Page images

Executive order. The coordination of title VI policies and practices within the Federal agencies has been most encouraging. Now that this significant program of insuring that Federal funds are not used to support State and local programs administered on a discriminatory basis has moved to the phase in which hearings and possible judicial action is involved, the Justice Department which has the ultimate responsibility for enforcing title VI should be assigned the task of coordinating the Federal Government's enforcement policies in this area.

Those of us who have seen new agencies come into being throughout the years recognize how difficult it is to bring them to a close even when the need for them no longer exists. I am especially pleased and proud, therefore, to recommend these consolidations and terminations to you. If you should act favorably upon these recommendations, I hope it will be perfectly clear to all that they do not represent a determination that civil rights problems in this country are resolved or eliminated, for indeed, the most difficult and complicated part of the journey to our national goal of a prejudice free society lies ahead of us. Rather our effort has been to eliminate separate agencies where possible and to locate essential functions where they can be performed properly and most efficiently.

Under your leadership as President, the executive branch of the Federal Gov. ernment–in a partnership with the Congress that is essential to progress in this field—and the American people have made greater strides in the area of civil rights than ever before in our history. I believe that the actions I have recommended will continue the tremendous steps forward and bring us closer to fulfillment of one of the most important objectives of the Great Societyequal opportunity and full freedom for all men.

[For release Sept. 24, 1965, Office of the White House Press Secretary]



I concur in your recommendations to streamline and strengthen the civil rights effort of this administration.

I share your conviction that it is of paramount importance to attach responsibility for effective civil rights programs to each and every official of the Federal Government.

Those who are responsible for our programs in education, in the development of our cities, in employment–indeed, in every area-must also bear the re sponsibility for administering those programs without discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color. Each official of the Government must understand that every program for which he is responsible must be administered to insure equal opportunity for all Americans.

I know that there is no cause to which you have been more devoted than the cause of equal opportunity. The energy and dedication which you have brought to this difficult problem of governmental organization will make even more effective our important civil rights program.

Our first witness is the Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach.

Senator Javits. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a brief statement.


Senator JAVITS. Mr. Chairman, when the President sent Reorganization Plan No. 1 to the Congress, I introduced the resolution upon which these hearings are based, and I made it clear that the purpose of my objection was to make the Government prove its case.

I felt then, as now, that with the great weight of legislative history against such a transfer, it should not be undertaken lightly or simply by default of the Congress, unless circumstances have changed so much

since June 1964 as to warrant this departure from the expressed intent of the Congress.

The exact language of section 1003 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 providing for the Community Relations Service seems to provide a persuasive argument against this transfer to the Department of Justice—though that is by no means conclusive in my mind. I am very pleased that we are having these hearings and that the Attorney General is the first witness.

Specifically, section 1003 requires that conciliation services be conducted in confidence and without publicity. Any information which the Service receives or which individual conciliators receive in their capacity as peacemakers must be held confidential. In fact, disclosure of information obtained under the conditions which I have described is punishable by a fine of not more than a thousand dollars or imprisonment of not more than 1 year.

Without these restrictions, it is doubtful that the Service could operate effectively.

While the Service could conceivably isolate its conciliation functions from the prosecuting functions of the Department of Justice, the possibility that this would not be done would seriously hamper the conciliation function, which necessarily is based on gaining the confidence of those to be conciliated.

President Kennedy, in his civil rights message of June 1963, emphasized this problem when he said, and I quote:

The Department of Justice and its Civil Rights Division has already performed yeoman service of this nature [to wit, conciliation] in Birmingham and Jackson and throughout the country. But the problem has grown beyond the time and energies which a few otherwise burdened officials can make available and, in some areas, the confidence of all will be greater in an intermediary whose duties are completely separated from departmental functions of investigation or litigation.

Vice President Humphrey, who was then the majority whip in the Senate, and the floor manager of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, emphasized that the Service, and again I quote would have no law enforcement responsibilities and no powers of compulsion. It would preserve the confidentiality of information it receives, as such, in the course of its duties.

Clearly, then, this proposed transfer is directly contrary, as I read it, to the intent for which this Service was created by the Congress. It may nonetheless be both wise and necessary in the light of new circumstances, and that is what I hope to join my colleagues in finding out.

In conclusion, let me say also that there has been considerable controversy within the civil rights movement about the transfer. Opposition was initially expressed by prominent members of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and by a Special Subcommittee of the Leadership Conference set up to study the movement. The Leadership Conference is an organization of the major civil rights organizations in the country.

Now, these parties, that is the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and its components, may have changed their minds, and now find the transfer acceptable. That's another reason why I am very willing to listen to the argument which convinced them and approach this hearing with an open mind.

Again, Mr. Chairman, with the unfailing courtesy of the chair, I am very appreciative of being permitted to make this statement.

Senator RIBICOFF. Mr. Attorney General.



Attorney General KATZENBACH. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have this opportunity to express our support for the President's plan to transfer the Community Relations Service to the Department of Justice.

I believe the argument in favor of the reorganization is simple and compelling. The purpose of the Community Relations Service is to help communities across the country, by conciliation, to smother the sparks and dampen the tinder of racial tension.

To do so most effectively, it should be associated with that department of the Government with basic and comprehensive responsibility for racial problems. And that is the Department of Justice.

Surely all parts of the Government must and do have civil rights responsibilities and concerns. Infusing such concerns into the very body of the Federal Establishment was one of the reasons impelling the realinement of civil rights responsibilities by the President last fall, on the Vice President's recommendation.

At the same time, the focus of these concerns is on the Department of Justice. Because of the civil rights legislation the Congress has given us; because of the fact that President Johnson has asked me to coordinate the civil rights activities of the executive branch, the Attorney General is the one officer of the Government who is preoccupied daily with civil rights relating to every level and to every part of the Nation.

I think it is safe to say that there is no other Cabinet officer who is called on to spend as much as half his time—as is the Attorney General—on the interlocking problems and many levels of civil rights, encompassing negotiation, law enforcement, and legislation.

When the Community Relations Service was proposed in Congress, I was intimately connected with the discussion and decision which led to its location in the Department of Commerce. At that time three possibilities were considered, both by the executive branch and by Congress: the Department of Justice, the Executive Office, and the Department of Commerce.

The Service was placed in the Department of Commerce, on the recommendation of President Kennedy and Attorney General Kennedy, primarily because it was then thought that its concern would relate largely, if not exclusively, to the business community:

Hundreds of angry demonstrations, spreading from Birmingham across the South, concentrated public anxiety on the public accommodations section. Under the circumstances, we believed—soundly, I think-that the business community of the South offered the best rallying point for an effective force in support of law. Indeed, through the efforts of Attorney General Kennedy and others in the Cabinet, the support of elements of the business community had often been sought and often gained in racial crises.

[ocr errors]

And it seemed eminent good sense to enlist the support of the Commerce Department, headed by a distinguished former Governor of North Carolina, to seek the spirit of compliance.

As events took their course, however, voluntary compliance with the public accommodations section exceeded the most hopeful expectations. Virtually from the time the Community Relations Service was organized and staffed, its work with businessmen on public accommodations required a relatively small part of its energies. And as time has gone on, the operations of the Community Relations Service have had steadily decreasing relevance to the dominant concerns of the Department of Commerce.

Compliance with the public accommodations section allowed the Service to develop a scope much broader than the business community of the South. The Service, under the distinguished leadership of Governor Collins, was able to deal with situations arising from the whole range of racial problems, North and South.

The expanding range of the Service's activities has brought it more and more often into areas in which the Department of Justice has a direct enforcement responsibility: voter registration difficulties, discrimination in employment, school desegregation, discrimination in public facilities and accommodations, unsatisfactory police-community relationships, and inadequate law enforcement. The subject matter, the essential human problems, and many of the organizations we deal with are, more often than not, the same.

To be sure, the techniques and statutory authorization of the Community Relations Service to deal with these situations are different from those of our Civil Rights Division. The Service has the staff and the authority to move into communities where direct violation of the law is not or not yet--the problem. It can deal broadly with

—— the elements of discontent and coordinate all the available private and governmental solutions. This is a different function than that of investigating violations and bringing lawsuits, yet the fact that the functions are different is less striking than the fact that they are inherently complementary:

Conciliation is an old friend. Indeed, it has always been the function of the law and the good lawyer to keep tempers down, to find satisfactory agreement and to settle cases, wherever possible, out of court.

The Civil Rights Division has, without exception, followed this tradition. We have always given a high place to the function of conciliation. We have always felt acutely-more often than we have been equipped to satisfy—the need to anticipate conflict and to bring to bear on every disturbance the full resources of a community's responsible organizations and individuals.

It is for precisely these reasons that our concerns at the Department of Justice have led us repeatedly to look to the flexible capability of the Community Relations Service for support. And because we expect our need for this support to grow, we have planned to enlarge the staff of the Service, when it joins the Department of Justice, from 67 to 100 and to increase its budget 50 percent to $2 million.

I would not favor the reorganization if I were not certain that the conciliation work of the Community Relations Service and the prosecutive functions of the Civil Rights Division could not be coordinated harmoniously, without confusion, and, most important, in such a way as to strengthen the impact of both.

The distinctive capacities of each agency can be more effectively applied under the direction of a single Cabinet officer.

Many situations involving the denial of constitutional rights and the violation of Federal laws require the attention primarily of the staff with the experience and the authorization in law enforcement. The Community Relations Service would never take upon itselfas it never has taken upon itself—to bargain about compliance with law.

Other tensions, arising more out of basic hostility than out of any identifiable injustice, can be eased by the Community Relations Service alone without any invocation of legal sanctions.

And in many more situations, where legal injustices and traditional mutual distrust compound each other, we know already that the two agencies can work productively together without compromise of their own standards.

I would emphasize the intention I have stated before that we plan to give the Community Relations Service the standing of a division, separate from and equivalent to the Civil Rights Division and the other divisions and bureaus of the Department.

Its staff would have no part in investigations, nor would the requirement that the Service's work be conducted in confidence be changed in any way by the reorganization.

As compelling as the reasons why the Service belongs in the Department of Justice are the reasons why it does not belong anywhere else.

Just as the scope of the Community Relations Service is wider than its work with businessmen in the South, it is wider than the work of any single department-whether it be Labor, Health, Education, and Welfare, or Housing and Urban Development.

To make the Community Relations Service, alternatively, an independent agency would only proliferate our civil rights agencies when it is the clear intention of Congress and the President and the clear need of the problems to bring all the Government's resources in this field into closer coordination.

For the same reasons that congressional committees 2 years ago rejected the possibility of putting the Service in the Executive Office of the President, we would do so again. Such a placement would run counter not only to the need to streamline civil rights agencies but also to the President's stated desire to look to his Cabinet officers for the execution of his policies.

In short, no Cabinet officer other than the Attorney General has the experience, the time, and the close daily contact with civil rights that are necessary to give the Community Relations Service the supervision and support it deserves. No other Department has as natural a need for the Community Relations Service as does the Department of Justice.

I strongly urge that you reject Senate Resolution 220.


Senator RIBICOFF. Mr. Attorney General, in the February 1964 Blue Book, issued for the assistance of the Senate in considering the then

« PreviousContinue »