WASHINGTON, DC – Major U.S. companies continue to distance themselves from two corporate coalitions that are publicly backing the Turkish government’s campaign against the Armenian Genocide Resolution, according to documents released today by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The American Turkish Council (ATC) and the American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT), both coalitions claiming to represent U.S corporations doing business in Turkey, have each publicly – and aggressively – opposed the adoption by Congress of legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide (H.Res.106/S.Res.106.)
In response to these efforts, the ANCA sent formal letters last month to each member of the two coalitions, requesting that they clarify their position on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. To date, the ANCA has received written confirmation from a number of these companies that they are not opposed to the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Among these are several major multinationals, such as Microsoft, Xerox, American Express, Altria, Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, and Cargill.
Relevant excerpts from these letters are provided below:
* Leonard W. Condon, Vice President of Altria’s International Business Relations, explained in a letter to the ANCA that: “Our international tobacco company, Philip Morris International (PMI) is a member of the Turkish American Council. However, neither PMI nor Altria have taken a position – and neither company plans to take a position – on the proposed Resolution.” Altria is ranked 20th on the Fortune 500 and had revenues last year of $101.4 billion.
* Thomas Schick, the Executive Vice President for American Express Corporate Affairs and Communications, in a letter to ANCA, wrote: “Please be assured that, as a matter of company policy, American Express does not take a position on issues before any legislative body that do not directly affect our company.” American Express is ranked 69th on the Fortune 500 and brought in revenues during 2006 of $30.08 billion.
* Ann S. Dickey, Staff Vice President of Government Affairs for Federal Express, wrote to the ANCA that: “FedEx does not participate in communications regarding information of this nature.” FedEx is ranked 70th on the Fortune 500 and generated $32.3 billion in revenue last year.
* Anne M. Mulcahy, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox, wrote that, despite its listing on the ABFT website: “Xerox is not a member of the ABFT. Therefore, Xerox did not participate in any way in the decision of the ABFT to send a letter to the United States Congress.” Xerox is ranked 142nd on Fortune 500 and had annual revenues last year of $15.9 billion.
* Clement R. Gagne III, Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe’s Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, in a letter addressed to ANCA, wrote that: “Microsoft has not participated in any discussions or decisions of ABFT, and was not involved with the communication to which you referred in your letter.” Microsoft is ranked 48th on the 2006 Fortune 500 and had annual revenue last year of $44.28 billion.
* Thomas M. Gorrie, Ph.D., Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy, wrote to the ANCA that: “Johnson and Johnson in Turkey is not a board member and has not been engaged in any role in the ABFT communication you have mentioned in your letter. As [the] world’s largest and most comprehensive and broadly based health care company, we would not engage in political issues of this nature.” Johnson & Johnson is ranked 32nd on the Fortune 500 and had annual revenue last year of $53.32 billion.
* Van Yeutter, Cargill’s Director of International Business Development and Washington Operations, explained in writing that: “We are a commercial enterprise focused on business matters rather than on political or foreign policy matters. As such the company does not have a position on the issue of your enquiry.” Cargill, a multinational corporation based in Minnesota, is the world’s second largest privately held corporation. In 2006, it had revenue of $75.2 billion.
The controversy surrounding this issue was the subject of a March 28, 2007 article by Kate Ackley in Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. The article cites ATC President, Jim Holmes, listing Philip Morris International as one of the companies he claims is working through the council to stop the Armenian Genocide Resolution. This point is clearly contradicted by the letter from Altria, the parent company to Philip Morris, which states that neither company opposes H.Res.106.
Copies of these letters can be obtained by writing to the ANCA at email@example.com.