Menendez, Boxer Ask Kerry Questions on Armenian-American Concerns

WASHINGTON—Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently questioned Secretary of State-designate John Kerry on a range of Armenian-American concerns, from U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide to our nation’s efforts to address ongoing Azerbaijani threats against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, during the confirmation process for President Obama’s nominee for this top diplomatic post, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Sen. Menendez
Sen. Menendez

“We would like, first and foremost, to thank Senators Menendez and Boxer for raising Armenian issues with Secretary-designate Kerry during his confirmation hearing, and also to welcome Secretary Kerry to our nation’s top diplomatic posting,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“These responses by Senator Kerry, who brings to this position a record of more than 30 years as a legislator as a champion of Armenian Genocide recognition, sadly reflect President Obama’s own public retreat, under pressure from Ankara, from his principled stand in support of a full and forthright American condemnation of Turkey’s still unpunished crime against all of humanity.”

Commenting on Kerry’s reference to the failed Turkey-Armenia protocols as a means of normalizing relations between the two countries, Hamparian stated, “The Obama Administration, by hiding behind the Turkey-Armenia protocols in order to avoid angering Ankara by honestly condemning the Armenian Genocide, does a grave disservice to all past victims of genocide, and sends a dangerous message to all those who would, in the future, commit such crimes, with the knowledge that with sufficient political leverage they can act with impunity and enforce a gag-rule upon the world’s condemnation of their actions.”

Hamparian noted the ongoing ANCA efforts to work with the Obama Administration to advance a broad range of Armenian concerns.  “We look forward, in the coming weeks and months, to working constructively with Secretary Kerry in support of a truthful and just policy on the Armenian Genocide, as well as efforts to ensure the right to self-determination of the people of Karabagh and a strong U.S.-Armenia relationship.”

Prior to the Jan. 24 confirmation hearing, ANCA activists contacted senators on the Foreign Relations Committee urging them to seek clarity from Kerry on a number of community issues.

Kerry was approved by a vote of 94 to 3 to serve as secretary of state.  He began serving in that capacity on Fri., Feb. 1.

Below are the questions regarding Armenian-American concerns submitted by Senators Menendez and Boxer in writing, followed by Senator Kerry’s responses.


Sen. Boxer
Sen. Boxer

Questions for the Record Submitted to Secretary-Designate John Kerry by Senator Robert Menendez Committee on Foreign Relations

January 24, 2013


The U.S. State Department chronicled the effort to exterminate Armenians in the early 1900s — The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey from 1913-16 wrote in July 16, 1915, telegram to the Secretary of State, “Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.” The U.S. Consul in Aleppo, Jesse Jackson, reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on June 5, 1915, “It is without doubt a carefully planned scheme to thoroughly extinguish the Armenian race.” The U.S. Consul in Harput, Leslie Davis reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on July 24, 1915, “It has been no secret that the plan was to destroy the Armenian race as a race, but the methods used have been more cold-blooded and barbarous, if not more effective, than I had at first supposed.” Ambassador Morgenthau was succeeded by the Honorable Abram I. Elkus, who served as Ambassador from 1916-17. On October 17, 1916, Elkus telegrammed the Secretary of State about the extreme measures sanctioned by the Turks, stating “In order to avoid opprobrium of the civilized world, which the continuation of massacres [of the Armenians] would arouse, Turkish officials have now adopted and are executing the unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history.” How does the Department refer to the events that occurred during this time period?


The U.S. government clearly acknowledges and mourns as historical fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.   These events resulted in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, and the United States recognizes that they remain a great source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent as they do for all of us who share basic universal values.  The President honors the victims every April 24th on Remembrance Day, so that we never forget this dark chapter in history.


The State Department has concluded, wrongly I think, to not recognize the Armenian genocide despite a replete historical record. I think it is a grave mistake to not recognize atrocities, historical facts for political reasons however compelling – I think it sends the wrong message to perpetrators and obfuscates the “never again” policy. As a member of the Senate you supported legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide and the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians who were brutally massacred or marched to their deaths in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.

Will you share your views and record on this matter with members of the Department and the Administration?


If confirmed as Secretary of State, my duty would be to represent the policies of the President and Administration faithfully.  As the President has emphasized in his April 24th Remembrance Day statements, the achievement of a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts of what occurred in 1915 is in all our interests.  He also has said that the best way to advance that goal is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward.  The United States is encouraging Turkey at the highest levels to engage productively with Armenia on the normalization protocols, to open the border, to reinstitute transportation, communication, and utility links between the two countries, and to re-establish diplomatic relations.  If confirmed, I will continue to strongly support all efforts to normalize bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey so that together, they can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive, and prosperous.


As a matter of policy, the United States has been a strong proponent for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, and as such actively supported the Protocols between Armenia and Turkey, which were signed in October of 2009. The Protocols between Armenia and Turkey provided a road map to normalization of relations. However, despite its public commitments, Turkey not only failed to ratify them, but also sought to add conditions not in the Protocols, such as resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. This coupled with Azerbaijan’s counterproductive actions effectively derailed the process. Instead of lifting its blockade, Turkey, in coordination with Azerbaijan, continues to maintain its nearly 20-year long blockade against Armenia. Secretary Clinton has praised Armenia for its approach vis-à-vis normalization and has repeatedly stated that the ball is now in Turkey’s court. Lifting of the blockade is not only the right thing to do; it is also long overdue.  Please outline the steps you will take to end Turkey’s blockade of Armenia and ensure that Turkey lives up to its international commitments with respect to the Armenia-Turkey Protocols.


The United States believes that full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia is important not only for the future of both countries, but for long-term stability and security in the Caucasus.   Normalization between Turkey and Armenia remains a prominent feature of our dialogue with both countries.  Secretary Clinton and other senior officials consistently raise the protocols with Turkish leaders at the highest levels, and if confirmed as Secretary, I will ensure that the State Department continues to do so.


Questions for the Record Submitted to Secretary-Designate John Kerry by Senator Barbara Boxer
Committee on Foreign Relations


If confirmed, what steps can the U.S. take to put pressure on President Aliyev to reconsider his decision and return Mr. Safarov to jail?


Immediately after learning of Azerbaijani President Aliyev’s pardon of Ramil Safarov, the United States raised its concerns directly with the highest levels of the government of Azerbaijan.  In addition, both the White House and the State Department released strong statements of concern over Mr. Safarov’s transfer and subsequent pardon.  Mr. Safarov was tried and convicted of a brutal murder, and the United States was extremely troubled to learn that he would not serve the remainder of his sentence.

As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States continues working to help the sides reach a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the United States condemns any action that fuels tension in the region or threatens to damage the peace process.  If confirmed, I will continue to raise the concerns expressed by the United States previously and do everything I can to help the parties resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully.


Azerbaijan has threatened to shoot down aircraft that fly into the newly rebuilt airport in Nagorno-Karabakh.

How will you respond, publicly and privately, to this threat and to any other new acts of aggression from Azerbaijan?


The United States believes that the parties to this dispute must resolve this dangerous situation diplomatically; the Administration has firmly opposed any steps by any party that increase tensions in the region or threaten to damage the peace process in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, along with Russia and France, the United States responded swiftly when such threats first appeared, and the Administration has continued to raise the issue bilaterally and through the Minsk Group Co-Chairs.  If confirmed as Secretary of State, I will continue working to support the peace process and to oppose actions that could increase tensions in the region or damage the peace process.


If confirmed, will you or a member of your staff commit to meet with the Armenian American community and religious leaders from a broad cross-section of the community?


Department officials maintain an ongoing dialogue regarding our foreign policy with a broad cross-section of the American people, including members of the Armenian-American community and leaders in the religious community.  This mutual exchange of information and ideas is an important element in the work of the State Department, and if confirmed as Secretary, I will ensure that it continues.


If confirmed, will you be an advocate within the Obama Administration for recognition of the Armenian genocide?


If confirmed as Secretary of State, my duty would be to represent the policies of the President and Administration faithfully.  As the President has emphasized in his April 24 Remembrance Day statements, the achievement of a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts of what occurred in 1915 is in all our interests.  He also has said that the best way to advance that goal is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward.  The United States is encouraging Turkey at the highest levels to engage productively with Armenia on the normalization protocols, to open the border, to re-institute transportation, communication, and utility links between the two countries, and to re-establish diplomatic relations.  If confirmed, I will continue to strongly support all efforts to normalize bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey so that together, they can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive, and prosperous.


  1. Purely political dodgeball and an example of the surgical precision language provides in balancing on the tightrope of truth.

  2. Same old, same old. He basically said nothing – nothing more than the repeated jargon we hear over and over again.

  3. “As a matter of policy, the United States has been a strong proponent for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey…”

    Frankenstein’s mummy has spoken. Another pseudo-American with money who has infiltrated the US government, one among many who have in their record that they are “American citizens” – but who are actually foreign agents working for foreign interests.

  4. Guys, what did you expect? He is applyin for the Secretary of State position to represent USA, … not Armenia. And it is clearly not in the US interests to lose an important military ally over the events that took place 100 years ago to another nation. Yes, it was a Genocide. And Turkey should accept it, and pay reparations, offer land, etc. But it is wrong to expect the US government to do your job for you. I suspect that some of you secretly hope (and perhaps even not too secretely at all) that somehow US government should cause Turkey to give up 1/3 of its territory to you too :) Even if they did though, who is going to live there? If you are a looking for a place to live, why not just move to Armenia?

    • Not quite so, Kerim. Kerry brings to this position a record of thirty years as a champion of Armenian genocide recognition. And the US government is not doing a job for us: recognition of crimes against humanity is a job for all of the humanity, including, first and foremost, Turkey. Lastly, Kerry is not “applying” for the Secretary of State position. Similiar to other high-ranking US individulas, Kerry has been nurtured to be appointed to this position becasue he is a member of a secret society, Skull & Bones.

  5. Good points, Kerim. Armenians don’t move to Armenia because there is no democracy in Armenia, and as a result it’s not a place where Armenians want to live. They will not want to live in Western Armenia either if it is ruled by a government like that of the modern Armenia.

    Which brings me to a point that I made to you some time ago. If your country (Azerbaijan) wants to be strong enough to defeat my homeland and regain the lands it lost, it has to become a democracy. Otherwise it will join the ranks of all those toothless Middle Eastern dictatorships that can’t get anything done despite all their oil.

    • Vahagn,

      You scrambled our brains already with your democracy. There’s this book by Ralph Epperson entitled “The Unseen Hand: An Introduction to the Conspiratorial View of History”. In Chapter 3, “Forms of Government”, Prof. Epperson provides convincing evidence my means of meticulous historical and political analysis that democracy, in the form it exists today in the Western world, is none other than rule by a few not rule by the majority, essentially: an oligarchy or kleptocracy. Take the newest appointment of Senator Kerry to the position of Secretary of State. On the façade you see all democratic elements in his nomination. Senate, as elected organ, voted and based on the majority of votes Kerry’s nomination was approved. But this is what’s happening on the surface, intended for the rabble. Deep down things are completely different and utterly undemocratic. In short, there are behind-the-scene sinister forces that control and manipulate the US Congress and appointees for high-level governmental positions are chosen based on very different “merits”. Wake up and smell the coffee!

  6. Frustrating, disappointing, political jargon, double standard, spineless, lack of moral fortitude,hypocrite, disgraceful – these are all adjectives , and probably many more, that can derscrible the answers of Kerry.
    When Kerry was a senator, he paid lip service to the Armenian community in Mass
    to get elected. Now that he is in the administration, it became painfully obvious, that he is just another spineless puppet who will follow the Administration’s position to protect the NATO alliance and the NATO bases in Turkey.
    Indeed it is very sad and disheartening, but not a suprise.

    Vart Adjemian

  7. Vahagn, I admire your admiration for democracy. But unfortunately I don’t think it can really take hold in places like Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Middle Eastern mentality is not very consistent with demoracy. No, not because we are stupid. It is the other way around. The Middle Eastern people are ancient kind, and have enentually learned that it is utterly rational at an individual level to game the system (per game theory). It is the same with Greeks. The Western world is a very new civilization, and they sill buy into the ideology of demoracy, and play by the rules. Of course, the game theory says nothing against the mechanism to make it in everyone interests to play by the rule, but the fact remains if you can play it well, it is worth the try to beat the system.

    Also, as to defeating Armenian if Azerbaijan were democracy … you are absolutely right. So I find it amuzing when other Armenians trash our Aliyev as if he is their enemy #1. In fact, ARmenians should root for him. He is just a dog that barks but does nothing. He will NEVER start a war to take back the lost lands. He and his clans have too much to lose. He is just playing to the domestic audience with his emty rhetoric. The much worse scenario for ARmenians is if Azeri true natioanlists took power, or a real demoracy took hold there … people who vote out of the office anyone who has been talking for over 20 years about taking back the land.

    • Kerim, when you talk Middle Eastern nations you remind me of Islamic nations…and Armenia is not an Islamic nation, but the rest of Middle East are Islamic nations including Axerbaijan and Turkey. Even Bosnia and Albania, who are Islamic nations in Europe have the same mentality of Axerbaijan, or even 3 million Turks living in Germany have Middle Eastern mentality!! And I wonder when you were so proud of UN resolutions about Artsakh and Axerbiajani fake land, you were talking loudly about 43 Islamic nations of Middle east, who voted in favor of Sultan’s rights!!

    • Kerim,

      Referring Azerbaijan to the Middle Eastern people that are ancient kind is not only laughable, but it shows, unfortunately, the degree of historical distortion and political brainwashing that affects modern-day Azeris. Since when your ilk, which has acquired a name (stolen form Persia) and identity only in 1918, has become Middle Eastern, not to mention ancient? Please have decency, at least on the pages of The Armenian Weekly in which representatives of one of the most ancient peoples in the world post comments. Even Armenians, historically, are not Middle Eastern. Most of us always, until the year of genocide in 1915, belonged to Asia Minor. This is where ancient historical chroniclers have come to know us and write about us. And how cynical of you is to say that “the Western world is a very new civilization”? As compared to whom? The Azeris, for Christ’s sake? Do you seriously mean to say that Greeks and Italians, as part of the Western world, are “very new civilization”? Maybe you were thinking about the Azeris when you were writing this b****?

    • Kerim,

      Do you really think that democracy exists anywhere in the world today and especially in the US? With all due respect to Middle Eastern people, Armenians are not middle Eastern and do not have the Middle Eastern mentality. Armenians have Soviet mentality which is changing rapidly with new generation.

      “Also, as to defeating Armenian if Azerbaijan were democracy … you are absolutely right. So I find it amuzing when other Armenians trash our Aliyev as if he is their enemy #1.”

      Our #1 enemy is Turkey; Aliyev cannot be #1.

  8. Why do the Armenians “need to address the facts of the past”? Isn’t that what the Armenian people have been doing this whole time, addressing the facts of the past? Its the TURKS alone, Mr. Kerry, that needs to address the facts of the past.

    John Kerry is a different pony using the same trick.

  9. The usual horse manure from the State department as there is an inbuilt bias against Armenian interests over all these years.

  10. I did -only once-expose my view of prevailing Democracy worldover…
    It must have been too HOT for the editors to publish.I shall try it heretofore in a milder fashion and then wait see if it is not only published but commented upon*correctly,or if you wish negatively ,by refusing to accept it!!!!!!
    There are lotteries in the Western hemispheric countries with someimbes HUGE jackpots.Say 350 million dolalrs or 400 million Euros.
    I purchase one or several tickets and …..Miracle!!! I win !!!!
    Then -like any other guy on the street-wishing to participate in politics*if one is so inclined….set up a so called platform,call on all my friends whether directly or by an invitation in the Press etc., to vote for my Candidacy to parliament or Congress*indeed hinting that to those who will support me ,am to grant very important or haLF IMPORTANT ETC., POSITIONS…openly OR COVERTLY.Plenty of Media coverage,by lavishly spending on latter and throwinmg parties, in different consituencies nearby*nothing Nationl as yet.
    Then i set up my Adminsitration ,hiring spcialist in this field-you think I can’t achioeve that*edxpecially with pockets full of dough…
    Second miracle i am elected first to be a mereMP *member of parliament or Congress. then with more spenidn who knows to the presidency of a Special committeee within the parliament and then climbing up the latter,as I go on spending more and more,as I have been earning interest-when in the first place I locked in most of my WIN with some safe Gov.t bonds of say Norway or Sweden,or some such country Not too corrupted , at all or even less,say Finland.Well with all that interest monies flowing in I spend more and more climbing UP..
    Who knows I may even attain yet a higher position say a Ministre*secretary of Education and culture-this as an example-
    Well friends here on this forum.Would you coinsider this a J U S T Electoral System ….
    if so then this is what is on the International Political scen and is commonly referred to a Democratic way….of Governance….
    Cordially yours

    Voila!!! first stage of my stepping into politics. Then plenty of Media ads, o

  11. @ John, I know that new scientific evidence takes time to trickle down. So I regret to be the first to inform you that the DNA tests of local populations have proven that Azeris are as much genetically home in Caucasus as are any other local peoples. Our Turkification has been through elite language assimilation. Just search AW with words DNA, etc, and you will find the links I have posted. So please stop spewing out anachronistic self-serving grandma’s-tales about modern Azeris having come from Mongolia. Our genes are Middle-Eastern, period. And that is what counts, not BS.

    @ Sella, being ruled by a European nation does not make one European. Soviet Armenia may have some European influences but that too does not make one European. Also, Geography does not equal religious borders. And it is not just my opinion that Armenia is Middle Eastern. Just check out National Geographic. But I do understand your thinking. That is what colonialism does to a subjugated people, instilling in them an inferiority complex. What is wrong with being a “dark” Middle Eastern? One in fact should be proud of that. Civilization has been started by people who look like you and me, among which one must also count Greeks and Romans. They were more “Middle Eastern”, than European as defined by modern Europeans. Who do you think has more similarities with Ancient Greeks? The Swedes or the English, or Armenians or Persians? Again, colonialism does that … appropriate ancient cultures when it suits them and denigrates them when it does not. Is it not funny that modern Germans can barely bring themselves to call Greeks a European nation? They would have long ago kicked them out of the definition of Europe if that did not threaten to make them loose their “claims” to “common” European heritage. When Ancient Greeks were defining Europe, it was more like, one this side of the pond is Europe, the other Asia. They would have never thought Swedes as European, for example … but as barbarians. In sum, if something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then you have a duck in your hands. After all, your food, your music, your looks, your customs …. Armenians are a Middle Eastern people, and should be very much proud of that.

    • Please name ONE credible scientific agency taking DNA testing proving that Azeri’s are midlle easrtern in origin. Just ONE…

    • John, here is at least one study:

      “Levon Yepiskoposian, Shot Margarian, Laris Andonian, and Vahid Rashidvash. “The Location of Azaris on the Patrilineal Genetic Landscape of the Middle East (A Preliminary Report).” Iran and the Caucasus 15:1-2 (2011): pages 73-78. The Azeris are more closely related to neighboring peoples than to Central Asians. They are mostly an Iranian people who adopted a Turkic language. ”

      The link mention additional articles, but you can also just google Azeri and DNA.

      So from now on, would you please stop calling Azeris foreigners on their own land? Remember that not even the most ardent Armenian natioanlist calls the land past the River Kura an Ancient ARmenian land. So what do you think happened to all those people after the Turkificaiton took place (e.g., Albans, etc)? Did they evaporate into thin air?

  12. No surprise at all. I just can’t believe the challenges Armenian nation and diaspora have endured having to tolurate massecars, a genocide, loss of geography, and dealing with the cyclical pattern of denial by the Turkish government and key nations in the world.

    The problem of the genocide recognition is exasperated by Turkey’s irrisistable political and geopolitical advantage. These advantages give Anakara the excuse to ramp up their ongoing political blackmail scams in order to remain glorious and untouched.

    Ankara is like the mafia boss from movie untouchables. The government which inherited Ottoman’s personality masters the art of dark diplomacy as good as their prodecessors mastered the art of dark genocidal mass murder. They have come a long way in their effort to whipeout Armenians from their ancient lands first by killing and converting, then by keeping the converted quite and getting ride of Armenian history, and in the last several decades by proactively trying to influence teachings of the subject matter, blackmailing allies, attempts to sabotauge Armenian efforts, and putting their nose into European and US politicas regarding the matter.

    And for US and all other nations who resond to the Turkish blackmailing efforts: If they blackmail US they are not US allies, and soon or later they have their middle eastern or Turkic muslims to join. Whose interest is fulfilled here?

    And regarding Azerbaijan: I think Armenia should stand guard and be ready to put up a fight. Yes the situation is gream when a very agressive and unlawful neighbor freely claims their threats against us and they have their share of blackmailing footprints in their politics. And they also have their share of spreading anti-Armenian propaganda. Given all these, our country is making millitary efforts to be ready and make sure Azeri millitary actions will result in their casualties as well. And with their caucases geographic location, the situation isn’t so bright either. Oil won’t change their advantage.

    But, we must not give up our efforts in the US. The 4 year presidential terms and the ongoing political climate of the world, we must continue to remind the politicians of the most powerful country in the world what is pending in fulfilment of their responsibility.

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