An internal investigation indicates Hercules Inc. has had no involvement in the growing scandal involving national defense contracts, said a top Hercules official.

David S. Hollingsworth, chairman and chief executive officer for the Delaware-based company that operates Utah plants in Magna and Clearfield, said in a recent press conference that the scope of the defense-contracting scandal will affect his company, but not because Hercules is directly involved. He said a company review of its contracting activities has convinced him that Hercules is not involved in the scandal."We want to believe that the Pentagon scandal is an extreme aberration," said Hollingsworth, commenting on recent revelations that many companies appear to have bought top-secret information or paid bribes to Pentagon contracting officials in order to get an edge on the competition. "We'll have to wait and see how flagrant and widespread the scandal is. We are convinced that Hercules is not involved."

Hercules is involved with several defense contracts, mostly involving manufacture of solid fuel rocket motors.

Hollingsworth also said his company has continuing concerns over the housing of Soviet inspectors near the plant's Bacchus works. Under terms of a recently signed accord between the United States and the Soviet Union concerning intermediate-range nuclear weapons, a team of inspectors from the Soviet Union is being housed in Magna to perform inspections that will guarantee new intermediate-range weapons are not being produced. A similar inspection team from the United States is in the Soviet Union.

Hollingsworth said his company has written assurances from the Department of Defense that Hercules projects will not be compromised, but he still has some reservations about the presence of the Soviets.

"It would be naive to say we are not concerned, but we do have assurances from the Department of Defense," Hollingsworth said. He said he also believes it likely that some Soviet inspectors are trained intelligence officers but he assumes some of those assigned to the U.S. inspection team are similarly trained. "It would be unfortunate if this plant were hurt in any way economically."

Despite assurances , Hollingsworth said he does have security concerns and the company will continue to make every effort to ensure that the presence of the Soviets does not have a negative impact on operations.