Secretary of State George P. Shultz made these points in his testimony yesterday.
ON BEING CUT OUT OF DECISIONS
Shultz, who opposed selling arms to the Iranians, said the president's national security staff repeatedly cut him and the State Department out of crucial decisions affecting the Iran arms sales and secret support for the contras. He testified that while he was attempting to regain control of the Iran policy, he found that CIA Director William J. Casey had gone to President Reagan behind his back to try to maintain a policy role for the CIA in secret dealings with "the second channel" of Iranian officials. Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), a member of the Senate investigating committee, said the struggle contained "elements of an internal coup."
ON THE 'BATTLE ROYAL'
Shultz engaged in a "battle royal" in an effort to persuade Reagan to get the facts out and end misleading statements about the secret sale of arms to Iran. In a meeting with Reagan the day after the president's news conference last Nov. 19 on the Iran affair, Shultz testified, he reviewed what he considered to be Reagan's misstatements but felt he "didn't make a dent on him."
ON WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID
Shultz's testimony and notes made public yesterday appear to conflict with and undermine public statements Reagan has made about the sales of arms to Iran. Shultz's notes of a private discussion with Reagan indicate that the president knew of the November 1985 shipment of arms to Iran. Reagan has repeatedly denied this. And Shultz portrayed the president as the active force behind the sale of arms to Iran from the early days until well after the controversy exploded last November.
Shultz also described the president as gripped by frustration over the Americans held hostage in Lebanon and quoted Reagan as saying on Dec. 7, 1985, when legal questions were raised about the arms sales, "Well, the American people will never forgive me if I fail to get these hostages out over this legal question."
ON THE CANDOR OF THE WITNESS
Unlike some witnesses who preceded him, Shultz gave no impression during his solemn, blunt testimony of being unable to remember crucial events. He appeared before the committees with no lawyers at his side and no prepared opening statement.