H.Res.398 - United States Training on and Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution106th Congress (1999-2000)
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|Sponsor:||Rep. Radanovich, George [R-CA-19] (Introduced 11/18/1999)|
|Committees:||House - International Relations|
|Latest Action:||09/21/2000 Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee by Voice Vote. (All Actions)|
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Text: H.Res.398 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)
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Introduced in House (11/18/1999)
[Congressional Bills 106th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H. Res. 398 Introduced in House (IH)] 106th CONGRESS 1st Session H. RES. 398 Calling upon the President to provide for appropriate training and materials to all Foreign Service officers, United States Department of State officials, and any other executive branch employee involved in responding to issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and for other purposes. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES November 18, 1999 Mr. Radanovich (for himself and Mr. Bonior) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations _______________________________________________________________________ RESOLUTION Calling upon the President to provide for appropriate training and materials to all Foreign Service officers, United States Department of State officials, and any other executive branch employee involved in responding to issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and for other purposes. Resolved, SECTION. 1. SHORT TITLE. This resolution may be cited as the ``United States Training on and Commemoration of 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 ``[i]n view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, 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 national archives of Turkey should also include all of the records pertaining to the indictment, trial, and conviction of the Ottoman authorities responsible for the Armenian Genocide. (10) 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. (11) Ambassador Morgenthau explicitly described to the United States Department of State the policy of the Young Turk government 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''. (12) 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''. (13) President 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 the Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people. (14) 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''. (15) 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''. (16) Setting the stage for the Holocaust, 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?''. (17) Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term ``genocide'' in 1944, and who was the earliest proponent of the Genocide Convention, invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century. (18) Raphael Lemkin described the crime as ``the systematic destruction of whole national, racial or religious groups. The sort of thing Hitler did to the Jews and the Turks did to the Armenians''. (19) 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 Genocide Convention itself recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations intended to prevent by codifying existing standards. (20) 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. (21) 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''. (22) The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted in 1985 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 twentieth century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916''. (23) This report also explained that ``[a]t least 1 million, 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''. (24) The tragedy of the Armenian Genocide has been acknowledged by countries and international bodies such as Argentina, Belgium, Canada, the Council of Europe, Cyprus, the European Parliament, France, Great Britain, Greece, Lebanon, Russia, the United Nations, the United States, and Uruguay. (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) President 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''. (27) President Bush, in 1988, speaking of the Armenian Genocide, stated ``we must consciously and conscientiously recognize the genocides of the past--the enormous tragedies that have darkened this century and that haunt us still. We must not only commemorate the courage of the victims and of their survivors, but we must also remind ourselves that civilization cannot be taken for granted. . . . We must all be vigilant against this most heinous crime against humanity''. (28) President Bush, in 1988, stated further ``[t]he United States must acknowledge the attempted genocide of the Armenian people in the last years of the Ottoman Empire, based on the testimony of survivors, scholars, and indeed our own representatives at the time, if we are to insure that such horrors are not repeated''. (29) President Clinton, on August 13, 1992, stated ``[t]he Genocide of 1915, years of communist dictatorship, and the devastating earthquake of 1988 have caused great suffering in Armenia during this century''. (30) 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''. (31) 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 proper judicial and firm response, holding the guilty accountable and requiring the prompt enforcement of verdicts would have spared humanity needless suffering. (32) In a commendable letter on April 9, 1999, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, then Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, pledged that the administration would raise with the Republic of Turkey the issue of the recovery of Armenian assets from the genocide period held by the Imperial Ottoman Bank. (33) It is important that all Foreign Service officers, officials of the United States Department of State, and any other executive branch employee involved in responding to issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide are made familiar with the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to enforce the judgments of the Turkish courts against the responsible officials. SEC. 3. DECLARATION OF POLICY. The House of Representatives-- (1) calls upon the President to provide for appropriate training and materials to all Foreign Service officers, officials of the United States Department of State, and any other executive branch employee involved in responding to issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide by familiarizing them with the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to enforce the judgments of the Turkish courts against the responsible officials; and (2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24 to 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. <all>