Guy W. Fiske, former deputy secretary of commerce, said yesterday he did not "actively or aggressively seek employment with Comsat" despite the notes of a Comsat representative which appear to show Fiske seeking the firm's presidency through calls and meetings over a period of months.
Speaking through his lawyer, Fiske said he "refuses to be held responsible for what the recruiter put in his notes . . . "
Fiske resigned May 14 after disclosures that he had discussed a possible job with Comsat officials at the same time he was coordinating debate at the Commerce Department on a Comsat proposal to sell the nation's land and weather satellites to a private company. Comsat so far is the only company to propose buying the satellites.
Earlier this month Fiske told the House subcommittee on natural resources, which is investigating the satellite sale, that he had only one meeting with a Comsat official, Comsat President Joseph V. Charyk, while he was second in command at Commerce. He called the meeting a "mistake" and said he was not actively seeking a job.
But subcommittee Chairman James H. Scheuer (D-N.Y.) told the Justice Department this week that the notes of an executive recruiter hired by Comsat--R. Blair Murphy, of Spencer Stuart and Associates--show that Fiske was seeking a Comsat position when he became deputy secretary in June, 1982, and continued to express interest in the job until March, 1983.
Among the notations:
* On June 30, 1982, Fiske is quoted as telling Murphy he wanted Comsat's "thoughts on responsibilities, contract and compensation levels".
* On Sept. 17, 1982, Fiske is quoted as saying "I am interested" in the Comsat job and "want presidency, not exec V.P." Murphy's notes include remarks about putting satellites into the private sector and have the notation: "What do they want me to do initially--satellite business? . . . I am aware--conflict".
* A Dec. 28, 1982, note states that Fiske "has seen Joe C. on business--Landsat going public . . . Comsat is logical one."
* On Jan. 20, Fiske is quoted as saying, "I want the Comsat job . . . want to plan reentering the private sector."
* On March 7, 1983, Comsat's Charyk is quoted as saying he is "concerned about Fiske's activities in recent months . . . regarding privatization of government systems . . . he has taken an aggressive position."
The Justice Department has begun an investigation of Fiske's dealings with Comsat. Two key issues are whether Fiske actively sought employment at Comsat and whether he influenced policy decisions on the satellite sale in favor of Comsat.
Fiske said through his lawyer yesterday that there "were no conversations with Charyk, directly or indirectly about the commercialization of the satellites."
Fiske disputed a statement by Scheuer, in a letter Monday to Attorney General William French Smith, that the Murphy notes and other documents obtained by his subcommittee carry "a strong presumption" that Fiske was involved in "activities which constitute a violation" of criminal conflict-of-interest laws. Fiske also denied a statement by Scheuer that Fiske discussed the satellite issue separately with Charyk and Murphy "in a triangular fashion."
Fiske stands by an earlier statement that his talks with Comsat "never reached the point of actual negotiations . . . and at no time were any issues relating to the satellites discussed in the employment context," according to Fiske's lawyer.