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Pearl Harbor may become national monument

WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- President George W. Bush has proposed making Pearl Harbor a national monument but the U.S. Navy questions what implications that could have for the active base.

Bush has directed Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to assess the "advisability of providing additional recognition or protection" to historic sites at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere in the Pacific that played important roles in World War II, the Honolulu Advertiser reported Sunday.

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"Pearl Harbor is well known as the site of Imperial Japan's attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Its historical significance, however, both preceded the Japanese attack and spanned World War II, during which it served as the central base for our Pacific naval forces," Bush said in a memorandum Thursday.

The memo asks the secretaries to consider whether "any proposed actions should limit the Department of Defense from carrying out the mission of the various branches of the military stationed or operating anywhere within the Pacific."

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to proclaim historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest as national monuments, the newspaper said.

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