Heffern Justifies Obama’s Silence on Genocide

US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—US President Barack Obama’s April 24 statement does not deny any of the facts, US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said in an interview with The Politic.

“The President’s statement on April 24 — he has made about four or five — is a very strong statement. It does not deny any of the facts. It clearly states that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or were marshaled to death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. It refers to these actions as one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. It acknowledges the facts, and in our view, there is no dispute over the facts,” the Ambassador said.

“The policy decision about how the U.S. government characterizes this period is a policy decision, and it takes into account a number of legal and political factors, one of which is reconciliation. Our U.S. policy is to find ways to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and, through that reconciliation, to improve the lives of people in both countries. Certainly, Armenia needs that Turkish border open, needs diplomatic relations with its neighbor. It is in a semi-isolated state [that] is very detrimental to the state and to the economy. So U.S. policy is reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. The President and Secretary of State — Secretaries Clinton and now Kerry — select and use words that they believe will promote that reconciliation, and that is why they have chosen the words they used,” John Heffern said.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. bayrakiniyakan said:

    First of all Americans must stop treating Armenians worse than the Genocidal Turks ! Mr. Ambassador when the US president and the Secretary of State will talk about treaty of Sevres as reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey ?

    • www.Voskanapat.info said:

      This is a wrong question and a wrong person to ask.

      He’s doing what the Big Oil needs him to do and saying what the Military Industrial Complex wants to hear. It is about war profiteering and exploitation of natural resources of other countries.

      Perfect imperialist “economic” model of robbing other countries by installing corrupt despotic “friendly” regimes like in Baku Sultanate and selling them weapons to threaten neighbors and protect pipelines.

  2. Satenik said:

    There is no justification! I don’t think anybody is going to buy this!

  3. Alex Postallian said:

    Nice try John,but its the same garbage,they been putting out in years……They don’t want to offend jurkey turkey because of trade dollars $$$$$$$$$$$$$–They care less about the Armenians,and their plight.Genocide is Genocide, any other term,or substitute,is double talk.Get the idea obummer..Where is a guy like Harry Truman,when we need him.Its like he used to say play actors, or phonies….

  4. Bernard Kloian said:

    What, another political copout? No surprise here. Dating back to Ambassador Morgenthau, has there ever been another U.S. Ambassador or representative to speak out, since his voice did then, and hence his book? I’m of the age that doesn’t remember any, perhaps only Reagan. And if there were voices who did, they avoided the ‘Genocide’ word every opportunity there was, fear of publicly labeling the facts as the truth. Hillary Clinton was a disgrace. Just go ahead and ‘dig’ up the past in newsprint from that era and they’ll deny that too. Shameless, unforgivable, disgusting, human beings.

  5. GB said:

    Armenian Genocide is like a political ultimatum. White House use frequently, especially during Thanksgiving holidays, when all kinds of tasty recipe, putting into turkey’s ass!!

  6. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Mr. Heffern, Thank You! Your explanation resembles Mr. Gorbachov’s logic.

  7. john k said:

    Mr. Heffern and all of his superiors all the way up to Mr. Obummer are full of cow manure. Their blatant denial of the fact of genocide, committed against Armenians by turks, are testimony to corrupt American policy to appease an “ally” who, in times of need, does not hesitate to stab US in the back. A Turk will always show it’s true nature…

    • An Armenian said:

      John Heffern is just a crony of the Obama administration and the US State department. He is just repeating what they have been telling him to convey. He is incapable of independent thinking and reasoning. He is certainly no John Evans, the former US Ambassador to Armenia who lost his job for speaking the truth about the Armenian Genocide. Why was John Evans removed from his position as the US Ambassador to Armenia when he was speaking the truth?

  8. Krikor said:

    Empty words !repetition….The recent US administrations do not have moral an ethical good standings;they are scared to call a spade ” a spade”. Turkey is even worse for not admitting it’s past wrongdoings.
    No reconciliation ever if one does not accept it’s wrongdoings first.
    We will continue our just struggle and we will win !!

  9. Garo said:

    Mr. Ambassador, Armenia demands full recognition and justice for the Genocide and also demands lands that belong to Armenians and may be then reconciliation could be possible. So far in time, the decision makers for the USA always favored Turkey for known and unknown and secret reasons and thus the US diplomats are not to be trusted.

  10. An Armenian said:

    What? oh, yeah now try to justify your own actions (or in-actions in this case) and decisions by saying it is good for the victim. If Obama and the US State Department are truly interested in reconciliation, then they would call a spade a spade and not dance around the subject. What is the fact? The fact is that it was Genocide. So why can’t you use the word Genocide? Again they are trying to force something on the weaker state to promote their own geopolitical interests. Once again they are showing their cowardice and buckling under pressure from Turkey. They forget that blockading a country is against International laws and the culprit should be held accountable not appeased.

  11. Varouj said:

    The policy decision about how the U.S. government characterizes the Holocaust Mr. Heffern is also a policy decision, which also takes into account a number of legal and political factors one of which is reconciliation and the other is JUSTICE. Why should the policy decision about the proper characterization of the Armenian Genocide be confined to the factor of reconciliation alone?

    The way to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia Mr. Heffern is to accept truth and promote justice for this crime against humanity. Reconciliation certainly won’t come about by trying to legitimize the weasel words of unrepentant genocide deniers. When the state department gets its head out of its you know what and grows some balls, you won’t be forced to make a fool of yourself before us all by pathetically trying to defend the indefensible.

  12. Hratch said:

    Armenians should first clean up their own house before asking help from others…and this coming from an Armenian!!!!!!!!!

  13. Janine said:

    One question I would like to ask is why we are supporting policies that are finishing the genocide: wiping out the descendant populations of survivors in Aleppo. In fact, guaranteeing the cleansing of Christian survivor populations in Iraq and now Syria

  14. Vindicated Man said:

    I agree about reconciliation, but any such development must only take place after President Wilson’s arbitral award is honored. And the border should be reopened, but only after the related demarkation measures take place. This is the only solution that I see.

  15. GeorgeMardig said:

    Washington cares less about Armenia and Armenian Genocide, all he cares is GeoPolitics, Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern knows it, President Obama knows it, everybody knows it, Washington couldn’t make Turkey to open it’s borders failing against all International laws

  16. Sevag said:

    Why don’t we also have a “dolma” & “sarma” picnic together on Mt Ararat…..

  17. arziv said:

    Balderdash, playing with words, semantic calisthenics. Use the proper word, which is Genocide. What nonsense is this business of reconciliation ? There can not be reconciliation without recognition and acknowledgement of the holocaust. They are scared of using the accurate word Genocide for fear of political reprisals, craven, cowardly and abject posture.

  18. Josef said:

    What Armenia needs to do is get peace and justice through power we are the First Christian nation on Gods green earth and we will stay this way for a long long time! Empire’s like the Babalonians, Romen’s and Ottoman’s came and went but we are still here! As far as Armenian American’s go we need to do what our Good friends the Jews did put people in office that are either Armenian or pro Armenia and who ever is anit-Armenian vote them out of office by any means possible. What Mr. Heffern is saying with all do respect is go to hell Armenia we don’t care!!! Orders from Mr. Obama himself!! Now my Christian Armenian brothern go think about this!

  19. Hratch said:

    Every comment above is as predictable as Washington’s statement every year on April 24. There must be another approach!

  20. Ara said:

    Yes Yes Yes Not saying the complete truth is also a lie- mister ambasador. But why is that? Because it helps USA to keep NATO’s 20 military airbases + 500 nuclear warheads in Turkey. Why would they spoil relationship with Turks? Armenians should wake up!!!!! This international recognition of Genocide is a big mistake harming us-Armenians. Because of this international recognition today Armenian Genocide issue has become a political tool for western prostitute polititians to be used for their own advantage. Don’t we Armenians finally understand? Are we ever going to ever be building our country but not running out from it ? Does ever in history any country become strong with help of foreign polititian lie?

  21. ronnie said:

    Mr Heffern, justifying mr Obama’s silence is equivalent “justifying genocide” and its continuation through border blockade.You are basicaly saying we know terrible crimes happened but it’s okay we are getting compensted through other means so we will close our eyes…

    Go get stuffed!

  22. Mihran said:

    The usual bull shit coming from John Heffern and his lying superiors who design this fake argument.

  23. lobo said:

    Hilarious. Sure, reconciliation… we’ve seen how well that worked. Maybe you would need a plan for Turkey like you had for the Nazis. Otherwise I don’t think that will work our very well.
    And phase don’t tell us what we need. Hey, do we also need 17 bln in debt? Maybe you don’t really know what we need? The border remains closed. There will either be no open Armenian-Turkish border or none at all in lack of so called turkey.