President Gerald R. Ford's Remarks Upon Signing a Proclamation Concerning Japanese-American Internment During World War II

February 19, 1976

February 19 is the anniversary of a very, very sad day in American history. It was on that date in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was issued resulting in the uprooting of many, many loyal Americans. Over 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were removed from their homes, detained in special camps, and eventually relocated.

We now know what we should have known then -- not only was that evacuation wrong but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans. On the battlefield and at home the names of Japanese-Americans have been and continue to be written in history for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the well-being and to the security of this, our common Nation.

Executive Order 9066 ceased to be effective at the end of World War II. Because there was no formal statement of its termination, there remains some concern among Japanese-Americans that there yet may be some life in that obsolete document. The proclamation [4417] that I am signing here today should remove all doubt on that matter.

I call upon the American people to affirm with me the unhyphenated American promise that we have learned from the tragedy of that long ago experience -- forever to treasure liberty and justice for each individual American and resolve that this kind of error shall never be made again.

Note: The President spoke at 11:54 a.m. at a ceremony in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

See a scanned image of a ceremonial copy of President Ford's proclamation

See the text of the proclamation

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Last Updated: Thursday, August 3, 2000