Digital History>eXplorations>Japanese American Internment>Internment and the Law>President Gerald Ford's Proclamation 4417
Gerald R. Ford's Proclamation 4417, Confirming the Termination
of the Executive Order Authorizing Japanese-American Internment
During World War II
February 19, 1976
the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation
this Bicentennial Year, we are commemorating the anniversary dates
of many great events in American history. An honest reckoning,
however, must include a recognition of our national mistakes as
well as our national achievements. Learning from our mistakes
is not pleasant, but as a great philosopher once admonished, we
must do so if we want to avoid repeating them.
19th is the anniversary of a sad day in American history. It was
on that date in 1942, in the midst of the response to the hostilities
that began on December 7, 1941, that Executive Order 9066 was
issued, subsequently enforced by the criminal penalties of a statute
enacted March 21, 1942, resulting in the uprooting of loyal Americans.
Over one hundred thousand persons of Japanese ancestry were removed
from their homes, detained in special camps, and eventually relocated.
tremendous effort by the War Relocation Authority and concerned
Americans for the welfare of these Japanese-Americans may add
perspective to that story, but it does not erase the setback to
fundamental American principles. Fortunately, the Japanese-American
community in Hawaii was spared the indignities suffered by those
on our mainland.
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, Japanese-Americans -- names like
Hamada, Mitsumori, Marimoto, Noguchi, Yamasaki, Kido, Munemori
and Miyamura -- have been and continue to be written in our history
for the sacrifices and the contributions they have made to the
well-being and security of this, our common Nation.
Executive order that was issued on February 19, 1942, was for
the sole purpose of prosecuting the war with the Axis Powers,
and ceased to be effective with the end of those hostilities.
Because there was no formal statement of its termination, however,
there is concern among many Japanese-Americans that there may
yet be some life in that obsolete document. I think it appropriate,
in this our Bicentennial Year, to remove all doubts on that matter,
and to make clear out commitment in the future.
THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim that all authority conferred by Executive
Order 9066 terminated upon the issuance of Proclamation 2714,
which formally proclaimed the cessation of hostilities of World
War II on December 31, 1946.
call upon the American people to affirm with me this 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 action shall never again
WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day
of February in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-six,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the two