The personal records of former House Speaker Carl Albert Okla have been subpoenaed from the UNiversity of Oklahjoma by the congressional committee investigating South Eruropean influence-buying, but not before Albert retrieved some of the documents.
An attorney for the university and an Albert aide confirmed that some of the records were reclaimed shortly before the subpoena from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct was served Nov. 21.
Lois Butler, the Albert aide said none of the retrieved records pertained to the committee's investigation. But a source familiar with the documents said that many of them did relate to trips Albert took to Korea in 1969 and 1971.
According to the source, Albert who retired last year, and two aides visited the university in September and went though the records. At first they were "somewhat reluctant" to say precisely what they were looking for, the source said. But they finally said they wanted to see Albert's records relating to the Korea trips and removed some of them, he added.
Earlier this month, a short time before the committee subpoena was served, the two aides returned an removed about 10 lineal feet of records, including telephone logs, travel logs, invitations and other correspondence, some fo which also related to Korea, the source said.
Albert could not be reached yesterday to explain why he sought out or removed the records. But sources in Washington confirmed that Albert had been called to appear before the committee for questioning about his dealings with the South Koreans.
A committee investigator was due to arrive in Oklahoma last night to begin reviewing the papers, which have been sealed by the university.
According to one source the records are not protected by heavy wire mesh and steel doors and not even Albert has access to them without the committee's permission.
From Washington, Washington Post Staff Writer Charles R. Babcock reported:
Rep. Bruce F. Caputo, (R.N.Y.), a member of the committee, said last night that he would insist that the retrieved records be subpoenaed if they weren't returned voluntarily.
Though the committee has no authority to discipline former members, part of its mandate is to determine the extent of the Korean lobbying effort and Albert's name has been mentioned frequently in that context.
There is no indication that the committee has evidence that Albert ever received any cash payments from Korean agents.
While majority leader in 1969, Albert led the first large congressional delegation trip to Seoul.
The arrangements for that trip were made by Tangsun Park, a Washington businessman, and Rep. Richard T. Hanna (D-Calif.), according to separate indictments of both men which charged them with taking part in a conspiracy to corruptly incluence members of Congress.
The committee already has extensively questioned Suzi Park Thomson, a one-time Personal aide to Albert, who has been identified in U.S. intelligence reports as an agent of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. She denies being a KCIA agent.
The House investigators are likely to question Albert, too, about nine gifts valued at more than $6,000 which he received from the Korean government over the years, but did not turn into the General Services Administration - as required by law - until he retired.
Among the gifts listed in a recent GSA report was a gold and jeweled crown valued at about $3,000.
In a related development, U.S. authorities were responding with skepticism to the South Korean government's latest overtures to the Justice Department for making Tongsun Park available for testimony.
Korean government sources in Seoul were quoted yesterday as saying that the accused secret agent may be allowed to leave the country because "we understand his mind is changing and there is no reason for the government to go against his will if he really wants to go."
Until now the Korean government has contended that Park was unwilling to leave his homeland.
But officials at the Justice and State departments said yesterday that the latest signals from Seoul did not constitute a final breakthrough on U.S. efforts to get Park back to testify about members of Congress to whom he made cash payments.
A State Department spokesman said no final agreement had been reached. A Justice official familiar with the negotiations said there had been progress, but still no agreement.
Park's attorney, William G. Hundley, said the stories from Seoul were "at best premature."
Hundley said he would still prefer that his client leave Korea for questioning by the Justice Department in a third country, the Dominican Republic, where Park has a home, is a likely spot, Hundley said.