Leon Jaworski, special counsel to the House committee investigating South Korean influence-buying in Congress, called on president Carter yesterday to order the State Department to help the committee obtain testimony from Kim Dong Jo, former South Korean ambassador here.
Jaworski said he believes "revelation of the facts" by Kim is important to the investigation because public herings last fall "disclosed" that Kim "had been cutting a pretty good path up to the Hill taking some money up there."
"We just want to know who were the recipients of those funds," Jaworski said. He also said his investigators want to know whether the alleged South Korean largess was returned or retained by its recipients.
The Koreans have refused to make available testimony by former diplomats, and other high ranking officials such as Kim, on grounds that doing so would violate diplomatic immunity. Jaworski said the Statement Department, affected by what he called "unsound reasoning," is supporting the Korean position.
"If the American people and if President Carter and if the State Department will stand up and help us, I think we will satisfy the American people with this investigation," Jaworski said on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC).
"I want him to back us up, particularly as far as the State Department is concerned," he said of Carter.
"You want him to get the State Department in line?" Jaworski was asked.
"That is right," he responded.
The White House and State Department declined immediate comment on Jaworski's remarks.
Some investigators believe Kim can provide more evidence than Tongsun Park, the South Korean businessman and former Washington socialite who is the alleged central figure in the influence-buying probe.Jaworski implied yesterday that Kim is of at least equal importance.
"We know that he visited a number" of members of Congress, Jaworski said. "The problem is exactly how many and who they were." The special counsel said testimony last fall indicated that Kim "took quite a few number of envelops stuffed with $100 bills" to Capitol Hill.
Jaworski said other "corroborating circumstances" link Kim to the case, cut "I can't point to those at the moment because they haven't been disclosed."
"I believe that he eventually will be made available - that is, his testimony will be available," Jaworski said of Kim. He said his belief is based on recent events, including a congressional threat to cut off aid to South Korea that resulted in Park's cooperation.
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced last week that Park would be questioned in closed session by its investigators in Washington Feb. 21. Park is also expected to testify in criminal proceedings in Washington March 20. He was given immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for his testimony in Seoul last month and his cooperation in expected court cases in the United States.
Jaworski said he expects the closed-session questioning to take "as long as a week or 10 days." He said the entire case would be completed in two to three months if the committee receives "the full cooperation of South Korea."
In all, about "two dozen" members of Congress may be guilty of ethics violations in the case, and "a few" of those members could be criminally culpable, Jaworski said.
He also said he expects the committee to recommend "some rather serious sentences" that could result in the expulsion of some House members.
The case, said Jaworski, "is equivalent from the standpoint of significance and importance" to the Watergate scandals that toppled President Nixon.