30 May 96 Hearing
House International Relations Committee
WASHINGTON FILE, EUROPEAN EDITION
FRIDAY, MAY 31, 1996
TRANSCRIPT: HIRC HEARING ON IRANIAN/BOSNIA ARMS MAY
(Witnesses: Ambs. Charles Redman & Peter Galbraith)
(Word count total: 23,750)
Washington -- U.S. Ambassador to
Germany Charles Redman and U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter
Galbraith testified May 30 before the House International
Relations Committee regarding 1994 Iranian arms shipments to
Bosnian government military forces. At the time of these
shipments, the Bosnians were in danger of being overwhelmed by
Serbian forces armed with tanks and other heavy weapons the
Bosnians could not counter.
Ambassador Galbraith said he
knew Croatian authorities would interpret his statement that he
had no instructions regarding the transshipment of arms from Iran
and other countries through Croatia to beleaguered Bosnian forces
as meaning that the United States would not object to the
Both ambassadors noted at that time that Iran had
already been supplying arms to the Bosnians since
Ambassador Redman said: "In retrospect, I believe
that the decision not to oppose the Croatian initiative was
crucial to all that followed in the Balkans." He said that after
the Serbs overran Gorazde, "the Bosnian government was in dire
straits." He contended that if the United States had blocked the
Iranian arms supply initiative, "it very likely would have doomed
the (Croat-Muslim) Federation and exacerbated an already
desperate military situation for the Bosnians.
he said, "the Bosnian armed forces held on and began to
counterattack. The Federation survived, UNPROFOR remained in
place, helping the Bosnians through another difficult winter, and
we bought time for a combination of American diplomacy, NATO air
power and Croatian and Bosnian military victories, to reach an
historic peace agreement in Dayton."
Ambassador Galbraith, "it was the war that created the
opportunities for the Iranians and other undesirables to come
into Bosnia. In fact, there were very serious terrorist threats
to Americans, including to the mission for which I am
responsible, well before this -- the April 1994 discussions that
we were talking about, and those threats were created because of
"Paradoxically," he said, "and I say this --
paradoxically, or perversely, I should say -- perversely, from
an Iranian perspective, the decision to permit the transit of
arms through Croatia to Bosnia had the unintended, from the
Iranian point of view, but nonetheless the very real effect of
diminishing the Iranian influence. Why? Because it enabled the
Bosnians to defend themselves, to survive, and then, in
conjunction with the Croatians, to roll back some of the Serb
gains, thus paving the way to the Dayton agreement."
hearing was called to order by Representative Benjamin Gilman,
the committee chairman.
Following is an unofficial
transcript, obtained from the Legi-Slate data base, of the May
This hearing will come to order. Visitors please take their
seats. In the interests of time, with the cooperation of our
members, I plan to recognize only the minority ranking -- ranking
minority member, Mr. (Lee) Hamilton, for an opening statement,
in addition to my own.
This is the committee's second in
a series of hearings on United States policy towards Bosnia. The
administration has stated in reports as recent as April 30th that
Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, with a
particular animus towards Americans overseas.
of our hearing today is to provide the Congress and the American
people with the fullest possible understanding of how and why the
administration permitted Iran to establish a pipeline of arms to
Bosnia in early 1994. The administration took this position
without informing the Congress, the American people or our
allies. The administration's action circumvented an
international arms embargo that it was pledged to uphold. It
also enabled Iran to establish a substantial beachhead in the
Hopefully our hearing today will lay some
groundwork for the select subcommittee that has been established
to review this matter and chaired by Congressman Henry Hyde.
While the select committee will focus on the Iranian arms
shipments, our full committee will continue its oversight
responsibilities regarding overall U.S. policy in Bosnia and
implementation of the Dayton peace plan. Of particular concern
are the elections that are scheduled to take place in September
which require certain prior steps and undertakings by the
parties. We plan to hold a hearing early next month on this
matter and have invited Deputy Secretary of State Talbott to
It is our intention to day to conduct this as an
open hearing to the fullest extent possible. However, at some
point the committee may be compelled to go into a closed session
because of national security considerations raised by the
witnesses. To facilitate that, I will entertain a motion when
a quorum is present that provides for the committee to go into
closed session at the determination of the chairman after
consultation with the ranking minority member or his
Before turning to our witnesses, I am going to
ask our ranking minority Mr. Hamilton if he has an opening
statement. Mr. Hamilton.
REPRESENTATIVE HAMILTON: Thank
you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to join you in welcoming not
only two very distinguished Americans to the committee, two
distinguished ambassadors, but also two ambassadors and Americans
who have worked tirelessly to bring peace to the former
Chuck Redman has served several Republican and
Democratic presidents with distinction, served for nearly a year
as the special envoy to the former Yugoslavia. Peter Galbraith
served for many years with distinction on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee staff, and in 1993 became the first U.S.
ambassador to Croatia. I commend both ambassadors for their
efforts on behalf of peace. And I appreciate their willingness
to appear today. They have important assignments and
responsibilities to which I know each must return.
looking forward to the testimony from our distinguished witnesses
in both the open and the closed sessions.
I do have two
reservations about the hearing.
First, the House voted
three weeks ago to authorize nearly a million dollars to
establish a select committee of this committee to investigate
arms deliveries to Bosnia. It's my understanding that the select
subcommittee was necessary because the full committee was too
busy to undertake the inquiry. Today we find ourselves in a
hearing held by the full committee and our witnesses are two of
the key players in the deliberations of that select subcommittee.
These two witnesses almost certainly will be called in several
weeks to give the same testimony before the select subcommittee.
They'll have to fly back from Europe. I wonder whether the work
of the full committee and the select subcommittee will overlap,
what other witnesses does the full committee plan to call, who
is conducting the inquiry, the full committee or the select
My second reservation concerns the focus of
the committee's inquiry. This hearing will focus on the past,
a set of events that occurred in Bosnia two years ago. Events
of '94 of course are not irrelevant. I know that many members
are interested in the events of '94, and so am I. But I wonder,
considering the critical questions we face in Bosnia in the weeks
ahead, whether we should be focusing today on the past. Eighteen
thousand U.S. troops are stationed in Bosnia today. My
preference would be to focus on the key issues of the next
several months, specifically the following areas that deserve our
urgent attention -- the safe return of our troops, the elections
in Bosnia scheduled for the fall, the freedom of movement for all
Bosnians, and the return of refugees, civilian reconstruction,
the build-down arms reduction talks among all parties in Bosnia,
the buildup, equip and train program for the Bosnian Federation,
and of course the possible follow-on force for IFOR.
understand that a hearing on Bosnia is scheduled for two weeks
hence by the chairman and that is good. But my sense of Bosnia
today is that the situation there is so complex and the decisions
of the next few weeks especially on the civilian side so
critical, that I believe the full oversight resources of the
committee should be focused on them -- not just a single hearing,
as helpful as that may be. It is better, it seems to me, at this
moment for the committee to be looking forward, not backward.
We should let the select subcommittee do its work and this
committee should focus on the issues of 1996 before
Mr. Chairman, I want as much of this hearing as
possible in open session. I think you do, too. I think we agree
that there are certain issue that can only be handled in closed
session. I hope we will follow the procedure used by the Senate
Intelligence Committee in its recent hearings on this subject and
ask our witnesses to please let us know when the questioning is
getting into areas that can only be adequately addressed in
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: Thank
you, Mr. Hamilton.
I just would like to note that we will
try our best not to overlap with regard to the responsibilities
of the select committee.
I welcome Ambassador Charles
Redman, who currently serves us ably as our United States
ambassador to Germany but has served also as our principal
negotiator on Bosnia in 1994. I also welcome Ambassador Peter
Galbraith, who now serves as our United States ambassador to
Croatia, but also served for a number of years on the staff of
the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations before joining the
Gentlemen, we welcome both of you, and if
you would summarize your opening statements as briefly as
possible, we'll then be able to go on to questions.
like to ask our witnesses to please stand and be sworn
AMBASSADOR REDMAN: Thank you, Mr.
I welcome this opportunity to discuss with you
and your colleagues the situation in the Balkans in spring 1994,
especially the decision neither to oppose nor to approve the
transshipment of third-country arms through Croatia to the
If I might, I would like to set the
context with a very brief description of my activities prior to
the events of April 29th.
GILMAN: If I might interrupt,
Ambassador Redman, do you have a prepared text of your
REDMAN: Yes, I do, sir.
GILMAN: Can that
be given to our clerk to distribute?
Galbraith, do you have the same?
(No audible response.)
Thank you, Ambassador.
If the clerks would
duplicate the remarks and distribute them to the
Please continue, Mr. Ambassador.
So I would like to set the context with a very brief description
of my activities prior to the events of April 29th.
negotiated the Federation agreement in March which ended the war
between the Muslims and the Croats and made possible a new
strategic alliance between the two former enemies. The next step
was to be a territorial proposal which in combination with the
political institutions of the federation would form the basis for
further negotiations with the Bosnian Serbs. I went to Sarajevo
on April 8th where I met with senior Bosnian government officials
to discuss next steps on this territorial
Unfortunately, before that step could be taken,
the Serbs launched a major attack on the Gorazde enclave. As you
know, the Bosnian defenders were overwhelmed by Serb tanks and
artillery, firing at point-blank range into the heart of the
city. The U.N. was willing to authorize only the most limited
use of NATO air power. I remained in Sarajevo throughout the
Gorazde assault, returning to Washington on April 19th.
a result of this Serb aggression, the negotiating process was
back to square one. I left for London on April 24 to join with
Secretary Christopher for talks with key allied ministers, a
meeting which led to the creation of the Contact Group. As the
United States representative, I spent April 26-27 with the
Contact Group in Geneva preparing our common position before
flying from Frankfurt into Sarajevo on April 28th.
meeting with the Bosnian government on April 28 and traveling to
Pale to meet with the Bosnian Serbs on April 29, I flew to Zagreb
on the evening of April 29. I planned to brief Croatian
government officials that evening on the activities of the
Contact Group before departing for Washington early on April
When I arrived in Zagreb, Ambassador Galbraith asked
that I come to his residence before going on to the meeting with
the Croatian officials. He briefed me on the question that had
been posed by the Croatian government officials concerning the
transshipment of arms for the Bosnian government and then placed
a call to Washington to ascertain the response to that question.
The responsible Washington official provided the no-instructions
I spoke to the same official to pass on a short
debriefing on the work of the Contact Group in Sarajevo and Pale,
but did not discuss the arms issue with which I had not been
We then proceeded to our meeting with Croatian
officials, where I provided a full briefing on the purpose of the
newly formed Contact Group and its initial consultations in
Sarajevo. Near the end of the formal meeting, the Croatians
asked as expected if Ambassador Galbraith had an answer to their
question. He used the no-instructions guidance. Still not
completely sure what no instructions was intended to mean, a
senior Croatian official asked me for further clarification as
we walked into the dining room. I replied that the decision was
one for the Croatians themselves to make and that the U.S. did
not want to be put in the position of saying no. That was the
full extent of my one and only exchange on this
After dinner, Ambassador Galbraith and I discussed
how to proceed in informing Washington of the results of the
meeting. We both felt that Croatian intentions were quite clear
and that they would in all likelihood proceed with their plans
to assist the Bosnian government. Because the instructions had
been relayed orally, I suggested that I could provide an oral
debrief in Washington and determine if any other written
follow-up would be necessary.
I returned to Washington on
April 30. I arranged to debrief a senior White House official
on the work of the Contact Group, and used that same meeting to
pass on the report of our conversation with the Croatians. I
noted our expectation that the transshipments would go forward.
The White House official confirmed that he understood that
expectation. He also said that no written reporting was
required. I relayed that message to Ambassador Galbraith on May
I had no further involvement with the issue after
that time. I spent most of May, June, July and August in Europe
in pursuit of Contact Group consultations.
I believe that the decision not to oppose the Croatian initiative
was crucial to all that followed in the Balkans. The Bosnian
government was in dire straits. The Serbs had overrun Gorazde
in the most brutal fashion. The U.N. was not willing to engage
NATO air power, even in the most compelling situation. The
Federation had changed the strategic equation in Bosnia, with the
Croatian initiative one of the first results of that new
alliance. If we had attempted to block that initiative and
succeeded, it very likely would have doomed the Federation and
exacerbated an already desperate military situation for the
Bosnians. Instead, the Bosnian armed forces held on and began
to counterattack. The Federation survived, UNPROFOR remained in
place, helping the Bosnians through another difficult winter, and
we bought time for a combination of American diplomacy, NATO air
power and Croatian and Bosnian military victories, to reach an
historic peace agreement in Dayton.
Thank you, Mr.
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: Thank you, Mr.
At this time, I recognize Mr. Bereuter for a
REPRESENTATIVE BEREUTER: Mr. Chairman, I move
that at the time to be designated by the chairman after
consultation with the ranking Democratic member or his designee,
the committee proceed to meet in closed session and, if required,
on one subsequent day to receive portions of the testimony of
Ambassadors Redman and Galbraith because disclosure of the
testimony or evidence to be considered would endanger the
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: Motion has been
properly made giving the chairman authority to proceed to meet
in closed session.
All in favor, signify in the usual
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: The
motion is carried.
Under the rule, I am informed, we need
a roll call vote.
Would the clerk please call the
CLERK: Mr. Gilman?
CLERK: Mr. Goodling?
CLERK: Mr. Leach?
CLERK: Mr. Roth?
REPRESENTATIVE HYDE: Aye.
REPRESENTATIVE BEREUTER: Aye.
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: Aye.
REPRESENTATIVE BURTON: Aye.
REPRESENTATIVE MEYERS: Aye.
REPRESENTATIVE BALLENGER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Manzullo?
CLERK: Mr. Royce?
CLERK: Mr. King?
CLERK: Mr. Kim?
CLERK: Mr. Brownback?
CLERK: Mr. Funderburk?
CLERK: Mr. Chabot?
CLERK: Mr. Sanford?
CLERK: Mr. Salmon?
CLERK: Mr. Houghton?
CLERK: Mr. Campbell?
CLERK: Mr. Hamilton?
CLERK: Mr. Gejdenson?
CLERK: Mr. Lantos?
CLERK: Mr. Torricelli?
CLERK: Mr. Berman?
CLERK: Mr. Ackerman?
CLERK: Mr. Johnston?
Mr. Chairman, parliamentary inquiry, if I may.
GILMAN: The gentleman will state his parliamentary
JOHNSTON: The motion by Mr. Bereuter, we would
go into closed session at your discretion under national
GILMAN: After discussion with the ranking
minority member, that's correct.
THE CLERK: Mr. Faleomavaega?
CLERK: Mr. Martinez?
CLERK: Mr. Payne?
CLERK: Mr. Andrews?
REPRESENTATIVE ANDREWS: (Off
CLERK: Mr. Menendez?
CLERK: Mr. Brown?
CLERK: Ms. McKinney?
CLERK: Mr. Hastings?
CLERK: Mr. Wynn?
CLERK: Mr. Moran?
CLERK: Mr. Frazer?
CLERK: Mr. Rose?
CLERK: Ms. Danner?
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: The clerk will call the
CLERK: Mr. Goodling?
CLERK: Mr. Leach?
CLERK: Mr. Gallegley?
CLERK: Ms. Ros-Lehtinen?
CLERK: Mr. Brownback?
CLERK: Mr. Funderburk?
CLERK: Mr. Chabot?
CLERK: Mr. Sanford?
CLERK: Mr. Houghton?
CLERK: Mr. Gejdenson?
CLERK: Mr. Torricelli?
CLERK: Mr. Faleomavaega?
CLERK: Mr. Payne?
CLERK: Mr. Andrews?
CLERK: Mr. Moran?
CLERK: Mr. Frazer?
CLERK: Mr. Rose?
REPRESENTATIVE PAYNE: Point of
CLERK: The clerk will call --
REPRESENTATIVE PAYNE: Payne.
CLERK: Mr. Payne?
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: The clerk will report the
CLERK: On this vote there were 28 ayes and zero
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: The motion is
Ambassador Galbraith, you may summarize or put
your full statement in the record as you may deem
AMBASSADOR GALBRAITH: Mr. Chairman, I
appreciate the opportunity to appear before this
Two years ago the Bosnian government asked the
Croatian government to permit the transit through Croatia of
weapons for its beleaguered army. A principal supplier of these
arms would be Iran. The Croatian government asked for our
reaction, the administration decided we would not answer, and I
told the Croatians I had no instructions. The Croatians
understood this response and a subsequent colloquy described to
you by Ambassador Redman to mean that we would -
Ambassador Galbraith, permit me to interrupt. Could you date
that occurrence? What was the date of that?
Well, it was on April 29th, 1994. April 28th and April 29th,
GILMAN: Thank you very much.
Croatians understood this response and a subsequent colloquy
described to you by Ambassador Redman to mean that we would not
object to their role in helping the Bosnians. I believed then,
and even more strongly now, that the administration made the
right decision. Because of the arms, the Bosnians were able to
survive. Eventually, the outside arms, which also came from
countries other than Iran, enabled the Bosnians to redress the
military imbalance with the Serbs, recover some territory, and
thus help pave the way to Dayton.
To reiterate what
Ambassador Redman has already told you, the Bosnian government
and people were in desperate straits at the time the Croatians
posed their question. The Bosnian Serbs, armed with the weapons
of the old Yugoslav army, had seized 70 percent of Bosnia's
territory. The Serbs had brutally cleansed this territory of its
Muslim and Croat population. Already, more than 100,000 people,
overwhelmingly civilians, had been killed. Gorazde, with 40,000
people, was under brutal assault and essentially defenseless.
Equally threatened were the other enclaves, Srebrenica with
30,000 people, Zepa with 16,000 people, Bihac with 160,000 people
and Sarajevo with 320,000 people. To make matters worse, if it
were possible to make them worse, the Muslims and the Croats had
just fought a vicious year-long war over the remaining 30 percent
of Bosnian territory not held by the Serbs.
In the first
diplomatic success of any kind since the start of the Balkan war,
American diplomacy led by Ambassador Redman, and I was proud to
have participated in that effort, had produced a new political
arrangement between Croats and Muslims, the federation of
Bosnia-Hercegovina, and that new political arrangement had ended
the Muslim-Croat war.
The Bosnian people, left unarmed
against the Serb aggressors, had barely survived the winter of
1993-94. Without help, we doubted they could survive another
This then was the context for our
Let me explore for a minute the consequences if
we had said no. Under these circumstances, I think the very
fragile Muslim-Croat federation would have collapsed, as the
Bosnians would have doubted the sincerity of their Croatian
allies. Undefended, I believe the enclaves, including possibly
Sarajevo, would have fallen either to the Serbs or to hunger and
cold or to both. The death toll could have been in the hundreds
I realized that many members of Congress
favored a third alternative, unilaterally lifting the arms
embargo. I will not rehash the familiar and in my view valid
arguments about how such an action would have affected our other
international obligations including the very important sanctions
regime against Serbia and Montenegro or how it would have
affected our relations with our allies.
I do believe a
unilateral lifting of the arms embargo would have provoked the
Bosnian Serbs to move against the essentially undefended
enclaves. I do not believe that any program to train and equip
the Bosnian army could have been in place quickly enough to save
the enclaves. Therefore, the unilateral lifting of the arms
embargo would have forced us to choose between sending in
American combat troops to save the enclaves and to rescue our
allies in the United Nations protection force, or standing aside
as the enclaves fell and our allies in UNPROFOR were attacked.
Neither option was in my view tenable.
Let me reiterate
my belief that our decision was the right decision. This does
not mean it was an easy decision. Iran, one of the principal
suppliers of the arms, is an international menace, sponsoring
terrorism around the world. Potential targets included the
American diplomats in Zagreb, people for whose safety I am
The Iranians and their terrorist
allies were present on the Bosnia-Croatia scene two years before
the April 1994 conversations that are the subject of your
inquiry. It was the war, not the arms pipeline, that gave the
Iranians the opportunity to fish in troubled Balkan waters. It
was the ability of the Bosnians to resist Serbian aggression, a
resistance made possible in part by the arms, that created the
military conditions on the ground that led to Dayton. And it is
the Dayton agreement and the peace itself that is forcing the
Iranians and their allies to leave the area.
answering your questions I would like to make two brief final
First, in spite of the attention now focused on
the arms question, this was only an infinitesimal fraction of
U.S. diplomatic efforts in Croatia. The conversations that
Ambassador Redman and I have described consumed all of three
minutes. The great bulk of my time and that of our embassy was
devoted to the search for peace by building the Muslim-Croat
federation as the lead U.S. negotiator in the C-4 talks aimed at
finding a peaceful settlement between Zagreb and rebel Serbs
based in Knin and as the co-mediator of the Eastern Slavonia
agreement which, when it was signed on November 12th, 1995 not
only set the stage for the peaceful reintegration of the last bit
of Serb-held Croatia, Croatian territory, but also paved the way
Second, some of the issues under discussion
today, including those related to terrorist threats to the
embassy, involved very sensitive intelligence and security
considerations. I hope you will understand if I prefer to
discuss these in closed session.
Also, I am a currently
serving ambassador. Croatian officials expect that conversations
with me will be confidential. In some cases I may not be able
to discuss publicly issues that other officials would feel free
to discuss. Once again, I ask for your
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: Thank you, Mr.
At this time I'd like to interrupt our
proceedings to welcome to our committee the former ranking member
of our Judiciary Committee, a gentleman who served New York State
for many years, former congressman Hamilton Fish. (Applause.)
Congressman Fish is accompanied by his pastor, Reverend Bruster
Beach, who gave the opening prayer today. Reverend Beach, we
To both of our panelists, please explain to
the committee why the administration did not inform the American
people, the Congress, even our allies of its decision to permit
Iran, the world's leading terrorist state, a rogue state, to ship
arms to Bosnia and thus gain a major foothold in the
GALBRAITH: Well --
GALBRAITH: Mr. Chairman, not agreeing with the
premise of your question as to what happened, the particular
exchange with the Croatian officials was a confidential
diplomatic exchange, of which we have very many.
what information might have been provided to the Congress, I
can't speak; I was in Zagreb. But the policy -- the policy, I
think, was well known to everybody who followed the situation.
The policy was that we were not -- that -- was that we were not
objecting to the flow of arms through Croatia to the Bosnians.
It was widely reported in intelligence sources and in media that
this was going on. It was obvious that we were not
I can say, based on my conversations with
European ambassadors in Zagreb, that they, too, knew -- European
ambassadors, including the Russians -- that they, too, knew that
the arms were transiting Croatia to the Bosnians. And to the
best of my knowledge, not one of these countries objected to the
GILMAN: Ambassador Galbraith, did
you consult with any of the ambassadors in the area in which you
were serving as to whether or not they
GALBRAITH: Yes, I did.
GILMAN: And you
-- what was your question to them?
GALBRAITH: We had a
discussion. I asked them if they had objected, and none of them
said they had.
GILMAN: And --
GALBRAITH: And the
Croatian government has also told me that they never received any
objections from the European countries.
GILMAN: If they
had objected to what specifically?
Croatia's role as a transit country for arms to the Bosnian
GILMAN: From Iran?
Iran and from other countries. It was certainly known that Iran
was one of the countries that was providing the
GILMAN: And which ambassadors did you consult
GALBRAITH: That goes to the nature of confidential
diplomatic exchanges. I'd be happy to tell you in closed session
or answer you in writing.
GILMAN: Would you submit that
answer in writing -- the number of ambassadors and the countries
that they represented that you consulted with?
Well, yes, I shall.
GILMAN: Thank you.
Ambassador Redman, would you like to comment on the
REDMAN: Like Ambassador Galbraith, I can really
speak to this best from an overseas perspective, since I spent
nearly this entire period in Europe on the
And I can only say that among my diplomatic
colleagues with whom I was dealing, particularly in the Contact
Group, that this was never an issue of discussion, nor one which
led to expressions of concern.
I could only speculate on
why that might be the case, since it was never overtly addressed.
But I think it was widely recognized in the context of the time
that the embargoes that had been placed against
Serbia-Montenegro, for example, were leaking rather dramatically
and badly, both on the economic front as well as on the front
concerning arms for the Bosnian Serbs. The kind of arms that
apparently were arriving in the hands of the Bosnian government
were not a significant departure from the past -- i.e., they did
not include such things as heavy artillery or tanks; they were
apparently more along the lines of arms and small ammunition.
So again, it didn't seem to be any new threat to the U.N. forces
in any special way.
GILMAN: Was there any conversation
with regard to the specificity of the arms that were going to be
REDMAN: No, sir.
GILMAN: Then how did
you know what sort of arms were being shipped?
That I can only imply through the same kind of intelligence
reporting that was probably available to this committee as
GILMAN: Did the intelligence reports made to you
indicate that these arms were coming from Iran?
I have seen reports that indicated Iran as well as other
GILMAN: Ambassador Galbraith, I have a few
questions about the context within which the Clinton
administration made its decision in April of '94 to acquiesce in
the establishment of an Iranian arms pipeline to
First, is it true that for almost a year prior to
the time that the decision was made that Croat and Muslim forces
in Bosnia were engaged in some pretty vicious fighting against
GALBRAITH: Yes, it is true.
And is it also true that as a result of that fighting, the
government of Croatia had little interest in helping the Muslim
government in Bosnia during the 10 or 12 months prior to April
GILMAN: And in
particular, the government of Croatia was not interested during
that time in doing anything to help increase the military
strength of the Muslim forces in Bosnia, such as facilitating the
delivery of military assistance to the government of Bosnia. Is
GALBRAITH: It had -- it had little interest.
Actually, there was -- arms were flowing through this period and
they were flowing through Croatia, but in much smaller
GILMAN: So is it also true, then, that at least
for the 10 or 12 months prior to April of '94, there were no arms
-- there was no arms pipeline in place from Iran through Croatia
to Bosnia, at least no Croatian government complicity in such a
pipeline? Is that accurate?
GALBRAITH: Not entirely.
There was in fact all through this period, even during the
Muslim-Croat war, there were arms flowing and they were coming
through Croatia. As to the degree of Croatian government
complicity, I can only speculate. But I presume that they knew
about at least some of it.
GILMAN: And where were those
arms coming from?
GALBRAITH: Well, Iran was one of the
countries, and there were other countries.
you were asked by the Croatians on April 28, 1994, whether our
nation would object to Iranian arms passing through Croatia to
Bosnia, they were not asking you whether we had a problem with
something they were already doing, rather, they were asking you
whether we would mind if they started doing something new that
they weren't already doing?
GALBRAITH: Well, aside from
this small trickle, if you will, yes. I mean, the Bosnians had
come to them and asked for help. The request was to permit
Croatian territory to be used for the transit of weapons to the
GILMAN: So in other words, Ambassador
Galbraith, the question wasn't whether we objected to their
continuation of an arms pipeline from Iran, it was whether we
would object to their establishment of such a pipeline. Is that
GALBRAITH: Again, noting that there was already
-- there was still a trickle going on. But certainly, what was
being talked about in April of 1994 was something very
GILMAN: All right. Is it also
true that as of April of '94, relations between our government
and the government of Croatia were good and that they were eager
to keep it that way; is that correct?
relations between our two countries had been developing over the
entire time that I was there, but they had improved very
dramatically in March of 1994 when President Tudjman came to
Washington and the Washington agreement was signed establishing
the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
GILMAN: So then in
fact in the wake of the signature of that March '94 Washington
accords that ended the Croat-Muslim fighting in Bosnia, the
Croatian government had high expectations that our nation would
assist them and that that assistance would be soon forthcoming.
Is that accurate?
GALBRAITH: Yes, that is accurate. Part
of what we proposed to the Croatian government was that if they
were prepared to enter into this federation we would be working
with them to try and help their integration into Western
economic, political and security arrangements.
So that when you were asked on April 28th '94 whether our nation
would object if they established an arms pipeline from Iran, they
were not just asking as a courtesy, they genuinely wanted to know
what we thought. Is that correct?
GALBRAITH: That is
GILMAN: And is there any doubt in your
mind, Mr. Ambassador, that if you had told them that we did not
want them to establish an arms pipeline from Iran, they would
have acted inconsistent with your response and not established
an Iranian arms pipeline. Is that accurate?
I can only speculate on that. I can say that had we in a very,
very forceful way made it clear that we would not tolerate the
flow of arms to the Bosnians that they probably would not have
GILMAN: And Mr. Ambassador -- and from what you
told us, am I correct that you didn't tell them that we would
object to the establishment of an Iranian arms pipeline, you told
them that you had no instructions on how to respond to their
question, and as a result of that answer you gave them they went
ahead and established an arms pipeline from Iran. Is that
GALBRAITH: Yes. They -- they -- following my
statement, they proceeded to permit the flow of arms from Iran
and from other countries to the Bosnians.
of the spokesmen of the administration have since tried to
characterize your response to the Croatian request as something
other than an official acquiescence by our government in the
establishment of an arms pipeline from Iran. As a matter of
fact, one administration official said it wasn't a red light, it
wasn't a green light, but rather lights out. Since you were the
one who actually communicated the message, I want to know whether
you agree with that kind of a connotation of your
GALBRAITH: In essence, I gave them no response.
I said I had no answer for them. However, under the
circumstances, when we did not object they proceeded to go ahead
and do it.
GILMAN: Well, was your response intended to
leave doubt in the mind of the Croatian government about where
we stood in the establishment of an Iran arms pipeline, or was
it intended to be a signal that they could go
GALBRAITH: It was intended to tell them that we
were not objecting.
GILMAN: Ambassador Redman, you were
also present at one of the critical meetings. What was your
impression? Was the no-instruction response intended to create
ambiguity about where the administration stood, or was it
intended as a green light?
REDMAN: As I said in my
prepared remarks, we believed that in all likelihood the Croatian
government would decide to proceed on receipt of the
GILMAN: I have just one more
question. Undersecretary Tarnoff was before this committee on
April 23rd and we asked him repeatedly whether the message he
sent to the Croats in April of '94 represented a change in U.S.
policy, and he repeatedly rejected the
What's your impression, Ambassador
Galbraith? Did your message represent a change in our policy
from what had gone on before?
GALBRAITH: I think there
are several ways of looking at that. In fact, when the Clinton
Administration came in, we had a very different policy from the
The Bush Administration had supported
and, in fact, cast a decisive vote in favor of the international
arms embargo against the Bosnians. And it worked hard to enforce
The Clinton -- and President Clinton felt
-- the administration felt -- that the embargo was fundamentally
wrong; that it resulted in a situation where the aggressors --
the Bosnian Serbs who had all the weapons -- were able to attack
cities, villages, engage in ethnic cleansing with impunity, while
the victims were left undefended because they didn't get the arms
of the old Yugoslav army.
So, the position of the
administration was, in fact, to be against the arms embargo.
And, in fact, from the -- from January 20th, 1993, we were not
urging -- we were not urging other countries to enforce it. So,
in that sense, it was not a change of policy.
On the other
hand, as compared to what had happened the last time that the
situation came up -- mainly, in September of 1992, when we had
demarched the Croatians about an Iran Air flight that was in
Zagreb Airport -- it did represent a change in
Mr. -- Ambassador Redman,
was it in your mind a new policy?
REDMAN: I would share
on that respect with Ambassador Galbraith's
GILMAN: Thank you.
REPRESENTATIVE BERMAN: Mr. Chairman, could I
just ask a clarification? You asked Ambassador Galbraith to
provide you with a series of contacts he had with
I think there was a disconnect. It sounded
like you were asking for consultations with ambassadors about a
I think Ambassador Galbraith was
talking about after-the-fact contacts with ambassadors about
whether or not they had objected or objected to the Iranian arms
shipments. And I just think that it's important to clarify that
so we don't get into a problem later on.
Ambassador Galbraith, if you would just put your full
understanding of the question and the
REPRESENTATIVE MYERS: And -- Mr.
REPRESENTATIVE MYERS: Mr.
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: I recognize the
MYERS: I would like also for you to include
in that answer if you discussed with the other ambassadors that
people were coming from Iran; that -- because there were several
thousand Iranians in Bosnia, along with the arms. And, to me,
that is maybe the most objectionable concern. And were the other
ambassadors aware of that fact?
GILMAN: If the gentlelady
would hold her question until she has the opportunity to
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman -
(Audio drops) -- to
just respond to make sure we're talking about the same question
GILMAN: Well, Mr. Ambassador, is there any
question in your mind what was asked? I asked you, if I may
repeat the question, what ambassadors did you talk to with regard
to our policy and whether there was any
GALBRAITH: Well, Mr. Berman stated correctly
my position: that is to say, after the fact as the arms began
to flow I -- I talked with the -- in regular sessions or dinners
and so on with the other key ambassadors in Zagreb. They were
certainly aware that arms were flowing across Croatian territory
from countries, including Iran. And I specifically asked if any
of them had lodged objections with the Croatian government. The
answer was that none of them had. And I recently talked to
Croatian officials who said that they never received a protest
from one of the European countries over the use of their
territory for the transit of weapons.
GILMAN: Thank you,
Mr. Ambassador. If you would restate your question to them and
-- ambassadors who inquired of it, we would welcome making that
part of the record.
you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to ask principally about the
Iranian presence before and after this time. But before I do
that, I understand that this decision in April of '94 was made
in the context that everybody in our government believed, you
believed, that the Bosnian government was in desperate
circumstances, they were not going to survive very long if
something wasn't done. Is that correct?
That is exactly correct.
HAMILTON: And so you were faced
with three or four options here which, as you have described,
there are no easy choices here. But there wasn't any doubt in
anybody's mind that unless something was done here the Bosnian
government was going to go down the tubes.
That is my assessment, yes.
HAMILTON: And that's also
your assessment, Ambassador Redman?
REDMAN: Yes, sir.
HAMILTON: Now, a lot of my colleagues are
understandably concerned about the Iranian connection. And the
whole thought here is that because of the decision you made on
the no instructions that by that decision you created a foothold
for the Iranians or, as some have described it, a beachhead, and
that the Iranian influence from that point on grew and grew and
grew. What I'd like you to do is describe for us if you can what
the Iranian presence was prior to these months of April '94 and
then what the presence of Iran has been since Dayton and what it
GALBRAITH: Let me say that from -- the Iranian
presence dated back to 1992. And as I said in my opening
statement, it was the war that created the opportunities for the
Iranians and other undesirables to come into Bosnia. In fact,
there were very serious terrorist threats to Americans, including
to the mission for which I am responsible, well before this --
the April 1994 discussions that we were talking about, and those
threats were created because of the war. Paradoxically, and I
say this -- paradoxically, or perversely, I should say --
perversely, from an Iranian perspective, the decision to permit
the transit of arms through Croatia to Bosnia had the unintended,
from the Iranian point of view, but nonetheless the very real
effect of diminishing the Iranian influence. Why? Because it
enabled the Bosnians to defend themselves, to survive, and then,
in conjunction with the Croatians, to roll back some of the Serb
gains, thus paving the way to the Dayton
HAMILTON: Were there in 1993 about 500 Iranian
revolutionary guards and other military and intelligence
personnel in Bosnia?
REDMAN: Yes, sir; let me just
summarize the numbers as we best know them.
Yes, would you, please?
REDMAN: And again, these were
based on estimates by our best analysts at those
HAMILTON: I understand.
REDMAN: But what
one can say is that there was already Iranian deliveries of arms
into Bosnia in the summer and fall of 1992; that the
revolutionary guards were deployed in Bosnia in late 1992 to
begin a training program for the Bosnian army; that by 1993,
hundreds of revolutionary guard personnel were in Bosnia; that
the number probably never exceeded 500, which I believe is the
same number that you made reference to; and that since we have
begun to implement the Dayton agreement, the numbers have been
very substantially reduced, and we would have to have someone in
a better-placed position than ourselves to give you the exact
estimate of what would -- (inaudible).
HAMILTON: In 1992,
were not the Bosnian leaders calling Iran Bosnia's best friend
in the world?
REDMAN: That is true. And Bosnian leaders
had visited Tehran already in spring of 1991 in order to try to
solicit assistance because of the situation they found
HAMILTON: And Iran was the first Muslim
country to recognize Bosnia, was it not? Izetbegovic had gone
to Tehran in 1991 seeking economic help. The foreign minister
had been there in 1992. The Organization of Islamic Countries,
which was led by Iran and Turkey, were very heavily involved in
all of this, were they not?
REDMAN: That's right,
HAMILTON: So there was a very strong presence in
Bosnia before April of 1994, and then as a result of the Dayton
accords, if my information is right, as of today we have only a
handful of Iranians in Bosnia; is that correct?
HAMILTON: So that the impact, then, of our
policy has been, despite this very tough decision, which you made
reference to, the impact of the decision, far from establishing
a beachhead or a foothold for the Iranians, has done just the
opposite. It has taken a situation where you had a sizable
presence of Iran in Bosnia, and then after the Dayton accords,
you sharply reduced that presence.
HAMILTON: Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.
ROTH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
So that we have a better
sequence of events, Ambassador Galbraith, so that we can also
fully understand what happened here, could you carefully walk us
through the sequence? I know you've gone over this, but could
you do it again -- the sequence of events here? Perhaps you
could begin by telling us when you were -- when you first learned
that the Croatian government was going to ask you whether the
U.S. would object to the establishment of an arms pipeline from
GALBRAITH: That was in the -- that was in the third
week of April of 1994.
ROTH: Third week of
ROTH: Okay. What was --
what happened after that, the next date?
cabled to Washington for instructions.
ROTH: And what
were the instructions?
GALBRAITH: The instructions were
that I had no instructions.
ROTH: Who from Washington,
when the -- you had no instructions arrive, who told you there
were no instructions?
GALBRAITH: I -- there were two
occasions on which I was told I had no instructions. The first
was by the Department of State, and the second was from the
National Security Council.
ROTH: Okay. The Department
of State. And who was that at the Department of
GALBRAITH: That was Mr. Alexander "Sandy"
Vershbow, who was then the deputy assistant secretary of state
for European affairs.
ROTH: Did he say he was speaking
for himself or --
GALBRAITH: No, he was clearly speaking
for the administration.
ROTH: And then the -- and the
second time you were told that you had no instructions -- who was
GALBRAITH: That was from Jenonne Walker, who was
the director for European Affairs for the National Security
ROTH: How did you respond to the question that
was put to you on that April 28th day? What sort of reaction did
that elicit from the Croatians?
GALBRAITH: On the -- on
April 28th, it elicited uncertainty as to what our position
ROTH: So did they ask you for a clarification or --
GALBRAITH: Yeah. Yes.
ROTH: Okay. Then what
did you tell them?
GALBRAITH: I cabled back for
instructions and sent a second cable reporting on my meeting and
sought further instructions. And it came -- the instructions
came back making it clear that "no instructions" was our
definitive answer. And the Croatians, of course, when they
understood that that was our definitive answer, understood that
to mean that we were not objecting to the use of their territory
for arms to assist the Bosnians.
ROTH: Let me ask you,
when did you next discuss this with the Croatians after this
latter incident that we're -- (just was ?) discussed
GALBRAITH: April -- you mean after the April 29th
GALBRAITH: Frankly, I do
not recall additional specific conversations about Iranian arms
with the Croatians after that date, although there would have
been certainly some occasions when I talked to Croatian officials
in which they provided information about what was going on. But
in terms of any kind of policy discussion, the whole thing ended
on April 29th.
ROTH: On that April 29th date, because my
time is running out, let me ask you, can you describe for us what
you said at that time meeting and how did the Croatians respond
in that April 29th meeting?
GALBRAITH: I was asked the
question and I said I have no instructions and pay attention to
what I did not say.
ROTH: And translated, what was that
to mean to the Croatians?
GALBRAITH: It was to mean that
we were not objecting.
ROTH: In other words, it was okay
to go ahead with the arms sales.
GALBRAITH: It was that
we were not going to object and if they went ahead they would not
face any negative consequences in terms of the relations with the
ROTH: What did the Croatians respond to
that then when you told them?
GALBRAITH: To the best of
my recollection, they had no response, except -- let me -- they
had no response then. However, there was then a subsequent
conversation in which -- which Ambassador Redman has already
described to you in which they wanted to make sure that they
understood our position. Ambassador Redman said what he said,
in effect again saying that we had no objections, and they then
understood our position.
ROTH: I wonder, Mr. Chairman,
if you would indulge me just to ask Ambassador Redman so that he
could respond to that so that we would have a clarification for
the record. Mr. Ambassador.
REDMAN: Yes, sir. As you will find in my
prepared statement, my remarks were made as we walked into the
dining room. I said, It's your decision to make, we don't want
to be put in a position to say no. There was no response, no
further conversation. I was never engaged in the issue
GILMAN: Gentlemen, the time has
ROTH: Yeah, Mr. Chairman, I realize my time has
expired. I have three questions that are really critical to a
follow-up to this. I wonder if I could submit my questions in
writing so that we could --
GILMAN: Without objection,
ROTH: Thank you. Thank you, Mr.
GILMAN: Mr. Gejdenson.
GEJDENSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me first point
out one important thing. That is that three months after you
took this action of not giving instructions to the Croats, which
seems to astonish some of my colleagues, the United States
Congress, with Mr. Gejdenson, Mr. Gilman and Mr. Hyde, voted that
the president of the United States and the U.S. government should
not interfere with arms shipments and did not exclude any country
from that list. So three months after you took this action, the
United States Congress validated exactly what you did by stating
in law that that should be the policy of the president of the
United States and the United States government. So the debate
here is a bit Orwellian in a sense.
(unidentified): Would the gentleman yield for a
GEJDENSON: I'll yield as soon as I'm done as
long as I have a little time left.
(unidentified): What was the president's position on that --
GEJDENSON: Let me ask you, then, the alternative
question really here is, and I'd like to ask this first of Mr.
Redman, why didn't the president just unilaterally lift the
embargo, which was the policy of many people in both parties?
I didn't support that, as difficult as it was for me. And why
is it that the president of the United States didn't just simply
choose to ignore the U.N. embargo and lift it
REDMAN: As you know, of course, the
president very much wanted to get the arms embargo lifted. He
very much wanted to put the Bosnian government in a position
where they could defend themselves. But he did not feel that
unilateral lift was the way to go. The reasons were several.
I suppose most important among them was the fact that for the
United States to have unilaterally violated a United Nations
regime concerning sanctions on the Bosnian government, that this
would have set a precedent, then, for other countries who might
unilaterally choose to abrogate embargo agreements against other
countries such as Libya or Iraq, which were very important to
We also knew, as a second reason, that for us to take
this step of unilaterally lifting would have very, very severe
ramifications for our European allies. They had told us very
clearly that if we lifted the arms embargo that they were going
to leave Bosnia, that UNPROFOR, the U.N. forces would withdraw,
and that I think we all believed that under those circumstances
the Bosnian government would have been virtually
GEJDENSON: And had the UNPRO forces been
removed, was there an agreement or was there an indication that
American forces would have to go in to help them get out in what
would then be an active war?
GALBRAITH: There was
certainly going to be a need for U.S. involvement to get them
out, there was no doubt about that. Whether or not U.S. forces
would have gone in afterwards would certainly have been a very
GEJDENSON: And so what we had here were
a number of choices. You could have said no to the request, and
even though the Iranians had been shipping arms and had relations
here since '92, the magnitude was clearly changing. Had you said
no, the consequence to the Muslims, it is both of your estimate,
would have been devastating?
GEJDENSON: Had you chosen to unilaterally lift the
arms embargo, you would have both most likely injured our embargo
against Libya, and additionally, put American servicemen in
harm's way. So instead of those two choices, you took a choice
that the Congress itself made clear that it supported only three
months later, and that the House of Representatives, with Mr.
Gilman, Mr. Hyde and Mr. Gejdenson, for a very rare occasion
voting on the same side, to tell the president not to interfere
with arms shipments from other countries to the Muslims, and it
did not list any exceptions in that legislation. Is that
REDMAN: Yes, sir.
GEJDENSON: Lastly, let
me ask you this. Did you get any resistance from any of the
ambassadors in the region when you consulted them? Were there
any objections or was there a general consensus that this was the
GALBRAITH: All I can say is that we had
discussions after it became widely known that the arms were
transiting Croatia to the Bosnians. I asked them specifically
whether they had received --
GEJDENSON: Let me interrupt
you because I think you're going over the same statement again.
Let me ask you this; once it was printed in the Washington Times
and placed in the Senate record, how many members of the Senate
or the House called you about this issue and
GILMAN: Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson.
to call on Mr. Hyde for his questions.
HYDE: Thank you.
Mr. Hamilton has gone, I'm sorry to say.
I wanted to respond. He -- in his opening statement he was
somewhat critical that we're looking back and not forward. I --
if we're only talking about two years, and he chaired the select
committee on the October surprise which looked back 12 years into
utter fantasy. So looking back is something the gentleman is not
a stranger to.
In any event, to my dear friend from
Connecticut -- is he still here?
(Off mike) -- Mr. Hyde.
HYDE: There you are. I didn't
see -- you lean back and you -
GEJDENSON: That's my new
weight loss that did it. (Laughter.)
HYDE: -- were out
of my sight. The gentleman is -- is -- thinks he has a hot
button point that Congress did not specify leaving Iran out of
the list of people whose conduct might be embargoed. If the
gentleman -- and I know he carries this in his briefcase -- would
look at "Patterns of Global Terrorism", the book put out by the
State Department, what they have to say about Iran on page 22,
I shouldn't think they'd have to list Iran, because one knows
GEJDENSON: But it had been in the
HYDE: I haven't yielded to you yet --
GEJDENSON: Oh, I'm sorry.
HYDE: -- sir, but I
will. Iran again was the most active state sponsor of terrorism
in 1993 and was implicated in terrorist attacks in Italy, Turkey,
and Pakistan. Iran still surveils U.S. missions and personnel.
Tehran's policy makers view terrorism as a valid tool to
accomplish their political objectives, and acts of terrorism are
approved at the highest levels of the Iranian
Now, it would seem to me a waste of words to
say we don't mean Iran. But perhaps that's too obtuse for the
I yield to the gentleman
GEJDENSON: Yeah, I'd be very brief. Yes, I'll
be very brief.
I'd say one is that while this happened in
April, in June it was in the Washington Times, so it was publicly
known to members of Congress that the shipments were going
HYDE: The gentleman is admitting he reads the
GEJDENSON: Oh, I don't, actually. I
got a report from one of your -- (laughter).
got you there.
GEJDENSON: And I would hope the gentleman
would join me on the Iran oil sanctions bill since his focus is
so sharp on Iran these days. Mr. Berman and I and, I believe,
Mr. Gilman have a great bill to send --
HYDE: Well, if
I can take back my time, the gentleman was an enthusiastic
participant in the fantastic October surprise hearings, the
gentleman ought to feel awfully comfortable with this
Ambassador Galbraith, do you give us your categorical
assurance that the idea of establishing an Iranian arms pipeline
to Bosnia originated with the Croatian, and not within our own,
GALBRAITH: I don't, of course, know where the
idea originated. Actually, I presume the Croatian government was
responding to a request from the Bosnian government. But I can
say to you that to the best of my knowledge it did not originate
in any way in the United States government.
HYDE: It did
not originate in any way with the United States
GALBRAITH: As I said, to the best of my
HYDE: Surely, that's -- now, you say a
principal supplier of these arms would be Iran. How principal?
Out of 100 percent, what percentage of the arms were Iranian, and
what were these other anonymous countries?
-- (audio break) -- by the time -- I mean, some of this, I
suppose, is really -- could be briefed to you better by those who
follow this closely, the intelligence community --
Just ballpark. I --
GALBRAITH: -- but my understanding
is that by the end of it, less than 50 percent came from Iran,
and there were certainly other countries who are U.S. allies
that were involved in assisting the Bosnians.
could have kept Iran out, then, and accepted these weapons from
the other countries and thus not provided Iran with a foothold
in this volatile country; isn't that so?
already had the foothold in the country, and that was created by
the -- that was created by the war itself. We were not involved
in the business of arms to Bosnia.
HYDE: Well, my time
is up. Thank you.
GILMAN: Thank you, Mr.
I'm going to call on Mr. Lantos for his
REPRESENTATIVE LANTOS: Thank you, Mr.
Let me first welcome two of our most
distinguished ambassadors, who have performed their duties under
very difficult circumstances and at great personal risk to their
lives during much of this period.
Mr. Chairman, I have the
feeling that there is an "Alice in Wonderland" quality to much
of this hearing because we seem to be focusing on April 1994,
when in point of fact, the colossal policy failures of the Bush
administration in '91 and '92 created a horrible mess by the time
the Clinton administration took office in April -- on January 20,
1993. The only good solutions that were present were present two
or three years before this date. And I find it remarkable that
with 20/20 hindsight, we are now nitpicking an administration
decision which in point of fact was a very wise decision. The
Iranians had been there. I was in Zagreb in December of 1992.
It was common knowledge that the Iranians were shipping arms to
Bosnia already at that very early stage.
It seems to me
that the attempt to focus on this no-instructions policy in April
1994 is basically a camouflage to cover up the most serious
policy failure of the Bush administration in the realm of foreign
policy, and I speak as one who strongly supported that
administration in the Persian Gulf and who was critical of the
Clinton administration Yugoslav policy in the early days when it
was vacillating and uncertain. But to attempt to make the
Yugoslav policy a failure on the part of this administration when
so clearly this happened two or three years earlier, I think, is
a very transparent and pathetic gesture.
I would like to
ask Ambassador Redman, who had broad area-wide responsibility,
were there good options by April, 1994? Isn't it true that by
April, 1994 all of the options available to the administration
were fraught with difficulties, shortcomings, dangers, and the
administration happened to choose what in retrospect appears to
be the least undesirable option?
REDMAN: The options were
obviously very narrow and very difficult at that period of
As I indicated in my statement, our major
breakthrough was actually negotiating this federation agreement,
which for the first time gave us hope and I think at that stage,
for the first time, gave the Bosnian government hope. And it was
building on that that this Bosnian government request to the
Croatian government, for arms, developed. And, in response to
the Croatian question, I believe, as you put it -- (inaudible)
LANTOS: Let me just ask one final question, because
my time is running out.
Some approach this whole issue
with 20-20 hindsight. There were a few of us in Congress who
publicly and unambiguously called for action in 1991 and 1992.
Basically, we were calling for the use, through NATO, of a
credible threat of force, which would have prevented a
quarter-million people dying, two million people becoming
refugees -- and the whole fabric of Europe remaining
With the vantage of historic hindsight, do you
agree -- and I would like both of you to answer -- whether, in
fact, had NATO offered the credible threat of force, which was
surely sufficient to keep the mighty Soviet Union at bay for two
generations, none of this nightmare would have unfolded? That
the quarter million people now dead would be living? That the
two million refugees would be living in their homes, and there
would be a peaceful and viable set of countries or a
confederation, or whatever, which would have been made possible
by using this incredible military force, which was available to
the West and was so pathetically not used in '91, '92 and
REDMAN: Mr. Congressman,
that's a difficult one, actually, for me to answer because,
during the time period you're asking about specifically, I was
first in Sweden and then in Haiti, and far removed from these
I could only comment that --
understand the question?
REDMAN: I understand it, and I
understand the analysis. I just don't feel myself expert enough
in that period of time to make that judgment.
But we did
see, at the end of the day, when we did get an effective
combination of diplomacy and the use of NATO air power, it had
a decisive impact. And that was certainly a major factor in our
success in Dayton.
GALBRAITH: Congressman, I actually was
following these issues even back then, and I share strongly your
view. I believe that a small use of force, of active collective
security -- for example, at the time that the Yugoslav Army was
assaulting the city of Vukovar, or the navy was attacking the
city of Dubrovnik -- could have avoided all this.
important thing to understand about what happened in the former
Yugoslavia was that it was not the resurgence of ancient hatreds;
it was something that was organized. And I think the organizers
would never have continued it if they'd been met early on with
resolute action, and I don't think it would have required
LANTOS: It won't surprise you that some of us were
calling for collective action at the time of Vukovar and
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
gentleman's time has expired.
REPRESENTATIVE SALMON: Thank you, Mr.
Ambassador Galbraith, isn't it true that it
would be standard procedure for an ambassador like yourself to
send a reporting cable back to Washington, detailing
conversations like the ones you were having with the Croatian
government about the establishment of an arms pipeline from
GALBRAITH: It would be normal procedure to send
back reporting cables on --
SALMON: Something that
GALBRAITH: -- on significant
GALBRAITH: But it
happens -- and it happened quite often in the course of the time
that I've served in Croatia -- that we did not send back
reporting cables on the most sensitive of the diplomatic
SALMON: So on this issue, this particular
issue that we're talking about, did you in fact send such a
reporting cable at each appropriate step in the course of your
conversations with the Croatian government?
I sent back a reporting cable on the meeting of April 28th, but
not on the meeting of April 29th.
SALMON: Okay. So since
you didn't send one back on the 29th, why did you
GALBRAITH: Ambassador Redman, I think, has covered
this in his testimony, but following the conclusion of the April
29th meeting, since the instructions had been conveyed orally,
Ambassador Redman felt that it would be best if he made an oral
report, and then if there was a desire for a written report, they
would be -- the -- people would be in touch with me. The word
was then given to me that there was no desire for a written
SALMON: Okay. So was there any other dialogue
from anybody else, other than Ambassador Redman, as far as any
kind of cabling?
GALBRAITH: I discussed it with Deputy
SALMON: Then he also felt that it was
so sensitive that it's -- am I understanding that correctly?
Because of the sensitive nature of this, that it was to be kept
GALBRAITH: We had a conversation about it.
I don't know that at the time of that conversation, that he
reached a firm decision as to whether I should have a reporting
cable or not. But he then did not -- he or his designees did not
get back to me, seeking a reporting cable.
It's just my understanding that traditionally, with something
such as this, something so important to our foreign policy, that
there is some kind of a documentation trail. I know that there's
sometimes -- that it may be requested that that not be done
because maybe you don't want a paper trail for what ultimately
Ambassador Redman, you instructed him not to
cable on the 29th. Did you receive instructions from somewhere
else, or is that your decision?
REDMAN: At that stage,
that was our decision based on our conversation after the
meeting. As I say, I had not gone out to Zagreb for this
particular reason and I didn't really know about this issue until
I got there. I thought we ought to simply take advantage of my
return the very next morning to make sure that not only did we
report but we did it in the most discreet way possible so as not
to jeopardize the issue, which I did, and I received then the
I think for us our concern was that we had
the right instructions, that we had carried them out properly,
and that we reported back to the appropriate superiors, which we
did. And that was, I think as professional diplomats, our
concern in doing this, and I was satisfied on all those
SALMON: Just a couple of points that I'd like
to make. As one who staunchly supported the lifting of the arms
embargo, I'm not going to quibble with Mr. Gejdenson, his
analysis that the Congress was supportive. I know that there
were other senior officials in the military who I talked with
privately who were also very, very much supportive of what the
Congress was doing, but because of their position in the
administration could not speak publicly about lifting the arms
embargo so that the Bosnians could defend themselves. I think
all of us recognized the tremendous carnage and bloodshed that
was going on over there and wanted desperately for these people
to be able to defend themselves.
I think what we're
frustrated about, and I think you're sensing that frustration,
is that the president stated over and over and over again that
that kind of a policy would actually lead to more bloodshed and
that, instead, chose a course of covert-type -- more covert-type
operation to funnel arms, he says legally; I guess it's a
loophole. And I guess we're frustrated.
We've heard from
this administration that -- with regards to China they had a
position of strategic ambiguity, and I guess a lot of us are
wondering, is this simply more of this strategic ambiguity? A
lot of us feel we'd like to get some strategic clarity. But
thank you very much for your time.
gentleman's time has expired.
REPRESENTATIVE BERMAN: Thank you, Mr.
I have to take exception to my friend from
Arizona's analysis of the situation. I've heard nothing that
would indicate that this is a covert operation in the meaning of
the sense that we require certain things to happen when a covert
operation is undertaken. In fact, very specifically, as we can
see from the legislative histories of efforts to expand the
meaning of covert operation, which were vetoed by President Bush,
this comes no where near some of the things that were done in the
Reagan administration to seek to implement the Iran -- the
funding for the contras.
SALMON: It certainly wasn't an
BERMAN: This is a distinction between
covert operations and secret diplomacy.
line; somewhere in between.
BERMAN: Well, one requires
certain things and the other one doesn't. And this is a classic
case, I think, of one.
If we're talking here about the
wisdom of this policy at this particular time -- and I was one
of the people who was voting at the time with Mr. Hyde and Mr.
Gilman for lifting the embargo -- I think that's a legitimate --
I think that's a very legitimate kind of discussion. But it will
not fly. I cannot believe that any reasonable person listening,
and when we pull out all the different partisan motivations to
attack, to defend, can buy the notion that when the Congress of
the United States passed a provision prohibiting funds from being
used for the purpose of participation in support of or assistance
in the enforcement of the Bosnian arms embargo by any department,
agency or other entity of the United States, after it has been
reported over and over again the Iranian arms are flowing to
Bosnia through Croatia -- I believe with a little taken off the
top for commissions -- that after -- at that particular time we
visited Croatia, everyone knew that Iranian arms were going to
And the failure of the Congress to seek to
exclude Iran specifically, countries on the terrorist list
generally, countries that we've had our embargoes with, the
failure to exclude that means anything other than we were taking
notice of what was happening, and while we would have preferred
a direct and open lifting of the arms embargo, we knew that this
unfortunate situation was important to allowing the Bosnian
people to survive and to create a situation.
Now, if the
consequences of this were to give the Iranians a new foothold
into Bosnia that would cause us trouble for years to come, that's
a reason to challenge the wisdom of it. We've heard compelling
testimony from two ambassadors, one of whom was the spokesman for
the State Department in the Bush administration if I remember
correctly, that that has not been the consequence; to the
opposite, to the contrary, that the result of what happened then
has led to a situation where the Iranian foothold is far less
than it otherwise would have been.
Now, I want to ask one
question here. This issue of change in policy versus
continuation of policy, is it fair to say that in April of 1994,
the administration at that time was enforcing the embargo and its
patrols in the Adriatic, but other than that was doing no
specific overt actions to seek to enforce the arms embargo
against Bosnia as opposed to the economic sanctions against
Serbia or anything like that? Is that a fair conclusion of the
state of policy at that time?
REDMAN: I think that was
the state of policy at that time.
BERMAN: And therefore
there's nothing about this no-instruction policy that would
constitute a change in that policy in that, so it's not about
dealing with patrols on the Adriatic?
REDMAN: Not in that
BERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
goodbye, Mr. Chairman.
GILMAN: The committee will stand
in recess until the vote is over.
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: The committee will resume its
hearing. Chairman Gilman is on his way back, but we will begin
the hearing at this point.
Ambassador Galbraith, in your
testimony you said that you wanted -- you did not want to rehash
the arguments against unilaterally lifting the arms embargo, and
then you went on to rehash it. As a matter of fact, we hear much
today about the no-policy policy, the no-instructions
instructions, the no-rehash rehash. Just so it's very clear --
and I think this is important for all of us to remember -- and
I have been working this issue since I've been in Congress and
since this became an issue. I've also chaired the Commission on
Security and Cooperation in Europe and was there in Vukovar,
Osijek, when the war was breaking out against Croatia and was
deeply concerned about the arms embargo, with the instant thought
that President Bush was wrong. But many of us came to that
conclusion, or many members of Congress came it more slowly, but
the Clinton administration had it right, first as a candidate and
then as a new president, and made very strong statements about
the importance of lifting that arms embargo.
And I think
you were right, Ambassador Redman, when you said it was
fundamentally wrong, and yet there was a concerted effort to
ensure that we did not pass legislation that was authored by a
Democrat, not a Republican. I was the prime sponsor of the bill
to lift it, but the amendment that was offered on the floor of
the House was Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland. And it passed
by a two-to-one margin despite a very, very vigorous effort to
defeat it by the administration.
I just say that because
I think it needs to be on the record at this hearing that
Congress in a bipartisan way felt that, as you pointed out in
your testimony, that because of the arms, the Bosnians were able
to survive. We believed that we could mitigate, and perhaps even
end, the slaughter against the Bosnians. And I met frequently
with Prime Minister Silajdzic and felt that he was absolutely
true and on point when he said, "We don't want your soldiers, we
don't want French, Americans, all we want is the means to defend
ourselves, and we're willing, if only we would just lift that
arms embargo when we saw that it was so wrong."
just ask you: You were concerned and you expressed concern about
establishing a precedent, and you expressed that today. Well,
what about the precedent of permitting a terrorist nation to send
arms and agents? What kind of precedent does that send? And let
me also ask you, while I'm at it -- you know, you kind of
belittled the fact that we're having this hearing, Ambassador
Galbraith; that it only took three minutes, as you pointed out
in your testimony, in terms of conversations about the no-policy
or the no-instructions policy. Well, a jury can hear testimony
at a hearing, a criminal proceeding or any proceeding, for 12
months and take three seconds -- not even three minutes, but
three seconds -- to say we find the defendant to be guilty or not
guilty. It is the substance.
It seems to me that when we
said -- when the U.S. government said to Croatia that, you know,
it's -- there's no instructions, we essentially said yes, you can
do it. Why not just be up front and say we give you the green
light when that, as a consequence, is what we meant? Ambassador
REDMAN: There are many aspects to -- to try to
answer that question.
First of all, without rehashing
again all of the information we've gone over in terms of the
Iranian presence that had existed in Bosnia since mid-1992 at
least and which amounted to hundreds of revolutionary guards, for
example, in 1993, the fact of the matter was that we had a
difficult situation which I tried to describe in my statement.
Because of the federation we had a new Croatian initiative which
would not have been possible without the federation. The
Croatians for the first time were willing to allow their
territory to be used to transship arms.
We were not
involved in initiating that or in stimulating that. I personally
have no way of knowing whether the Bosnians or the Croatians had
other sources or could have had other sources. But in any case,
one of the sources for those arms was to be Iran. We went into
that with our eyes wide open.
I have to say here that
you're asking the question, I'll try to answer it: I was not
involved personally in those policy discussions, and what I know
now is based on what I have learned essentially after the fact.
But we went into those decisions with our eyes wide open, knowing
that this was one of the down sides to this decision, but at the
same time for all of the other reasons that I tried to describe
in my statement recognizing that to have said no was going to be
a real disaster for the federation and probably for the Bosnians
in terms of their ability to defend themselves. To say yes was
going to put us in a very difficult position with our European
allies in particular who had troops on the ground in Bosnia. And
that, again, goes to the question -- it's related to the reasons
that we did not -- that we did not want to pursue unilateral
lift. And so that left us with the no instructions decision,
which was neither to approve nor to oppose, but, as I think we
have testified, with the understanding that the Croatians were
in all likelihood going to go ahead.
But, again, what would be gained by this diplomatic finessing of
the issue, as opposed to just saying, "Yes, we approve"? That's
the consequence of what happened, because they clearly -- and you
know in your mind, that's what was conveyed to them. At least,
I believe you would think that.
GALBRAITH: I have said
GALBRAITH: -- said that we
SMITH: Why not just say
GALBRAITH: -- that we expected them to go
I think there is a subtle but an important
difference. And that difference is whether or not we actually
said yes. And that was important to our European
This was indeed a Croatian decision. One may
argue that the Croatians intended to go ahead from the beginning.
That may be the case. But, in any case, to have said yes would
have put us in a different position, and one in which we do not
need or want to place ourselves.
SMITH: If you could
answer the question about what I consider to be the very
dangerous precedent of allowing a terrorist nation, a rogue
regime, to have a beachhead in Bosnia --
again, I'll be summarizing very quickly because the Iranians were
already in Bosnia because of the war. They were there in
numbers. They were supplying weapons. They had diplomatic
representations in Bosnia, because the war had started and given
them that opportunity. So, there was an Iranian
Secondly, we recognized that a downside to this
decision was the fact that there could be a greater Iranian
But thirdly, because of our ability then to
work through diplomacy, air power, Croatian and Bosnian military
victories, we were able to come to an agreement at Dayton that
actually then reduced that presence and influence to -- well, I
don't have an exact number -- to, essentially, a handful
SMITH: Just in point of -- as a snapshot when this
decision was made -- how many Iranians were there? What kind of
materiel did they have? And what were the expectations as to
what would be flowing as a result of the decision? And it is a
decision to give the green light to the Iranians to come in. I
mean what did you expect to flow?
without -- well, I won't -- I don't want to get into a semantics
argument as to what is a decision and what isn't -- but, in any
case, assuming that the Croatians were going to allow arms to
flow in and that those arms were going to include Iranian arms,
I can only reiterate what I said earlier; that this was, in fact,
not a new foothold; that it was something that we, in the end,
were going to be able to control.
SMITH: But again,
that's not answering the question. And a foothold isn't
necessarily the full explanation as well. I mean, they could
have some Iranians there and some military capability, as opposed
to a rather significant amount.
REDMAN: Yes, sir. Your
question was concerning --
SMITH: What was the
expectations and what was our intelligence community --
REDMAN: Your question was concerning
REDMAN: These are all
estimates. To the best of my knowledge -- and you can obviously
verify this with people from the intelligence community -- the
best of my knowledge, the best we could ever do in terms of
Iranian presence would be an estimate. It was very hard to get
firm numbers. But the numbers that I cited earlier on I think
are indicative of the community's best estimate, which is that
already in 1992, '93 there were hundreds of Revolutionary Guards,
for example -- that is all before this episode in question; that
Iranian arms were flowing, that the maximum number of Iranians
was probably in the order of 500, so it could not have been
significantly larger in any case than those that were already
there in '92 and '93. And the bottom line, of course, is that
today we're on a slope toward a very, very small
SMITH: Again, I just want to -- in Ambassador
Galbraith's testimony you say, "Because of the arms, the Bosnians
were able to survive." As if to imply had these arms not arrived
via the Iranians they would not have been able to
We heard earlier, in response to Chairman Hyde's
questions, that I think the answer was about 50 percent came from
the Iranians and the remainder came from some unspecified
countries. It would be helpful if some of those countries could
be made known.
But having said that, why didn't we try to
jack up that which -- or allow that which would come from those
other countries, if indeed they were not terrorist states, as
opposed to allowing this arms caches to be coming in from the
Iranians? And again, you're still, I think, not -- missing the
point somewhat, Ambassador Redman, as to what were the
expectations as to what would be flowing -- I mean, we had to
have some kind of estimate to say, okay, the green light is here,
go ahead and do it. And that's, in essence, what we signaled,
is a yes without saying yes.
REDMAN: I'm not sure that
we had to have that kind of an estimate. This was a Croatian
initiative. We were not involved in setting it up.
So we were blind?
REDMAN: They did not tell me, in any
case, as to what kind of arms or how many arms, but rather, that
the Bosnian government, as reported by Ambassador Galbraith, had
asked for assistance.
SMITH: Shouldn't we have
REDMAN: I'm not sure why we should
SMITH: To know if the Iranians were going to send
crack troops, intelligence personnel, and significant arms
capability. Wouldn't we want to know that, since it was a breach
of an arms embargo? Wouldn't we want to know what -- when the
Croats say this is what we are planning on doing in terms of
transshipment, wouldn't we -- a logical request be, well, what
are you talking about in numbers; what do you expect to be
flowing to Sarajevo, to Bosnia, as a result of this decision?
And it is a decision that was made by the
GALBRAITH: Let me just add something to
this. The Croatians were and are extremely wary of the Iranians.
And so I don't think there was a significant danger that they
were going to allow large quantities of personnel to transit
their territory. They were not going to permit the influx of
large numbers of radical Islamic forces. Some got in because of
difficulty of controlling the borders and that sort of thing.
But as I said, they were very suspicious of the
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: But we still, we did not
make inquiries as to what numbers would be --
We were remaining consistent with our no-instructions policy,
which was neither to approve of nor to oppose. It was their
initiative and they were going to carry it
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: But again, you would admit
that we did give the green light, because we were in a position
to say no?
REDMAN: I think we went through that earlier
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: I know, I just wanted to be
very clear. "No instructions" sounds like it's neutrality but
it's not neutrality. We decisively came down on the side of
allowing the Iranians to come in.
REDMAN: It was our
expectation that the Croatians would go ahead with arms shipments
and that those arms shipments would include some Iranian arms.
And we've explained the reasons why that decision, a difficult
decision, was made.
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: But was covert
action -- this is my last question because my time is up. Was
covert action ever contemplated within the administration so that
the United States could -- because there would be some control
then as to what went in, especially when -- with regard to
keeping Iranian agents out?
REDMAN: Not to my knowledge,
but I --
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: Mr.
(Aside off mike.)
MARTINEZ: Excuse me, I guess we will expand the time to 10
minutes rather than five minutes, so I would admonish the
chairman that in the time that light should go red twice before
you ask me for the time up.
Look, you can make a mountain
out a molehill if you want to, but you can't really. My dad used
to say the pot shouldn't call the kettle black. They're even
getting you to do it now when you say the -- refer to the
Iranians supplying arms. Well, the Iranians weren't the only
ones that were supplying arms. In fact, wasn't it a fact that
the OIC got together and were trying to pressure the U.N. to lift
the embargo, and also that there were seven countries involved
there that were sending arms? Either one, Mr. Redman, Mr. --
REDMAN: Well, I can only -- I think
your point concerning the OIC pressure was correct and I think
there were other Islamic countries also that were very much
involved in trying to lift the arms embargo.
The question comes up, why not tell them yes, go ahead, give them
the green light, and then keep referring to it as that's which
you did anyway.
And I want to remind my colleagues on the
other side that when we got into the -- embroiled in the
situation with Iraq, when our ambassador under Bush's
administration did write a memo in fact telling the Iraqis that
we had no problem should they invade Kuwait and they immediately
did and then that was proof there of a bad diplomatic
I believe that the preference would have been
not to do that, and I don't see people on the other side making
a big to-do about that. What I would ask you is, isn't it a
diplomatic ploy, would you say, or a diplomatic normality to not
put sensitive things in writing and where there has been no
policy decision regarding an actual in effect action in
REDMAN: I can answer that in general terms from
diplomatic experience, which is that it is -- it depends on
circumstances, but it can be, in fact, common as it was during
my time as special envoy to the former Yugoslavia to receive, in
fact, a large majority of my instructions orally, and to report
orally so that it is certainly not unprecedented by any stretch
to proceed in this manner.
MARTINEZ: The other -- the
thing is that, you know, we -we took what was a policy decision.
We can't make that an illegal action. But in the last
administration -- or, not the last administration, the
administration before that there was actually an illegal action
taking place in where we sold arms to these same people we're
talking about -- Iran. In return for the money we got for that,
we bought arms for -- that was definitely against the law -- for
the contras in South America. And there was a conviction on
that. And never mind that later it was overturned for what
reasons I don't know. But that was an illegal action that led
to a war. And your legal action led to a peace, or what looks
like will be a peace. I would -if I were going to err on the
side of -- one way or the other of a policy that was beneficial
or a policy that was detrimental, I would have selected the
policy that you all chose to not get involved, and that's simply
all it is.
And I don't know why we're holding this hearing
when we have already agreed to name a select committee to do the
investigation. And we just seem to be wanting to beat the drums
and continue to harangue and harass. I don't suggest to my
colleagues on the other side, but let sleeping dogs lie so we can
get our jobs done and the jobs that people elected us to do. If
we keep harassing every decision that's made by the
administration to this point in time and trying to have -- trying
to second-guess them when it's really not our position to do so
-- we may have some constructive criticism we want to offer, and
we should. But to follow the procedures we're following now can
lead to nothing constructive. I would suggest that this folly
is going to lead us nowhere but to more dissension in the ranks,
and I would yield back the balance of my time.
GILMAN: I thank the gentleman for his remarks.
REPRESENTATIVE MEYERS: Thank you, Mr.
Ambassador Galbraith, were you ever reprimanded
for your actions in connection with the administration's
acquiescence in the establishment of the Iranian arms
GALBRAITH: I think I would -- I would say that
I was not reprimanded. And, in fact -- and certainly in no
formal sense. I had a conversation with one official, who had
-- was a little uncertain as to how the instructions had been
carried out. And when I explained it to him, he was perfectly
MEYERS: But the -- but this individual told
you that you were reprimanded.
GALBRAITH: I'm not sure
he used precise -- in fact, I don't think he used that
MEYERS: What word did he use?
I think it was "rap on the knuckles". But again, it was based
on incorrect information.
MEYERS: And what incorrect
information was that?
GALBRAITH: Well, it was -- I mean,
it was incorrect information on how I had carried out my
instructions. I explained that I had said I had no instructions
-- and, in fact, the very things that I've described to you --
I had no instructions, and "pay attention to what I didn't say."
I explained what Ambassador Redman had said, and the official was
completely satisfied that the instructions had been carried out
MEYERS: Do you know why Deputy Assistant
Secretary Vershbow reprimanded you or gave you a rap on the
knuckles? If you are not sure, did you have any suspicions about
why he did this?
GALBRAITH: I think Mr. Vershbow can
explain that. But my impression was that he had -- did not have
accurate information on how the instructions had been carried
out. And again, when I explained how they'd been carried out,
he was fully satisfied.
MEYERS: You were told to say that
you had no instructions.
GALBRAITH: And that is what I
MEYERS: And that is what you said. What did Mr.
Vershbow think you said?
GALBRAITH: Again, I don't know
what Mr. Vershbow thought I said, but when I explained to him
what I had said, he was satisfied.
MEYERS: Well, how did
you feel about this rap on the knuckles or reprimand? Did you
take it seriously?
GALBRAITH: I mean, the use of
reprimand or -- the -- once it -- once the confusion was
explained, there was no reprimand, there was no rap on the
knuckles, so that was the end of it.
MEYERS: Did you take
any specific action as a result of this
GALBRAITH: (Pause.) Well, since it wasn't a
reprimand, I'm not sure I took a specific action. I did prepare
a cable -- not a cable; I prepared a memo describing the entire
set of conversations so that there would be a record of these
MEYERS: For your files.
Well, to have a record of what was said, yes, and I kept it in
MEYERS: Would it be fair to surmise from this
episode that there were some officials back in Washington who had
doubts about the decision they had made and were looking for
someone to blame if the policy blew up, and you were being very
careful when you wrote that memo for your file?
Yes, I was being careful, because I felt there should be an
accurate record of what we had said to the Croatians and on the
MEYERS: Were -- do you think that Deputy
Assistant Secretary Vershbow was acting pursuant to
GALBRAITH: Yes, I think that's
MEYERS: From whom?
GALBRAITH: I'm not
MYERS: What would you guess?
Well, from the higher authorities in the Department of State.
Again, I think there was a misunderstanding on the part of some
people about what I had said and how the instructions had been
MYERS: So that -- well, I don't know,
Ambassador Galbraith, it looks to me as if they realized that
this was not turning out well at all, and that they wanted to get
a reprimand to you on the record; and you, I think very wisely,
wrote a memo to yourself and put it in your file -- or a memo
about what took place and put it in your file.
I know that
there has been a lot of talk today about how everybody in
Congress absolutely knew everything that was going on. But I
don't think that's true. It certainly isn't true in my case.
I think that there were a great many of us who thought that arms
were finding their way into Bosnia through Croatia, but we didn't
know that Iran was involved, we didn't know that Iran was maybe
the only shipper or certainly the principal shipper, we didn't
know that people, the guards, were coming in. We didn't know
that training was taking place for terrorist activities. There
was a great deal that we didn't know that I think probably was
known and was not conveyed to us.
I think your reprimand
for this was a result of all that, that Congress did not know.
I think it was a sham reprimand. And I think your memo in your
file indicates that you were aware of that. And I'd like to hear
any comments that you have to say.
And other than that,
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Thank the gentlelady. The gentlelady's time has
Ambassador Redman and Ambassador Galbraith, I want to personally
thank both of you for the rather extraordinary efforts that both
you, your staffs, and persons with whom you interfaced, put
forward on behalf of this country. Obviously, many of the things
that you did allowed for the ending of a massive amount of
destruction. And rather than being grilled, you probably need
each to be applauded. And I appreciate also your forthcoming
statement, those offered in writing and here, and your
Isn't it United States policy to continue to use
all leverage available to us, economic assistance as well as
military assistance, to continue to get all of the Iranians out
REDMAN: Yes, it is.
HASTINGS: Let me
ask just a couple of other quick questions. I regret very much
that my colleague Mr. Smith is not here, but I hope that his line
of questioning was not intimating that American officials were
remiss in not orchestrating the violation of the arms embargo,
and I hope he wasn't saying that our ambassadors should have
found countries to supply arms. I intend to put that to him at
the appropriate time.
Ambassador Galbraith, did United
States officials at any time take direct action to encourage or
facilitate the smuggling of weapons into Bosnia from
GALBRAITH: To my knowledge, no. And I'm quite sure
that nobody did.
HASTINGS: Now, I read where you said
that the United States Congress was aware of the arms shipments,
and I understand that as in general terms different than my
colleague who just spoke. If the reports that were coming across
the wire were to be believed -- and the wire I'm talking about
is the public press -- I sure knew, and I knew in '92 and I was
getting elected to Congress and ran about the issue, as a matter
of fact, and I imagine others did as well. We may not have known
everything, but we certainly knew something.
How was the
Congress made aware of these shipments, to your knowledge, Mr.
Galbraith? I cited one, the media.
GALBRAITH: Of course
I was in Zagreb, so I don't fully know. However, the media, as
you said, was one. Second, there were numerous intelligence
reports in a document -- intelligence document that I know is
available to the Congress.
HASTINGS: Were American
officials -- you were asked, both of you, about cables. Were
American officials instructed not to cable information about the
REDMAN: About the arms shipments?
Yes, about this Iranian business. Were you told not to cable
REDMAN: The only time that this came up was
when we needed to determine how we should reply back to
Washington after this meeting in Zagreb. And as I said, I took
that up directly in Washington and was informed at that point
that they didn't need any written follow-up.
My final statement doesn't require a response, but
I want to get this in the record since everybody else is making
this record today.
A central criticism of the "no
instructions" policy that you two gentlemen have testified here
about allows that, according to some, it permitted the dangerous
military and intelligence penetration of Bosnia by
Yet we know, just from using open public sources,
the United States' decisions in April '94 did not give Iran a
beachhead in Bosnia. Iran and other Muslim countries were
already there. And I might add for historians and the buffs of
history, Islam has been involved or in the Balkans since fights
with the Ottoman Empire, if we just want to go back into
The Iranian connection with Bosnia was well in place
before April of '94, even before the war broke out in April of
'92 and, therefore, before the Clinton Administration was in
We know that President Izetbegovic visited Tehran
in May of '91. We know that in March of '92, Iran is the first
Muslim country to recognize Bosnia. We know that arms from Iran,
as well as other Muslim countries, flowed into and were flowing
into Bosnia, starting from 1992. We know that in December,
Bosnian leaders -- of '92 -- are quoted as calling Iran "Bosnia's
best friend in the world."
In February of 1993, the
Organization of Islamic Countries, led by Iran and Turkey,
appealed to the U.N. to remove the arms embargo on Bosnia. And
as of 1993, there were up to 500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and
other military and intelligence personnel in Bosnia. And any
congressperson that did not know all of that, that serves on the
International Relations Committee, was not doing his or her
I thank you, gentlemen.
MCKINNEY: Mr. Chairman?
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH: Yeah, Ms.
MCKINNEY: I would like -- I have a statement
that I would like to submit for the record.
Without objection, yours and every other statement of any member
who would like to, will be so ordered.
And I'd just like to conclude this by saying we ought
to be commending the Clinton Administration for a policy that's
put an end to ethnic cleansing and that has given us an
opportunity to -- for a lasting peace.
Instead, what we're
witnessing here today, for the last two and a half hours, has
been partisan politics, political posturing, canned questions,
a waste of money -- Ambassador Galbraith, you should be back in
Croatia -- and an example of the skullduggery of desperate
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
you, Ms. McKinney.
And you and myself -- in such time as
I may consume -- just let me say the statement was made earlier,
Mr. Ambassador -- I believe it was the gentleman from Connecticut
who said it -- that it was in the Washington Times; therefore,
members of this committee should have been aware of what was
Just let me remind everyone, on June 24th of
1994, in the Washington Times, there was a story about this. And
yet, there -- on paragraph 3, it says:
"A senior U.S.
official said last night, the U.S. government opposes the Iranian
arms shipments because they undercut U.N. sanctions" -- quote --
"'There is no U.S. support for what Iran is doing,' the official
Now, do either of you gentlemen have any clue as
to who that was, and whether or not that adequately and
accurately represented the administration?
sir, I don't know what the basis for that was.
Well -- just so -- and I hope the media takes note of this --
when we hear statements that because it was in the Washington
Times, according to Mr. Gejdenson, we should have all -- somehow
that meant that we acquiesced to this policy; we were getting
misreads and statements from the administration, clearly stating
that they were opposed to it.
So -- and a matter of fact,
you know, when I saw this -- and now I was just -- re-saw it
again -- it was rehanded to me -- I was reminded of it. We
clearly thought that this was something that the administration
didn't like, as well. Have you seen that quote, Mr. --
GALBRAITH: No, I have not, or at
least not in two years.
SMITH: Okay. Well, I will put
it in the record, and I hope that clears up any -- I mean, it's
up to the administration to adequately inform, through
consultations and members of Congress, as to what it is doing,
and there are many members -- and I was just talking to one
distinguished member of the Appropriations Committee who felt
greatly misled by the administration, and by the chief executive,
in particular, on this very issue. So let me say that, you know,
the ambiguity in the sense of sending mixed signals was clearly
what was conveyed to a number of members of Congress, including
Ambassador Redman, two months after you and
Ambassador Galbraith conveyed your message to the Croats, the
House debated an amendment offered by Chairman Gilman, among
others, to terminate U.S. arms embargo of Bosnia. This was in
June of 1994. In July, and again in August of that year, the
Senate debated a similar amendment. The administration opposed
and lobbied against all of these amendments; isn't that
REDMAN: Well, without having the record of all the
amendments in front of me, I have to take your word for
SMITH: Lifting the arms embargo.
Lifting the arms embargo, unilaterally, yes, sir.
SMITH: So there was a vigorous lobby against it.
Did you personally participate in the administration's lobbying
efforts by, for example, contacting members of the House, the
Senate, or to urge them to vote against the amendments, either
REDMAN: My role was to come up one day as a
resource person while I think there were conference committees
meeting, and I was occasionally talked to or called in. But
basically at that stage I was asked what would be the effect on
the negotiations, in which I was the lead negotiator, if a
certain timing were to be introduced into these various lift
resolutions. That was the focus of my only visit up here on that
SMITH: Mr. Galbraith?
GALBRAITH: Of course, I was in Zagreb and so
not -- I wouldn't have been involved in making representations
to the Congress, with the exception of when visitors came, I
would, of course, explain our policy, and on a couple of
occasions I was asked to make some calls back to members of the
Senate that I knew, and I did so.
SMITH: So you did lobby
by way of phone and fax?
GALBRAITH: Yes. I made calls
to several members of the Senate when I was requested to do
SMITH: Did either of you ever make the argument to
members of Congress or staff that terminating the U.S. embargo
could result in the Iranians following suit and thereby gaining
a foothold in Bosnia?
REDMAN: Would you please repeat
SMITH: Did you make the argument to any
members of Congress or any staff members that by terminating the
U.S. arms embargo, that action could result in the Iranians,
because the embargo was lifted, could then gain a foothold in
Bosnia because now they would be free just like every other
nation to send arms?
REDMAN: It's not an argument I ever
GALBRAITH: Nor was it an argument that I
SMITH: You are aware that Deputy Secretary Talbott
made precisely that argument in a letter to Senator Warner dated
May 4th, 1994, are you not?
REDMAN: I'm not aware of
SMITH: Ambassador Galbraith?
not aware of that.
SMITH: You would agree, wouldn't you,
that in light of what we know today that of the administration's
policy, the argument made by Mr. Talbott in that letter was at
REDMAN: I really can't comment on it,
congressman. I haven't seen the letter, and I'm not sure what's
implied in that.
SMITH: Would you after this hearing
review that letter and respond in written form to
REDMAN: (Inaudible due to cross talk) --
SMITH: Both of you?
In lobbying against
lifting the arms embargo, did you ever make the argument to
members of Congress or staff that it was unnecessary to lift the
U.S. arms embargo because arms from other countries,
particularly Iran, were already getting through to
REDMAN: No, sir.
GALBRAITH: Yes. I mean, I -- I certainly --
I'm not sure how -- how -- I cannot recall now how explicit I
was, but I certainly in -- in having these discussions about the
unilateral lifting of the arms embargo, I did make it clear that
arms were going through and we were not objecting. And therefore
the result of enabling the Bosnians to defend themselves was
being achieved without all the adverse consequences of unilateral
lift that I described in my opening statement.
using Iran's providing those arms was used, indeed, as a way of
trying to defeat the legislation?
GALBRAITH: I pointed
out that the Bosnians were receiving arms and -- and that in this
way the -- they were increasingly able to defend themselves and
the consequences of -- the adverse consequences of unilateral
lift were -- therefore could be avoided.
SMITH: Did you
-- did either of you in any contacts you had with members of
Congress during the spring or summer of 1994 ever reveal that the
administration had acquiesced in the establishment of an Iranian
arms pipeline to Bosnia?
GALBRAITH: Again, what I said was
that arms were flowing into Bosnia and that we were not
SMITH: So you did reveal that in your
GALBRAITH: Well, I -- I've described what I
said, that arms were flowing into Bosnia, that we were not
objecting. If people asked what countries and -- and --
SMITH: It involved -- (inaudible due to cross talk) --
GALBRAITH: -- I would -- I would, of course, answer what
countries were providing weapons.
SMITH: So far as you
are aware, did anyone from the administration reveal this fact
to any member of Congress during the spring or summer of '94?
You said you did, but did anyone else?
wouldn't know. I mean --
REDMAN: Nor do
SMITH: Do you think that members of Congress would
have liked to know about that secret policy, that -- that we
would have considered it relevant to the debates that we were
having on the arms embargo had we known this?
best we could do from our perspective --
I don't remember seeing it in any literature I got from the
administration during their lobby effort. And if we have to ask
the solicitor to find out who may be breaching the arms embargo,
if we're lucky enough to have such a consultation -- I mean, I
don't remember seeing it myself coming across my desk that one
of the participants in the arms embargo pipeline was
GALBRAITH: Again, all I can say on this subject is
that there were numerous references to the fact that Iran was
providing arms contained in intelligence documents that I know
are available to the Congress.
SMITH: Did it ever occur
to either of you -- either of you that, at the time, that
revelation of this secret policy to the Congress might have
affected the outcome of the debates we were having on ending the
U.S. arms embargo?
Look at the record.
I mean, nobody was up there talking about it. So if you were
revealing this to members of Congress, it certainly was on a very
REDMAN: I can only say that really
wasn't my role. I was overseas negotiating, so it really wasn't
functioning in that context, sir.
GALBRAITH: And it certainly wasn't my role.
I was in Croatia, and any -- the conversations I had were
principally with people who came through Croatia.
In your opinion, would the Congress have been more likely or
less likely to vote to terminate the U.S. arms embargo of Bosnia
in 1994 if it had known that the administration secret
acquiescence in the establishment of an Iranian pipeline to
Bosnia had been in effect? I'm asking for your
REDMAN: I really have no way to judge that,
SMITH: Ambassador Galbraith?
Again, I wasn't involved in handling congressional issues, I was
involved in the region.
REPRESENTATIVE ROHRABACHER: Thank
First, we're not saying that you two fellows were
responsible for this policy, are we? No, we're just -- it's the
policy of the administration we're talking about now. We're not
saying whether you're responsible or you're responsible. We're
saying: What was the policy of this administration at what
time, and was it being honest with the people of the United
States, was it consistent with the law, was it being honest with
our allies? And what I'm hearing here is that the policy of the
administration was dishonest with our allies, was not being
honest with the people of the United States, was inconsistent --
its policy sub rosa was inconsistent with its policy on the
surface. Isn't what we're being told here?
would not agree with that.
ROHRABACHER: You wouldn't?
All right, well tell me where I'm wrong.
REDMAN: I think
we've been over a lot of that ground previously. The fact that
ROHRABACHER: I mean, I've been told this is the best
thing to do; by doing this, by making this decision of
non-interference, it made all the difference, I think was the
phrase used. In lifting the embargo -- basically we were
lifting the embargo unilaterally, but we can talk about that.
But the decision that was made, made all the difference,
apparently, because it addressed the military imbalance, military
imbalance is what you said there, and if it had not been made,
the unarmed Bosnians would barely have survived at
Now, all I can say is that certainly maybe the
conditions called for some type of decision, but when we come
down to it, all of those things are justifying the lies that we
told to our allies, the lies that were told to our people, and
the inconsistency between our officially stated policy and the
real policy that was being followed.
REDMAN: I think the
only point that one should continue to not lose sight of is that
in spite of what were obviously some discreet or secret
diplomatic exchanges, the actual implementation of that policy
was by no means a secret to anyone -- neither to our allies or
in fact to the American public, through the media. It quickly
became known. We have gone over it before -- the reaction of
our various allies --
ROHRABACHER: Do you think that --
REDMAN: -- and in fact, our position turned out to be
very much the same as that of our allies --
Did our allies know that we had --
REDMAN: -- which
was not to object.
ROHRABACHER: -- did our allies know
-- excuse me, excuse me, Mr. Ambassador. You're saying that our
allies were aware that at one point, if we would have spoken up,
we could have stopped that pipeline of weapons?
What I'm saying is our allies --
Certainly the Congress --
REDMAN: -- were aware that
there were arms flowing and that we were not objecting, and I
think that was an honest position.
I will tell you that this congressman has been on this committee
now for four years and had followed this issue for eight years,
basically, ever since we started having trouble down there in the
Balkans. I didn't know that this administration's policy was
basically not to interfere when we had a chance to interfere with
an arms pipeline that was coming from Iran into the
I was one of the biggest backers of lifting the
embargo. I mean, I was up here -- I was pounding on the desk.
That's why -- when earlier Ambassador Galbraith stated that the
policy of the administration was to lift the embargo, that's why
I was incredulous, because I can remember having the secretary
of state right where you're sitting, and I remember when I was
begging and pleading for the lifting of the embargo, and it was
a big negative on his part, and it was a big negative on the part
of the president of the United States when it came to the lifting
Well, there was an excuse. We have to all
do it together with our allies, or not do it at all. Well,
there's always an excuse. It's always a way of having it both
ways. It seems like the administration's -- is trying to have
it both ways again. And it's going to have it one way with our
allies and with the American people and with people like myself,
who are elected to oversee foreign policy, and it's going to have
it another way in the real policy that's going on sub rosa, when
we have a policy of no instructions, when we realize that "no
instructions" means the establishment of a pipeline to Iran into
Bosnia. I don't call that honest government at all. I don't
call that being truthful.
I -- I -- this is -- you know,
our friend -- my friend from the other side of the aisle talked
about the Iran-Contra affair. There was never any law, ever,
about selling arms to Iran. That wasn't breaking the law. But
President Reagan made a bad decision because of -- the official
policy of the government was at that time that we weren't going
to deal with Iran. And so people were upset. Don't you think
that people have the same right to be upset with this total
REDMAN: I think we've explained in some
detail the background for this policy, the rationale for it, and,
most importantly, why it worked.
ROHRABACHER: Well, let
me just say that -- ah, well, first of all, having some
experience in the executive branch as well as the legislative
branch of government, my red flags go up whenever I hear people
talking about that all the reporting was done orally and that
there was -- and that no written reports were required. Doesn't
the fact that all of -- you know, that all of your activity and
all of the activity that was done, that resulted in an arms
pipeline funneling arms from Iran into Bosnia, that all of the
activity that we were engaged in that led to that result, that
it's not in writing and that people didn't want these things in
writing -- doesn't that indicate that the people themselves knew
they were doing something wrong and that the administration was
actually being -- doing something that was wrong?
No, sir, not at all. The decisions were made by the competent
and appropriate authorities, they were transmitted by the
appropriate authorities, they were carried out in the appropriate
manner, and they were reported back in a way --
ROHRABACHER: You're saying the appropriate manner is
to leave no paper trail?
REDMAN: It may be the case,
ROHRABACHER: Well, that's not the case with
democratic government, that you don't leave a paper trail. In
a democratic government, where you have a legislative and
executive branch, you make sure you put things in writing like
Mr. Galbraith did, he made sure that he had a memo in his record
when it looked like he might have to take -- to be a scapegoat
when this was found out. Paper trails, they're not -- paper
trails are basically evidence to show who is doing what and when,
so that people in a democratic government can determine who's
making the policy and what the policy is of a democratic
government. I mean, you're talking as if our government is
being run by people who just really don't trust the elected
branch of government and that we don't want to -- and that's that
that's an acceptable behavior that we're kept out and left out
in the dark.
REDMAN: Sir, all I can refer to is the way
diplomacy is practiced. I have served in many more Republican
administrations than I have in Democratic, and I will say that
what happened in this case was not unusual.
Well, I will say this, then, in answer to that. If this was
a Republican administration, I believe that there'd be a lot more
problems in the press about this issue and there'd be a lot more
problems with our friends on the other side of the aisle who now
seem to be pooh-poohing this.
And -- if you will indulge
me just one more moment, Mr. Chairman, and that is, look, some
of us for years were pleading to lift the embargo. And when we
hear Ambassador Galbraith talk about how it made all the
difference and it addressed the military imbalance, we knew that.
We were pleading, as hundreds of thousands of people lost their
lives, we were pleading with the administration, this
administration and the one before it, to get rid of this stupid
embargo that left the victims helpless in front of a well-armed
Now, instead of changing the policy openly,
like should be done by democratic governments, and stating to the
world this is what our policy is, we are going to lift the
embargo, which would have meant that moderate, perhaps moderate
Islamic states like Turkey and Pakistan would have their
influence in the Balkans; instead, we were basically conducting
covert policy that left the Iranians, who are a terrorist nation,
with basically influence in the Balkans that they shouldn't have
And you know, again, you weren't the ones that were
making the policy, you were carrying out the policy. And I
believe that what we're talking about is what happens when people
of the highest levels of government don't have the integrity to
make a decision, make it known and stand by their decision
because it's the best course of action even though there's some
downsides to it.
So with that, thank you very much, Mr.
CHAIRMAN GILMAN: Thank you, Mr.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to preface my remarks
by a word of gratitude to these two gentlemen for giving your
careers to foreign service. I appreciate it, I know the people
of the United States do. It's a difficult task, and I applaud
your having chosen that as a career.
I have two lines of
inquiry, so let me state them in advance. The first would be the
degree to which the present Bosnian government may be grateful
to the Iranian government. The numbers of troops, you explained,
or the numbers of Revolutionary Guards, you explained that they
had diminished. But a debt of gratitude is one area that I think
I'd like to hear explanation on.
The second is, sometimes
people can change their mind and it's the right thing. I have
often. And at least in public life, I know it's sometimes more
painful than in private. And I'm really not sure whether the
administration changed its mind, in which case it could be fine;
or whether the administration, to the best of your ability to
tell, was following a consistent policy, namely -- and let me
just try my best and then I'm done and ask for your response --
namely, picking up from your testimony, that this administration
was against the embargo from the start but did not wish to remove
it unilaterally, gave no instructions regarding the trickle, gave
no instructions regarding the larger flow, though knowing that
effectively was countervening the embargo, it was not doing so
officially by us and hence not breaking faith with our
If that was the policy, I think I can string
together each pearl in the necklace and make it a whole, but I'm
not sure that's the policy.
So those are my two lines of
The first then would be is there not a debt of
gratitude by the Bosnian government to Iran for supplying them
with arms as a result of this policy? And then the second, do
I have the consistent policy right, or was there a change in
REDMAN: I think on the second part, that's the
simpler part. As I understood your explanation, that does hang
CAMPBELL: It's the best I could do -- tell
you, to string it together.
REDMAN: It's my
understanding, on the first --
CAMPBELL: Well, let me
just ask, if I might then -- thank you,
Ambassador Galbraith, do you agree that that
was -- you were there all the time -- and that that was the
consistent policy on the administration?
I agree with that.
CAMPBELL: Okay, thanks much. Now,
on the second one regarding the debt of gratitude.
GALBRAITH: I'm the ambassador to Croatia, not to
Bosnia, so I'm not the foremost expert on Bosnia, although I'm
in the region. I can only speculate. I imagine that the --
there are Bosnians who feel gratitude toward the Iranians. On
the other hand, they have gone ahead and they have expelled the
vast majority of the Iranians.
I will make one other
point, which is Iran -- I'm sorry; Bosnia, is not at all fertile
ground for Iran. The Bosnian Muslims have lived in a
multi-ethnic, European society and, indeed, I think many people
felt that of the three peoples in Bosnia -- the Serbs, the Croats
and the Muslims -- that the Bosnian Muslims were really the most
Western of the three peoples.
Second, Iran is a Shi'ite
nation. That's a particular branch of Islam, as you know. I
don't think there are -- there are hardly any Shia, or perhaps
none at all in Bosnia. So it's really quite different culturally
and religiously. So I don't think in fact there was much
CAMPBELL: I need to jump in just
because it's an amber light. I'm sorry.
CAMPBELL: And I don't intend to go over. But
Ambassador Redman, do you have anything to add
on the question on the debt of gratitude?
on that one I don't.
CAMPBELL: Then one last follow-up
on that very point. I know I'm putting a leading question, but
that's not uncommon in this particular forum. There is more
gratitude on behalf of the Bosnians to Iran because of the arms
shipment than there would have been had the arms shipment not
occurred; is that not correct?
REDMAN: That's really
difficult for us to answer. I mean, it sounds like a logical
construct, but I mean, obviously, only the Bosnians could answer
that question for you.
CAMPBELL: Of course. But you're
a better expert than I. I admitted it is a leading question, but
I think it's a fair question. I think you've been
straightforward. I applaud your willingness to serve our
country. I prefaced it by that. I just have to say they're
going to be grateful. Maybe the Guards are expelled. And if you
would admit that, I would be grateful. If you don't feel you can
admit it, I suppose I understand, I'm just a little
GALBRAITH: No, but I think I answered your
question to say that there were Bosnians -- I speculated, since
I'm not the ambassador to Bosnia, that there were -- there would
be Bosnians, including perhaps some in the government, who would
be grateful to Iran. I --
CAMPBELL: And my question --
my concluding question was, would not the Bosnian government be
more grateful than if we had not followed this
GALBRAITH: Well, again, I mean, it's just --
it's a simple statement. Obviously, they would be grateful for
My impression is, however, that -- it's my
impression and, indeed, my knowledge, and the facts bear this
out, that what the Bosnians really appreciate is the decisive
role that was played by the United States in orchestrating the
militarily decisive NATO air strikes that -- that turned the
tide, and in conducting the negotiations that produced a peace
CAMPBELL: I -- I regret you didn't answer my
question directly, but maybe you couldn't.
Thank you, Mr.
GILMAN: Thank you, Mr. Campbell.
REPRESENTATIVE BALLENGER: Thank you -- whoops!
Excuse me. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And fellows, I
appreciate your -- your situation -- let's put it that way --
(laughs) -- and the fact that we've been at least running around
all over this place and you've got to sit there.
Ambassador Galbraith, I want to follow up on your response to Mr.
Hyde's question. Is it true that neither you nor anyone else in
our government ever went to the Croatians, the Bosnians, or the
Iranians to suggest that they consider establishing an arms
pipeline from Iran or to tell them that we would not object if
such a thing were to happen. Is that correct?
That -- that is correct, to the best of my
BALLENGER: All right. Neither you nor anyone
else within our government ever approached a third party to
suggest that they suggest to the Croatians, the Bosnians, or the
Iranians that they consider establishing an arms pipeline from
Iran or to tell them that we would not object if such a thing
were to happen? Is that correct?
GALBRAITH: As -- as I
understand your question, yes, I think that's
BALLENGER: That -- that nobody suggested it and
so forth and so on.
There's been a press report suggesting that you may have helped
inspire the Croats to do this at a meeting you had with some
Croatian Muslims. Can you comment on that
GALBRAITH: I -- I can -- I don't know of any
press report. I can say -- I can say that I did not, to the best
of my knowledge, inspire this suggestion.
Ambassador Redman, so far as you know, is it true that no one
within the U.S. government helped inspire this idea or otherwise
set in motion a chain of events leading to the Croatian request
for the views of our government on establishing an arms pipeline
REDMAN: As far as I know.
Well, let me -- let me just quickly throw in one thing. And
it really is the dates and -- and how it seems a little bit
devious, but on April the 27th -- and this is according to the
New York Times and the Washington Post -- on the way back from
Nixon's funeral in California, President Clinton, Assistant
Secretary Lake and Assistant Secretary Talbott decided that
secretly facilitating arms shipment for Iran was within the
letter of the law and decided to send instructions on no
instructions, implicitly condoning the operation. That was on
April the 27th. On -- let me see, I have the wrong set of notes
here. On May the 4th, again -- this was that letter that you had
not read, I think, from Senator -- to Senator Warner -- Secretary
Talbott said although the administration believed the embargo
punished the victim in the conflict, a number of serious problems
would ensue if it were lifted. Most importantly, we would
jeopardize the chances of addressing the Bosnian crisis in
concert with our allies and undermine the authority of the U.N.
Security Council resolutions. Those two things occurred within
one week of each other, which to some extent seems a little
two-faced as far as the public is concerned.
And I'm not
asking a question; I'm just trying to make that statement. That
to me, since we were here trying to vote on what we should do and
what we shouldn't do, to have the administration decide that
having the Iranians -- to have the arms come in was a positive
effect but was within the law, but at the same time, in a letter
to a senator, Secretary Talbott said that he thought it was wrong
to do that, that, to my way of thinking, somehow just doesn't
GILMAN: Thank you, Mr.
FUNDERBURK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
GILMAN: Oh, I'm
sorry, Mr. Funderburk.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. I'm trying to
call them in order. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen?
ROS-LEHTINEN: (Off mike.)
FUNDERBURK: Do you know why the State
Department's South Asia Bureau Assistant Secretary Robin Raphel
traveled to Pakistan; and with which officials did she meet; and
what was the purpose of the visit? And I apologize for the fact
that I've been in another committee and these questions may have
been asked before.
GALBRAITH: That question was not
asked, and I have -- I don't know anything about
FUNDERBURK: Okay. Could you tell this committee if
it was you who initially conceived of the Iranian arms deal and
cabled the concept back to Washington, or if it was proposed by
another party? And if so, who was that party?
I did not conceive the Iranians' arms deal, and if it was --
presumably, it was conceived by another party, that being, as
best I know, the Bosnian government and the
FUNDERBURK: Did you endorse the idea, support
GALBRAITH: I supported, as I said in my
opening statement, the instructions that I received to tell the
Croatians that we had "no instructions." That I
FUNDERBURK: Thank you.
you, Mr. Funderburk.
ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you so much, Mr.
Chairman. And I also thank the gentlemen for their patience in
being here with us at this very important topic.
will recall, there were some interesting press reports in '95
about these phantom flights that were occurring into Tuzla in
February of '95. And they were suspected at the time of
delivering weapons to the Bosnian Muslims. Those reports
indicated that a number of our allies suspected at the time that
these flights were part of a covert U.S. mission to supply arms
to the Bosnians.
Were those flights, in fact, now looking
back on those times, U.S.-orchestrated flights?
I have no reason to believe that.
GALBRAITH: And I have
no reason to believe that's true, either.
Do you have any knowledge about those flights and who was on
those planes? Who -- what country these flights might have
REDMAN: No, nothing at
GALBRAITH: I'm aware of the reports about them.
I have -- I mean, this was in Bosnia. And, of course, I'm the
ambassador to Croatia; although it was of some interest at the
U.N. UNPROFOR headquarters, which was in Zagreb.
I -- to
the best of my knowledge, I -- well, let me say, I'm not at all
sure that the flights took place. I mean, it was a very murky
set of circumstances. And I don't think it's been determined at
all, that in fact, flights went into Tuzla
ROS-LEHTINEN: Were you ever or either of you
ever asked by other countries about these flights and who was
behind these phantom flights? And what was your response
REDMAN: I can only tell you what my response would
have been, because I didn't know anything about them. I can't
recall whether anybody ever raised them in some conversation; but
no -- by no means any sort of formal demarche or a formal
GALBRAITH: I mean, there was certainly some
discussion about it in the diplomatic community. But, again,
nobody raised this formally with me, and -- nor would they. I
mean, if anybody was going to raise it, the demarche would have
been made in Washington.
ROS-LEHTINEN: So you were aware
of the press reports, but it never piqued your interest enough
to find out if we were the one orchestrating them, or if other
countries were involved, and --
GALBRAITH: I have no
knowledge that the United States was involved. And I mean, I
can't say that I conducted an investigation, but I inquired in
a general way about what happened. I had some conversations with
some of our people --
ROS-LEHTINEN: Do you suspect there
might have been Iranian flights?
GALBRAITH: Well, once
again, the best that I can recall this situation is great
uncertainty as to whether there were flights at all. In fact,
in talking to our military people in Naples, they said to me that
they didn't think there'd been flights that had gone in there at
all, that this was some -- that the people who had reported it
had gotten it wrong.
As I recall this incident -- and
there are people who are much better experts on this than I --
again, it was in Bosnia; I'm ambassador to Croatia -- but as I
recall the incident, nobody ever saw these planes on the ground.
All they heard was the -- all the U.N. people who were reporting
it heard was the sound of airplane engines in a foggy
ROS-LEHTINEN: Do you think they could have been
GALBRAITH: Again, I have no idea. I
don't know that there were -- that in fact there were
ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you.
the gentlelady for her comments.
REPRESENTATIVE BERMAN: Thank you very much, Mr.
I'd just like to cover a few issues as quickly
as I can.
First, I'd just like to read into the record the
response of Deputy Secretary of State Talbott on the issue of
reprimands and "raps on the knuckles."
The question from
Senator Specter: "Was there a reprimand to Ambassador Galbraith
which was really just a feigned or phoney reprimand?"
assume this is Secretary Talbott's testimony of last week in the
Secretary Talbott: "I have heard reference
to such, read reference to such. I do not, to the best of my
own recollection, recall certainly myself ever reprimanding
Ambassador Galbraith. I think Ambassador Galbraith was doing a
good job in an extremely difficult circumstance. I really can
only speak to the tenor, the intent, and the content, as best as
I can recall it, of my own conversations with him."
mean, this is the number-two person in the State Department.
This deals with the questions and the issues raised by
Secondly, I'd like to ask Ambassador
Redman -- you're a veteran ambassador, diplomat -- from your
experience, would you say that the manner in which the issues of
the Croatian request for U.S. positions on a possible arms
pipeline from Muslim countries, including Iran, were handled were
part of normal diplomatic activity?
REDMAN: It was
definitely normal diplomatic activity.
REDMAN: Yes, it was normal diplomatic
BERMAN: Is a no-instructions policy part of
usual diplomatic discourse?
REDMAN: It is a technique or
tactic that is employed in diplomacy when -- well, there may be
various scenarios in which it may be appropriate but it is a
BERMAN: Is the policy of not putting such
discussions in writing a usual diplomatic practice in these
REDMAN: Again, it all depends on the
circumstances. In my own experience as special envoy in the
former Yugoslavia, I think I said earlier that I was most
frequently receiving instructions orally and reporting orally,
so there is that case that is precedent --
just want to make a point, then, about Iran. I think it's fair
to say, and I don't think it's just a matter of reflexive desire
to defend the administration, but I think it's fair to say
objectively that this administration has done more to seek to
isolate Iran diplomatically, militarily and economically than any
other administration has since the fall of the Shah.
have imposed -- we have not simply maintained the arms embargo,
we have imposed an entire economic embargo on Iran. We have used
our diplomatic resources to try and get other countries, not as
successfully as I would like, to do the same, or at least to
discourage significant investment in Iran's energy sector. We
have, I think successfully, dissuaded certain countries from
rescheduling loans with Iran.
It is -- it is -- first
instance troubling that the result and the consequences of all
these different considerations allowed us essentially to not
object to an Iranian pipeline.