Mr. MITCHELL: On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 21, 22, and 23, you interviewed Mr. McFarlane, Secretary Shultz, Judge Sporkin, and Colonel North. On each of those occasions, a member of your staff was present and that person took notes, and it is on those notes that you have frequently relied in your testimony here.

Attorney General MEESE: Yes, sir.

Mr. MITCHELL: In your meeting with Colonel North on Sunday, he confirmed that a diversion had taken place, and he told you that Mr. McFarlane and Admiral Poindexter were the only other persons in the administration who knew about the diversion. No- I am struck by the fact that on the following day, Monday, No- vember 24th, you met briefly with Mr. McFarlane and interviewed him again, and at that meeting you were alone, and you took notes, is that correct?

Attorney General MEESE: That is correct.

Mr. MITCHELL: You next spoke with Donald Regan, the President’s dent's Chief of Staff, interviewed him, and you were alone and took no notes. talked

Attorney General MEESE: That wasn't next. Actually, I with Mr. Regan late in the day on Monday, the 24th. Mr . MITCHELL. When you did talk with him—

Attorney General MEESE: I talked with him and the President, I met with he and the President and did not take notes at that time

Mr. MITCHELL: I think Mr. Regan’s recollection is contrary to yours, but in any event, when you did talk with him and the Presi- dent, it was you and them, and you took no notes?

Attorney General MEESE: That is correct.

Mr. MITCHELL: On Monday afternoon you spoke with the Vice president, and you were alone with him and took no notes?

Attorney General MEESE: That is correct.

Mr. MITCHELL: Later on Monday afternoon, again you interviewed Admiral Poindexter, and again you were alone with him, and you took no notes, is that correct?

Attorney General MEESE: That is correct.

Mr. MITCHELL: On the following morning--

Attorney General MEESE: Actually, the sequence is different. The Vice President was, I think, the last person I talked with on that evening.

Mr. MITCHELL: But in each of the meetings that I have described with Mr. McFarlane, with Admiral Poindexter, with the Vice President, with the Chief of Staff, and the President, you alone were present and took no notes?

Attorney General MEESE: When I was with the President and the Chief of Staff, there were three of us.

Mr. MITCHELL: Right. The next morning, you visited Mr. Casey at his home on your way to the office, is that correct?

Attorney General MEESE: Yes, sir.

Mr. MITCHELL: And one of the notetakers for you at the meetings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was one of your assistants, Mr. Richardson?

Attorney General MEESE: That is correct.

Mr. MITCHELL: Was Mr. Richardson with you in the car at the time you drove to Mr. Casey's home?

Attorney General MEESE: He was with me. He was riding in to the office with me that morning, yes.

Mr. MITCHELL: When you went in to see Mr. Casey, you left Mr. Richardson in the car?

Attorney General MEESE: Yes.

Mr. MITCHELL: In your meeting with Mr. Casey, it was again alone, and you took no notes of that meeting?

Attorney General MEESE: It wasn't a meeting. It was a quick conversation, yes.

Mr. MITCHELL: In your conversation, right?

Attorney General MEESE: Right.

Mr. MITCHELL: The result of that, of course, is that as to the interviews that you conducted on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, your recollection has been supported and you have relied extensively on notes taken at those meetings. As to the critical events of Monday and Tuesday, there is only your undocumented recollection. It does raise a question, which I want to ask you. Is there a reason why at each interview you had, up to and including the meeting with Colonel North, there was always another member of your staff present who took notes but that with respect to every interview thereafter you were alone and no notes were taken, or is that pure accident?

Attorney General MEESE: It is not totally pure accident. It is pure accident in a general sense, but they were totally different types of conversations. In the meetings that I had with Secretary Shultz, the meeting with Mr. Sporkin, the meeting with Mr. North, all of these are what you might call interviews where we were seeking to elicit a great deal of information and in which notes were important in order to record that information which we were hearing in each case for the first time. The other conversations that took place were not for the purpose of eliciting great amounts of information. They were either casual conversations, conversations in which I was the only person present, for example, with the President and Don Regan, in which I don't usually take notes in those quick meetings, or they were meetings in which I was seeing people like Mr. McFarlane simple to confirm information we already had in the long interviews that had already taken place, and it was just by happenstance, in that case it was an accident that nobody was there, because Mr. McFar- lane came in just as I was leaving for the White House. In the case of Admiral Poindexter, .all I was just trying to do was to confirm what we already knew, and he did in fact confirm it Had he not confirmed it, for example, I am sure we would have gone through the usual interview process with him and taken a detailed statement from him. Obviously, with the Vice President and- the President, it is not normal in those conversations to take notes, and the same was true with Don Regan, who I talked with to my recollection and I think my recollection is accurate—after I had met with he and the Presi- dent at 4:30, I went into some detail with him before going to the Vice President, detail in terms of what we were going to do the next day. And I think it was at. that time that he again said to me o that he had known nothing about this.

Mr. MITCHELL: Giving you every benefit of the doubt, I think it is difficult to understand that you did not regard Admiral Poindexter, one of the three people in the Government who was alleged to have information about it, the President's National Security Adviser, as a person not sufficiently important enough to have an interview with, but rather a casual conversation.

Attorney General MEESE: The reason that there was no interview was that what he said essentially confirmed--

Mr. MITCHELL: But you couldn't know beforehand what he was going to say, could you? I

Attorney General MEESE: No, I was trying to find out because had very little time between the NSPG meeting and my meeting with the President. I thought it important to confirm with Admiral Poindexter, the idea being there would have been ample opportuni- ty to go into a formal interview situation had that been necessary.

Mr. MITCHELL: I will leave it at that and say it is really very difficult to accept

Attorney General MEESE: I don't understand why it is difficult to accept.

Mr. MITCHELL: Admiral Poindexter was a central figure. And to say that you didn't interview him—

Attorney General MEESE: But everything that he told me was to- tally consistent—

Mr. MITCHELL: But you could not have known before you talked to him what he was going to say. That is the purpose of having someone there to record the meeting.

Attorney General MEESE: That is right, but had he said anything differently than that, we would have had a more formal interview to get that information. I explained the circumstances, that I was literally rushed into his office to try to verify this before I was due in the President's office. And it may be strange to you, it may strike you that truth being stranger than fiction, but I take offense at the idea that it is hard to accept, because what I have told you is the absolute truth of what happened. So if there is any question in our mind, I want to get that settled right now.

Mr. MITCHELL: No, as I've just said it is hard to accept.

Attorney General MEESE: As long as there is no question as to that being the truth, I will accept your statement.

Mr. MITCHELL: No, it is just very hard to accept. I mean you didn't for example—you didn't—well I go into that. There are just so many questions that could have been asked, we can leave it at that.