Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks on Signing a National Hispanic Heritage Week Proclamation.

September 04, 1974

LET ME sign this declaration or proclamation, and then I will make sure that you all get a pen, Joe.

In 1968, the Congress passed a resolution [H.J. Res. 1299] which provided for the recognition of Hispanic Americans, that we should have a week once a year where their contribution to the American society would be fully appreciated and totally recognized.

This week begins on September 10 and runs through the 17th [16th], and this proclamation is predicated on that resolution which was approved 6 years ago.

It is a pleasure for me to be in the company of the Members of Congress who are here, and I understand that Congressman Manuel Lujan is flying in from New Mexico but will be a few minutes late, but he will be joining us very shortly.

In the group here are some leaders of the Spanish-speaking Americans who will be here to give me the benefit of their observations and comments and recommendations as to how we can very appropriately and properly recognize the many, many contributions that have been made, from the very beginning of our Nation's history, to the great accomplishments of America.

I think history shows that before Plymouth Rock there were Spanish-speaking individuals who had made settlements in not only Florida but New Mexico and Puerto Rico and possibly California, I am not sure.

I think it illustrates the fact that Spanish-speaking Americans were in the very vanguard of the settlement of the new world, and they have contributed significantly with their deep religious convictions. They have contributed unbelievably to a better America by their dedication to an outstanding family life.

We believe, in this Administration, as others have, that this important growing part of our American population should be recognized for what they can do for all of us and for what they have done for America over the 200 years, nearly, of our Nation's history.

So, it is a pleasure for me to sign this proclamation in the presence of not only Members of Congress who are representative of the Hispanic Americans but the others who are here from private life.

So, without any fanfare, I will undertake this. I have learned how, Ed, to do this with a few letters instead of doing it with one pen.

Note: The President spoke at 11:10 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to Senator Joseph M. Montoya of New Mexico and Representative Edward R. Roybal of California.

Following the signing ceremony, the President met with Hispanic-American Members of Congress and Administration officials to discuss the problems and needs of Hispanic Americans.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks on Signing a National Hispanic Heritage Week Proclamation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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