–Delivers Powerful Speech on Floor of the US House
WASHINGTON–DC–Speaking on the floor of the US House–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tonight welcomed public statemen’s made last week by US Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans–in which he properly described Ottoman Turkey’s systematic massacres of the Armenia’s between 1915-1923 as "genocide," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). The Ambassador yesterday issued a statement in which he re-characterized his remarks as his personal views.
In a speech on the House floor–Rep. Pallone shared with his colleagues that Ambassador Evans–who he noted had studied Russian history at Yale and Columbia and Ottoman history at the Kennan Institute–had repeatedly and openly discussed the Armenian genocide in his public statemen’s during his recently concluded tour of Armenian American communities. He noted–"Breaking with a pattern on the part of the State Department of using alternative and evasive terminology for the Armenian Genocide–Ambassador Evans pointed out that–and I quote–’No American official has ever denied it.’"
Congressman Pallone added: "Amb. Evans was merely recounting the historical record–which has been attested to by over 120 Holocaust and genocide scholars from around the world. In so doing–he was merely giving a name–the accurate description of "genocide"–to this very Administration’s statemen’s on the issue. President Bush–on April 24th of each of the last four years–when commemorating the Armenian Genocide–has used the textbook definition of genocide–with words and phrases such as ‘annihilation,’ and ‘forced exile and murder.’ Before him–President Reagan used the word ‘genocide’ in 1981 when describing the annihilation of over 1.5 million Armenia’s. In the days of the Genocide–our US Ambassador–then Henry Morgenthau had the courage to speak out against the atrocities–which he stated were a planned and systematic effort to annihilate an entire race."
The New Jersey Congressman closed his remarks by stressing that he wanted to add his name and voice "to all those who–like Ambassador Evans–know the truth and speak plainly when discussing the Armenian Genocide."
"Armenian Americans–throughout New Jersey and across the nation–welcome Congressman Pallone’s remarks in support of official US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in defense of all those who are working to bring an end to US complicity in the denial of this crime against all humanity," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "We value Congressman Pallone’s tireless determination–his years of hard work–and–in response to this latest controversy–his clear and principled defense of US officials who will no longer be deterred from speaking the truth about the crime of genocide."
Rep. Pallone’s commen’s came a day after a statement released by Amb. Evans–expressing concerns about a "misunderstanding" regarding his commen’s made at a series of public Armenian American community outreach events in Boston–New York–New Jersey–San Francisco–Los Angeles–Fresno–and Washington–DC. During his presentations in these cities–the Ambassador spoke with a level of candor on the Armenian genocide. During his public presentation at the University of California–Berkeley–hosted by Armenian Studies Program Executive Director–Prof. Stephan Astourian–Evans announced–"I will today call it the Armenian Genocide."
The Ambassador argued–"We–the US government–owe you–our fellow citizens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem. Today–as someone who’s studied it…There’s no doubt in my mind what happened."
In a statement posted on the Embassy’s website www.usa.am yesterday–Amb. Evans noted that his remarks regarding the Armenian genocide were his private views and did not reflect a change in official US government policy.