Mr. LIMAN: Did Colonel North tell you in the car that there was
going to be a shredding party that weekend?
Mr. McFARLANE: On that 'occasion or another that 1 am closing
Mr. LIMAN: Did he not tell you that before you went to see the
Mr. McFARLANE: Well, again, 1 believe it was during that car
ride, but I'm not certain that it was, as compared to a meeting that
was in my office on Sunday morning.
Mr. LIMAN: What did he tell you about a shredding party?
Mr. McFARLANE: Just that there had to be done. I think I will
encompass that by the time I get through. It is taking perhaps a
little too long. But I did go to Mr. Meese's office. I spent about 2
hours with him. His associate, Mr. Cooper, was taking notes.
Mr. Meese asked the questions. They were oriented toward how
the Iranian initiative had gotten started and so forth. And finally
after that was completed, his secretary came in and told me that I
had a call from my wife, it was kind of urgent, and Mr. Meese and
Mr. Cooper started to leave the room and I said, "Wait a moment,
Ed," and I told him that while I was pleased to take on the full
responsibility for this and had the night before, that I wanted him
to know that the President had been supportive of this from the
very first and was foursquare behind it.
Mr. LIMAN: By this you are talking about the Iranian arms
Mr. McFARLANE: Yes.
Mr. LIMAN: And the effort to get the hostages?
Mr. McFARLANE: That is correct.
Mr. LIMAN: You are not talking about the diversion?
Mr. McFARLANE: No.
Mr. LIMAN: You didn't tell Mr. Meese about the diversion?
Mr. McFARLANE: No.
Mr. LIMAN: Did you tell Mr. Meese during this meeting, the first
part of the meeting, that the November shipment involved oil drilling
Mr. McFARLANE: I don't recall. He was asking all the questions. I
believe that I told him that it was ambiguous, that there had been
reports of Israel believing that oil drilling equipment was perhaps
more effective, but that ultimately I learned.
Mr. LIMAN: You told him in that meeting that you knew it was
Mr. McFARLANE: Well, his notes will say one way or another. I
just don't remember today.
Mr. LIMAN: Well, as you sit here today, were you trying to hold
anything back from Meese?
Mr. McFARLANE: I don't think so. He was asking the questions.
Mr. LIMAN: Why didn't you tell him about the diversion?
Mr. McFARLANE: As I say, he was asking the questions. Perhaps
It was something that I should have told him. We discussed it two
Mr. LIMAN: Why don't you continue. You have now had your
meeting with Attorney General Meese.
Mr. McFARLANE: And he closed by saying that he was glad to
learn what I had said about the President's approval of the Iranian
initiative, and that from a practical point of view that made the
President's position more legally sound for as early as he made the
decision to approve these sales, the subsequent actions would be
Mr. LIMAN: Did he tell you the President's approval, if given
orally, was the equivalent of a finding?
Mr. McFARLANE: Well, I interpreted it that way, and it may be
my error, but he said in so many words that his predecessor, Attorney General William French Smith, had made a determination several years ago that a President's decision on matters like this, however oral, is just as official an act from the point of view of law,
and that's the way I interpreted it.