THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 19, 2000
Dear Speaker Hastert:
I am writing to you to express my deep concern about H. Res. 596, dealing with the tragic events in eastern Anatolia under Ottoman rule in the years 1915-1923.
Every year on April 24, I have commemorated Armenian Remembrance Day, mourning the deportations and massacres of innocent Armenians during that era. And every year, I have challenged all Americans to recommit themselves to ensuring that such horrors never occur again.
However, I am deeply concerned that consideration of H. Res. 596 at this time could have far-reaching negative consequences for the United States. We have significant interests in this troubled region of the world: containing the threat posed by Saddam Hussein; working for peace and stability in the Middle East and Central Asia; stabilizing the Balkans; and developing new sources of energy. Consideration of the resolution at this sensitive time will not only negatively affect those interests, but could undermine efforts to encourage improved relations between Armenia and Turkey -- the very goal the Resolution's sponsors seek to advance.
We fully understand how strongly both Turkey and Armenia feel about this issue. Ultimately, this painful matter can only be resolved by both sides examining the past together.
I urge you in the strongest terms not to bring this Resolution to the floor at this time.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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