US Amb. to Armenia Qualified Events in Ottoman Turkey as Genocide


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 25. ARMINFO. Friday, at California’s Berkeley
University – U.S. Ambassador John Evans, on a tour of
Armenian-American communities throughout the United States, spoke
plainly about the importance of Armenian Genocide recognition.

Armenian National Committee San Francisco informs: “I will today call
it the Armenian Genocide,” said Evans, who has studied Russian History
at Yale and Columbia universities and Ottoman History at the Kennan

During a public gathering hosted by UC Berkeley’s Armenian Studies
Program Executive Director, Prof. Stephan Astourian, Ambassador Evans
told community members he had studied the Genocide, having read
Prof. Richard Hovannissian’s work on the Armenian Genocide, the
compilation of US newspaper accounts of the Genocide, a book about the
Germany’s involvement in the Genocide, and the recent Nobel Prize
winning book “A Problem from Hell”, about the US response to 20th
century genocides.

“I informed myself in depth about it,” said Evans, “I think we, the US
government, owe you, our fellow citizens a more frank and honest way
of discussing this problem. Today, as someone who’s studied
it… There’s no doubt in my mind what happened.”

Evans said he had also consulted with a State Department lawyer who
confirmed that the events of 1915 were “genocide by definition.”

Various past and present US administrations and officials have avoided
using the word “genocide” for the Armenian case, using various
descriptive phrases and euphemisms, instead. Noting that “No American
official has ever denied it,” Evans nevertheless said, “I think it is
unbecoming of us as Americans to play word games here. I believe in
calling things by their name,” but he pointed out that the official
policy of the US has not changed.” In the case of Turkey, there are
old NATO ties, particularly in the military sphere.”

Evans also emphasized that he believed that the International
Convention on Genocide, an agreement approved by the United Nations in
1948 condemning and indicating punishment for the crime genocide,
applies only to events occurring after 1948. “We do not dispute the
facts, but these treaties are meant to apply to future events,” said

“The Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century,”
said Evans, remarking that since it was the first occurrence, the
world wasn’t equipped to respond appropriately. “We made many mistakes
after WWI. They sowed the seeds of WWII.” He said he’s proud that
Colin Powell courageously called the recent massacres in Darfur, Sudan

“I pledge to you, we are going to do a better job at addressing this
issue,” said Evans.

Regarding the U.S. relationship with Turkey, Evans said, “We’re having
a very hard time with Turkey,” and “What we all want to see is
evolution in Turkish society. Let’s hope we’ll all see the day when
there will be a change of heart in those areas where there needs to

The Ambassador’s comments about the Armenian Genocide were greeted
with sustained applause from the audience. “We welcome the
Ambassador’s honest approach to Armenian history, “said Roxanne
Makasdjian, of the Bay Area ANC. “Although we believe that there are
many international laws and agreements, including the Genocide
Convention, which are clearly applicable to the Armenian Genocide, we
are impressed and gratified by Ambassador Evans’ straight-forward
discussion of the historical facts.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress