US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the Armenian bill recently passed by the French Senate by stating, “We will never take the path towards criminalizing freedom of speech. No matter how terrifying an event and no matter how highly sensitive an issue it represents, to attempt to use government power to solve historical issues would in my opinion open a very dangerous door.”
During a meeting with staff from the United States Department of State, the issue of the French Senate passing a bill which renders denial of the Armenian allegations a crime was brought up and Clinton responded to a question regarding why the United States did not accept the events that transpired as 'genocide'.
"One of our greatest strengths is that we do not consider freedom of speech a crime, people in this country can practically say or do anything they like." Upon this statement, Clinton received applause from those in attendance.
Clinton went on to state the following:
''France and other close friends and allies included may have differing standards and histories. We will never take the path towards criminalizing freedom of speech. I think it's fair to say that this issue has always been perceived more as a historical debate rather than political, and that is correct.
I think this is the stance the United States government needs to take because no matter how terrifying an event and no matter how highly sensitive an issue it represents, to attempt to use government power to solve historical issues would in my opinion open a very dangerous door."
Expressing that she is aware of the sensitivity of the issue, Clinton goes on to state, "I am of the opinion that the free exchange of ideas, the academic community and the free architecture of these sorts of debates which is at a much more advanced level now than in the past is the correct forum for these types of debates and I hope that this issue will be solved through this manner.'
Clinton also said, "Ultimately, people are going to make their own decisions and this needs to be respected. However, no matter what side someone is on in a disputed historical debate, we need to encourage everyone to engage in a dialogue of ideas. Gather proof, put forth your theses and be willing to exchange in dialogue. I think that this is how it needs to be for this issue as well."
Clinton received another round of applause following this final statement.