Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Telegram to Congressman Powell of New York in Response to His Request for a Meeting.

September 18, 1957

The Honorable Adam Clayton Powell

House of Representatives

Congress of the United States

Washington, D.C.

Your telegram requesting a meeting with me has had my thoughtful consideration. I was gratified to note your statement voicing approval of the Civil Rights Bill recently approved by me which, among other things, protects the right of every citizen to vote without intimidation or coercion. This legislation marks one more step forward in assuring security to every individual in the exercise and enjoyment of his Constitutional rights.

Since my signature was affixed to the Civil Rights Bill and, indeed, since the very beginning of its consideration, I have conferred long and earnestly with leaders in and out of government including some of the people whose lives are directly and personally affected by this new law and its enforcement.

It is my conviction now, as it has always been, that progress must steadily be made in assuring to all citizens equality under our Constitution and under the laws. Moreover, I have repeatedly stated my conviction that it is not in laws alone that rapid achievement of this purpose will be found, but rather that citizens will more readily respond to the dictates of fair and just laws if explanation, understanding and moderation as well as firmness of purpose are used by officials of government at every level. I believe that my feelings in these matters are sufficiently well known so that I hardly need to reassure any citizen of my earnest devotion to these convictions.

Nevertheless, I shall arrange a meeting with you and have directed my staff in Washington to confer with you for this purpose.


Note: This telegram was released at the U. S. Naval Base, Newport, R. I.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Telegram to Congressman Powell of New York in Response to His Request for a Meeting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233588

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