On December 12, 2019 the United States Senate adopted Resolution 150 to officially recognize and remember the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians, Greek, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Aramean, Maronite and other religious minority subjects. The resolution calls on the commemoration of the genocide through education and public understanding, while explicitly rejecting denial by the United States Government of the Armenian Genocide, or any other genocide.
Eyewitness accounts from foreign workers in the Ottoman Empire of arbitrary arrests, forced labor, massacres, rape, plunder and death marches of entire communities into the desert were forwarded to United States Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. in Constantinople, who called the acts “a campaign of race extermination.” During World War II such atrocities were given a name: genocide.
Co-sponsored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the text of the resolution mirrors that of House Resolution 296 passed on October 29, 2019. In support of the resolution Senator Cruz declared, “We have a moral duty to acknowledge what happened to 1.5 million innocent souls. It’s the right thing to do.”
The unanimous recognition of the genocide by the Senate commemorates the historic American response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century and honors the legacy of the heroic leaders and relief workers of Near East Relief.
The Near East Relief Historical Society is grateful for this renewed acknowledgment of the victims of the genocide and the tragedies endured by the survivors. The resolution stands as an important reminder of America’s commitment to the humanitarian values of compassion and justice for all.