Mr. SARBANES: Are you familiar with the PROF notes between
North and Poindexter that appear in the Tower Report? When
North suggested to Poindexter before departing for Tehran with
McFarlane that he and Poindexter have a quiet meeting with the
President and McFarlane without papers and that Poindexter
might want to include the Secretaries of State and Defense and the
Director of Central Intelligence, Poindexter responded negatively,
"I don't want a meeting with Ronald Reagan, Shultz, and Weinberger."
Secretary WEINBERGER: I became aware of it when I read it in
Mr. SARBANES: Well, Mr. Secretary, what was going on? What is
your perception of what was occurring? You are the Secretary of
Defense, you're a statutory member of the National Security Council. You are charged with major responsibility and, in fact, in the
command and control function in the case of conflict, have a very
unique and special responsibility that has been entrusted to you
and yet here we are with your obtaining information about what
your own government is doing from foreign sources.
The National Security Adviser in effect is saying, no, we don't
want the Secretaries of State and Defense to consult with the
President. What is your perception of what was taking place in our
Secretary WEINBERGER: Senator, what was taking place, I believe, is what I described earlier and which I strongly disapprove
of, that people with their own agenda who thought that this opening was a good thing, who knew that I opposed it and that George
Shultz opposed it, did not want the President to hear these arguments after the decision had been made or perhaps indeed even to
the extent that they were made before, I don't know.
But I think that that was basically the problem, and I think that
people with their own agenda as I have said in the Security Council were doing everything they can and maybe their motives were
good, I don't know, but were doing everything they could to put
this agenda into effect and one of the ways they tried to do that
was to keep away from the President views that they suspected,
quite correctly most of the time, differ with theirs.
I think it was a very bad procedure. I think it has been completely corrected now because we have totally different kinds of people
who have a totally different approach.
I am not trying to lay blame, or anything, I am trying candidly
to express to you how I think this situation came about.