American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 
Facebook Image
AHI Alerts President George W. Bush to Inaccurate References to the FYROM as "Macedonia"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
April 7, 2004—No.25 (202) 785-8430

AHI ALERTS PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH TO INACCURATE REFERENCES TO THE FYROM AS "MACEDONIA"

WASHINGTON, DC—On April 7, 2004, American Hellenic Institute president, Gene Rossides, sent a letter to President George W. Bush to express disappointment regarding the president’s "recent public references to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as ‘Macedonia.’" The letter to President Bush follows:

April 7, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Dear Mr. President,

The American Hellenic Institute respectfully writes to you to draw your attention to a matter of great significance to Hellenes of Macedonian descent as well as the broader Greek American community. Specifically, your recent public references to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as "Macedonia"—once during your address to the Nation on March 19, 2004 and a second time on March 29, 2004 during your remarks welcoming the newly accepted countries to NATO—were disappointing because of the historical inaccuracies embedded in referring to FYROM as "Macedonia" and because certain citizens of FYROM might see your comments, whether made intentionally or not, as an endorsement of their pernicious political agenda.

The American Hellenic Institute welcomes the accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We also understand the importance of bringing Albania, Croatia and FYROM to NATO in the near future. Greece, as the only Balkan nation in the European Union, has contributed significantly to the political and economic development of these countries, including FYROM. Referring though to FYROM as "Macedonia" propagates a misconception, and it is against what the U.S. government has signed.

Indeed, referring to FYROM properly is a matter of setting the cultural and historical record straight. Classical Macedonia's Hellenic Heritage is well documented by archaeological evidence and the writings of internationally known historians. The spread of the Hellenic language and civilization throughout the world by Alexander the Great is a testament that the Macedonians were Greek.

Current denials of this cultural heritage by FYROM have their origins in Marshal Joseph Broz Tito's decision to call Yugoslavia's southern republic "the People's Republic of Macedonia." By creating a territory under the name "Macedonia," his goal was the eventual claim and incorporation of Greek Macedonia into communist Yugoslavia with the port of Thessaloniki as the trophy port. This fact has been supported by the U.S. State Department's circular Airgram (868.014/26 Dec. 1944), issued by then Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, which reads:

The Department has noted with considerable apprehension increasing propaganda rumors and semi-official statements in favor of an autonomous Macedonia, emanating principally from Bulgaria, but also from Yugoslav Partisan and other sources, with the implication that Greek territory would be included in the projected state. This Government considers talk of 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.

We call on you, Mr. President, to refrain from using—and to strongly oppose—any name for this former Yugoslav republic that includes the word "Macedonia." Since antiquity, the name Macedonia has referred to a geographical region, not to a nationality.

Respectfully,

 

/s/ Gene Rossides

For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or at vivian@ahiworld.org. For general information on AHI, see our Web site at www.ahiworld.org.