WASHINGTON — Following are excerpts from testimony Thursday before the congressional committees that are investigating the Iran-contra affair:
(Sen. George J. Mitchell (D-Me.) questioned retired CIA agent Felix Rodriguez about meetings in Washington with Donald P. Gregg, the national security adviser to Vice President George Bush. Gregg took notes during those meetings, in which Rodriguez expressed concern about the Nicaraguan resupply operation, and, in his questioning, Mitchell referred frequently to the handwritten notes introduced as evidence in the hearings.)
\f7 Question: Now it also says in here, in about the sixth sentence, "A swap of weapons for dollars was arranged to get aid for the contras." You did not say that to us here yesterday, and my first question is, did you say that to Mr. Gregg?
Answer: No sir . . . I never said that, sir.
Q: . . . Well, is there anything else in this memorandum, in these notes that Mr. Gregg was taking while you were talking, that you did not say?
A: No, sir. There is nothing in there different.
\o7 (Mitchell pressed Rodriguez, asking him if all but one sentence, in the middle of Gregg's notes, reflected his conversation with Gregg.)
\f7 A: That's correct, you can say that.
Q: So all of the sentences that he wrote before that one sentence accurately reflect what you said, and all of the sentences that he wrote after that one sentence accurately reflect what you said; but that one sentence regarding a swap of weapons for dollars arranged to get aid for the contras, you did not say.
A: No, sir.
\o7 (Mitchell questioned Rodriguez about his statement that he had been unaware at the time of his meetings with Gregg of any swap of weapons for dollars to get aid to the contras\f7 , \o7 asking him when he first learned of such a swap.)
\f7 A: Through the press, sir. When it came out in the press.
\o7 (Following are excerpts from testimony of Lewis A. Tambs, former U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, in response to questions by House deputy counsel Mark Belnick.)
\f7 Q: . . . In early July, 1985 . . . did you have a conversation with Col. (Oliver L.) North in which he asked you to undertake a certain assignment in your new ambassadorial position? . . .
A: Col. North asked me to go down and open up the southern front. . . . We would encourage the (Nicaraguan) freedom fighters who were basically in Costa Rica to fight (in Nicaragua). . . .
Q: That's not a typical ambassadorial function, is it? Opening military fronts?
A: Well, you must understand that ambassadors have a very, very broad mission. One of them, of course, is to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. . . .
Q: Didn't the instruction coming from North seem a bit odd to you?
A: Well, not really. . . . Mr. North was working for the National Security Council, and obviously my assumption was that any instruction he gave me came from, obviously, his superiors. . . .
Q: Didn't you consider that this position was in some conflict with the Boland amendment, then in force?
A: . . . My knowledge of the Boland amendment was very limited. . . .
\o7 (Tambs said he met with then-CIA Director William J. Casey in July, 1986\f7 .\o7 )
\f7 Q: Was it your understanding . . . that Director Casey was already familiar with the southern front project and the airstrip project (in Costa Rica, used to supply the contras)?
\o7 (In response to questions by Sen. Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.), Tambs confirmed that he had said in a recent newspaper story: "Now the people who gave us the orders are trying to paint us as running amok. It's insane\f7 . \o7 . . . I'm terribly afraid they may now have forgotten giving that approval. These guys are trying to save their jobs. . . . It is absolutely outrageous to fry lower-level officers who were carrying out their orders." Rudman noted that the superiors referred to by Tambs were North, Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams and the chief of the CIA Central America Task Force.)
\f7 Q: . . . Something had to happen over a several-month period to cause you to give that interview and make what I believe to be very accurate statements. . . . Did you feel you were being kind of hung out to dry?
A: No. The fact is that, as ambassador, I am responsible or was responsible. What I find to be disconcerting, to put it mildly, is to see officers who were carrying out what they believed to be orders from their legitimate superiors now, in effect, seeing their careers sacrificed. And I'm referring specifically to the senior CIA person in Costa Rica. . . .
Q: . . . When the depositions of certain people you've referred to become public as to what they specifically said was their knowledge, and what they did and who they told, I think that you will probably burn up. . . . Your testimony, which I think is absolutely truthful, is in absolute conflict with other testimony this committee will have. . . .
\o7 (Sen. Howell Heflin \f7 (\o7 D-Ala.\f7 )\o7 asked Tambs if his immediate boss, Abrams, knew that Tambs' mission was to create a southern front.)
\f7 A: The only evidence I have, sir, is that when, as I recall it, in Panama, at the chief of missions' meeting in early September, 1985, we touched upon the matter. . . . It was basically one of those hallway affairs because there seemed to be a Cecil B. De Mille cast of thousands, but it was obvious to me, at least as I understood it, that he knew as much about it as I did.