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Reagan ‘Interested in Facts’ from North, Spokesman Says

United Press International

President Reagan “is interested in getting the facts out” and hearing what Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who was fired from his national security staff as a result of the Iran- contra scandal, has to say, a White House spokesman said today.

On the eve of North’s first public appearance before the joint investigating committees, Marlin Fitzwater said: “We have no idea what he is going to say. We assume he’ll tell the truth and the truth will be helpful.

“The President is interested in getting the facts out and hearing the other side of the story.

“We have no idea what he is going to say.”

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Tuesday’s session, beginning the eighth week of Iran-contra hearings, will be carried live on the major television networks starting at 6 a.m. PDT.

Fitzwater said there has been no personal contact between Reagan and North since Nov. 25, when the President fired the National Security Council deputy and later that day praised him in a telephone call as a “national hero.”

But North’s lawyer has requested some documents that were turned over to the committee and then apparently given to him.

So far, Fitzwater said, the White House has turned over 250,000 pages to the committees.

The spokesman said that Reagan will be going about his official business on Tuesday when North begins testifying. He said that the White House does not plan to respond to the testimony.

On Wednesday, North’s second day in the witness chair, Reagan will go to New Britain, Conn., to promote budget reform.

A weekend poll by U.S. News & World Report found that 59% of Americans don’t believe North will tell the complete truth to the committees. And 48% said they believe North is being “set up” to be the fall guy to protect Administration superiors.


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