International Telephone & Telegraph Corp. fought another round yesterday in its nearly two-year battle to prevent federal authorities from making public details of some $9 million in questionable foreign payments which the company has described in only general terms.
ITT asked the U.S. Court of Appeals here to issue a temporary injunction blocking the Securities and Exchange Commission from issuing a civil complaint that the company says, includes harmful details about the foreign payments.
Last night SEC attorneys were reviewing ITT's motion and preparing an answer.
Lyman C. Hamilton, president of ITT, contended in an affidavit that publication by the SEC of the details of payments made several years ago "would have a severe adverse impact upon the corporation and its subsidiaries, its present stockholders and those with whom it does business."
It added that some ITT subsidiaries in countries where payments were made could become vulnerable to takeover by the governments there. "In some instances," Hamilton claimed, "even the physical safety of employes of the ITT system or employes of foreign governments could be endangered."
Richard Kraut, an SEC attorney, has argued in court against ITT's claim, pointing out that the SEC filed suit against the company's chief competitor, General Telephone & Electronic Corp., and that there has been "absolutely no indication of harm" to that company.
ITT began its court challenges in May 1976, when it convinced U.S. District Judge George Hart to issue a protective order forbidding the SEC from revealing any of its findings during the course of its investigation.
Last week, when ITT learned that the SEC was poised to issue the results of its investigation, the company again went to Judge Hart. ITT requested a restraining order to keep the SEC from publishing until the company could argue the merits of the commission's findings.
Judge Hart refused. ITT took its case to the court of appeals.