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 Iran. You spoke at that meeting, and, as I understand from your notes and prior testimony, expressed forceful opposition to t he proposed policy?

Secretary SHULTZ: That is correct, and just as forceful was Secretary Weinberger.

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 Weinberger?

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 like that.

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 frustrated.