JFK sends federal troops to bases near Birmingham

WASHINGTON, May 13, 1963 (UPI) -- President Kennedy, in sending military riot-control units to bases near Birmingham, said this Government will do whatever must be done to preserve order, to protect the lives of its citizens, and to uphold the law of the He also directed that a proclamation and executive order be drafted so that he could order the Alabama National Guard into immediate federal service if violence erupts again.

But Kennedy said he hoped the citizens of Birmingham themselves will maintain "standards of responsible conduct that will make outside intervention unnecessary."


He appealed to both white and Negro citizens of the city to realize that violence only breeds more violence. He said that the Federal Government would not permit a few extremists on either side to sabotage an agreement reached between leaders of the two races.

The President's announcement at 8:55 last night that he had ordered the troops sent to the vicinity of Birmingham climaxed a day of hurried conferences among top Federal officials.

Kennedy cut short his weekend stay with his family at Camp David, Md., and returned to the White House by helicopter at 5:37 p.m. He had planned to remain at the mountain retreat until this morning.


Administration officials had hoped the agreement reached last week would preclude any need for federal action.

The President said that "the Birmingham agreement was and is a fair and just accord."

"It recognized the fundamental right of all citizens to be accorded equal treatment and opportunity," he said. "It was a tribute to the process of peaceful negotation and to the good faith of both parties."

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