Excerpts from the exchange yesterday between House Majority Leader Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) and former national security adviser John M. Poindexter. Foley:

"You did explain, in the general debriefing of your trip, that the plans were being made to develop an airstrip {for contra resupply} in Costa Rica? You did tell the president this?"

Poindexter:

". . . I believe all we discussed was that the Costa Rican government was being cooperative in terms of -- of letting private individuals establish an airstrip . . . . "

Foley:

"Did you tell the president that the United States government, through Ambassador {Lewis A.} Tambs, was active in obtaining the cooperation of the Costa Rican government?"

Poindexter:

"I don't recall going into that . . . . Seldom do we get into the details of who's doing what. The -- the real thing that's important to a president . . . is the outcome . . . . "

Foley:

"Well, my question, sir, was what you told him at the time . . . and what he knew then."

Poindexter:

"I've given you the detail that I can recall."

Foley:

". . . Was it your intention . . . simply not to go into what you {considered} unnecessary detail in the briefing of the president? Or was it your intention to protect the president from knowledge about the degree to which the United States government was involved, through Ambassador Tambs and others, in the permission to build the field in Costa Rica and the plans to construct it with U.S. government assistance?"

Poindexter:

"Mr. Foley, my intention was to exclude what I considered an extraneous detail."

Foley:

"Did you tell the president that it was {Lt. Oliver L.} North who had requested {retired Air Force major} general {Richard V.} Secord to construct the airstrip, do you recall?"

Poindexter:

"I don't believe that I covered that detail."