Asks Secretary of State-Designate to Continue Record of Armenian Genocide Recognition During Confirmation Hearing Viewed by Tens of Millions

January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaking today during the nationally televised Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for the incoming Secretary of State, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) praised Hillary Clinton’s long record of support for Armenian Genocide recognition and urged her to continue her principled stand on this core human rights issue as the nation’s top diplomat, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We want to thank Bob Menendez for raising the need for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide today during Sen. Clinton’s confirmation hearing, which was watched intently by tens of millions across the United States and around the world,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “His comments, which cited both the Secretary of State-Designate’s longstanding support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution and President Obama’s pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide as President, reflect the fact that the incoming Administration includes an unprecedented number of officials with substantial track records of fighting for the proper acknowledgement and commemoration of this crime against humanity.”

During Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioning, Sen. Menendez stated:

“I hope that the support that you gave while you were a Senator to the question of the Armenian Genocide, that the President-Elect has himself supported, recognition of that. You know, if we are to say never again, part of that is ultimately the recognition of what has happened so that we can move forward. And I hope that you will be an advocate of having us get off of where we have been and move forward to a recognition of that part of history that is universally recognized so that we can move forward in that respect.”

“And I also hope in a part of the world that’s very important to me, on the question of reunification of Cyprus, that we have honest brokers at the State Department, at the end of the day. One that recognizes that if Greek and Turkish Cypriots could work with each other, they would seek a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation that could move forward and reunify the island and end the incredible militarization of the island – the most militarized part of the world per capita. So, I hope that you will look at those issues. I know the positions you’ve taken as a Senator and I applaud them. I hope that they won’t change drastically as you move to Secretary of State.”

Secretary of State Designate Clinton responded:

“Senator, we will be looking very closely at those and other challenging issues with the eye of moving forward and being effective in responding to these very legitimate concerns.”

President-elect Obama and Vice-President-elect Biden have actively, repeatedly, and energetically called for U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide during their terms in the Senate. Of President-elect Obama’s cabinet level nominees to date, at least four, including Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton, have championed this human rights issue.

Excerpts of statements by key Obama Administration officials regarding Armenian Genocide affirmation are provided below.

** President-elect Barack Obama: “The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable… America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.” (1/19/08)

** Vice President-elect Joe Biden: “Recognition by the United States of the Armenian Genocide is not the final goal. The real goal is the recognition of Turkey – of the Turkish Government – of the Armenian Genocide and the establishment of a common Turkish-Armenian understanding of the events and tragedy that took place,” stated Sen. Biden. The real goal is the recognition of Turkey, of the Turkish Government, of the Armenian Genocide and the establishment of a common Turkish-Armenian understanding of the events and tragedy that took place.” (7/29/08)

** Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton: “I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide. I have twice written to President Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian Genocide in his annual commemorative statement and, as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide. Our common morality and our nation’s credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States. (1/24/08)

** CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta: “April 24, 1915, signified the beginning of a systematic attempt by the Ottoman regime to deport and exterminate Armenians from the Anatolian Peninsula. Over the next 8 years, 1 1/2 million Armenian people were murdered by minions of the Ottoman Empire. Those who were spared were driven from their homes. It is for those victims, and it is for all oppressed peoples today, those who have died and those who survived, that we take time to reflect on the Armenian genocide and its implications for all of us today.” (4/29/92)

** Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar: Cosponsor of Armenian Genocide Resolution S.Res.106. (4/16/07)

** Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis: Cosponsor of Armenian Genocide Resolution H.Res.106. (1/31/07)

** Transportation Secretary-designate Ray LaHood: Cosponsor of Armenian Genocide Resolution H.Res.106. (8/27/07)

In addition to Administration officials, the U.S. Congress is today led by among the most energetic and vocal advocates of American recognition of the Armenian Genocide:

** Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi: “A grave injustice was committed and the fact that our nation is not officially recognizing these crimes as genocide is a disappointment.” (12/12/08)

** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “It truly saddens me that after 93 years, the U.S. has failed to acknowledge the Armenian genocide for what it was.” (4/24/08)

** House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman: “Genocide is a very powerful word, and should be reserved for only the most horrific examples of mass killing motivated by a desire to destroy an entire people. Without a doubt, this term is appropriate to describe the unimaginable atrocities suffered by the Armenian people from 1915 to 1918.” (4/27/06)

** Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry: “Acknowledging when genocide has occurred is not simply a theoretical or legal exercise. It is key to preventing genocide from happening again. That’s why, in my view, we must change U.S. policy to reflect the true nature of the tragic events that were perpetrated against the Armenians by calling them what they were: genocide.” (6/19/08)


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
Your generosity empowers our advocacy, inspires our work, and sustains our momentum.