Europe Reacts to Report: Reagan ‘Guilty but Asleep’

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From Associated Press

The initial reaction in Europe today was that the Tower Commission report dealt a body blow to the Reagan presidency, with one British newspaper saying the verdict on President Reagan was found to be “guilty but asleep.”

The U.S. report harshly criticized Reagan’s direction of national security aides in connection with the Iran- contra case. (Stories, Page 10.)

The liberal British daily The Guardian said: “The verdict is a novel one. Guilty, but asleep. Ronald Reagan (according to Tower) was no weaver of Watergate-style plots. Nor did he knowingly participate in a cover-up. No: the President had nil grasp of any of the detail of the Iran arms debacle. He couldn’t tell a plot from a hole in the ground.”

Another British newspaper, The Independent, said Reagan’s predicament “must be nearly intolerable. . . . Most Americans, while still retaining feelings of affection for their President, regard him as either senile or a liar. America’s allies stand by, appalled and fascinated in equal measure.”


The Soviet government newspaper Izvestia said the Tower report lacks conclusions on the precise role in the affair of Reagan and top White House officials.

The commission “admitted itself that it had only touched the tip of the iceberg” in investigating the sales, the paper said in a report from Washington. It said the report “spread the blame in such a way that it would not touch the President.”

In Belgium, the independent Brussels newspaper Le Soir wrote: “If Reagan acts quickly . . . if he publicly accepts the lesson, his last two years in the White House maybe won’t be the real hell for which even his aides seemed to prepare.”

The Bonn government said the report raised questions about a West German role in shipping U.S. missiles to Iran and demanded an explanation.