Excerpts from the interchange yesterday between chief counsel for the House John W. Nields Jr., former national security adviser John M. Poindexter and Senate select committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye.

Nields:

"I take it that the final version, the most -- the last version that was ever done of these chronologies that you just testified about, states two things . . . . "

Poindexter:

"I think it is inaccurate to describe that chronology as the final version. There really never was a final version. It is the last one that was prepared {before Lt.} Col. North and I left the White House . . . . "

Nields:

"My question to you is did you authorize Col. North to {make false statements to Congress about activities in support of the contras}?"

Poindexter:

"I did not authorize him to make false statements . . . . I thought that Col. North would withhold information. There was no doubt about that in my mind."

Poindexter:

"I didn't provide any guidance to Col. North on how to answer the questions . . . . "

Nields:

"Was he authorized to disclose . . . that the contras had received funding from the arms sales to Iran?"

Poindexter:

"He should have withheld that information." A later exchange with Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii):

Inouye:

"We sit here and listen to your testimony {Poindexter}, in which you tell us that you have either withheld information from, or misled, or misinformed the Congress of the United States, that you have withheld information from the president, that you have either withheld information from or misled or misinformed the highest ranking Cabinet members of the United States . . . . I don't think it is improper for any member of this panel to characterize that testimony as being incredible, mindboggling, chilling . . . . "

Poindexter:

"Chairman Inouye, I don't think it is fair to say that I misinformed Congress or other Cabinet officers. I haven't testified to that. I've testified that I withheld information from Congress. And with regard to the Cabinet officers, I didn't withhold anything from them that they didn't want withheld from them . . . . "

Inouye:

"Admiral, I'm not an expert on semantics. I will accept your correction, sir."