Statement of Congressman James E. Rogan
Before the House International Relations Committee
September 14, 2000
WASHINGTON - Congressman James E. Rogan (R-CA) is scheduled to deliver the following statement to the House Committee on International Relations today at 2:00 PM EDT. The statement will be delivered in support of House Resolution 398, a bill he co-authored, calling on the United States to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
"Mr. Chairman, thank you for affording me the opportunity to come before this Subcommittee on an issue of great importance to history and to justice.
"I also want to thank my colleague from California, Mr. Radanovich, for his steadfast and unending leadership in the Armenian Caucus, and on this issue in particular. I am proud to join him and five members of the Subcommittee -- Chairman Smith, Mr. King, Mr. Hilliard, Mr. Sherman and Mr. Delahunt - who are all co-sponsors of House Resolution 398. This resolution is supported by a bipartisan coalition of over 130 of our colleagues who call upon our body to recognize what was in fact, the first genocide of the twentieth century.
"When Adolf Hitler prepared to embark upon a horrible Holocaust against the Jews, he scoffed at the notion that the world would rebel in revulsion. His response was "Who remembers the Armenians?" In State Department circles, the question could well be asked today.
"Acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide is not just an "Armenian issue." It is a moral issue, and our body should be on the right side of it.
"This resolution is not "anti" any other nation. It was not crafted to advance the interests of one United States ally over another. It was not drafted as a punitive measure. Rather it was drafted as an integrity measure. It simply calls on our government to acknowledge the atrocities committed against the Armenian people between 1915 and 1923.
"In the years during and immediately after the First World War, over one and a half million Armenians were displaced, deported, tortured and killed at the hands of some associated with the Ottoman Empire. Families that had inhabited this sacred land since the time of Christ were wiped from the face of the earth. Their homes destroyed. A generation of Armenians watched relatives be taken away from their villages, never to return.
"Our colleagues who join me as members of the Armenian Caucus are not alone in fighting for this resolution. During the 30th Anniversary of the Scholar's Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches held earlier this year, holocaust survivors publicly called upon the West to affirm and recognize the Armenian atrocities that took place.
"In working to recognize the Armenian Genocide, a point needs to be reemphasized. We do not seek this action to point any finger of blame, nor do we seek to legislate history. Our intention is merely to recognize this tragedy occurred, and publicly affirm it's effect on humanity. It is time for the U.S. House of Representatives to answer Hitler's question of half a century ago. Who remembers the Armenians? America does. And our nation will never again turn a blind eye to horror and pretend, out of geo-political convenience, that crimes against humanity did not occur.
"I thank the Chairman, and I yield back the balance of my time."