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McFarlane Says Reagan Called, Praised Hearing

May 14, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — President Reagan telephoned Robert C. McFarlane two nights ago to voice support and to say the Iran- contra hearings have shed more light on the foreign policy fiasco than any previous effort, his former national security adviser said today.

McFarlane was finishing four days of sometimes-intense congressional questioning about the worst scandal of the Reagan presidency.

In answering a question from Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.) about whether he had talked to Reagan, the witness paused and said he had had two phone calls.

"The first one was purely a gracious gesture on the part of the President after I had made a public comment about having erred and feeling responsible, that he didn't feel that way, that h1696621157was just an expression of generosity," McFarlane said.

"The second was two nights ago when he called to say he had watched the hearings and he had thought that they shed more light on this issue than all of the previous efforts put together."

Call to Hospital

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said the first call was Feb. 13, while McFarlane was recovering at Bethesda Naval Hospital from a suicide attempt. He said Reagan called McFarlane at 1:49 p.m. and spoke with him for three minutes, "mainly to wish him a good recovery."

Tuesday night's previously undisclosed call occurred at 7:31 p.m. Fitzwater said Reagan spoke to McFarlane for two minutes "just to say he was doing a good job with his testimony."

At another point in his testimony today, McFarlane also said the President often said that the United States had a long tradition of providing assistance to "freedom fighters."

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