Mr. NUNN: Did you ask Admiral Poindexter who approved the diversion?

Attorney General MEESE: I did not ask him in so many words. I did ask him whether anyone else-whether he had ever told about this to anyone else in the White House and he said no.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask him specifically whether he had told the President of the United States?

Attorney General MEESE: I didn't ask him specifically whether he had told the President. I asked if he had told anyone else in White House or discussed it with anyone else in the White and he said no.

Mr. NUNN: So you never asked him whether he had to President?

Attorney General MEESE: No, I assumed—

Mr. NUNN:—directly?

Attorney General MEESE: No, because that was included answer that I had received and the question I asked.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask him if he had directly—if he had ap- proved the diversion?

Attorney General MEESE: Not in that many words, but I did ask what he knew of it and he told me, in a sense—in essence rather, that he had allowed it to go forward.

Mr. NUNN: So you took that as tacit approval?

Attorney General MEESE: I believed—he told me that that was extent of his involvement, and I took that as tacit approval, the fact that he allowed it to go forward.

Mr. NUNN: But I believe that you testified that you did not believe he had authority to approve that.

Attorney General MEESE: That is correct.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask him if he thought he had authority?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir, I did not.

Mr. NUNN: So you never discussed that with him. Did you ask him when he learned of the diversion?

Attorney General MEESE: I don't believe I asked him precisely when nor did he tell me precisely when he had learned. He indicated, as you quoted, that Colonel North had given him hints over a period of time.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask him why he did not tell the President of the United States about the diversion?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir, I did not.

Mr. NUNN: He just said he didn't tell anyone in the White House other than the named individuals. Did you ask him if Colonel North had discussed this or had approval from anyone other than him, that is, anyone other than Admiral Poindexter

Attorney General MEESE: No, I did not, because in our conversa- tion with Colonel North he had indicated that Admiral Poindexter was the only one in the White House who knew about it.

Mr. NUNN: What about outside the White House?

Attorney General MEESE: The only one he had indicated outside White House in the Government or who had been in the Government was Mr. McFarlane.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask him whether anyone outside the White House in the Government, other than Mr. McFarlane, knew about the diversion?

Attorney General MEESE: He told me that. He said that there were only three persons in the U.S. Government who knew this, and those were himself, Mr. McFarlane, and Mr. Poindexter. Mr. Nunn. Did you ask him about who knew it outside of the U.S. Government

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir. He told me those were the people that knew it.

Mr. NUNN: He said in the government. Did you ask him about people not in the government? Attornev General MEESE. No, sir.

Mr. NUNN: That didn't Occur to you?

Attorney General MEESE: That did not Occur to me.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ever have any conversation with Admiral Poindexter or ask him any question about whether Colonel North and Director Casey had discussed this issue? General MEESE. No, sir, I did not ask Admiral Poindexter because Colonel North had told me that, again, just who in the Government knew about it, and I asked Admiral Poindexter only whether he had told anyone in the White House.

Mr. NUNN: So you never asked Admiral Poindexter if he had or discussed this with Director Casey?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir, I did not.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask Admiral Poindexter under what author- ity he had approved this diversion by Colonel North?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir, I did not. I don't know whether you were present earlier, Senator Nunn, but at that time I testified why this was so brief and why I didn’t go into more extensive questioning, and that was that I was literally on my way to talk with the President and my main purpose was to verify what I had been told by Colonel North the previous day and particularly as to whether anyone in the White House knew about it and what the knowledge was on the part of Admiral Poindexter.

Mr. NUNN: I believe I heard that. Did you ask Admiral Poindexter anything about the money where it went?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir, I did not.

Mr. NUNN: And how much it was?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir.

Mr. NUNN: Did you ask him anything about whether the Contras got the money?

Attorney General MEESE: No, sir, I did not.

Mr. NUNN: I understand the rush of events that day, but it does seem to me that there were almost no direct questions asked by you to Admiral Poindexter.

Attorney General MEESE: That's correct. I mentioned already the timeframe and also the fact that we had had a detailed account of this whole thing by Colonel North the previous day.

Mr. NUNN: But you were trying to determine—as you said, from the President your directive was to see how you would resolve vari- ous conflicts, and it seems to me you gave very short treatment to whether or not the two key players in this may themselves agree.

Attorney General MEESE: The purpose was to resolve the con- flicts and to get a coherent story when we started out on the Irani- an initiative. As I told—as I testified earlier, we had a totally different situation in regard to the discovery of the diversion of funds, and there the primary objective was to verify what in fact had happened, get an account of all of the essential facts and then determine what the next steps would be. So the mission considerably changed from Friday noon when it started until roughly Sunday evening when we had a great deal more information.