particulars of it, namely selling arms as part of that, was wrong. But you are saying you just flat-out did not think that the idea of pursuing any kind of relationship with a moderate element in Iran, that that was not a

Secretary WEINBERGER: I didn't think it was a good idea. I didn't think it was possible to do it. I did not think and do not think there is any moderate element in Iran that is still alive, and I think it was not a good idea in any sense of the term. I would like to have a relationship with a rational government in Iran of the kind we had when the Shah was there, because I think geographically and strategically that's a very useful thing. I was, as you say, against the whole idea.

Mr. ASPIN: Does that—when the National Security Council, then Bud McFarlane, drafted the NSDD and circulated it, he had some intelligence from the CIA, particularly from Mr. Casey, that in fact there was some intelligence that would indicate that such an initiative was a good idea at that time. Did you just not believe that intelligence or did you have some other intelligence? In other words, did DIA have a contrary—Defense Intelligence Agency—have a contrary point of view at that time?

Secretary WEINBERGER: My memory is that generally they did, but I didn't see anything in the estimate that accompanied the draft NSDD that supported such a conclusion. There were no individuals named, and certainly everything that I had heard and known about Iran, particularly with respect to all of the statements, positions, their support of terrorism, all of that struck me as simply being contrary to that estimate. It was not an intelligence estimate with which I agreed.

Mr. ASPIN: So you just flat-out deny—I mean, there is a whole series of assumptions or intelligence estimates upon which this policy was based, either implicitly or explicitly. And let me just let me list them all, Mr. Secretary. and I guess you'd reject them all.

One, that there was a moderate element that you could deal with.

Second, that somehow giving them weapons would strengthen them in some way—that this deal would somehow strengthen them.

Third, that Iran, and in particular this moderate element, held some influence over the people who are holding our hostages in Lebanon and that somehow, that they would have the ability to get the hostages loose and get these people to abate on their terrorist activities.

I take it you would just reject that whole litany.

Secretary WEINBERGER: If you, Mr. Aspin, I may have misread you but my understanding was that you said there were a whole series of estimates—to the best of my knowledge, there was only one.

Mr. ASPIN: The series is what I listed here.

Secretary WEINBERGER: It included all these ideas. I disagreed with that estimate and all of its parts, yes, but I don't think there was a whole series of them.

Mr. ASPIN: No, I didn't mean to imply that. I meant there was a series of either explicit or implicit assumptions behind this policy.

Secretary WEINBERGER: Yes.

Mr. ASPIN: I'm taking it that you just rejected it

Secretary WEINBERGER: It was just contrary from everything I had heard, all the other intelligence that I've seen, my own personal views, and the knowledge that I had of the way the various battles in the war had gone and what they said about us, their support of international terrorism, just none of it rang true as far as I was concerned.

Mr. ASPIN: So it was essentially pretty much of a gut instinct reaction to it?

Secretary WEINBERGER: Well, it was based on, as I say, a lot of other reports that I had that made that seem quite wrong.