Mr. BELNICK: On December 7, there was a meeting at the White
House, and you have alluded to that meeting earlier, at which
senior officials were present: you, Secretary Weinberger, Donald
Regan, Admiral Poindexter, and, of course, the President, in which
the subject was the Iran initiative and the proposed dealings with
You spoke at that meeting, and, as I understand from your notes
and prior testimony, expressed forceful opposition to t he proposed
Secretary SHULTZ: That is correct, and just as forceful was Secretary
Mr. BELNICK: If I could ask you, please, to turn to tab 16? Tell us
whether the document at that tab is a copy of the talking points
which you prepared for the December 7 meeting and whether those
points are a fair summary of the arguments you made against the
Iran initiative to the President and others at that meeting?
Secretary SHULTZ: These were the talking points that I had and I
worked from. In the flow of a meeting, you try to make your points
as effectively as you can, and so I used these as a basis for my comments.
Mr. BELNICK: Who spoke in favor of the policy at that meeting?
Secretary SHULTZ: Well, I felt that Don Regan shared the view of
Secretary Weinberger and I, and Mr. McMahon, who was representing
the CIA, seemed t o be, as I recall, rather passive. He didn't
seem to push one way or another, but I may not be remembering
that just right.
Mr. McFarlane and Admiral Poindexter seemed to be more pro
doing this. The President, I felt, was somewhat on the fence but
rather annoyed at me and Secretary Weinberger because I felt that
he sort of-he was very concerned about the hostages, as well as
very much interested in the Iran initiative.
So it was a very vigorous discussion, and it took place in the
family quarters in a rather informal kind of setting, and I think
Secretary Weinberger started off by saying something like, "Are
you really interested in my opinion?" And then the President said,
"Yes." And so he gave it to him. So did I.
Mr. BELNICK: Was the President fully engaged in this conversation?
Secretary SHULTZ: Oh, yes. This idea that the President just sits
around not paying attention, I don't know where anybody gets that
Idea. He is a very strong and decisive person.
Mr. BELNICK: Was he a strong proponent of the proposed policy
at that meeting against your opposition and that of Secretary
Secretary SHULTZ: Well, I don't remember that he sort of argued
with us. He listened, and you could feel his sense of frustration. He
said at one time-because Cap, who is a good lawyer, particularly said
"There are legal problems here, Mr. President, in addition to all of
the policy problems."
You know how people get sometimes when they are frustrated.
He said, "Well, the American people will never forgive me if I fail
to get these hostages out over this legal question” or something
And Secretary Weinberger-"but", he said, "visiting hours are
Thursday," or some such statement.
So there was that kind of banter. I know people have looked at
those notes and wondered if the President was advocating violating
the law, and there was no such tone to that at all. It was the kind
of statement that I'm sure we all make sometimes when we are