AFFIRMING THE UNITED STATES RECORD ON THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 171
(House of Representatives - October 29, 2019)

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      AFFIRMING THE UNITED STATES RECORD ON THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 655, I call up 
the resolution (H. Res. 296) affirming the United States record on the 
Armenian Genocide and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 655, the 
resolution is considered read.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

[[Page H8560]]

  


                              H. Res. 296

       Whereas the United States has a proud history of 
     recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, the killing 
     of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 
     1923, and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign 
     of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, 
     Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians;
       Whereas the Honorable Henry Morgenthau, United States 
     Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized 
     and led protests by officials of many countries against what 
     he described as the empire's ``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'';
       Whereas President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the formation 
     of the Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, 
     which raised $116,000,000 (over $2,500,000,000 in 2019 
     dollars) between 1915 and 1930, and the Senate adopted 
     resolutions condemning these massacres;
       Whereas 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;
       Whereas, 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?'', setting the 
     stage for the Holocaust;
       Whereas the United States has officially recognized the 
     Armenian Genocide, through the United States Government's May 
     28, 1951, written statement to the International Court of 
     Justice regarding the Convention on the Prevention and 
     Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, through President Ronald 
     Reagan's Proclamation No. 4838 on April 22, 1981, and by 
     House Joint Resolution 148, adopted on April 8, 1975, and 
     House Joint Resolution 247, adopted on September 10, 1984; 
     and
       Whereas the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention 
     Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-441) establishes that atrocities 
     prevention represents a United States national interest, and 
     affirms that it is the policy of the United States to pursue 
     a United States Government-wide strategy to identify, 
     prevent, and respond to the risk of atrocities by 
     ``strengthening diplomatic response and the effective use of 
     foreign assistance to support appropriate transitional 
     justice measures, including criminal accountability, for past 
     atrocities'': Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of 
     Representatives that it is the policy of the United States 
     to--
       (1) commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official 
     recognition and remembrance;
       (2) reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise 
     associate the United States Government with denial of the 
     Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and
       (3) encourage education and public understanding of the 
     facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States 
     role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of 
     the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The resolution shall be debatable for 1 
hour, equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority 
member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel) and the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Smith) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.


                             General Leave

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
to insert extraneous material on H. Res. 296.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us is an important measure to set 
the record straight on the atrocities suffered by the Armenian people 
at the hands the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.
  We know what happened in this dark period of history. Between 1915 
and 1923, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered. This was a genocide, and 
it is important that we call this crime what it was.
  Many American politicians, diplomats, and institutions have rightly 
recognized these atrocities as a genocide, including America's 
Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, Henry Morgenthau, and 
later, President Ronald Reagan.
  It is time that we set the record straight. Only by shining a light 
on the darkest parts of our history can we learn to not repeat them. 
And properly acknowledging what has occurred is a necessary step in 
achieving some measure of justice for the victims.
  H. Res. 296 sticks to the historical facts. It is a good, commonsense 
measure with broad bipartisan support.
  I want to thank Mr. Schiff, the resolution's author, as well as Ms. 
Eshoo, Ms. Speier, Ms. Shalala, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Pallone, Mr. 
Bilirakis, Mr. Smith, and the many other bipartisan champions of this 
issue for their persistent, steadfast pursuit of recognition for the 
suffering the Armenian people endured.
  I strongly support this measure, and I urge all my colleagues to do 
the same. With its passage, we put Congress on the right side of 
history, properly acknowledging and condemning this horrific genocide.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, when the term ``genocide'' was created in 1944 to 
describe the systematic destruction of an entire people. Its author, 
Raphael Lemkin, explained the term by saying: ``It's the sort of thing 
Hitler did to the Jews and the Turks did to the Armenians.''
  When he ordered the invasion of Poland in 1939, Adolf Hitler said: 
``Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?''
  Mr. Speaker, in the year 2000, and again in the year 2015, I chaired 
two congressional hearings on the Armenian genocide. In 2000, the House 
was moving to pass a bipartisan resolution by Congressmen Radanovich 
and Bonior, H. Res. 398.
  After hearing fact-based, eloquent testimony from Congressmen James 
Rogan and David Bonior, followed by the State Department, history 
professors, and then witnesses from both the Armenian and the Turkish 
side, my subcommittee successfully marked up H. Res. 398 for 
consideration by the full committee.
  Ambassador Marc Grossman, however, testified at the hearing that 
President Bill Clinton was against the Armenian genocide resolution. 
That opposition proved to be very significant, and as we were moving 
with the highest expectations toward passage, President Clinton's 
National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, took the extraordinary step of 
admonishing Speaker Hastert not to bring it to the floor. And he caved. 
The resolution never even got a vote.
  In 2007, Chairman Tom Lantos, like Chairman Henry Hyde before him, 
reported the resolution out of committee, sponsored by Congressmen 
Schiff and Radanovich; although it never got out of the committee in 
2000, but he wanted it to. That was H. Res. 106. That too never made to 
the floor.
  Mr. Speaker, that changes today. The Affirming the United States 
Record on the Armenian Genocide, H. Res. 296, is a sense of Congress 
resolution that commemorates the Armenian genocide through official 
recognition and remembrance.
  The resolution wisely notes that the United States has officially 
recognized the Armenian genocide through the U.S. Government's May 1951 
written statement to the International Court of Justice regarding the 
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 
through President Ronald Reagan's proclamation, Number 4838, on April 
22, 1981, and by H.J. Res. 148, adopted in 1975, and H.J. Res. 247, 
adopted in September of 1984.

  The resolution also points out that the U.S. played a major role in 
the humanitarian relief efforts and, of course, the Near East Relief 
agency saved tens of thousands of Armenians and others. As a matter of 
fact, the historian, Howard Sachar, noted it ``quite literally kept an 
entire nation alive,'' and that is reflected in the resolution.
  Yet, today, the Armenian genocide is the only genocide of the 20th 
century where survivors, family, and all those who care about this 
important issue, have been subjected to the ongoing outrage of a 
massive, well-funded, aggressive campaign of genocide denial, openly 
sustained and lavishly funded by the State authority, in this case, the 
Government of Turkey.
  The Turkish Government underwrites a disgraceful disinformation 
campaign to confuse the historical

[[Page H8561]]

record. It often employs lobbyists in this town to carry that message 
forward.
  Mr. Speaker, my 2015 hearing marked the 100th year since the 
beginning of the genocide; and I appropriately entitled it: A Century 
of Denial: The Armenian Genocide and the Ongoing Quest For Justice.
  As Pope Francis said at his Mass marking the 100th year of genocide: 
``Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding 
without bandaging it.''
  Mr. Speaker, the facts of the genocide were reported throughout the 
world as they were happening, corroborated immediately afterward by 
survivors and even some of the perpetrators, and have been amply 
documented by the historians, and in one particular book that I have 
read, by Ambassador Morgenthau, who was our U.S. Ambassador 
contemporaneously, at the time, to the Ottoman Empire.
  In 1915, as we know, there were about 2 million Armenians living in 
what was then the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey. They were living in the 
region that they had inhabited for 2,500 years or more.
  By 1923, however, over 90 percent of these Armenians had disappeared. 
Most of them, an estimated 1.5 million, were slaughtered. Most of them 
were death-marched into the desert, or shot, and many of the women were 
raped. The remainder, the remnant was forced into exile.
  U.S. Ambassador Morgenthau wrote: ``When the Turkish authorities gave 
the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death 
warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their 
conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the 
fact.''
  The Encyclopedia for the Armenian Genocide states: ``During the 
march, many Armenians were killed indiscriminately by Ottoman forces, 
which left a trail of corpses along the route of the march. To break 
the will of the marchers, the killings were performed with swords, 
resulting in great bloodshed.'' And as they continued the march, they 
were marched into the Syrian desert where they died from starvation.
  At the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education 
exhibit at Brookdale Community College, which my good friend and 
colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Pallone, knows so well as well, they 
have many remembrances of people in our State and elsewhere who were 
survivors.
  Well, one of those survivors put it this way, and I quote her: ``Life 
was a matter of trying to survive. Every morning a cart would come 
around and take away the sick and the dead to be dumped into a common 
grave. They had taken my brother because he was a little sick. My 
crying and weeping were of no avail, especially because I was sick and 
petrified of being put on the cart.''
  She was one of the lucky ones who survived.
  Let me remind my colleagues that the Genocide Convention of 1950, 
which the Turkish Government has ratified, makes clear--here is what 
the Genocide Convention says, and the Armenian genocide fits this to a 
T.
  The definition says this: ``Genocide means any of the following acts 
committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, 
ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:
  Killing members of the group;
  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of that group;
  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to 
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. . . . `'

                              {time}  1430

  In the case of the Armenians, it wasn't in part. It was in whole. 
They wanted the Armenians eviscerated from the face of the Earth.
  Let me just point out to my colleagues, despite Turkish Government 
threats--and they do make threats. At my hearing, the Ambassador made 
threats in the year 2000. Frank remembers that. It was outrageous.
  Well, 28 countries and 49 U.S. States, including my own State of New 
Jersey, have passed a law, resolution, or declaration recognizing the 
Armenian genocide.
  I ask Members to support this resolution. It is bipartisan, and it 
needs to be done.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), the majority leader.
  (Mr. HOYER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. 
Engel), the chairman of the committee, for yielding. I thank Mr. Smith 
for his career-long advocacy of human rights and protecting the most 
vulnerable, not only in this country but throughout the world.
  Mr. Smith and I had the opportunity to travel behind the Iron Curtain 
when it existed, talking about human rights, talking about the right to 
immigrate, the right to worship, the right to freedom of speech. We 
talked about the Helsinki Final Act. He and I were both members of the 
Helsinki Commission for a couple of decades together. He and I visited 
Turkey together, talking about particularly the freedom of the press 
and how many members and how many journalists were imprisoned.
  Mr. Smith, Mr. Engel, and I, and certainly Mr. Schiff, and so many 
others have been supporters of this resolution for a very long time. It 
has not come to the floor. One of my duties as the majority leader is 
to bring bills to the floor, and I am proud, along with the chairman 
and the ranking member, to bring this bill to the floor.
  This resolution, Mr. Speaker, recognizes the horrific and systematic 
efforts to commit genocide against the Armenian people a century ago. 
There can be no denial of the Armenian genocide, which is evidenced by 
historical documentation and the emotional scars still borne by the 
descendants of its survivors. It was a campaign of ethnic cleansing 
committed by the Ottoman Empire during and after the First World War, 
and it led to the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians alongside other 
targeted groups.
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Smith referenced Ambassador Morgenthau, who was our 
Ambassador at this period of time. He said this: ``When the Turkish 
authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely 
giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, 
and in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to 
conceal the fact.''
  He went on to say: ``I am confident that the whole history of the 
human race contains no such horrible episode as this.'' Of course, we 
were, tragically, to see an even greater Holocaust, in terms of numbers 
of lives lost, just some 30 years later.
  In addition, Mr. Speaker, the British Ambassador to the United 
States, in an October 1915 speech, said this: ``The massacres are the 
result of a policy which, as far as can be ascertained, has been 
entertained for some considerable time''--I want to read this 
language--``considered for some considerable time by the gang of 
unscrupulous adventurers who are now in possession of the Government of 
the Turkish Empire. They hesitated to put it in practice until they 
thought the favorable moment had come, and that moment seems to have 
arrived about the month of April.''
  The reason I bring that up is this resolution is not anti the present 
Turkish Government. The sanctions bill will stand for that. This is 
about something that happened historically, that if not recognized may 
well happen again. When you say, ``Never again,'' you must recognize 
what the ``never again'' is.
  I have talked to Turkish Ambassadors and others for over a quarter of 
a century as a Member of the Congress of the United States and said to 
them this is not about your government; this is about, as the British 
Ambassador says, a gang of thugs who took over your government over 100 
years ago.
  I regret that our Turkish friends have not recognized this as our 
German friends have recognized their genocide and said this was wrong 
because if they tell their people this is wrong, it is more likely that 
it will not be repeated.
  Mr. Speaker, as the House joins in condemnation of that genocide and 
memorializes its victims, let us also keep our attention focused on 
populations today that are being subjected to ethnic cleansing and 
forced relocation. From the Rohingya to the Uighurs,

[[Page H8562]]

from the people in Darfur to the Kurdish population being forced from 
their homes in Syria as we speak, we must declare, loudly and clearly: 
Never again. Never again. Sadly, ``never'' is now.
  In particular, our Kurdish allies, who fought so courageously to help 
us defeat ISIS, are being forced to leave their homes by Turkey's 
campaign to seize control of northern Syria. Let today's action in this 
House be a reminder, Mr. Speaker, to President Erdogan and his 
government: The United States is watching. The American people will not 
turn our eyes away. Neither will we turn our eyes away from the 
millions of others in Syria who have been displaced and the hundreds of 
thousands who have been killed, who have been bombed, gassed, and 
brutalized by the Assad regime and its enablers.
  That is why it is important to recognize the genocide perpetrated 
against the Armenian people so that we will recognize other such 
actions, which because of their race or their color or their ethnicity 
or some other distinction subject them to mass murder.
  Mr. Speaker, we need to let the American people's Representatives 
give a clear message to our Armenian brothers and sisters, to our 
Kurdish brothers and sisters: We see you. We will not abandon you. 
Never again.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
  I thank my colleague and good friend, Mr. Hoyer, for his comments. We 
did travel so many times to the Soviet Union, to the Eastern Bloc 
countries, and to Turkey. We raised issues methodically, persistently. 
But this issue has always been one of those unresolved, festering sores 
that if we could get it right--and this House going on record I think 
is the beginning of that process. So I thank him for his leadership 
over these years, for his friendship, and, above all, for that very 
eloquent statement.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Schiff), the author of this important resolution, the 
vice chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, and the chair of the 
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 296, which I 
introduced along with Representative Bilirakis to recognize and 
commemorate the Armenian genocide.
  This is a vote that I have fought for 19 years to cast. My wonderful 
colleagues, Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier, have fought far longer than I 
have. It is one that tens of thousands of my constituents, my Armenian 
American constituents, have waited decades to see. It is a moment that 
so many have worked and struggled and prayed for, a moment when the 
House of Representatives refused to be enlisted in the cause of 
genocide denial.
  This April would have marked the 104th anniversary of the Armenian 
genocide, the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians, and the 
displacement of millions more by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. 
Many other religious and ethnic minorities in the Ottoman Empire met 
similar fates, among them the Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and others.
  More than a century later, it is our solemn responsibility to 
remember those who were lost, to seek justice and restitution, and to 
educate Americans and those around the world about the crime of 
genocide.
  The facts of the genocide are horrific and undisputed by historians. 
They were recorded by American diplomats serving in the Ottoman Empire 
at the time who bore witness in official cables to the annihilation of 
the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire, a crime that at the time 
had no name.
  Though it lacked a name, there was no doubt in the observers of the 
time that they were witnessing a crime on a massive and industrial 
scale. The U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, 
would recall later: ``I am confident that the whole history of the 
human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great 
massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when 
compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.''
  It was only decades later that Raphael Lemkin, a Holocaust survivor, 
coined the term ``genocide'' to describe the atrocities that have been 
visited upon the Jews as well as the Armenians.
  I have sat with survivors of the genocide, men and women, their 
numbers dwindling year after year, and heard them recall the 
destruction of their lives and the loss of all they had known. As 
children, they were forced from their homes and saw their families 
beaten, raped, and murdered. They fled across continents and oceans to 
build lives in this Nation, in Armenia, and around the world.
  For them and for their descendants, the word ``genocide'' is sacred 
because it means that the world has not and will not forget. To deny 
genocide, on the other hand, is profane. It is, in the words of Elie 
Wiesel, ``a double killing.''
  Mr. Speaker, it is always the right time to recognize genocide, but 
it is particularly so today. For when we see the images of terrified 
Kurdish families in northern Syria, loading their possessions into cars 
or carts and fleeing their homes headed to nowhere except from Turkish 
bombs and marauding militias, how can we truly say the crimes of a 
century ago are in the past?
  We cannot. We cannot pick and choose which crimes against humanity 
are convenient to speak about. We cannot cloak our support of human 
rights in euphemisms. We cannot be cowed into silence by a foreign 
power.
  What we can do, what we must do, Mr. Speaker, is state the facts. We 
can say that the Ottoman Empire committed this grotesque crime against 
the Armenians, but their campaign of extermination failed, and that, 
above all, we will never forget and will never again be silenced.
  I am grateful for the leadership of Mr. Engel, Mr. McCaul, the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis), and the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Smith), and so many Members on both sides of the aisle who 
have fought for recognition for decades. I urge every Member of the 
House to join today in supporting H. Res. 296.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Eshoo), an important leader on these issues for many 
years.

                              {time}  1445

  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, first I would like to pay tribute to the 
chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Engel, for helping to 
bring this to the floor; to everyone that is part of, from both sides 
of the aisle, the Armenian caucus in the House; and to my sister, 
friend, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who shares this heritage with me.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution, H. Res. 
296, which affirms the Armenian genocide.
  This is a historic day in the House of Representatives, and it is one 
that I have been waiting for for 27 years.
  Between 1915 and 1923, 1.5 million Armenians--and this is a 
historical fact that many people are not aware of, that there were 
hundreds of thousands of Assyrians, Greeks, Arameans, Maronites, and 
other Christians who were systematically slaughtered by the Ottoman 
Empire.
  This is deeply personal for me. I am the only Member of Congress of 
Armenian Assyrian decent and one of only three of Armenian heritage in 
the House of Representatives--I think in the entire Congress, Senate 
and House.
  Some of you know that I had members of my own family who were among 
those that perished, and my parents fled with theirs to America. As my 
father said: The best idea that was ever born was America.
  What all of those who were persecuted have in common was that they 
were Christians, and that is why they were hunted down and slaughtered.
  This resolution not only honors my ancestors, but all of those who 
perished in the first genocide of the 20th century.
  The United States has been missing in action on the honor roll of 
over two dozen countries, 14 of which are NATO allies, and 49 States in 
our country that have formally recognized the Armenian genocide. Today, 
we can end over 100 years of silence by passing this resolution.

[[Page H8563]]

  Mr. Speaker, there is also a historic parallel as we are considering 
this resolution, and that is that Turkey is pursuing the ethnic 
cleansing of Kurds in Syria, as we meet today.
  As Pope Francis declared when he visited the Armenian genocide 
memorial in Yerevan in 2016: ``Memories should not be watered down or 
forgotten; memory is a source of peace and of the future.''
  So today we remember and we say to all those who perished: We 
remember. We love you.
  Mr. Speaker, we set an example for the young people of our country 
that the moral authority of the United States is well and alive as we 
pass this resolution.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
  Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank Anna Eshoo for her 
leadership throughout many decades on this issue. It was her idea to 
bring it up on the floor today. I want to thank her for that. Of course 
she had to work within the leadership to get it done, but I thank her 
for recommending that.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to remind Members that, in 2018, Anna Eshoo and I 
wrote the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act. It was 
signed by President Trump into law. That provided two things: 
humanitarian relief for the tens of thousands of Christians and Yazidis 
fleeing from ISIS; it also provided an accountability piece to collect 
for, hopefully, utilization in future court cases against the 
perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
  So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman for that work that 
we did together and, again, for her leadership on this issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from New 
York (Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney), the acting chairwoman of the Committee 
on Oversight and Reform.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the 
gentleman for yielding and for his leadership on the committee and for 
this resolution, and also Anna Eshoo and Chairman Schiff and so many of 
my friends and colleagues for their long efforts to pass it on both 
sides of the aisle.
  As a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and the 
Representative of a large and vibrant Armenian community in New York 
City, I strongly support H. Res. 296, affirming the United States' 
record on the Armenian genocide.
  104 years ago, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman 
Empire in the first genocide of the 20th century. Ever since, Armenian 
communities from across the world, including those in my district, have 
been forced to fight for recognition and justice for Turkey's denial in 
so many ways, from the illegal invasion of Cypress by Turkey to the 
vicious attacks on Kurds within and without the borders of Turkey.
  With our vote today, the United States takes a long long overdue step 
to stop Turkey from hiding the truth of its actions. The Armenian 
genocide must be acknowledged by all, and in doing so, we can hope to 
prevent the next genocide.

  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Speier), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on 
Armenian Issues.
  Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Engel, Chairman McCaul, and 
Mr. Smith, and have a deep sense of gratitude to Congressman Schiff for 
introducing H. Res. 296; and to my sister, my Armenian sister, 
Congresswoman Eshoo, for helping us plot this strategy to get this bill 
to the floor.
  April 24, 1915, is a day that lives in infamy in the hearts and minds 
of millions of Armenians worldwide. It is a day that I grew up 
understanding from my Armenian mother to be one of the darkest in 
history. It is the day that the Ottoman Government embarked on a 
systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians, two-thirds of the 
Armenian population.
  This genocide is recognized in countries around the world, including 
Canada, France, and Germany. It is recognized in 49 States in our Union 
as the first genocide of the 20th century, yet the House of 
Representatives hasn't recognized both that the genocide occurred and 
that the Ottoman Empire perpetrated it.
  Elie Weisel once called denying genocide--and in particular, the 
Armenian genocide--a double killing, because it not only exterminates a 
group of people, it murders the memory of that crime. Congress must 
ensure that memory is not destroyed and those lives are honored.
  As a child, I listened to my mom speak of the atrocity with pain and 
fear. She is gone now, but her pain lives on in me to this very day.
  By righting this terrible wrong, one that has festered for far too 
long, we are alleviating that pain and sending a message that history 
can't be rewritten. We are stating, in no uncertain terms, that America 
will no longer abandon Armenians with feeble excuses made for a so-
called ally. We are affirming that truth is truth.
  Thousands of documents totaling 37,000 pages in the National Archives 
support the truth: Armenians were exterminated by Ottoman forces and 
Turkish sympathizers.
  In 1918, former President Theodore Roosevelt sent a letter saying:

       Because the Armenian massacre was the greatest crime of the 
     war, failure to act against Turkey is to condone it and means 
     that all talk of guaranteeing future peace is nonsense.

  Usually, these words serve as a general warning, but today they apply 
to specific ongoing atrocities. We must not stand silent as Turkey 
attempts the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Syria.
  Even Russia's President Putin had said the Armenian people ``went 
through one of the greatest tragedies in human history.''
  Iran's former Vice President stated: ``The Ottoman Turkey Government 
perpetrated genocide in 1915.''
  If our rivals can talk about this, if they can take a stand, 
certainly we can.
  Armenian genocide, we must say it here: It happened, and it will 
never happen again. We must make that commitment.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may 
consume to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis), the cosponsor of 
the resolution.
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, it has been more than 100 years since the 
atrocities committed against innocent Armenians and other ethnic and 
religious minorities at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
  The Ottoman Empire genocidal campaign from 1915 to 1923 killed 1.5 
million Armenians, men and women and children, as well as Greeks, 
Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs throughout a series of executions and 
death marches.
  Finally, today, we are entering into the United States Record the 
Armenian genocide and the historical fact.
  Today, we end a century of international silence. There will not be 
another period of indifference or international ignorance to the lives 
lost to systematic murder.
  Genocides, wherever and whenever they occur, cannot be ignored, 
whether they took place in the 20th century by the Ottoman Turks or 
mid-20th century by the Third Reich and in Darfur.
  Genocide must be acknowledged for what it is: a scourge on the human 
race.
  Genocide is genocide, Mr. Speaker, even if our so-called strategic 
allies perpetrated it.
  President Ronald Reagan explicitly referred to the Ottoman Empire's 
actions as the genocide of the Armenians in a 1981 Holocaust 
Remembrance Day speech.
  Over 30 nations have formally recognized the genocide, including 
France, Germany, and even Russia. Today, Mr. Speaker, the United States 
is going to acknowledge it as well.
  I found Pope Francis' words and explicit use of the term ``genocide'' 
to be another wake-up call for the world. We must acknowledge the 
atrocities of the past so that we might, hopefully, prevent them in the 
future.
  Our darkest moments as a human race have come during times when those 
who knew better stood silently, making excuses for passivity and 
allowing injustice and persecution to reign.
  Turkey's current actions in northern Syria against our Kurdish allies 
is extremely concerning, and we cannot

[[Page H8564]]

stand by and let egregious human rights violations happen. Turkey's 
offensive into Syria is unacceptable behavior from a U.S. ally and so-
called secular democracy, as well as a NATO member. It is simply 
deplorable, Mr. Speaker.
  We also need to make sure that other genocidal campaigns being waged 
in the Middle East are also properly recognized. ISIS is a perpetrator 
of genocide. Christians and other minorities are being killed solely 
because of their religion, and no modern society should sit silently in 
the face of such barbaric brutality.
  Again, I am thankful that we are finally recognizing these atrocities 
and these acts against the Armenian people. Like the earliest 
Christians, the Armenians proved themselves not only survivors of 
persecution, but also masters of their destinies.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Sherman), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the 
Pacific, and Nonproliferation on our Foreign Affairs Committee. He has 
been a leader on this issue for years.

                              {time}  1500

  Mr. SHERMAN. American honor demands that we end our complicity in 
genocide denial.
  Four arguments are made against this resolution:
  The first is that it is not true. No one can even make that argument 
anymore. 1.5 million Armenians and countless Syrians, Greeks, and 
others massacred by the Ottoman Government.
  Second, they argue that Turkey is such a great ally that we should 
turn a blind eye to what happened last century. Earlier this month, 
Turkish forces shelled both to the left and to the right of American 
military bases. American soldiers fled in unseemly haste. What a great 
ally Turkey is.
  Then we were told: Well, the Foreign Affairs Committee hasn't had 
hearings. We have had countless hearings on this for decades, 
including, also, a 4-hour markup where we passed it through the 
committee, and the only argument made on the other side there was 
Turkey was such a great ally. Well, last week, we had hearings in our 
committee that demonstrate that Turkey is not such a great ally of the 
United States.
  And, finally, we were told--and this is insulting, I think--during 
the rules debate by someone arguing against the rule that it is not 
worth our time: 1.5 million dead.
  The fact is that genocide denial is the last act of a genocide. 
First, you obliterate a people; then you obliterate their memory; and, 
finally, you seek to obliterate the memory of the obliteration.
  And, also, genocide denial is the first step in the next genocide. 
When Hitler's cadres wondered whether they could get away with the 
Holocaust, he was able to reassure them by saying: Who today speaks of 
the annihilation of the Armenians?
  Denying genocide in the past will lead to more genocides in the 
future.
  Today, Germany is a great and prosperous democracy because it has 
come to grips with its own past. Where would Germany be today if it 
denied the Holocaust?
  Turkey will become a prosperous and a modern nation only when it 
recognizes the first genocide of the 20th century. The best thing we 
could do for Turkey is to acknowledge the genocide and urge them to do 
likewise.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman).
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and 
this is, indeed, a bipartisan speech.
  The fact is that many other countries have recognized this genocide, 
and they have done so under tremendous Turkish pressure. For example, 
France was told that they would not be able to export to Turkey if they 
recognized the genocide. They did, and, in the subsequent 6 years, 
French exports to Turkey quadrupled.
  This genocide has been recognized by Argentina, Germany, Italy, 
Belgium, and the list goes on and on. It is time for America to also 
recognize the truth.
  I look forward to the day, which is not true today, when scholars and 
individuals in Turkey can talk about the genocide and can come to grips 
with their own past instead of being threatened with incarceration for 
even mentioning this debate, because Turkey will not have the rule of 
law and democracy until you are free to discuss the first genocide of 
the 20th century on Turkish soil.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Rhode 
Island (Mr. Cicilline), a valued member of the Foreign Affairs 
Committee.
  Mr. CICILLINE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 296, a 
resolution introduced by my friend Mr. Schiff to recognize the horror 
of the genocide perpetuated against the Armenian people by the Ottoman 
Empire between 1913 and 1925, killing 1.5 million martyrs.
  There is no question that the Ottoman Empire carried out a systemic 
campaign of persecution, forced removal, starvation, and murder against 
Armenians, along with other Christian minorities living under Ottoman 
rule.
  This campaign was documented in realtime by American diplomats and 
has been acknowledged in various forms by previous administrations and 
Congresses, the last in 1984.
  In order to prevent future genocides and mass atrocities, it is vital 
that we never forget those that have already occurred. For too long, we 
have allowed foreign interests to lobby the United States in favor of 
turning the other way and not wholly recognizing the truth of the 
Armenian genocide. That ends today.
  In Rhode Island, we have a very proud Armenian community that has 
demonstrated extraordinary resilience. They deserve for Congress to 
acknowledge the history of their people and the truth of the Armenian 
genocide. That will happen today.

  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Costa), another wonderful member of the Foreign Affairs 
Committee.
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to support H. Res. 296, which 
would establish permanent United States recognition and the ongoing 
remembrance of the Armenian genocide.
  I thank Chairman Engel, Ranking Member McCaul, Mr. Smith, and all of 
the supporters of this resolution.
  In 1915, the Ottoman Empire, as we all know, embarked upon the 
systematic deportation and murder of 1.5 million Armenians. These 
innocent men, women, and children became the first genocide, as we 
know, in the 20th century.
  Many of these survivors settled in my district in the San Joaquin 
Valley, where they lived and their children have enjoyed the blessings 
of liberty and lived the American Dream. This incredible, diverse 
valley that I have the honor to represent we sometimes refer to as the 
Land of William Saroyan, a noted Armenian author. And Fresno State 
University is the only university in the United States that has a 
memorial dedicated to the Armenian genocide, a very moving memorial to 
their ancestors.
  Yet, this brutal atrocity has not received the official recognition 
it deserves. So, today, it is proper and fitting that we do so.
  This is a moral issue. I call upon my colleagues to join me and more 
than 110 cosponsors in supporting this long overdue passage by the 
United States House of Representatives.
  Mr. Speaker, the horrors of the Armenian genocide can never, ever, 
ever be undone. Yet, by acknowledging the suffering of the victims 
through official recognition of the Armenian genocide, we can ensure 
that at least future generations will never forget.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to yield 1 minute to 
the gentleman from California (Mr. Ted Lieu), another respected member 
of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
  Mr. TED LIEU of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Engel and

[[Page H8565]]

Congressman Smith for their leadership.
  The United States of America should never be afraid to tell the 
truth, and yet, for too long, we did not recognize the Armenian 
genocide. That ends today. The House of Representatives is going to 
formally recognize the Armenian genocide.
  Over a century ago, the Ottoman Empire began a plan to systematically 
exterminate Armenians from their land. 1.5 million Armenians were 
killed across the Turkish countryside. No amount of revisionist history 
or lobbying can change those facts.
  Today is a historic today. Today, we tell the truth and we honor the 
Armenian genocide.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, it is now my honor to yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), the Speaker of the House.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and, 
more importantly, I thank him for bringing this very important 
legislation to the floor today.
  I thank Mr. Smith for his ongoing commitment to justice in the world 
in terms of respecting the dignity and worth of people and not ignoring 
atrocities when they happen, now and a long time ago. It is a pleasure 
to work with him always.
  Mr. Speaker, we have tried this bill out of committee more than one 
time, and now it has come to the floor. It is an honor to speak on it, 
and it is a great day for the Congress that we have that privilege.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues in solemn remembrance of 
one of the great atrocities of the 20th century, the systematic murder 
of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children by the 
Ottoman Empire.
  Too often, tragically, the truth of this staggering crime has been 
denied. Today, let us clearly state the facts on the floor of this 
House to be etched forever into the Congressional Record: The barbarism 
committed against the Armenian people was a genocide.
  As international observers wrote at the time, it was a ``campaign of 
race extermination,'' one that we as Members of Congress and as 
freedom-loving people have a moral obligation to never forget.
  If we ignore history, then we are destined to witness the mistakes of 
the past be repeated. The recent attacks by the Turkish military 
against the Kurdish people are a stark and brutal reminder of the 
danger in our own time.
  That is why it is critical, year in and year out, to reaffirm our 
dedication to recognizing the Armenian genocide and to placing the U.S. 
Congress firmly on the side of honesty in our history.
  For that, I thank Chairman Schiff, Chairman Engel, Congresswoman 
Eshoo, Armenian Caucus Co-chairs Pallone and Speier, and all who have 
worked relentlessly on this critical resolution, which states that 
Democrats and Republicans join to:
  ``Commemorate the Armenian genocide through official recognition and 
remembrance;
  ``Reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United 
States Government with denial of the Armenian genocide or any other 
genocide; and
  ``Encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the 
Armenian genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian 
relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian genocide to modern-day 
crimes against humanity.''
  To honor the memory of those lost and the suffering of those who 
survived, we firmly and unequivocally denounce all attempts to devalue 
or minimize these heinous crimes.

  Mr. Speaker, I urge a strong vote for this resolution, which is a 
statement to America's commitment to human rights and to the truth.
  We are blessed in our country with a large Armenian American 
population, some serving--Congresswoman Speier, Congresswoman Eshoo, 
and others--in this House. Every year, we come together to observe the 
sadness of the genocide, but today, Mr. Speaker, we have the 
opportunity. And may we have the strength and courage to always 
denounce hate, violence, and bigotry; to right the wrongs of history; 
and to build a future of hope, peace, and freedom for all mankind. That 
is who we are as Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman and others for giving us the 
opportunity to state our values.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Pallone), the co-chair of the congressional Armenian 
caucus, who has, for many, many years, been at the forefront of 
championing this very important resolution.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Engel for all of his work on 
this, and I, of course, thank all of the members of the Armenian 
caucus. One of the reasons that we founded the Armenian caucus was the 
recognition of the Armenian genocide.
  But I also have to mention that, I think, as everyone knows, without 
Speaker Pelosi, this would never have come to the floor today. It is, 
ultimately, her decision to bring it to the floor, and I want to thank 
her immensely.
  Official recognition of the Armenian genocide is a powerful reminder 
that we will not turn away when we know full well that crimes against 
humanity have been perpetrated. We stand here today to pay tribute to 
the victims of this horrific chapter of history, to the perseverance of 
those who survived, and to the Americans of Armenian descent who 
continue to strengthen our country.

                              {time}  1515

  It is our duty to honor that history with an honest, factual 
statement recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians as the 20th 
century's first genocide. This resolution cannot undo the horrors that 
the victims endured or the pain that their descendants carry with them, 
but we have an obligation to speak candidly about the past. That is 
directly tied to our moral responsibilities of the present.
  The United States must never accept crimes against humanity, and we 
must do everything in our power to prevent and stop atrocities 
unfolding in real time.
  What is currently taking place in Syria--the killing of the Kurds at 
the hands of the Turkish President Erdogan--is unacceptable, and it is 
far past time for the Turkish Government to accept its responsibility 
for the systematic extermination of Armenians in the past century and 
to commit to protect the dignity of every human life in this century.
  I encourage my colleagues to join in supporting this long overdue 
recognition of the Armenian genocide. Mr. Speaker, your vote is not 
only for the Armenians but to prevent genocide in the future.
  Let us note that the Ottoman Turks did not succeed. The Armenians are 
still here in the United States, in the Republic of Armenia, in 
Artsakh, and the American people and their Representatives will 
continue to be with you.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlemen from 
Maryland (Mr. Sarbanes).
  Mr. SARBANES. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Today the House of Representatives will affirm, finally, that we 
recognize the horrors of the Armenian genocide and are committed to 
remembering the victims of this crime against humanity.
  Our moral standing in the world requires us to acknowledge the truth 
of the Armenian genocide. For too long, we have acquiesced in Turkey's 
policy of genocide denial, unwilling to risk the ire of our so-called 
ally.
  However, Turkey's actions against the Kurds in Syria have reinforced 
what many of us have long known: Erdogan's Turkey does not stand for 
human rights or religious freedom, but instead spreads authoritarianism 
wherever it goes. Erdogan's disdain for democracy and contempt for an 
ally was on display 2 years ago when his bodyguards attacked peaceful 
demonstrators right here in our Nation's Capital.
  I am pleased that later today the House will vote to impose sanctions 
on Turkey for its actions in Syria. This resolution and that bill are 
tied together. They are both powerful statements that we respect 
fundamental

[[Page H8566]]

human rights and that we desire to stand on the right side of history.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Michigan (Mrs. Lawrence).
  Mrs. LAWRENCE. Mr. Speaker, today, finally, a congressional 
resolution that will pay tribute to the Armenian, the Syrian, the 
Greek, the Chaldean, and other lives lost, and the determination of 
those who survive.
  To many Americans of Armenian descent who continue to strengthen our 
country today, we honor those contributions with an honest statement of 
history, recognizing the massacre of 1.5 Armenians as the 20th 
century's first genocide.
  In the spirit of honoring these victims, I am proud to cosponsor H. 
Res. 296, an official recognition of the Armenian genocide.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman and acknowledge 
Mr. Schiff and my dear friend, Anna Eshoo, and all of those, Mr. 
Pallone, and of all the Members who have stood tall and strong, Mr. 
Smith and Mr. Engel, for this very important statement.
  Let me, as a member of the Armenian Caucus, indicate that I rise with 
a heavy heart, but I rise with an appreciation and an excitement that 
we have come to this point.
  It is important to acknowledge that as this was occurring, the United 
States' record on the Armenian genocide goes back more than a century, 
in fact, to July 16, 1915, when Henry Morgenthau, United States 
Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led 
protests by officials of many countries against what he described as 
the empire's campaign of race extermination. He was instructed on July 
16, 1915, by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the 
``department approves your procedure . . . to stop Armenian 
persecution.''
  I rise in support of finally having this Nation take this stand. 
Bloodshed and genocide should not be tolerated no matter how long we 
have come to that. And so I stand with the words that we now, 
therefore, will commemorate as the United States of America the 
Armenian genocide through official recognition and remembrance. We will 
reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United 
States Government with the denial of the Armenian genocide or any other 
genocide.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentlewoman from Texas an 
additional 30 seconds.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I am reminded of the time both Mr. 
Engel, Mr. Smith, and I traveled to the Sudanese Embassy to protest the 
genocide in Darfur. We can do no less.
  It is not just 10 years ago, it is more than 100 years ago, at least, 
that we saw this genocide. There is no embassy that maybe will arrest 
us now, but I say to Turkey: It is finally time for you to acknowledge 
this genocide. Tragically, you have restarted and reignited the 
dastardly acts of genocide against the Kurds.
  I am glad today on this day that we are acknowledging that one 
genocide can be no worse than another genocide. Silence on one genocide 
is silence on all genocides.
  Mr. Speaker, I stand here today to support H. Res. 296 to acknowledge 
the Armenian genocide by the United States of America.
  Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Committees on the Judiciary 
and on Homeland Security, and as a sponsor of the legislation, I rise 
in strong support of H. Res. 296, a resolution ``Affirminq the United 
States Record on the Armenian Genocide,'' and I thank Mr. Schiff, the 
gentleman from California and the Chairman of the House Permanent 
Select Committee on Intelligence, and Mr. Engel, the Chairman of the 
House Committee on Foreign Affairs for their collaboration and hard 
work in bringing this important legislation to the floor.
  Mr. Speaker, the United States record on the Armenian Genocide goes 
back more than a century, in fact to July 16, 1915, when Henry 
Morgenthau, United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 
1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries against 
what he described as the empire's ``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.''
  The United States has a proud history of recognizing and condemning 
the Armenian Genocide, the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the 
Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 and providing relief to the survivors 
of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, 
Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians.
  Mr. Speaker, the Armenian Genocide represents the first genocide of 
the 20th Century, where Ottoman Turkish authorities ordered the 
systematic annihilation of more than 1.5 million Armenians, and which 
Turkey carried out from 1915 to 1923 through massacres, deportations, 
and death marches where hundreds of thousands were herded into the 
Syrian Desert to die of thirst and starvation.
  Sadly, to this day this chapter of history has yet to be admitted by 
the Government of Turkey.
  Many international observers, including then Ambassador and later 
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, witnessed the nightmare 
firsthand and reported detailed accounts of the atrocities to their 
governments.
  Respected organizations and eminent scholars and historians agree and 
recognize the Armenian Genocide, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation 
for Humanity and the renowned International Association of Genocide 
Scholars.
  Their judgments are supported by 53 Nobel laureates who signed an 
open letter to the Government of Turkey on April 9, 2007.
  Mr. Speaker, the historical record is clear, and the Armenian 
Genocide is a tragic fact.
  It must be acknowledged and remembered so that it will never be 
repeated.
  As a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, I know 
that the refusal of modern-day Turkey to acknowledge one of the worst 
examples of man's inhumanity in the 20th Century haunts survivors of 
the Armenian Genocide, as well as their families.
  As a Member of Congress, I believe this is not only an affront to the 
memory of the victims and to their descendants, but it does a 
disservice to the United States as it seeks to stand up for the victims 
of violence today.
  The issue of recognizing the Armenian genocide and helping the 
Armenian people is neither a partisan nor geopolitical Issue.
  Rather, it is a question of giving the Armenian people the justice 
they deserve.
  In doing so, we affirm the dignity of humankind everywhere.
  It has been said that ``all it takes for evil to triumph, is for good 
men to do nothing.''
  This is one of the reasons I am proud to have joined with so many of 
my colleagues in cosponsoring the resolution affirming the occurrence 
of the Armenian genocide throughout my career in Congress and I will 
continue to do for as long as it takes.
  In recognizing the Armenian Genocide, we do not seek to persecute any 
person or state; we seek to build a path that will lead to 
reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.
  In doing so, we will remain true to our nation's highest aspirations 
for justice and peace.
  It was President Lincoln who called upon the ``better angels of our 
nature'' when he said in his Second Inaugural Address that all 
Americans should ``do all which may achieve and cherish a just and 
lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.''
  Mr. Speaker, the Armenian Genocide has been officially recognized by 
42 states, which have gone on public record rejecting any claim or 
assertion that denies the occurrence of one of history's worst crimes 
against humanity.
  I believe it is time for us to join these nations in that endeavor by 
passing H. Res. 296, the ``Affirmation of the United States Record on 
the Armenian Genocide Resolution.''
  Mr. Speaker, I ask for a moment of silence in memory of the millions 
of silenced voices and interrupted lives of those Armenians who 
perished between 1915 and 1923 in the genocide committed by the Ottoman 
Empire.
  I urge all Members to join me in voting for this critically important 
resolution, H. Res. 296.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that 
there are no further speakers other than the chairman, and I would like 
to close.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  As I mentioned earlier, the Encyclopedia of the Armenian Genocide 
states:

       During the march many Armenians were killed 
     indiscriminately by the Ottoman forces, which left a trail of 
     corpses along the route of the march. To break the will of 
     the marchers, they used swords, resulting in great bloodshed. 
     Marchers who survived these attacks faced starvation, as no 
     provisions whatsoever were made. Many elderly

[[Page H8567]]

     and infirm marchers died in this way during the march. This 
     significantly reduced numbers of marchers who, upon finally 
     making it into the Syrian desert, were put into concentration 
     camps and then released into the scorching desert with no 
     food or water and to a certain death.

  Mr. Speaker, despite having ratified the Genocide Convention back in 
1950, the Turkish Government has waged an amazingly deceitful campaign 
of denial and has done so over the course of decades using a variety of 
means to bully, intimidate, and punish Turkish citizens who dare to 
acknowledge the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire beginning in 
1915.
  Ankara also seeks to intimidate nations. Many nations have refused to 
be intimidated and to be bullied: Poland, Germany, the Holy See, Italy, 
Russia, France, Holland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Denmark, 
Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Austria, Bulgaria, the European Parliament, 
Luxembourg, Sweden, Chile, Argentina, Lithuania, Venezuela, Slovakia, 
Canada, Uruguay, Switzerland, Lebanon, Belgium, Greece, and Cyprus all 
have come out strongly and acknowledged the Armenian genocide. We need 
to do the same today.
  Over the years, several U.S. Presidents have acknowledged the cruelty 
and the carnage. But it was Ronald Reagan who called it an Armenian 
genocide. He said: ``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.''
  To be sure, Presidents Carter, Bush, Clinton, and Bush, said strong 
words. They had strong words to describe it. President Bush called it 
the ``forced exile and the annihilation'' of 1.5 million Armenians.
  President Obama had promised to recognize the genocide but didn't. A 
Los Angeles Times story on April 21, 2015, says it all: ``Armenian 
hopes crushed as Obama decides not to use the word `genocide'.''
  It does matter, Mr. Speaker. Genocide is a very precise term. It has 
real meaning in international law because of the Genocide Convention, 
and all Presidents and Members of Congress, I hope, will stand up and 
say that word.
  Let me remind my colleagues, because it is referenced again in the 
resolution, that back in 1984 we passed a joint resolution to designate 
April 24, 1985--it didn't pass in the Senate, but it did pass here--and 
it said in part that April 24, 1985, is designated as ``National Day of 
Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man'' and authorized the President 
to observe the day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, and 
especially for the 1.5 million people of Armenian ancestry who were the 
victims of genocide perpetrated in Turkey between 1915 and 1923.
  So I say to my colleagues who are watching, we have gone on record 
before. Let's not be intimidated by Turkey, Erdogan, and others.
  I would like to say a special thanks to the tenacious leaders of the 
Armenian National Committee of America, the Armenian Assembly and the 
Armenian diaspora for persistently encouraging Congress to step up and 
pass this kind of resolution. After a century of denial, obfuscation, 
and lies by Turkey, it is time to affirm and reiterate the truth of the 
Armenian genocide and honor the victims, the survivors, and their 
families.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time for the 
purpose of closing.
  Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us is an important measure for 
Congress to set the record straight and to call out the atrocities 
suffered by the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 
the early 20th century as a genocide.
  I, again, want to thank the author of this measure, Mr. Schiff, along 
with the many champions for the Armenian people in the House. I want to 
congratulate the Armenian American community which has worked for so 
many years to try to get this resolution to the House floor and then 
get it passed.
  We are really making history today, and I thank my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle: Mr. Smith, and all the others who spoke. I think 
this is very important, and I think we will be sending a very, very 
strong message all around the world.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this important 
resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my 
concerns with House Resolution 296, which will be debated on the House 
floor today.
  This counterproductive resolution does not tell the full story of the 
region during World War I and reopens a wound between Greeks, Turks, 
Armenians, Kurds, and other ethnic groups in the region. Favoring the 
preferred storyline of one of these groups without considering 
information provided by other ethnic groups in the region would serve 
as a failure on our part to do our due diligence and hear out all sides 
on this matter of historic significance. No hearings have been held on 
this resolution and it has come to the floor without being marked up by 
the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  Looking into the future, this resolution fails to help improve 
relations between the states of Turkey and Armenia. Last year, the 
Armenian government annulled normalization protocols that were signed 
by the two governments on October 10, 2009. It is in our best national 
security interests that we work with both governments to help 
facilitate the revival of the normalization of relations between the 
two nations in order to keep the region at peace without any escalation 
towards conflict.
  Lastly, the passage of this resolution will only drive our NATO ally, 
Turkey, into the open arms of Vladimir Putin and Russia. Already, the 
Turkish government has purchased and taken delivery of the Russian 
developed S-400 anti-aircraft weapons system. The integration of this 
military system undermines the commitments made by all NATO allies to 
move away from Russian military systems. Passing this resolution for 
the sole purpose of poking Turkey in the eye will only serve as another 
reason for Turkey to pursue a separation from NATO.
  Mr. Speaker, I will be voting present on House Resolution 296 as I 
believe we have failed to do our due diligence in investigating this 
matter and exploring the possible unintended consequences that may 
arise upon passage of this resolution.
  Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H. 
Res. 296, Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide. 
I am honored to have supported this resolution my entire tenure in 
Congress. Although it should not have taken this long, today is a 
historic day in that the House is finally acknowledging the Armenian 
Genocide, recognizing the heroic efforts of many in our government to 
help the Armenian people, and honoring the victims of this tragedy.
  H. Res. 296 acknowledges the systematic and deliberate annihilation 
of millions of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. The resolution 
recognizes the courage and leadership shown at the time by our 
ambassador Henry Morgenthau, our government, and the American people 
who provided relief and shelter to the victims of the genocide. 
Thousands of victims, mostly women and children, were saved by the 
people of our nation who gave humanitarian assistance to the refugees.
  Many of the Armenians who fled this crisis immigrated to the United 
States where they found the freedom and prosperity that our nation 
provides. The descendants of these genocide survivors have created the 
strong, vibrant, and patriotic Armenian-American community that our 
nation is blessed with today. We must honor the sacrifice of their 
forefathers and reaffirm the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.
  I would like to thank the many advocates in and outside of Congress 
who have played an integral role in ths legislation. Our colleagues 
Congressman Adam Schiff and Congressman Frank Pallone have been 
tireless advocates for this resolution and should be applauded for 
their work in getting us here today. The Armenian-American community 
has stayed committed to recognizing the incredible injustice their 
ancestors suffered even while many challenged their bearing witness to 
the truth.
  Armenian-Americans have sought formal recognition of this genocide, 
not only to help heal their own community, but to ensure genocide never 
happens again. The Armenian-American community is always first to speak 
out regarding modern-day crimes against humanity, such as in Rwanda and 
Darfur.
  Mr. Speaker, like Armenian-Americans I ask my colleagues to support 
this resolution, not only to recognize the genocides of the past, but 
to prevent genocide in the future.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 655, the previous question is ordered on 
the resolution and the preamble.
  The question is on the adoption of the resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

[[Page H8568]]

  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

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