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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989

Statement on the Anniversary of the Armenian Earthquake


A year ago yesterday -- December 7, 1988 -- a massive earthquake devastated the Soviet Republic of Armenia, claiming more than 25,000 lives and leaving half a million homeless. It was a tragedy whose scars will be visible for decades and of a magnitude that no country could handle alone.

Together with many other nations, the United States responded immediately with an expression of sympathy and offer of assistance, which was readily accepted. The next day a U.S. team of governmental and private sector specialists were on hand in Soviet Armenia. Private American organizations such as Project Hope and Americares, along with the Armenian community in the United States, have played an important role in this sustained relief effort.

It is an encouraging sign of the times that this outpouring of American help was reciprocated by offers of Soviet help in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake. As we look to a new era in U.S.-Soviet relations, we can take hope from these examples of humanitarian cooperation between our two countries.

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