UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--S. RES. 150; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 181
(Senate - November 13, 2019)

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[Pages S6574-S6575]
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                 UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--S. RES. 150

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, over 104 years ago, the Ottoman Empire 
launched a systematic campaign to exterminate the Armenian population 
through killings, forced deportation, starvation, and other brutal 
means. Every year I join the Armenian community in honoring the memory 
of the victims who made invaluable contributions to sustain the 
Armenian people and preserve Armenian history and culture before their 
cruel, inhuman deaths.
  At the time of the genocide, U.S. diplomats who witnessed it knew 
that the tragedy they were seeing was an intentional choice. Henry 
Morgenthau, the then-U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, said that 
the Turkish Government's deportation order for the Armenians was ``a 
death warrant to a whole race.'' Those are his words. They are ``a 
death warrant to a whole race,'' and an aim which ``they made no 
particular attempt to conceal'' in their discussions with them.
  We know what to call such an intentional, highly organized effort to 
destroy a people on account of their identity alone: genocide. In other 
circumstances, no one questions this definition.
  U.S. foreign policy must reflect an honest accounting of human rights 
abuses, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. We 
cannot turn our backs on the Armenian victims of genocide nor on any 
victims of genocide anywhere or anytime it occurs. If we do, we only 
empower those who seek to use genocide as a weapon of war for their own 
malevolent purposes.
  The Government of Turkey has funded lobbyists willing to trumpet lies 
and make excuses for these atrocities. The Turkish Government and its 
sympathizers have advocated for restrictive laws on expression and 
against legislation that recognizes the Armenian genocide, initiated 
prosecutions and smear campaigns against those who study the Armenian 
community's experiences at the hands of the Turks, and even resorted to 
violence and harassment of journalists and human rights activists who 
bravely speak the truth.
  These actions are unacceptable and speak volumes to both the crime 
and its coverup.
  Thankfully, there are also voices speaking up against Turkey's 
efforts to silence the truth of the Armenian genocide. I have long 
worked in the U.S. Senate to push for this honest accounting and to 
ensure that anyone who represents the U.S. Government does the same. In 
every session of Congress since 2006, I have introduced or cosponsored 
resolutions affirming the facts of the Armenian genocide. When I was 
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I was proud to 
preside over the passage of an Armenian genocide resolution out of 
committee for the first time.

[[Page S6575]]

  The U.S. Congress cannot stand idly by and let the truth of genocide 
be silenced. We must commit ourselves to learning the painful history 
of the Armenians as we seek to build a better world for our own and 
future generations. We must stand up unequivocally for truth, justice, 
and peace. Only then, with that hard work and advocacy and recognition 
of the truth, will we then confidently be able to say ``never again.'' 
Never again.
  I have heard many colleagues come to the floor when we talked about 
the Holocaust and say ``never again.'' In Rwanda, we said ``never 
again.'' In the Armenian genocide, we should say ``never again'' as 
well. Genocide is genocide, and we should recognize it as such so we 
can move forward at the end of the day.
  I am proud to have worked with Senator Cruz and 23 other Senators in 
leading a resolution recognizing the horror of this genocide. I thank 
them for their efforts on this important resolution and appreciate 
their standing up for the truth.
  This is not an issue of historical dispute. I listened to President 
Erdogan's press conference with President Trump where he suggested they 
are reviewing this history. They are going to review it until there 
isn't one more Armenian genocide victim alive. Historians from across 
the world, the most noted historians, and genocide observers and 
experts and ethicists have said that this was a genocide.
  I want to thank my colleagues for forwarding this important 
resolution and appreciate their standing up for the truth. I hope the 
full Senate will join us and send a clear message to the world that the 
United States stands by the truth, stands by justice, and stands with 
victims of genocide wherever they may be. This passed overwhelmingly 
with strong Republican support in the House of Representatives. We are 
one step away from finally recognizing this historical fact.
  Therefore, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee be discharged from further consideration of 
S. Res. 150 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. I 
further ask that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed 
to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the 
table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, No. 1, there is nobody I admire more on 
foreign policy than Senator Menendez. He has been a champion of this 
cause. My objection will not be to sugarcoat history, nor to rewrite 
it. I just met with President Erdogan and President Trump about the S-
400 purchase and about the problems we face in Syria from the military 
incursion by Turkey, and I do hope Turkey and Armenia can come together 
and deal with this problem. But given where we are in Syria and some 
hope that maybe we can resolve things, I object, not because of the 
past but because of the future.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, needless to say, I have great admiration 
for the Senator from South Carolina and consider him a friend, but our 
problem with Turkey--and I know my colleague has asked me several 
times: What are we doing about Turkey? And I know it was meant in the 
context of sanctions, which I obviously do support for a variety of 
reasons--violations of CAATSA, purchase of the S-400, what they did in 
Syria, and the list goes on and on. But in our desire to see Turkey 
become that which we would want it to be, which it is not, under 
President Erdogan, we continue to become enablers of the types of 
actions that are undemocratic. More journalists are jailed in Turkey 
than in any other place in the world. Imagine that--a NATO ally. More 
lawyers are jailed in Turkey than in any other place in the world. And 
the simple recognition of a historical fact--the simple recognition of 
a historical fact of the Ottoman Empire and the cruel persecution of 
the Armenian people cannot be recognized by the U.S. Senate the way the 
House of Representatives recognized it in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 
vote? Are we so afraid to stand up to history and the truth? Are we so 
afraid about Turkey? Who is the superpower? Who is the superpower? I am 
beginning to wonder because every time Turkey threatens to do 
something, we cower.
  Well, as far as I am concerned, they don't get to dictate the views 
of the Congress of the United States. They don't get to dictate the 
views of this Senate. This Senate should rise up and recognize the 
historical truth as documented by historians and as documented by our 
own diplomats. I will not cease continuing to come to the floor to 
prick the conscience of the Senate and to ultimately reveal who 
supports recognizing the Armenian genocide and who does not. Otherwise, 
the words ``never again''--they are just hollow.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I always appreciate Senator Menendez 
standing up for human rights all over the world, and this is one of the 
worst human rights violations the world has seen in the last 150 years. 
I thank my friend from New Jersey.