* Oil industry executive lobbied hard against Section 907; voted against Armenian Genocide resolutions in 1985 and 1987
The US oil industry may have found its dream team with Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush’s pick of Dick Cheney as his vice presidential running mate.
— Tom Doggett–Reuters–July 25–2000
FALLS CHURCH–Va.–George W. Bush’s selection of oil industry executive Dick Cheney as his vice-presidential running mate has raised fears among Armenian Americans that a Bush-Cheney Administration will give oil industry lobbyists free reign over US policy toward Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
"George W. Bush’s first major decision as a presidential candidate says a great deal about where his Administration would stand on issues of vital importance to Armenian American voters," said Armenian Americans for Gore Chairman Michael Mahdesian. "Along with Armenia’s from around the nation–both Democrats and Republicans–we are very troubled by Dick Cheney’s record of not only serving the interests of big oil but aggressively advancing a pro-Azeri agenda at the expense of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh."
Cheney–a former US Representative who served as Secretary of Defense in the Bush Administration–has consistently – often stridently – opposed Armenian American issues. During his tenure in the House he voted twice–in 1985 and 1987–against Armenian Genocide resolutions. As Defense Secretary Cheney oversaw massive arms transfers to the Turkish military. As the chief executive officer of oil industry giant Halliburton–he actively lobbied for the repeal of the Section 907 restrictions on US aid to the government of Azerbaijan.
In appreciation for these efforts–the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce gave Cheney its 1997 Freedom Support Award at its annual banquet in Washington–DC. In his keynote address accepting the award–Cheney dismissed Section 907 as the product of "primarily [of] US domestic political considerations," ignoring the strong bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress that have regularly defended this provision. He stated:
I must also say that I believe that our current policy prohibiting US assistance to Azerbaijan is seriously misguided. In my experience–this kind of unilateral sanction–based primarily on US domestic political considerations–is unwise. –Dick Cheney–former Secretary of Defense–remarks on the future of Azerbaijan: Washington–DC–Feb. 18–1997
1997 article dealing with Section 907 in the publication Transitions Online noted that:
The unconditional support of the Diaspora will be crucial for Armenia because of increasing pressure on Congress from the oil lobby to lift the ban on direct US aid to Azerbaijan. Former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney–who now works for Halliburton Energy Services–in February spoke against the ban in strong terms–saying ‘Azerbaijan’s very independence and survival are on the line.’
Cheney’s active opposition to Section 907 was also documented by the Amarillo Business Journal–which quoted him as saying:
The potential for this region turning as volatile as the Persian Gulf does not concern Cheney. "You’ve got to go where the oil is," he said. "I don’t worry about it a lot."Congress has proven to be a bigger blockade to developing new business overseas than the foreign countries," he said. "Some are suggesting boycotts of countries that fail to protect religious liberties," he said. "I don’t agree with that approach," Cheney said.
For more information on Cheney’s political track record on non-Armenian issues–visit