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Eisenhower Cool to White House Parley to Combat Bigotry

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President Eisenhower indicated today rejection of requests by religious organizations for him to sponsor a national White House conference to rally public opinion against religious and racial bigotry and bombings.

Mr. Eisenhower told his press conference he was uncertain whether such a White House conference was a desirable way to rally the public. He said “I believe that opinion does not have to be rallied always by some spectacular conference of that kind.”

Jewish and non-Jewish groups had urged the President to convene a conference under White House auspices to bring together leaders of religion, education, social welfare, business, and labor. It was hoped that recent bombings and other manifestations of rising religious and racial bias could be discussed. A drive for new legislation, including a Federal anti-bombing bill, was envisaged as a possible product of the proposed conference. Those supporting the idea thought it a dramatic way to focus attention on the danger to whole nation from violent bigotry.

Mr. Eisenhower was asked about the proposed conference today and replied: Well, I would say two things: first, I think that for the past six years no one in this room has ever heard me argue for anything except readiness to obey the laws, and to educate ourselves, each of us, to reach the kind of understanding that does permit equality of opportunity among all citizens. Now, I have heard, I have White House conferences suggested to me at least once a week. Now, I’m not so certain that White House conferences are the way to rally opinion of this kind. I believe that opinion does not have to be rallied always by some spectacular conference of that kind.”

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