FOR THE past 3 days the Nation has been shocked by reports of rioting and disorder in the streets of our largest and one of our proudest cities.
The immediate overriding issue in New York City is the preservation of law and order and the right of our citizens to respect for their property and to be safe in their person as they walk or drive through the streets. In the preservation of law and order there can be no compromise--just as there can be no compromise in securing equal and exact justice for all Americans.
I have called the acting mayor of New York City. I have told him of my willingness to cooperate in every way possible to help him in this time of agony. Law enforcement is basically the responsibility of the Governor, State and local officials. The acting mayor informs me that he is aware of all his responsibilities and is determined to discharge them including the full application of impartial justice.
It must be made clear once and for all that violence and lawlessness cannot, must not, and will not be tolerated. In this determination, New York officials shall have all of the help that we can give them. And this includes help in correcting the evil social conditions that breed despair and disorder.
American citizens have a right to protection of life and limb-whether driving along a highway in Georgia, a road in Mississippi, or a street in New York City.
I believe that the overwhelming majority of Americans will join in preserving law and order and reject resolutely those who espouse violence no matter what the cause.
Evils acts of the past are never rectified by evil acts of the present. We must put aside the quarrels and the hatreds of bygone days; resolutely reject bigotry and vengeance; and proceed to work together toward our national goals.
I have directed Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to contact Commissioner Michael J. Murphy and the Governor of New York and to inform them that we are conducting a complete investigation of the possibility of violation of Federal laws in connection with the recent disturbances and offering them our complete cooperation.