Page images
PDF
EPUB

the sensitivity and awareness and the civil rights conviction and dedication of the Attorney General and everyone in that department.

But with all of the assurances of additional personnel, and the separation within the Department of the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service, and the confidentiality of the work of the Community Relations Service, it is pretty tough to avoid the basic fact that into this setting of dispute and concern and unrest there arrives a man from the Justice Department.

Now, he can have a separate credential and a separate badge, but to the parties in a situation of unrest, not all of them thoroughly familiar with the organization of the federal system, here is the man from the police department. And I am not at all persuaded that we were wrong in having this agency initiated some place besides the police department–because of all the fellows likely to generate confidence and tranquillity in that setting, it seemed to us the policeman ran last.

My suggestion, Mr. Chairman, is that we leave, for the time being at least, this agency in the Department of Commerce.

I think you can make a perfectly sound case for making the Service an independent agency-simply attaching it to a department for support, much as the Labor Mediation Service is.

Indeed, when then Senator Lyndon Johnson introduced this proposal initially in 1959, it is my understanding that is the way it was meant—and some of the comment he made at that time which I have included here makes even better sense now than then.

As the committee in the very excellent staff memorandum, 89–2–5, which you have, has quoted, President Kennedy, when he presented the legislation to the Congress in 1963, supported the concept of an independent Community Relations Service separate from the Department of Justice.

I have prepared other remarks, Mr. Chairman, which I shall not burden you with. But I would wind up by reminding those of the committee who had a management responsibility for any title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that we carried to the floor every day for the many days of that debate a rather carefully done question and answer book. And in connection with title 10, one of the questions that we anticipated being required to answer, and indeed were, read this way: Why not leave these duties

Those of the Community Relations Serviceup to the Department of Justice?

The answer was:

The Department has in individual cases attempted to work along this line as necessary on an emergency basis, but a mediating agency separate from the Department of Justice whose duties are chiefly investigation and litigation would be preferable.

There is some additional information which I would like to have incorporated.

It is, therefore, logical that the Service be established in the Department of Commerce.

We stated that in good faith to the Congress at the time we were arguing that the bill should be adopted.

There are many areas that will be brought within the reach of that omnibus bill, where the penetration is just beginning.

I say this in response to the suggestion that we put the Community Relations Service in the Department of Commerce largely for the reason we anticipated difficulty under the public accommodations section.

We have yet to discover what kind of difficulties, in their full bloom, we will discover involved in the employment section. Indeed, we have no experience under the Voting Rights Act yet, no national election under the new Voting Rights Act.

It seems to me, Mr. Chairman-I admit I state this rather tentatively because we are dealing with something that none of us ought to be too absolute and pompous about: but I have a feeling that we would be wise to permit another few years to run in order that additional experience can develop with the agency in the Commerce Department.

I repeat, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, and acknowledge that my feeling and my presence here in support of Senator Javits’ position results largely, almost entirely, from this basic notion that surely we can do better than at this stage of the game having the man who has to mediate, with all the confidentiality required, coming from the Department of Justice.

You and I know that he will be sympathetic, and that the Attorney General will support him and respect the line of demarcation. But can we be very sure that the parties to that situation, in whatever area it may be, will have that same measure of confidence, and lacking that kind of confidence, aren't we undercutting the effectiveness of the Community Relations Service?

Senator RIBICOFF. Senator Hart, thank you very much. Of course all of us involved in the battle for civil rights owe a great debt to you for your leadership role, your knowledge, and your sincerity through this entire fight. And I think there is no other Senator whose opinions are entitled to more respect than yours.

Do I understand that you feel that if this transfer is made to the Justice Department it would have a deleterious effect on the Community Relations Service!

Senator Hart. First, thanks for the kind remarks. They certainly entitle you to a direct answer to your question—and I am afraid I will duck that answer.

I have a fear that it might be a disservice to the function of the Community Relations Service, and under those circumstances suggest that a prudent course would be to continue with the agency in Commerce for a little while longer, when all of us would be in a position to make a more direct answer to that question.

Senator RIBICOFF. You were one of the authors of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What did you have in mind in using the words “in confidence" or "confidentiality”? Do you think that the concept of confidentiality as it appears in the act is in jeopardy because of the transfer of CŘS to the Justice Department?

Senator HART. I think that it would not be abused, diluted, in any respect. I say that knowing the quality and integrity of those who would be administering it within the Department of Justice.

My fear is that the mayor, or the head of the parents association in the school dispute, or the registrar in an elections contest, or the employer or employee or trade union would not be convinced that he could talk as freely to the man from Justice as he could talk to the man from Commerce.

а

Senator RIBICOFF. What about the answer of the Attorney General that in most of these cases they are brought in anyway, so they might as well have the entire bureau? How do react to that answer?

Senator HART. I am contesting his statement as a matter of fact. They may indeed be brought in in virtually every case—but not every case and, second, at what stage do they come in? Merely because they come in after a collapse of the effort to mediate does not prove that they would have been helpful had they been in at the outset. And sometimes surely there must be occasions when the mediation effort has succeeded without the Justice Department getting in the picture, and in those cases we would wonder whether it would have been successful had he been in the picture at the outset.

Senator RIBICOFF. Do you think it is possible once the great landmark cases and turmoil subsides that the main job of this service would then be intercession and conciliation and straightening out matters without the need for the Justice Department at all?

Senator Hart. One, of course, would hope so. One would hope that it would be true even now, in the early developing stages. It may prove, as my remarks indicate, that the most prudent course we will discover is to have this as an independent agency as the Labor Mediation Board.

Senator RIBICOFF. Thank you very much, Senator Hart.
Senator Javits?

Senator Javits. I would like to tell my colleague that I know of nothing in this whole matter which has given me more spiritual comfort than his support, and I am deeply grateful to him for it, and for his honesty.

It would be so much easier for a Senator of the administration's party to go along with the desires of the administration and even stretch a point in doing it. This is not in the conscience of Philip Hart.

I have nothing to do with that. I am only grateful for the country and the State which sends him to us.

Senator Hart. Thank you very much.

Senator JAVITs. I had the privilege, of course, of working with Senator Hart in the civil rights struggle, and this, too, is another reason for my opposition. I didn't think this is the way we planned this conciliation service.

Now, is it fair to say the following: one and the Attorney General has admitted this—this transfer does add another dimension to the authority-of the Department of Justice in that it adds conciliation to prosecution and the settlement of cases which are or may be prosecuted?

Does the Senator agree that conciliation may be practiced in civil rights matters in cases which are not cases for prosecution or where the prosecutor does not have a likely case for prosecution?

Senator Hart. Surely.

Senator JAVITS. And did we have in mind, when we worked on this matter, all of us, that an effort would be made, for example, to have the conciliation commission deal with greater opportunities for Negroes, training, for example, and employment opportunity where law violation was not involved!

Senator HART. We did.

Senator Javits. This is the thing that has the main impact on me.

Now, does the Senator feel, in all fairness, that the Government, that the executive department must bear the burden of justifying this transfer under these circumstances ?

Senator Hart. I have always operated on the assumption these reorganization plans—that the burden of proof is on the fellow that proposes the switch.

Senator Javits. But in this case certainly did we not have a right to assume that this Service would not be in the prosecuting arm?

Senator Hart. We did at that time make very clear that we opposed it in that agency. I would like to say, by way of almost a footnotebecause I believe this to be true—that I do not regard the proposal as one intended to subvert or to veto, damage or inhibit the Community Relations Service because it is made by a man who has contributed enormously to the overall civil rights effort. It is just that, as I indicated perhaps before the Senator came in, I have personal difficulty being convinced that the record yet is clear enough to persuade those of us who felt, as this legislation was being debated and enacted, that it would be unwise to have the prosecutor. I suggest there is yet a lack of facts that would permit us to conclude that our attitude was wrong.

Senator JAVITs. And finally, as you read, Senator Hart, the statements of President Kennedy in his message transmitting to the Congress the civil rights legislation on June 19, 1963, the statement of the then Attorney General now Senator Robert F. Kennedy, my colleague from New York, on July 26, 1963, and the question and answer format prepared by the Department of Justice, concerning the proposed Civil Rights Act of 1964 do you come to the same conclusion that I do, that it was their intention, as far as we could get it from words, that the conciliation service should not be linked with the prosecuting arm of the Government?

Senator HART. I think it is very clear.
Senator Javits. I thank my colleague, and I thank the chairman.
Senator RIBICOFF. Senator Harris?

Senator HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I, of course, join with you and with Senator Javits in adding my commendations to Senator Hart for the marvelous record he has made in this field of civil rights.

As I understood what you said, Senator, you agree with what Vice President Humphrey has said, that one of the primary reasons the Community Relations Service was put over in Commerce was the expected difficulties in regard to public accommodations, and that that largely has, very fortunately, failed to materialize.

Would you agree with that?

Senator Hart. Clearly the anticipated trouble in the public accommodations section was great, very sharp, and very real, and this Community Relations Service was regarded as a promising device to reduce the difficulty. But a I indicated, it was contemplated also that in every other area of friction, this agency could play a role.

Senator HARRIS. We all share your concern about not damaging the role or image of the Community Relations Service.

The Attorney General yesterday, however, testified that it would be kept as a separate and independent entity within the Department, and that, of course, the Director would be still appointed by the President and would have to be confirmed by the Senate, which would help it retain its separate identity.

My own views on this are clear. I want the civil rights activities of this Government and particularly those of the Community Relations Service to be as effective as possible. I believe that Řeorganization Plan No. 1 of 1966 will help achieve those purposes.

By January 1965, legislation passed by the Congress and Executive orders issued by President Johnson and President Kennedy had created the following organizations, which were responsible for one or another facet of civil rights activity: the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Community Relations Service, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the President's Committee on Equal Opportunity in Housing, and the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.

Early in 1965, the President, by Executive order, created the President's Council on Equal Opportunity. That body was charged with the responsibility of coordinating civil rights activities within the Government. The President asked the Vice President to chair the Council and asked him to look for areas where tighter coordination and more effective operations could be achieved. As could be expected, areas where streamlining operations would be helpful soon became apparent.

Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1966 is one of the steps designed to achieve tighter coordination and more effective execution of policy.

The plan would place the Community Relations Service in the Department of Justice which, because of its statutory responsibilities and because of other assignments given to it by President Kennedy and by President Johnson, has far more knowledge, far more experience and far more responsibility in this field than any other department or agency in the Government. It is the Department to which the people in communities with racial problems of all kinds naturally gravitate. It is the Department which has more coordinating responsibility in this field than any other. The Attorney General is the Cabinet officer to whom the President looks as his principal adviser in this area. The Attorney General is the Cabinet officer with the broadest and deepest civil rights experience.

The Director of the Community Relations Service and his staff need the advice, guidance, and assistance of a Cabinet officer in order to carry out their programs most effectively. The agency also needs departmental support and assistance which is deeply involved in and knowledgeable about what we do. The Attorney General is in a much better position than the Secretary of any other department of the Government to give me and the staff of the Community Relations Service the support we need.

In turn, because of the greatest bulk of the civil rights problems do gravitate to the Department of Justice, it is important that the Department has as many and varied resources to deal with those issues as possible.

Clearly, I want the Community Relations Service to be as deeply and broadly involved in as as much of the civil rights activity of the Government as possible. Such involvement will occur if the agency is in the Department of Justice. It is less likely to occur if the agency is located elsewhere.

а

« PreviousContinue »