Mr. NUNN: How about that last entry there, is that the President?
Mr. REGAN: The President again.
Mr. NUNN: Could you just read that and tell us what it means.
Mr. REGAN: "The side with military superiority will win. We
want to have things even. This helps Iran which was the weaker of
the two sides."
In other words, in the Iran-Iraq war, our policy was and, as far
as I know, still is that that war should end in a stalemate, neither
side being the winner, try to get it to a halt. But if one side has
military superiority over the other side, obviously it is going to
Mr. NUNN: Well, my problem with that is that the wrong side
was the one the President used there. That was not the position of
our government. Our government's position, and I went over this
with Secretary Shultz, was that the Iraqi side was deteriorating
and that the Iranian side had the long-range advantage, and this is
November the 10th, this is just 4 or 5 months ago, or at least 6 or 7
months ago, and this is November 10, 1986, where you have the
President of the United States saying that he believes the Iranian
side is losing. Is that right?
Mr. REGAN: That is correct.
Mr. NUNN: Did anybody correct him in that meeting?
Mr. REGAN: No. Because Shultz immediately picked up that he
wanted things kept in channels, that is, the State Department
should be running the Iran endeavor, and it shouldn't be run out of
Mr. NUNN: We had Secretary Weinberger at that meeting; is
Mr. REGAN: I believe so.
Mr. NUNN: Secretary Shultz was at that meeting?
Mr. REGAN: Yes, he was.
Mr. NUNN: You had the Vice President at that meeting.
Mr. REGAN: He was.
Mr. NUNN: Director Casey at that meeting?
Mr. REGAN: Yes.
Mr. NUNN: I believe you were at that meeting?
Mr. REGAN: Yes.
Mr. NUNN: Of course, these were your notes, obviously. Admiral
Poindexter was at that meeting?
Mr. REGAN: And here you have the President of the United
States giving what is essentially erroneous policy in a policy statement, it wasn't a small detail, it was a question of who our government believed was winning that war. And he was stating what the
Secretary of State has testified before this committee was not the
policy of the United States and what we have classified reports
from the whole community, including intelligence, including Defense, including State saying exactly the opposite of this, and the
President makes this statement which is obviously fundamentally
conflicting with the policy of our—supposed policy of our government and nobody corrects him; is that what happened?
Mr. REGAN: As far as I know. My notes don't reflect anyone
having corrected him.
If, indeed, that was the fact. I don't know that that was the fact.
Mr. NUNN: Well, if I am correct, that the policy of the U.S. Government then was that the Iraqis had the long-term problem and
that their position was deteriorating, don't you find it alarming
that the President could be under a total misinterpretation of what
the U.S. Government believed about that war?
Mr. REGAN: Well, there is a lot of this that is classified information, I am not sure I want to discuss it in this meeting, Mr. Chairman. But I would take issue with some of the things you have just
said, but only from a classified point of view.
Mr. NUNN: Were you under the impression that the Iranians
were deteriorating and losing the war?
Mr. REGAN: I have a problem here, Mr. Chairman. This is very
sensitive, classified material that we are discussing here in public.
Mr. NUNN: I have been given—Mr. Chairman, I have checked
with the State Department very carefully on this, and I know exactly what is classified, and I know what is not.
I won't push Mr. Regan on this, but it is not classified that the
U.S. Government position at that time was that we felt the Iraqi
position was deteriorating. That is not classified.
I found this very, very disturbing, that we could have this kind of
fundamental misunderstanding by the President on an issue this
key and obviously very much in his mind, and obviously very much
of the policy. I just suggest to you, Mr. Regan, that was November
10, 1986, and 4 or 5 months later we were basically agreeing to flag
Kuwaiti vessels, which is a tilt towards Iraq and here the President
is on November 10, 1986, saying we had to help the Iranians because the sides weren't even.
Mr. REGAN: Well, that's trying to keep things evenhanded, Senator. You see, we can't help one side or the other. If we give help to
one, we have to give help to the other.
Mr. NUNN: Flagging vessels, shipping arms, is that a balanced
Mr. REGAN: As I explained to you, we want neither side to win,
you can't help just one side.
Mr. NUNN: Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.