Robert Genzman, deputy counsel for the House committee, questioned Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger.

From the time of these arms transfers to the present, has the Defense Department determined whether these arms transfers have had any impact on the Iran-Iraq war?

I've never been advised that they had any impact on it, no. The Iran-Iraq war is a basically stalemated ground situation. The Iraqis have very complete air superiority, and we've never had any indications that the Hawk defenses of the Iranians have been particularly effective against the {Iraqi} air. And there hasn't been any appreciable change in the ground situation for many months. One side will move forward and take a couple of hills or some high ground, and the other side will push them off, and it's gone back and forth like that. There's been very little change in the last couple of years. It's essentially a kind of a World War I situation.

Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.) next questioned Weinberger.

. . . Let me ask a little bit about the policy that was undertaken and your attitude towards that policy. I take it that . . . your opposition to this policy was opposition to the whole idea, not just . . . opposition to the arms sales?

Oh yes. I thought it, first of all, was not possible to get a better relationship with Iran with the Iranian government in its present hands. I didn't think there was anybody we could deal with that was not virulently anti-American. And I just didn't think it would work, and I was, as you say, against the whole policy.

. . . But let me ask you why you drew that conclusion. I mean, I take it that the opposition of other people, in principal the secretary of state . . . . He was not opposed to the new initiatives with the Iranian government. He said he opposed the idea of selling arms in order to further that initiative, but -- and that seems to be the general reaction of most people . . . that the idea, itself . . . was not a bad idea, but that the particulars of it, namely selling arms as part of that, was wrong.

But you're saying you . . . just flat out did not think that the idea of pursuing any kind of relationship with a moderate element in Iran, that that was not a --

I didn't think it was a good idea. I didn't think it was possible to do it. I did not think and do not think there's any moderate element in Iran that is still alive, and I think that it is not, was not, a good idea in any sense of the term. I would like to have a relationship with a . . . rational government in Iran . . . because I think geographically and strategically that's a very useful thing. But I was, as you say, against the whole idea.