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Lyndon B. Johnson: Statement by the President in Response to a Telegram From the Governor of Alabama.
Lyndon
Lyndon B. Johnson
114 - Statement by the President in Response to a Telegram From the Governor of Alabama.
March 18, 1965
Public Papers of the Presidents
Lyndon B. Johnson<br>1965: Book I
Lyndon B. Johnson
1965: Book I
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JUST before 10 o'clock, I received this wire from Governor Wallace. It was dispatched at 8:20 and received around 9:48.

The President

The White House

Dear Mr. President:

With regard to the order of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, providing a plan for the so-called march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., the Department of Public Safety of the State of Alabama advises me that the following personnel will be required in order to provide maximum security for the march; 6, 171 men, 489 vehicles, 15 buses, not including support units. The State of Alabama has available 300 State troopers and approximately 150 officers of the Department of Conservation and Alcohol Beverage Control Department for use in accordance with the order of the Federal Court. I respectfully request that the United States provide sufficient Federal civil authorities or officers to provide for the safety and the welfare of the citizens in and along the proposed march route and to provide for the safety and the welfare of the marchers. Officials of the Department of Public Safety of the State of Alabama are available to confer with your appropriate agency, the appropriate liaison officer being Capt. W. B. Painter, Department of Public Safety, Montgomery, Ala.
Respectfully,
GEORGE. C. WALLACE

Governor of Alabama

The questions raised--this is my statement-by the Selma-Montgomery march were submitted to the court in Montgomery, Ala. That court with an Alabama judge sitting, after hearing all of the evidence including evidence on the problem of protecting marchers, determined that a march should be permitted and the marchers should be protected.

The Federal Government, of course, does not have civilian personnel approaching the figures suggested by Governor Wallace. However, Governor Wallace has at his disposal over 10,000 trained members of the Alabama National Guard which he could call into service. If he is unable or unwilling to call up the Guard and to maintain law and order in Alabama, I will call the Guard up and give them all the support that may be required. Pursuant to the Governor's telegram, I am asking Attorney General Katzenbach to contact Captain Painter and supply him with this information.


Note: The President read the statement to the press at 10:15 p.m. in his office at the White House.
Citation: Lyndon B. Johnson: "Statement by the President in Response to a Telegram From the Governor of Alabama.," March 18, 1965. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=26813.
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