Chairman INOUYE: This has been a very difficult time for me as a
Member of the U.S. Senate. Early this morning we were told how
immoral we were in our congressional policy in Central America,
and I suppose as a result you felt it justified to ignore some of our
laws, carry out secret diplomacy, and some of your testimony just
For example, you had a major debate in the RIG on wristwatches, whether this was lethal or non-lethal, and yet you weren't
sufficiently curious to inquire on the Hasenfus case or to check
with Colonel North after the Miami article was published.
I have no idea who is being candid with us. It is not our job, we
are not a bunch of prosecutors. But I think it must be, at the least,
confusing for the people of the United States and, at worse, disconcerting to find that the Government of the United States has been
less than candid not only with the Congress but with the people.
So I would hope that future witnesses would take the statement
made by Chairman Hamilton very seriously, because I don't think
we can stand too many days such as this listening to testimony
which would question great heroes of ours. I don't know whether to
believe you or General Singlaub, to believe you or Ambassador
Tambs, and it is not my job to decide whether you or the other one
is honest, but someone is not being honest with us. Can you help
Mr. ABRAMS: Senator, with respect to General Singlaub, I think
his memory is wrong. I think he is being completely honest. I think
he has always been completely honest. I don't think it is possible to
say that he is being dishonest because his memory disagrees with
I want to return for a moment to the word "immoral" to make
sure you understood what I said or tried to say.
I don't approve of what I call "tin-cup diplomacy," but given the
congressional mandate to engage in it which we have, given the
terrible needs of the Contras, I thought it would be immoral for me
to fail to use the authority you gave to the State Department to
help them. That was the use of the word "immorality."
With respect to the wristwatches, we did debate it. Of course,
that was something that was under the State Department's direct
supervision and control, and we tried to do the best job we could
with it. We had a lot of debates about the limits of that legislation.