The House's questioning of Tongsun Park ended yesterday with Park and his interrogators agreeing that no revelations about Korean influence buying emerged during his six days of confidential testimony.
Members of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, who questioned Park as part of their investigation of House members' involvement in the Korean scandal, said their star witness had provided new details about events previously discussed in the press and public hearings, but had not implicated any congressmen other than those whose names have come up previously.
Park and his lawyer, William Hundley, gave reporters who had waited outside the closed committee room a similar description of his testimony: "I really don't think any new names came up."
The committee has been seeking Park's testimony for more than a year, because he is alleged to have been a central figure in the South Korea effort to win friends in the U.S. government through bribery.
The businessman and rice merchant returned from Seoul to face the committee's questions only after he was promised immunity from prosecution on conspiracy and bribery charges.
The committee's appeal counsel, Leon Jaworski, declined yesterday to discuss how many House members might be subjected to discipline as a result of Park's testimony. A month ago Jaworski said about two dozen congressmen might be implicated. Yesterday he termed that figure "purely an estimate," noting that "the poorest appraisal is the one a man makes before he's seen all the evidence."
The committee member and their witness did not seem to agree on one aspect of the hearing: Park's credibility.
Park emerged saying, "I have a feeling the members were satisfied . . . that I told them everything."
But some committee members, who asked not to be identified, expressed skepticism about Park's veracity. "You can only believe that man so far," one member said. Another, asked if he believed Park's testimony, grimanced and said, "Who could?"
Park, a businessman and socialite here until he left the United States inlate 1976, will testify next week in closed session before the Senate Ethics Committee, which is probing senators' involvement in the influence-bying effort. He is then sheduled to testify at the criminal trial of former Rep. Richard Hanna (D-Calif.), who was indicated on charges he conspired with Park to further the South Korean scheme.
The House committee said yesterday it might ask for one more day with Park in closed session if it finds questions remaining after a review of his testimony to date. Then the committee plans to question him about the Korean affair in an session, probably in late spring.
Members of the House committee have been careful not to reveal much of the substance of Park's confidential testimony. But Park himself, in daily briefings for waiting reporters, has provided a general picture of the proceedings.
The questioning was a precise and of ten tough, he said: "Mr. Jaworski . . . I really think put me through the mill, as the American old saying goes."
Earlier this week, Park told the daily "press conference" he said testified that he never made payments to House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass) or to O'Neill predecessor, former Rep. Carl Albert (D-Okla.).
O'Neill has said that he attended some Park's parties and received gifts there, had been no public allegation that he or Albert received any payments from Park.
Jaworski reiterated yesterday that there are additional Koran witnesses the House committee wants to question, including Kim Dong Jo, a former ambassador to the United States.
South Korea has spurned the request for testimony by Kim, who now holds a senior position in the Seoul government. But Jaworski said he is "on the optimistic side" about Kim's availability.