WASHINGTON (Jul. 26)
Secretary of State George Shultz stressed Friday that Israel cannot be blamed for the Reagan Administration’s decision to sell arms to Iran.
“We have to take responsibilities for our own action,” Shultz said as he ended two days of testimony before the Senate-House committees investigating the Iran/Contra affair.
His remarks came as Sen. James McClure (R. Idaho) noted that Shultz has testified before other committees that the interests of the United States and Israel were not always the same in seeking the opening to Iran.
McClure has frequently extracted from witnesses that it was Israel that first suggested to the U.S. the initiative to Iran and sought to continue it when the U.S. was reluctant, although he stressed Israel had the “legitimate” right to pursue its national interest.
Shultz, who testified about his opposition to the sale of arms to Iran, explained his position on the relationship with Israel. “As everybody knows, I am a very warm supporter of a strong relationship with Israel,” Shultz said. “I’ve worked on that very hard. However, I think we have to recognize that while our interests and Israel’s interests are parallel in many respects, they are not always exactly the same. We have to be smart enough to see that. They have legitimate interests which are not necessarily exactly our interests and we have to recognize that fact.
“When it comes to undertaking something by the United States government, then we have to recognize also, however, that we’re big boys and we have to take responsibility for whatever it is we do. We can’t say that somebody else suggested it to us, therefore it’s their fault.”