March 10, 2006
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Rice:
I am writing to express my extreme disappointment with the reports of the State Department’s decision to withdraw Ambassador John Evans from Armenia. Based on mews reports, I am outraged that the State Department is recalling Ambassador Evans as retaliation for statement he made in recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
I am sure you are aware of courageous public statements Ambassador Evans made last year in response to a question about the tragic events that began in 1915, “I will today call it the Armenian Genocide.”
Ambassador Evans is an expert on the subject. He has studied the history of Armenia, and based on his substantial studies of the issue, he was willing to go on the record and define the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children as genocide.
To this day, the Republic of Turkey refuses to acknowledge the fact that this massive crime against humanity took place on soil under its control, and in the name of Turkish nationalism. Unfortunately, some 90 years later, the U.S. State Department continues to support Turkey’s denials despite all evidence to the contrary.
It is simply unacceptable for this administration to continue to penalize the ambassador for his comments. Ambassador Evans did a courageous thing; his statements did not contradict U.S. policy, but rather articulated the same message that this Administration has sent to the public. The only difference in this case is that Ambassador Evans assigned a word to define the actions taken against the Armenians.
This was a refreshing break from a pattern on the par of the State Department of using evasive and euphemistic terminology to obscure the full reality of the Armenian Genocide. Ambassador Evans pointed out that, “No American official has ever denied it,” and went on to say that, “I think we, the U.S. government, owe you, our fellow citixens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem.”
I do not believe it is possible for any Ambassador to Armenia to function with any credibility if he does not recognize the genocide. Any representative of the United of States on the ground in Armenia is faced with countless occasions where the genocide is discussed or commemorated.
It is simply wrong for the State Department to punish Ambassador Evans for statements he made that are factually correct. Acoordingly, I am asking you for an explanation as to why Ambassador Evans was removed from his post.
I am outraged that the U.S. State Department is now penalizing ambassadors for telling the truth. This is the wrong message to send to the world. I look forward to a timely response from your office.
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress
Monday, March 13, 2006
March 10, 2006