Armenian Genocide

The personal library of US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, renowned
for his extraordinary efforts to bring American and international
attention to the Turkish government's deportation and massacres of
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, has been donated to the Armenian
Genocide Museum of America (AGMA).

"We are extremely grateful to the Morgenthau family for entrusting this
invaluable collection of books to the museum, which provides a window
into the breadth and depth of the Ambassador's intellectual acumen and
his humanitarian outlook," said Van Z. Krikorian, museum trustee and
chairman of the project's Building and Operations Committee. "In the
pantheon of heroes who have fought against genocide, the Morgenthau
name is legendary. This collection is priceless and wonderful
Thanksgiving news," added Krikorian.

The gift of Ambassador Morgenthau's personal library, which has
been privately held by his family since his death in 1946, comes to
AGMA from Henry Morgenthau III, the son of Henry Morgenthau Jr.,
and the grandson of the Ambassador. In making the gift to AGMA,
Henry Morgenthau III said "I am only putting Ambassador Morgenthau's
effects where they belong."

Morgenthau's personal library includes books he acquired during
his term of service in the Ottoman Empire, and others obtained in
preparation for his diplomatic posting to expand his knowledge of
the region, its history and people. The collection also includes
Ambassador Morgenthau's autographed copy of the official State
Department publication "Instructions to the Diplomatic Officers of
the United States," which he was provided upon his appointment.

Krikorian said the Ambassador Morgenthau collection will be used by the
research library, and to enhance the museum's exhibits depicting the
ambassador's life and work. Ambassador Morgenthau was a naturalized
American from a German-Jewish family and a successful lawyer active
in Democratic Party politics. With the election of President Woodrow
Wilson, he was appointed United States Ambassador to the Sublime
Porte in 1913.

"Ambassador Morgenthau played a central role in documenting the
Armenian Genocide, and the items related to his diplomatic service
are critical pieces of his life story," Krikorian said. "No one
individual before Ambassador Morgenthau had so prominently alerted the
international community to the consequences of the mass atrocities
perpetrated against the Armenian population in Ottoman Turkey and
analyzed the mechanisms of a state system devised to extinguish an
entire people. Remarkably, the recent publication of Talaat Pasha's
diary dispositively confirms what Ambassador Morgenthau reported and
wrote at the beginning of the last century."

While in Constantinople, Ambassador Morgenthau had personal contact
with the Young Turk leaders of the Ottoman Empire and architects
of the Armenian Genocide, especially the Minister of the Interior,
Talaat. When news of the deportations and massacres began to reach the
Embassy in April 1915, Ambassador Morgenthau attempted to intervene
to alleviate the plight of the Armenian population. He forwarded
to Washington the stream of alarming reports he received from US
consulates in the interior of the Ottoman Empire that detailed the
extent of the measures taken against the Armenians.

On July 16, 1915, Morgenthau cabled the US Department of State his
own dispatch whose alarm resonates to this day. He called the Young
Turk policy of deportation "a campaign of race extermination." In
effect, he became the first person to officially transmit to the
American government news that a state-sponsored systematic genocide
was underway.

Drained by his disappointment in averting this disaster, Ambassador
Morgenthau returned to the United States in 1916. For the remainder of
the war years he dedicated himself to raising funds for the surviving
Armenians. Ambassador Morgenthau was particularly instrumental in the
founding of the Near East Relief organization, which became the main
US private agency to deliver critical assistance to the survivors of
the Armenian Genocide.

To bring his case to the attention of the public, he published
Ambassador Morgenthau's Story in 1918, a memoir of his years in Turkey
in which he stressed the German influence and role in the Ottoman
Empire. While he held Germany responsible for starting World War I,
he placed the blame for the atrocities committed against the Armenians
entirely upon the shoulders of the Young Turk Ittihadist cabinet,
which he characterized as a violently radical regime.

Ambassador Morgenthau titled the chapter on the Armenians "The Murder
of a Nation" and described the deportations and the atrocities as a
"cold-blooded, calculating state policy." He avowed at the time "I
am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no
such horrible episode as this."

Coinciding with the announcement of the gift to AGMA is the launch
of a special exhibit titled "The Morgenthaus: A Legacy of Service,"
at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City. The exhibit features
Robert M. Morgenthau, Henry Morgenthau Jr., and Henry Morgenthau
Sr., three men who courageously spoke out against injustice when no
one else would. They represent more than a century of one family's
dedication to public service. Henry Morgenthau Jr. served as secretary
of the treasury on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's cabinet
during the Great Depression and World War II. As the longest-serving
district attorney in New York City, Robert M. Morgenthau effected
far-reaching change in the legal system, and inspired new generations
of professionals and public servants. The exhibition explores the ways
in which three generations of a family raised awareness of tragedy
around the world, and in doing so changed the course of world events,
American politics, and Jewish history.

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem from Hell: America and
the Age of Genocide, Samantha Power, who currently serves as director
of Multilateral Affairs on President Barack Obama's National Security
Council, wrote:

"In 1915 Henry Morgenthau Sr., the US Ambassador in Constantinople,
responded to Turkey's deportation and slaughter of its Armenian
minority by urging Washington to condemn Turkey and pressure its
wartime ally Germany. Morgenthau also defied diplomatic convention
by personally protesting the atrocities, denouncing the regime,
and raising money for humanitarian relief."

Ambassador Morgenthau's personal library is the sixth significant
collection of Genocide-era and post-Genocide-era materials, which,
in the past two years, have been donated or made available for use by
AGMA. AGMA has been granted access to the archives of the Near East
Foundation and the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan,