Letter to LeRoy Collins, Governor of Florida, in Response to a Proposal for a Conference of Southern Governors.
Dear Governor Collins:
Your telegram of March twenty-second, in which you suggest that a conference of Southern Governors and Attorneys General be called by me to review "the South's present problems in the whole field of racial relations," has had my thoughtful attention.
I am deeply cognizant of the difficult adjustments confronting some localities in complying with the school decision of the Supreme Court. It seems to me, however, that the progress already made in certain regions of the South before and since this decision is a clear indication that we can look forward to even greater progress if we can look to moderate and responsible leadership supported by a spirit of patience on the part of all of our people.
As you and your associates are well aware, the recommendation I have already made to the Congress requesting the creation of a bipartisan commission to study and make recommendations in this area has not yet been accepted. It is my belief that this commission could provide the means for helpful discussion, and the restoration of a clearer understanding on the part of all of our people of the real nature of the problems you mention.
I am still hopeful that the Congress will act favorably upon my suggestion. However, should they decline, I will have to consider other types of conferences, including the kind you suggest. I trust that the responsibilities that lie primarily with State and local governments, as indeed the responsibilities of the Federal government, may continue to be accepted, understood, and discharged by every official with an understanding of the deep human values which underlie this problem.
DWIGHT D, EISENHOWER
Note: Governor Collins' telegram was not included in the release,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to LeRoy Collins, Governor of Florida, in Response to a Proposal for a Conference of Southern Governors. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233060