Shultz, 16 Others at State Dept. Subpoenaed for North’s Defense

Times Staff Writer

Attorneys for former White House aide Oliver L. North have subpoenaed Secretary of State George P. Shultz and 16 other high-ranking State Department officials to testify at North’s trial on conspiracy charges in the Iran-Contra scandal, the department said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, sources said, the defense also has sent subpoenas to former Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III and former Assistant Atty. Gen. Charles J. Cooper, who together conducted the Reagan Administration’s first inquiry into allegations that U.S. weapons were sold to Iran and the proceeds were used to support rebel forces in Nicaragua. Former White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan and former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger also have been subpoenaed, the sources said.

State Department officials, in acknowledging receipt of the subpoenas, said there was no plan to contest them. The White House disclosed last week that North has subpoenaed President Reagan and President-elect George Bush, and said those subpoenas would be contested on grounds that neither should be compelled to testify because of their high offices.

Courts historically have been reluctant to require current or former presidents to testify if they objected. Bush will be President by Jan. 31, when North’s trial is to begin.


Phyllis Oakley at the State Department said: “The situation is quite different here.” She said all current and former department officials subpoenaed by North can be expected to testify “if their appearances are determined to be necessary by (the lawyers in the case) and the court.” In addition, she said, some of the same officials will appear early in the trial as prosecution witnesses.

North’s lawyers also have subpoenaed officials of the Central Intelligence Agency, it was learned, but Bill Baker of the CIA would not say who they are or how many have been summoned. He did say that “subpoenas can always be quashed.”

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell, who will preside at the trial, indicated he would not reconsider his order that references to specific countries must remain in documents to be introduced by independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh. Reagan Administration analysts had asked that the nations be identified only by code letters, but Gesell turned down their request last month.

“To reopen the merits of these rulings in the middle of this process . . . will simply create further uncertainties and delay,” Gesell said.

In another development, a federal appeals court temporarily barred Walsh from obtaining a 162-page summary of North’s defense, which North’s attorneys had submitted to Gesell.