Inside the Iran-contra Cover-Up

"... When Shultz returned to the State Department, he dictated a note to his aide, CHARLES HILL, who wrote down that Reagan's men were "rearranging the record." They were trying to protect the president through a "carefully thought out strategy" that would "blame it on Bud" McFarlane. As part of that strategy, virtually all of Reagan's top advisers, including Shultz, gave false and misleading testimony to Congress and prosecutors. Their accounts essentially blamed the illegalities on Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North and his bosses at the National Security Council, McFarlane and Poindexter. Pretty much everyone else -- at the CIA, Defense Department, the Vice President's Office and the White House -- claimed ignorance.
Even though Oliver North testified in 1987 that he was the "fall guy" in this implausible scenario, the Democrats and much of the press corps still fell for it. There was a clicking of wine glasses around Washington as the "men of zeal" cover story was enshrined as the official history of the Iran-contra affair. A painful Watergate-style impeachment battle had been averted. ..."

Iran-contra Investigation
Executive Summary

The key notes, taken by M. CHARLES HILLl, Shultz's executive assistant, were nearly verbatim, contemporaneous accounts of Shultz's meetings within the department and Shultz's reports to HILL on meetings the secretary attended elsewhere. The Hill notes and similarly detailed notes by Nicholas Platt, the State Department's executive secretary, provided the OIC with a detailed account of Shultz's knowledge of the Iran arms sales. The most revealing of these notes were not provided to any Iran/contra investigation until 1990 and 1991. The notes show thatcontrary to his early testimony that he was not aware of details of the 1985 arms transfersShultz knew that the shipments were planned and that they were delivered. Also in conflict with his congressional testimony was evidence that Shultz was aware of the 1986 shipments.

Independent Counsel concluded that Shultz's early testimony was incorrect, if not false, in significant respects, and misleading, if literally true, in others. When questioned about the discrepancies in 1992, Shultz did not dispute the accuracy of the Hill notes. He told OIC that he believed his testimony was accurate at the time and he insisted that if he had been provided with the notes earlier, he would have testified differently. Independent Counsel declined to prosecute because there was a reasonable doubt that Shultz's testimony was willfully false at the time it was delivered.

Independent Counsel concluded that Hill had willfully withheld relevant notes and prepared false testimony for Shultz in 1987. He declined to prosecute because Hill's claim of authorization to limit the production of his notes and the joint responsibility of Shultz for the resulting misleading testimony, would at trial have raised a reasonable doubt, after Independent Counsel had declined to prosecute Shultz....

Charles Hill
Research Fellow

Expertise: International political affairs

Charles Hill, a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service, is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Hill was executive aide to former U.S. secretary of state George P. Shultz (1985–89) and served as special consultant on policy to the secretary-general of the United Nations from 1992 to 1996. He is also diplomat in residence and lecturer in International Studies at Yale University.

Among Hill's awards are the Superior Honor Award from the Department of State in 1973 and 1981; the Distinguished Honor Award in 1978; the Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 1986; the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 1987 and 1989; and the Secretary of State's Medal in 1989. He was granted an honorary doctor of laws degree by Rowan University.

In 1983, Hill was appointed chief of staff of the State Department, following his serving as deputy assistant secretary for the Middle East.

His career took him to the Middle East in 1978, where he was deputy director of the Israel desk; in 1979 he became political counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. In 1981, he was named director of Israel and Arab-Israeli affairs, and in 1982 he served as deputy assistant secretary for the Middle East.

Hill began his career in 1963 as a vice consul in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1964, he became a Chinese-language officer in Taichubg, Taiwan, and in 1966 was appointed as a political officer in Hong Kong. He was mission coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon in 1971–1973, and then in the State Department as China cultural exchange negotiator. He was involved in the 1974 Panama Canal negotiations, then became a member of the policy planning staff as a speech writer for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975.

During 1970, he was a fellow at the Harvard University East Asia Research Center. He was a Clark fellow at Cornell University in 1989.

He received an A.B. degree from Brown University in 1957, a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960, and an M.A. degree in American studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961.

Hill has collaborated with former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on Egypt's Road to Jerusalem, a memoir of the Middle East peace negotiations, and Unvanquished, about U.S. relations with the U.N. in the post–cold war period, both published by Random House. Hill is the editor of the three-volume Papers of U.N. Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, published by Yale University Press.


The Next World Order
The Bush Administration may have a brand-new doctrine of power.
by Nicholas Lemann
The New Yorker Magazine

"The outside experts on the Middle East who have the most credibility with the Administration seem to be Bernard Lewis, of Princeton, and Fouad Ajami, of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, both of whom see the Arab Middle East as a region in need of radical remediation. Lewis was invited to the White House in December to brief the senior foreign-policy staff. "One point he made is, Look, in that part of the world, nothing matters more than resolute will and force," the senior official I had lunch with told me--in other words, the United States needn't proceed gingerly for fear of inflaming the "Arab street," as long as it is prepared to be strong. The senior official also recommended as interesting thinkers on the Middle East CHARLES HILL, of Yale, who in a recent essay declared, "Every regime of the Arab-Islamic world has proved a failure," and Reuel Marc Gerecht, of the American Enterprise Institute, who published an article in The Weekly Standard about the need for a change of regime in Iran and Syria. (Those goals, Gerecht told me when we spoke, could be accomplished through pressure short of an invasion.) ..."

Hoover on the Air

On August 1, Research Fellow CHARLES HILL was a guest on The World (BBC). He was the guest of the Austin Hill Show on KTKP-AM, Phoenix, Ariz. (Independent), on August 24 to discuss the readiness and morale of the U.S. military. On August 28, he was the guest of WERC-AM Radio—Birmingham, Ala. (ABC, Wall Street Journal Radio, AM/FM Radio Network), and on the nationally syndicated Mancow Muller Show, which is based in Chicago, to talk about U.S. military readiness.

Project for the New American Century

William Kristol, Ken Adelman, Gary Bauer, Jeffrey Bell, William J. Bennett, Ellen Bork, Linda Chavez, Eliot Cohen, Midge Decter, Thomas Donnelly, Nicholas Eberstadt, Hillel Fradkin, Frank Gaffney, Jeffrey Gedmin, Reuel Marc Gerecht, CHARLES HILL, Bruce P. Jackson, Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, John Lehman, Tod Lindberg, Rich Lowry, Clifford May, Joshua Muravchik, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz, Stephen P. Rosen, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, William Schneider, Jr., Marshall Wittmann, R. James Woolsey

March 30, 2005
Professors make voices heard on opinion pages
Faculty feels tension between academic, popular writing
Staff Reporter

... Diplomat-in-Residence CHARLES HILL said he will never turn down an offer to write an op-ed.
Sometimes, his habit of saying yes can be problematic, he said. Last summer, The Wall Street Journal asked him to submit an op-ed on the 9/11 Commission before the report had been released. He had to scramble to find a way to look at the unreleased report.
"Even when a piece is apparently impossible to do, when I have had to give lectures or travel, I still do it," he said.
The Wall Street Journal, where Hill most often is published, will e-mail him the morning before they want to run the piece. If it is the weekend, they might e-mail him Friday for a Monday piece, he said.
The challenge of writing quickly and eloquently concentrates your intellectual energies in a unique way, Hill said. But Hill, like Spence, said he does not seek out publication. Some of that, he said, is because of the evanescence of op-eds.
"They don't have much staying power," he said. "They don't stick in the minds of people. I can't remember a single New York Times op-ed that I can recall, even in the past couple of months."

From: Jim Sleeper
Dear John Fund,

You called me at home this morning, Saturday, March 4, seeking information or a comment on the enrollment of the former Talibani spin doctor Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi as a non-degree student at Yale. You told me, as you tell readers in this, your second column in a row on the subject, that you are shocked, shocked that no one in authority at Yale would say anything about it to you. When I asked if you'd tried CHARLES HILL, a neoconservative Diplomat in Residence there, a Vulcan on the Iraq War and a scourge of terrorism, or the historian John Gaddis, who supports Hill as his colleague in their “Grand Strategy” seminar for bright students drawn to the national-security state, you said that even they weren't talking.

What? Not even Hill, who, writing in your own Journal in 2004, blamed inadequate intelligence performance mainly on “a decline in the quality of personnel, brought about by pressures for diversity” that bypass “broad-based historical and area-studies…. gained at ‘elite’ colleges and universities”? Gosh, John, I could almost feel the pain in your false ingenuous wonderment on the phone: Could it be that Yale, for which you have the highest regard, has something to hide here and that even its truth-tellers have been muzzled?...
Scott McLemee
Big Man on Campus
Newsday, 26 February 2006

THE MAN ON WHOM NOTHING WAS LOST: The Grand Strategy of Charles Hill, by Molly Worthen. Houghton Mifflin, 354 pp.

On university campuses there is very often a professor who is also a legend. He (it is usually a man) is learned, but also worldly; he projects an aura of authority suggesting some deeper intimacy with real life. His courses are listed in history, literature or political science, but his real subject is himself. Each lecture feels like a rite of initiation. The bureaucracy must find a way of coping with students who want to take all of their electives with him.

Charles Hill -- a former Foreign Service officer who served in important positions under Henry Kissinger and George Schultz - has for a few years now taught a class at Yale University called Grand Strategy. Young aspirants to the diplomatic corps flock to it. His disciples are transfigured by the experience and copy down his blackboard diagrams as keys to the secrets of world power. Molly Worthen, a recent Yale graduate, was one of Hill's junior illuminati, and her book The Man on Whom Nothing Was Lost is an authorized biography of the great man.

But it is also a quest for the source of his greatness -- not to mention a meditation on the inner meaning (to her) of that quest. It is, in other words, both the reconstruction of an academic cult of personality and the most lasting of its symptoms. The author has some literary gifts, but they have not ripened; her prose is garrulous and repetitive, and she tends to mistake sententious comments (Hill's and her own) for profound thought. The result is not a book so much as it is an alumni-magazine profile gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Hill himself does not seem to be at fault. The word "modest" might not apply, but he does seem to understand that his career, while distinguished in its way, is of decidedly minor interest. His place in the history books will be as the source of raw material used in a footnote: Throughout his term as executive assistant to Schultz, Hill kept handwritten notebooks running to more than 20,000 pages, some of which ended up as evidence in the Iran-Contra investigations.

Hill managed not to reveal some pertinent notes to investigators. (Worthen puts on a pro-forma display of brow-furrowing over his ethics in this matter. But she dutifully parrots the conservative line that executive privilege is now menaced by a "liberal media elite.")

The case of the missing notebooks is, perhaps, the most exciting moment in the entire book. Hill's life was that of a functionary who moved behind the scenes -- analyzing Chinese newspapers from the mainland during the 1960s, for example, or writing the speeches through which Kissinger sought to convey to the world that he possessed a moral center.

Such work was challenging, no doubt, and amply rewarded with inside-the-Beltway status. It did not make for a happy home life. Hill comes across as a single-minded careerist who did not notice his wife's alcoholism until she mentioned it during the final days of their marriage. If not for the element of hero worship pervading the book, one might suspect an element of sarcasm in Worthen's title, which is borrowed from Henry James' injunction to be "one of the people on whom nothing was lost."

There is, in all of this, the substance of a good novella; but as a biography, it reads like the story of a Machiavelli who never got around to writing The Prince. Worthen insists (in the rapt tones of a true believer) that Hill's career has fitted him to be an excellent and life-transforming professor. In his lectures, she says, Hill transcends the limits of normal university teaching, where students are dissuaded from "reading the Western canon and practicing the art of sweeping judgment, but rather digging claustrophobic holes in some untold corner of the human experience, perhaps the history of the New York subway line number 9, or the changing role of laundresses in Jakarta."

Be that as it may, something is missing from Worthen's gale-force proclamations of wonder at the capacity of "Charlie" to bestride the world like a colossus. There is nothing resembling a substantial idea in the entire book. Worthen presents Hill as a neoconservative guru. But her portrait is that of a mind bearing less resemblance to the political philosopher Leo Strauss than a walking edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

Banalities pass as insights. "This is not to say," she writes at one point, "that Charlie does not fear for the fate of human character." (Gosh, big guy, we do appreciate your concern and will all try to do better.)

Even with such depths to plunge, the author never forgets herself entirely. Or at all, really. The narrative flow is regularly interrupted by her musings on the difficulties of biographical research, the changing estimate of Charlie's character, and invocations of how awesome Grand Strategy is (so awesome, in fact, that it need never be defined). She also indulges in a considerable amount of "my generation" babble: "We sit in coffee shops and complain about the doldrums of 'real jobs,' the stress of having to commit to a career that won't ever let out for the summer," etc.

This is not a biography, but a study in self-absorption by proxy. The publisher ought to be ashamed. The manuscript should have been left in a drawer, where it might embarrass the author 10 years from now, and in private.

Excerpt: THE MAN ON WHOM NOTHING WAS LOST: The Grand Strategy of Charles Hill, by Molly Worthen

"The genius of Charles Hill is his silence. In books and in school we had
encountered the far-off places and the Great Men whom he served: Hong
Kong, Vietnam, and Israel; Ellsworth Bunker and Henry Kissinger, George
Shultz and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. But he never mentioned them in class,
and as artless freshmen we had yet to pick up on the gossip that the
upperclassmen traded after his lectures. Most of us were too young to
remember the Iran-Contra affair, at the time preferring Saturday morning
cartoons to Oliver North. We did not know that our professor"s notebooks
helped to break open the investigation. Our ignorance was for the best. His
presence, his hold on the class, was enough to make us freeze in our seats.
Filled at first with the happy murmur of weekend gossip, the room snapped
silent at nine o"clock when Professor Hill walked in. He wore a stone-colored
suit, and he did not speak or look at us until he had taken his seat at the
head of the table and pulled his yellow legal pad from his backpack. The
backpack, please note, was made of dignified brown leather and detracted
only slightly from the overall gravity of his image.
He sat leaning close to the table, his back straight and
motionless as a marble figure tipping imperceptibly from its column. During
the week we spent studying the Romans, Professor Hill passed around a
picture of the bust of Emperor Vespasian. He called it "The Roman Face."
There was a resemblance between my instructor and the emperor"s ancient
countenance, rough-hewn and furrowed, with wide, sad eyes that laid bare a
life of hard decisions. Vespasian, too, had a strong mouth that rarely looked
to speak, and then only to rapt attention. The emperor even had the same
ears—medium-sized, protruding just a bit. Professor Hill claimed to have
never thought of the likeness...."

Published Wednesday, October 19, 2005
What's the real lure of 'Grand Strategy'?

It's mid-October, the air is turning crisp, and a certain breed of undergraduate is already whispering about the application for "Studies in Grand Strategy." The course, taught by Yale's reigning triumvirate of international history gurus -- Paul Kennedy, John Gaddis and CHARLES HILLl -- is a two-semester, interdisciplinary seminar intended to train an elite group of undergraduate, graduate and professional students in the arts of leadership and strategic thinking. The deadline is Nov. 14. Twenty students will be accepted. Admission is by competitive application only.

As your friendly fellow Elis begin sharpening their claws and hatching bribery schemes in anticipation of the application process, it bears asking: Why all the fuss over Grand Strategy? In the hierarchy of selective programs at Yale (Directed Studies, EP&E, International Studies, Grand Strategy), why is Grand Strategy singled out as the go-getter's nirvana?

What's the appeal?

Self-Aggrandizement: Grand Strategy, in case you failed to catch it the first time, is "grand" (cue kettle drums, chorus of angels, 21-gun salute). Truly grand. Note that this is in sharp distinction to "great strategy," "mediocre strategy" and "not-really-altogether-so-bad strategy," which were all proposed and thrown out. "Terrific strategy" was judged to be too cute, and was donated to the School of Management, where it was incorporated into a marketing course.

Historical Mandate: Grand Strategy deals with the big, important things in history: war, diplomacy, revolution, constitutions, great books, great men. This focus allows the Grand Strategist to operate unencumbered by inconsequential issues, like the existence of women, which tend to burden the historian and distract him from discovering the unifying themes of human existence. Furthermore, the philosophy of Grand Strategy is rooted in the writings of the ancient Greeks, who are dead, and who used a funny alphabet, and who left us big, shiny, unimpeachable things like the Acropolis, the gyro and democracy. Most of us would be willing to take a swipe at Jimmy Carter's foreign policy, but who are you to argue with Thucydides?

Promise of Universal Efficacy: According to the syllabus, the goal of "Studies in Grand Strategy" is to teach you, as a Future World Leader, "how to connect desired ends with available means" to attain whatever results an individual, corporation or nation might be seeking. You know, it's like those leadership games you had to play in middle school -- how to get a dozen people across a 10-foot gap when equipped with just a 5-foot beam and two folding chairs. Or how to topple a dictator, foment a democratic revolution, and silence one's political opposition in a small to medium-sized equatorial country.

Manly Vigor: The professors of Grand Strategy are not just men of letters, but also certified Men of Action. Professor Hill earned his stripes in Vietnam, served as a Foreign Service officer under Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, and, as he once revealed in a Yale Herald interview, believes strongly in the manly value of eating meat. Professor Gaddis was the mastermind behind CNN's definitive documentary on the Cold War. Paul Kennedy publishes in The New York Times and The Washington Post. These professors consult to governments, participate actively in public debates, and use the word "power" to describe military might, not hetero-normative discourses. Pallid academics, Marx-quoting milquetoasts, and employees of the Sociology and Anthropology departments: be scared.

Aloofness from Detail: The Grand Strategy syllabus, to be fair, does cover a few not-so-grand topics, such as public health and the environment. But these topics are covered in one two-hour session apiece, presumably because Future World Leaders shouldn't be bothered with pedestrian details. In one of his more benevolent moments, Professor Hill takes it upon himself to explicate the minor problem of "culture and religion" in one such two-hour session.

Narrative Allure: Could it be that Yalies flock towards Grand Strategy because, compared to the pessimism and discord of most academic inquiry, it presents a fundamentally richer story? Grand Strategy seems to present a deeply human and compelling worldview. It is a visionary narrative whose vocabulary is peace, war, revolution, tragic heroes and great men. This is the stuff of Shakespeare, of Tolstoy, of Pasternak. We are human; we are story-telling animals. These themes haunt us. If most political science classes were converted into sound, they would be dissonant noise. Grand Strategy, as it imagines itself, would be opera. It is a self-referential world of great ideas, and as long as that world remains hermetic, it is hard to resist its seductive vision. The problem lies in applying this world of ideas to a real world where AIDS and poverty are more pressing issues than Thucydides' conception of virtue.

Selectivity: They only let in 20 people. We're Yalies. That's what we get off on.

Daniel Weisfield is a junior in Calhoun College.

... Charles Hill (5th edition)—International Business – Competing in the global marketplace, McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Published Friday, February 14, 2003
Even professors find love at work

... Charles Hill, a distinguished fellow in diplomacy, first met Norma Thompson, a senior lecturer in the humanities, as a student in her class at Georgetown University.

At the time, Hill was working for the State Department. Under the suggestion of Secretary of State George Schultz, Hill decided to take a class in something he had never had time for before: Herodotus.

"He got my attention by writing a brilliant paper," Thompson said. "It should be said that I don't marry every student who writes a brilliant paper."

One Herodotus class grew into 12 years of marriage. Both Thompson and Hill now teach Directed Studies.

Update from AIJAC
The 9/11 Commission Report

July 27, 2004
Number 07/04 #09
Writing in the Wall Street Journal on the 9/11 Commission, Charles Hill, a former aide to Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, has aptly noted that "the demand for near-perfect certainty is a deeply entrenched delusion."
Age Of Terror - Charles Hill
Author: Ronald Chan | Date: 5/3/2005

The Age of Terror is a book full of essays. Some essays which I found offensive and provocative would be the ones by CHARLES HILL, Niall Ferguson, and Paul Kennedy’s. This book was put together only a week after the incident of 9/11, people would of thought it boring but I find it interestingly provocative.

One of the most provocative essays in the book is the one by Charles Hill. Quoting from his essay that makes it so provocative is “…the miserable state of politics and governance….” in the Arab world, plus the tendency of Arabs to blame all their problems on warped conspiracy theories (The Mossad being the reason on 9/11). Another quote that is provocative would be “Every regime of the Arab-Islamic world has proved a failure. Hill argues that Arab regimes have intentionally served up a “combinations of internal oppression and propaganda to generate rage against external enemies” Hill ends off his provocative essay, with a comparison of the fight against terrorism to the labors of Hercules....

September 24, 2004
For God, Country, Yale and the CIA

A number of Yale graduates have worked for the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA's predecessor. They dominated the CIA's leadership throughout the Cold War period and continue to join the agency in large numbers, said Diplomat-in-Residence Charles Hill, who teaches Studies in Grand Strategy with professors John Gaddis and Paul Kennedy.

CIA recruiters visit other college campuses, but they seem to have a predilection for Yalies -- it could have something to do with "nostalgia for the 'Old Blue' mentality," Hill said, or it could be that Yalies are simply more attractive candidates than their Ivy League counterparts.

"People who go to Yale are people of high character," he said. "In intelligence agencies, you need people with character; they've got to be intrepid, you have to know that they're going to do the job."