American and Armenian Scholars Participate

April 26, 1999

Yerevan, Armenia - The grandson and namesake of US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, along with ambassadors from the United States, Germany and Syria, senior government officials and scholars plus an American delegation Saturday (April 24) participated in an international conference reviewing the former ambassador’s role in alerting the world to the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Co-sponsored by the Washington-based Armenian National Institute (ANI) and Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences, the conference opened with a call by the current US Ambassador, Michael Lemmon, to use the lessons of the past to "guide us toward a more humane and secure future."

Prominent Armenian and American scholars presenting papers on Ambassador Morgenthau’s role and its impact were: Rouben Adalian, ANI Director; Gevorg Gharibjanian, Director, Center for Scientific Information, NAS; Richard Hovannisian, ANI Academic Council Chairman and University of California, Los Angeles, professor; Mher Karapetian, Abovian Pedagogical Institute professor; Hrant Avetisian, Director of the Institute of History, NAS; Christopher Simpson, American University professor; Knarik Avakian, a young scholar from the Institute of History, NAS, and Henry Huttenbach, City College of New York professor.

Their analyses covered the Ambassador’s impact on American policy regarding intervention during the World War I period, Imperial Germany’s complicity in the Genocide, America’s role relative to Armenian relief and state development after the Genocide. Also discussed were the historical value of the Morgenthau’s memoirs, Morgenthau’s conclusions regarding American views on Armenian independence, relations with the Armenian-American community, and the impact of the Genocide on American policy as regards to genocide in the 20th century.

Among dignitaries addressing the conference were Archbishop Garegin Nersisian, Holy See of Etchmiadzin; President of the National Academy of Sciences Fadey Sargisian; the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Lavrenti Barseghian, and ANI’s Academic Council Chairman Richard Hovannisian.

Following the presentations, ANI Board of Governors member Carolyn Mugar presented Pietro Kuciukian, representative of the Union of Armenians of Italy, with a Recognition Award, for "spearheading an annual effort to honor prominent humanitarians who during and after World War I came to the aid of the Armenian people." She commended Kuciukian’s commitment to "uncovering and understanding the enormity of the Armenian Genocide."

Mugar also introduced the grandson and namesake of the former Ambassador, Henry Morgenthau III. She noted that without Ambassador Morgenthau’s decision to bear witness, "the world might have overlooked the Armenian Genocide."

"We are also grateful to Henry for bearing witness for his grandfather, for keeping alive the flame of memory, …and for choosing to come to Armenia and see for himself his grandfather’s legacy," she said.

In his response, Henry Morgenthau III said that today’s conference honoring his grandfather has great personal meaning. Referring to the presence in Armenia of his two sons, he expressed his hope that the association, strengthened by their visit, "will continue for many generations to come." Morgenthau also noted that his grandfather had little company at the time of his efforts to alert the world to the deportations and massacre of Armenians, and his later efforts to obtain relief for survivors. However, he said that "today, the greater Armenian community has many articulate members to speak for it."

On Friday, a ceremony honoring Ambassador Henry Morgenthau took place at the Armenian Genocide Museum’s wall of honor. Hosted jointly by ANI, the Union of Armenians of Italy, and the Genocide Museum of Armenia, the services marked the interment of an urn containing earth from Ambassador Morgenthau’s New York gravesite in the wall of honor. US Ambassador Michael Lemmon and the Morgenthau delegation were among invited guests.

The Armenian National Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.