I HOPE that 1965 will be regarded as the year when this country began in earnest a thorough, intelligent, and effective war against crime. The present wave of violence and the staggering property losses inflicted upon the Nation by crime must be arrested. The time has long since arrived for this Nation to discard obsolete and unworkable methods of detecting and apprehending criminals. We must come to grips with the problems of punishment versus rehabilitation, of protecting society from criminals while, at the same time, working to prevent the development of potential criminals.
This national effort must begin with a systematic study of these fundamental problems. There is much we need to do. What are the basic causes of crime and delinquency? How can we increase respect for law and order? What are the optimum methods for preventing crime? As fundamental as these questions are, we have never sought comprehensive nationwide answers. It will be the task of this Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice to seek these answers.
The significance I attach to this Commission is demonstrated by the fact that I have asked the Attorney General to serve as its Chairman. The Commission will have the benefit of expert assistance from professionals in a number of fields. I have ordered all relevant Federal agencies to cooperate fully in this enormous and unprecedented task. The Commission cannot obviously solve all the problems related to crime. I do ask it to commit wisdom, energy, and experience to the central need of this and any civilized society: the safety of its citizens.Note: The statement was read by Bill D. Moyers, Special Assistant to the President, at his news conference held at the White House at 10:45 a.m. on July 26, 1965. It was not made public in the form of a White House press release.
The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice was established on July 23, 1965, by Executive Order 11236 (30 F.R. 9349; 3 CFR, 1965 Supp.). On July 26 the President named Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach as Chairman of the Commission and announced the names of the other 18 members (1 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs. p. 7).
See also Items 422, 437,500.