The enduring friendship between the American and Armenian peoples dates back to the era of the Armenian Genocide. American leaders, such as President Woodrow Wilson, diplomats, most notably U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, and relief workers, among them American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, played a critical role in protesting Ottoman Turkey's systematic destruction of the Armenian people and in helping to alleviate the suffering of those that survived. These noble efforts, to a very great extent, marked the introduction of the United States on the world stage as an advocate for international justice, human rights and humanitarian values.
Throughout the Cold War, the United States championed the right of the Armenian people to an independent homeland and, in December of 1991, was among the first to recognize Armenian independence. Even prior to Armenia's independence, in December of 1988, the U.S. government and the American people, in an unprecedented act of compassion across the iron curtain, extended their generosity to the Armenian people as they recovered from a devastating earthquake that took over 40,000 lives.
In the decade since 1991, the U.S. and the Armenian governments have steadily expanded relations based on a history of shared values and common interests in a secure stable Caucasus and Caspian region. Armenia has joined the WTO and was granted, in 2004, permanent normal trade relations status with the U.S.
At the national level, the U.S.-Armenia Economic Task Force, launched in January of 2000, coordinates this effort by bringing together officials from the Departments of State, Commerce and Treasury, the Trade Development Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Security Council, to promote economic cooperation between the United States and Armenia. Most recently, Armenia joined the Coalition of the Willing and send a unit of deminers, doctors, truck drivers and support personnel to Iraq to help with the U.S.-led effort.