Following are excerpts from a statement by Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), chairman of the House Iran-contra investigating committee, at the conclusion of yesterday's testimony by former national security adviser John M. Poindexter:Adm. Poindexter, I want to say that we have indeed appreciated your testimony. I've worked with you, I think, for about five years. I consider you to be honorable and able, and certainly dedicated to this country and, in all of my experience at all times, a gentlemen. . . .

Now, your comments about secrecy in government, or "compartmentation," as you put it, concerned me as it concerns my colleagues a great deal.

You have testified that you intentionally withheld information from the president that denied him the opportunity to make probably the most fateful decision of his presidency: whether to divert the funds from the Iranian arms sales to aid the contras. You said your objective was to withhold information from the Congress, apparently, so far as I understood the testimony, without direction or authority to do so.

As many have mentioned, you destroyed the Dec. 5, 1985 finding. You apparently intended to have original documents relating to the contras either altered or removed.

You were unwilling to speak candidly with senior Justice {Department} and CIA officials about the Hawk missile shipments to Iran and you kept the statements for the secretaries of state and defense uninformed about important initiatives in their areas of responsibility.

Now all of us recognize the need for secrecy in the conduct of government. This member has been privileged to receive, I believe, the highest secrets of our government. And I am quite sympathetic to your pleas that secrecy is often needed and too often violated.

Even so, I believe that, in this instance, we have had testimony about excessive secrecy that has had serious consequences for the decision-making processes of government.

All of us who work within our system of government, sometimes feel impatience with its painstaking procedures. All of us disagree from time to time with the decisions reached.

Yet, your comment about Congress, and I quote it directly, "I simply did not want any outside interference," reflects an attitude which makes, in my judgment at least, our constitutional system of checks and balances unworkable. Instead of bringing each agency dealing with foreign policy into the process, you've cut those agencies out of the process. You told the committees, "I firmly believe in very tight compartmentation."

You compartmentalized not only the president's senior advisers, but in effect, you locked the president himself out of the process.

You began your testimony by saying that the function of a national security adviser is to present options and to advise the president. Yet, you told the committees, "The buck stops here with me." That is not where the buck is supposed to stop. You wanted to deflect blame from the president, but that is another way of saying that that is a way to deflect responsibility from the president. And that should not be done in our system of government.

You testified that diverting funds to the contras was a detail, a matter of implementation of the president's policies. And you felt that you had the authority to approve it. Yet, this was a major foreign policy initiative, as subsequent events have shown, with very far-reaching ramifications. And this member, at least, wonders what else could be done in the president's name, if this is mere implementation of policy.

As my colleague, Mr. {Dick} Cheney {(R-Wyo.)} said yesterday, the secret methods you chose to determine and to implement policy were also self-defeating. Both Mr. {Robert C.} McFarlane and Lt. Col. {Oliver L.} North have acknowledged to these committees that it would have been better to continue the public debate to seek contra funding.

Both the contra resupply effort and the Iran initiative were highly controversial. Decisions were made by only a few people. Many experts in the government were not consulted who should have been. Members of Congress were not informed. Contacts with high officials did not take place. Information was compartmentalized. Decisions were made in secret, and discussion about them was limited.

May I suggest to you, sir, that this approach did not and will not work. You cannot gain and sustain the support of the Congress of the United States and the American people for significant foreign policy decisions when they are uninformed. Secret means employed on behalf of the policy undermined its success, and when revealed, in my judgment, contributed to its failure.

Now, beyond that, excessive secrecy led to disarray in the process of government.

That December 5th finding that has been so much talked about is a case study of excessive secrecy and how not to make policy in a covert operation. You had the president sign a finding that, by your own admission, was prepared before there had been thorough discussion of the issue, that was not representative of the total thinking on the subject, that was retroactive, that was stuck in a drawer for nearly a year without being shown to anyone, was forgotten by you and by the president. And nearly a year later, when the operation began to unravel, you ripped it up, because you thought it was politically embarrassing, and put it into the burn bag.

As I understand your testimony, there was significant disarray in other aspects of these events. You, Mr. McFarlane and Lt. Col. North each had a different interpretation of the Boland Amendment. You said that it applied to executive branch agencies and not to the National Security Council. But you did not check with the White House counsel or the attorney general. Mr. McFarlane stated that the Boland Amendment did not apply to the NSC staff. Lt. Col. North said that it did not apply to the president, or anyone directly working for the president. And none of these interpretations were ever conveyed to the Congress, until very recently.

Lt. Col. North testified that he forwarded five memos to you regarding the diversion issue. It's not clear to me that you recall receiving any of them at the time. Lt. Col. North testified that {late CIA} director {William J.} Casey sought to create an off-the-shelf, self-sustaining, stand-alone entity to conduct covert operations. But you said you had no knowledge of that entity, and these discrepancies, so far as this or these committees are concerned, remain unresolved.

Probably more important, secrecy contributed to disarray in the Oval Office. The president apparently did not know that you were making some of the most important foreign policy decisions of his presidency.

You have testified, "I was convinced that the president would, in the end, think the diversion was a good idea." Yet the president has stated that he would not have approved the diversion.

Excessive secrecy placed the president in an untenable position and caused him to make false and contradictory public statements. Let me cite some of them.

On November 6th, 1986, the president said, "The speculation, the commenting and all on a story that came out of the Middle East has no foundation."

A week later, the president said, "We did not -- repeat -- we did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages."

But on March the 4th, the president said, "A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not."

Turning to the solicitation of private aid for the contras, the president said on May 5th, "I don't know how that money was to be used, and I have no knowledge that there was ever any solicitation by our people with these people."

But on May 15, the president altered his view. He said, "As a matter of fact I was definitely involved in the decisions about support to the freedom fighters. It was my idea to begin with."

May I suggest that the president was unaware of some important actions taken by his staff, and, therefore, he misspoke. Because he lacked information, the president inflicted serious and repeated political wounds upon himself. Polls continue to indicate that a majority of the American people still feel that the president, despite his statements to the contrary, did know that money from the Iran arms sales was channeled to the contras.

Let me finish, admiral. Two policies brought us here -- the arms sales to Iran and the diversion of funds from those sales to the contras. The first began with a document the president forgot and you considered inoperative. The second began without the president's knowledge.

The president created the environment in the White House in which you and Lt. Col. North operated. He cared passionately about freeing the hostages and aiding the Contras. He gave you broad authority to carry out those purposes. Apparently, he did not spell out how you were to achieve those goals. You believed that it was left to you and to Lt. Col. North to make key decisions.

But the president cannot delegate such authority. No one can ask you or expect you to take responsibility for the president's decisions. Those are his and his alone. If the president did not know what you did, he should have known. Given the consequences of the president not knowing, it was incumbent on those who did to keep him informed.

Your testimony concerning the processes of government has been most disturbing. I think it makes the work of these committees very difficult indeed. And we turn at the latter part of this week to the testimony of officials more senior to you, who apparently knew as little about some of these events as did the president.