WASHINGTON–Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) issued a statement Tuesday regarding the Armenian Genocide resolution–in which he cites several excuses for his inability to bring the Genocide resolution for a vote on Oct. 19.
In explaining his reasoning for pulling the Genocide resolution from consideration by the House–Hastert–once again–cited "national security" concerns.
"Regretfully–however–the recent violence in the Middle East raised very serious national security concerns–specifically concerns for the safety and security of American citizens–both military and civilian. Once President Clinton contacted me–and expressed his concern that American lives could be at stake in a time of crises–I believe I had no choice but to accede to president Clinton’s formal request that the resolution be withdrawn from the floor at this time," stated Hastert.
The Speaker qualified this by saying–"We all pray that the violence in the Middle East will subside. When it does–the House of Representatives will undoubtedly return to consideration of this important issue if the Turkish Government and the Armenian Government have not found a satisfactory way to get the full truth of what happened during those troubled years–on the record."
Furthermore–Hastert–in a move–which is an affront to Armenian and non-Armenian Americans pledged–along with Rep. James Rogan (R-Calif.-27) to urge the US State Department to provide mechanisms for Turkey and Armenia to "investigate" the truth about the Armenian Genocide.
"These are issues that diplomats and historians are equipped to answer. Congressman Rogan and I strongly urge our State Department to aggressively seek cooperation from both the Turkish and Armenian governmen’s to allow a full and fair investigation designed to seek the truth," said Hastert in his statement.
Throughout the statement–the Speaker–never once used the word Genocide to characterize–what he termed "troubled years" in referring to the Armenian Genocide.
His further suggestion that an investigation is needed to determine the "truth" about the Genocide–also highlighted the Speaker’s refusal to adhere to the US Congressional Record–which reflects the passage of a similar resolution in 1975 and 1984. Furthermore–the "truth" about the Genocide has been determined not only by historians–but also by the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire–whose eyewitness accounts are available for study in the State Department’s archives.