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House Resolution 106

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H. Res. 106 for short is a resolution in the US House of Representatives to recognize the Armenian Genocide. More than half of the members of the house have cosponsored it, ensuring passage if it is introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has promised to do so. On October 10, 2007 the bill passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed by a 27-21 margin, now awaiting introduction to and a full vote by the House.

Timeline of House Resolution 106

  • Jan. 30: Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) introduces House Resolution 106.
  • April 23: On the eve of the 92nd anniversary of the genocide, Schiff marks the occasion with a speech on the House floor. "There is no question that Turkey is bitterly opposed to recognition and is threatening our military and commercial relationship," he says, but notes that Turkey has previously retreated from such threats.
  • Sept. 25: Eight former secretaries of State write to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to ask her to prevent a vote on the resolution, saying it "could endanger our national security interests in the region."
  • Oct. 10: The House Foreign Affairs Committee approves the Armenian genocide resolution, 27 to 21. With 225 sponsors, more than a majority, it appears set to pass in the House. "The truth sometimes wins, and it won today," Schiff says. President Bush warns that its passage "would do great harm to our relations with a key ally." Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says access to airfields and roads "would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes and Turkey reacts as strongly as we believe they will."
  • Oct. 11: Turkey recalls its ambassador to the United States and Turkish President Abdullah Gul says the decision "is not worthy of the respect of the Turkish people." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls Turkish officials to try to calm the diplomatic uproar. Pelosi says the resolution will come up for a vote before Thanksgiving.
  • Oct. 14: A Turkish newspaper reports that the nation's top general warns that if the House passes the resolution, "our military relations with the United States can never be the same." Pelosi says: "I've said if it passed the committee that we would bring it to the floor." She acknowledges the sensitive political situation: "There's never been a good time."
  • Oct. 15: Seven House members withdraw as resolution cosponsors, citing fears of possible repercussions for U.S. military operations in Iraq.
  • Oct. 16: Four more House members withdraw their support, leaving the resolution with 215 co-sponsors, short of a majority - though the number of representatives who are not cosponsoring the bill but plan to vote yes is not known.
  • Oct. 17: In the House, 49 members urge Pelosi to keep the resolution off the floor. Pelosi sounds uncertain: "Whether it will come up or not, or what the action will be, remains to be seen."
  • Oct. 18: Three more House members withdraw as co-sponsors.
  • Oct. 25: Schiff and three other House members ask Pelosi not to schedule a vote on the resolution until later this year or next year, when they hope "the timing is more favorable."

Text of House Resolution 106

H. Res. 106: Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution

HRES 106 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 106

Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 30, 2007

Mr. SCHIFF (for himself, Mr. RADANOVICH, Mr. PALLONE, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. SHERMAN, and Mr. MCCOTTER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.

Resolved,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This resolution may be cited as the `Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

The House of Representatives finds the following:
(1) The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.
(2) On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing `a crime against humanity'.
(3) This joint statement stated `the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres'.
(4) The post-World War I Turkish Government indicted the top leaders involved in the `organization and execution' of the Armenian Genocide and in the `massacre and destruction of the Armenians'.
(5) In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.
(6) The chief organizers of the Armenian Genocide, Minister of War Enver, Minister of the Interior Talaat, and Minister of the Navy Jemal were all condemned to death for their crimes, however, the verdicts of the courts were not enforced.
(7) The Armenian Genocide and these domestic judicial failures are documented with overwhelming evidence in the national archives of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, the Vatican and many other countries, and this vast body of evidence attests to the same facts, the same events, and the same consequences.
(8) The United States National Archives and Record Administration holds extensive and thorough documentation on the Armenian Genocide, especially in its holdings under Record Group 59 of the United States Department of State, files 867.00 and 867.40, which are open and widely available to the public and interested institutions.
(9) The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries, among them the allies of the Ottoman Empire, against the Armenian Genocide.
(10) Ambassador Morgenthau explicitly described to the United States Department of State the policy of the Government of the Ottoman Empire as `a campaign of race extermination,' and was instructed on July 16, 1915, by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the `Department approves your procedure . . . to stop Armenian persecution'.
(11) Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 of February 9, 1916, resolved that `the President of the United States be respectfully asked to designate a day on which the citizens of this country may give expression to their sympathy by contributing funds now being raised for the relief of the Armenians', who at the time were enduring `starvation, disease, and untold suffering'.
(12) President Woodrow Wilson concurred and also encouraged the formation of the organization known as Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which contributed some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.
(13) Senate Resolution 359, dated May 11, 1920, stated in part, `the testimony adduced at the hearings conducted by the sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered'.
(14) The resolution followed the April 13, 1920, report to the Senate of the American Military Mission to Armenia led by General James Harbord, that stated `[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages'.
(15) As displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying `[w]ho, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' and thus set the stage for the Holocaust.
(16) Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term `genocide' in 1944, and who was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century.
(17) The first resolution on genocide adopted by the United Nations at Lemkin's urging, the December 11, 1946, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96(1) and the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide itself recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations intended to prevent and punish by codifying existing standards.
(18) In 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian Genocide `precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern term `crimes against humanity' is intended to cover' as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals.
(19) The Commission stated that `[t]he provisions of Article 230 of the Peace Treaty of Sevres were obviously intended to cover, in conformity with the Allied note of 1915 . . ., offenses which had been committed on Turkish territory against persons of Turkish citizenship, though of Armenian or Greek race. This article constitutes therefore a precedent for Article 6c and 5c of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charters, and offers an example of one of the categories of `crimes against humanity' as understood by these enactments'.
(20) House Joint Resolution 148, adopted on April 8, 1975, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1975, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially those of Armenian ancestry . . .'.
(21) President Ronald Reagan in proclamation number 4838, dated April 22, 1981, stated in part `like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians, which followed it--and like too many other persecutions of too many other people--the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten'.
(22) House Joint Resolution 247, adopted on September 10, 1984, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1985, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry . . .'.
(23) In August 1985, after extensive study and deliberation, the United Nations SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities voted 14 to 1 to accept a report entitled `Study of the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,' which stated `[t]he Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the 20th century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916'.
(24) This report also explained that `[a]t least 1,000,000, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany.'.
(25) The United States Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent Federal agency, unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would include the Armenian Genocide in the Museum and has since done so.
(26) Reviewing an aberrant 1982 expression (later retracted) by the United States Department of State asserting that the facts of the Armenian Genocide may be ambiguous, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1993, after a review of documents pertaining to the policy record of the United States, noted that the assertion on ambiguity in the United States record about the Armenian Genocide `contradicted longstanding United States policy and was eventually retracted'.
(27) On June 5, 1996, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Bill 3540 (the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997) to reduce aid to Turkey by $3,000,000 (an estimate of its payment of lobbying fees in the United States) until the Turkish Government acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and took steps to honor the memory of its victims.
(28) President William Jefferson Clinton, on April 24, 1998, stated: `This year, as in the past, we join with Armenian-Americans throughout the nation in commemorating one of the saddest chapters in the history of this century, the deportations and massacres of a million and a half Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1915-1923.'.
(29) President George W. Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: `On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1,500,000 Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.'.
(30) Despite the international recognition and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides.

SEC. 3. DECLARATION OF POLICY.

The House of Representatives--
(1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and
(2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.

Text of Formers Secretaries of State letter to Speaker Pelosi

September 25, 2007

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515-0508

Dear Madam Speaker:

We are writing to express concern that H. Res. 106 could soon be put to a vote. Passage of the resolution would harm our foreign policy objectives to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia. It would also strain our relations with Turkey, and would endanger our national security interests in the region, including the safety of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We do not minimize or deny the enormous significance of the horrible tragedy suffered by ethnic Armenian from 1915 to 1923. During our tenures as Secretaries of the State, we each supported Presidential statements recognizing the mass killings and forced exile of Armenians. It has been longstanding U.S. policy to encourage reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and to urge the government of Turkey to acknowledge the tragedy. We understand the Administration continues to urge the Turkish government to reexamine its history and to encourage both Turkey and Armenia to work towards reconciliation, including normalizing relations and opening the border. There are some hopeful signs already that both parties are engaging each other. We believe that a public statement by the U.S. Congress at this juncture is likely to undermine what has been painstakingly achieved to date.

We must also recognize the important contributions Turkey is making to U.S. national security, including security and stability in the Middle East and Europe. The United States continues to rely on Turkey for its geo-strategic importance. Turkey is an indispensable partner to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping U.S military with access to Turkish airspace, military bases, and the border crossing with Iraq, Turkey is a linchpin in the transshipment of vital cargo and fuel resources to U.S. troops, coalition partners and Iraqi civilians. Turkish troops serve shoulder-to-shoulder with distinction with U.S. and other NATO allies in the Balkans. Turkey is also a transit hub for non-OPEC oil and gas and remains key to our effort s to help the Euro-Atlantic community bolster its energy security by providing alternative supply sources and routes around Russia and Iran.

It is our view that passage of this resolution could quickly extend beyond symbolic significance. The popularly elected Turkish Grand National Assembly might react strongly to a House resolution, as it did to a French National Assembly resolution a year ago. The result could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. We strongly urge you to prevent the resolution from reaching the house floor.

Sincerely,


Madeleine K. Albright
James A. Baker III
Warren Christopher
Lawrence S. Eagleburger
Alexander M. Haig, Jr
Henry A. Kissinger
Colin L. Powell
George P. Shultz

Yerevan Slams U.S. Opponents Of Armenian Genocide Recognition

By Emil Danielyan
28, September 2007

Armenia condemned on Friday eight former U.S. secretaries of state for jointly speaking out against the passage of a congressional resolution that refers to the 1915-1918 mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as a genocide.

In a joint letter on Tuesday, the former officials urged the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to keep the resolution from reaching the House floor, saying its adoption would jeopardize America’s national security and further strain Turkish-Armenian relations. While recognizing the “horrible tragedy” suffered by Ottoman Armenians, the signatories -- among them Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger -- emphasized Turkey’s “geo-strategic importance” for the United States.

“Passage of the resolution would harm our foreign policy objectives to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia,” they said. “It would also strain our relations with Turkey, and would endanger our national security interests in the region, including the safety of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“It is quite unfortunate that eight experienced diplomats would buy into Turkish manipulation,” Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian responded in an extraordinary statement.

Oskanian specifically denied the former state secretaries’ claim that there are now “some hopeful signs” of a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. “I regret to say that there is no process in place to promote normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey. Expressing concern about damaging a process that doesn’t exist is disingenuous,” he said, adding that Ankara is sticking to its preconditions for establishing diplomatic relations with Yerevan.

One of those preconditions has been an end to the decades-long Armenian campaign for international recognition of the genocide. Ankara also makes the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would satisfy Azerbaijan. Successive Turkish governments have refused to drop these preconditions despite pressure from the current and previous U.S. administrations.

Oskanian said he has written to Pelosi to “express our deep concerns and to dismiss as unfounded any implication that a resolution that addresses matters of human rights and genocide could damage anyone’s bilateral relations.”

The ex-secretaries’ letter was also condemned by Armenian-American lobby groups that were behind the genocide resolution’s introduction in the U.S. Congress early this year. “We are, as Americans, especially troubled that, in warning Congress not to make a simple anti-genocide statement for fear of upsetting Turkey, these officials would outsource our nation’s moral conscience to a foreign government,” Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in a statement.

The draft resolution calls on President George W. Bush to “ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding” of the Armenian genocide and to “accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide.” It has already been co-sponsored by most members of the House of Representatives. Pelosi, who has backed similar bills in the past, is expected to put it to the vote this fall.

The Bush administration strongly opposes the bill’s passage with arguments similar to the ones made by the eight former secretaries of state.

In his annual messages to the Armenian-American community, Bush has described the 1915 slaughter of more than one million Armenians as one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century but stopped short of calling it a genocide. He has at the same time cited a 2002 international study which concluded that the massacres meet the internationally accepted definition of genocide.