Greek-American Leaders Call for Congress to Correct Library of Congress Report that Unfairly Damages Greece’s Image

2008-01-23 09:38:40 WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2008 -- “Today we asked those in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives charged with handling foreign matters to correct Library of Congress reports that give an inaccurate and negative image of Greece. This is unacceptable,” said Andrew A. Athens, chairman of CEH, Honorary President of SAE and Chairman of the UHAC. Joining Andrew Athens in this corrective effort are CEH principals Phil Christopher and Andy Manatos.

“The report makes no mention of information such as Greece being one of only seven nations allied with the U.S. in every international conflict in the 20th century. A balanced description of the FYROM dispute in the Library’s report would point out that former U.S. Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius on December 26, 1944 said, ‘This Government considers talk of a Macedonian ‘nation,’ Macedonian ‘Fatherland,’ or Macedonian ‘national consciousness’ to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece.’” These Library of Congress reports caused Greece’s image to be less than ideal in rare Congressional hearings that focused on Greece.”

“Uncorrected American misinformation about Greece has been injurious to both countries. Inaccurate policy recommendations caused America to keep from Greece knowledge of a planned 1967 General’s coup, which was preempted by the Colonels coup. Although the Athens Airport had one of the best hijack records, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a mistaken perception of Greece caused a U.S. travel advisory against Greece in 1985. The unjustified focus on Greece, by our National Commission on Terrorism in 2000, misdirected valuable resources and disheartened American supporters. The American officials who agreed with former CIA director James Woolsey’s contention that the Greek government was involved with the terrorist group ‘November 17’ injured Greece internationally, proved to be completely wrong and again unnecessarily injured American credibility and relations with Greece.”

“We want to thank HAHC, an organization of major American companies, for exposing this report and for asking the Library of Congress to correct it. And, we want to thank newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Daniel Speckhard, for correcting misinformation about Greece that this report caused to become public at his Senate confirmation hearing”.

“After years of working closely with Congressional leaders, we are confident they will correct these Library of Congress reports regarding Greece. The leaders we are contacting about this problem include the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE); Chairman of the Senate European Subcommittee, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL); the key Committee watchdog for Hellenic and Orthodox matters, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ); the Chairman and Ranking Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representatives Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), respectively; the Chairman and Ranking Republican of the House Europe Subcommittee, Congressmen Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Elton Gallegly (R-CA); respectively, and the key Subcommittee watchdogs for Hellenic and Orthodox matters, Congressmen Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), as well as the other Greek-Americans in the U.S. Congress, including Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Congressmen John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Zack Space (D-OH), Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). As well, we have confidence that the head of the Library of Congress, James Billington, was unaware of this report in his very large Library (5,000 employees) and that, as a traditional friend of Greece, he will correct the problem”.

“Today we have many powerful individuals in crucial positions who want fair treatment of Greece. It is important that we activate them each time misinformation about Greece surfaces anywhere in the vast American government of nearly two million civilian employees, as it has in this Library of Congress reports,” Athens concluded.

(Posting date 30 January 2008)
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