WASHINGTON — President Reagan, choosing to endure a storm of criticism rather than abandon hope, is pursuing secret contacts with Iran to free two American hostages in Lebanon, Administration officials said today, and hopes for their release "within a week or so."
Reagan, departing a ceremony in the Rose Garden today honoring the New York Mets as the World Series champions, was asked by a reporter if he would "give Congress the facts about Iran or are you going to stonewall like the Democrats charge?"
The President replied, "I never talk about a no-hitter until it's over." He did not elaborate.
Release Could Come Soon
One Administration official, speaking anonymously, said the decision to press on with the controversial Iranian connection, exposed by elements of the Iranian government, was rooted in a belief that the hostages could be set free "in another week or so."
At the same time, however, some Administration officials expressed concern that exposure of the covert overtures to Iran--involving swaps of military hardware for the hostages--had jeopardized chances for further progress.