WASHINGTON (Feb. 5)
President Eisenhower today called on Congress to adopt legislation that would increase the power of the FBI in the bombing of synagogues, churches and schools as part of a general civil rights program designed to make “equal protection of law” reality for all.
In a message to Congress, Mr. Eisenhower urged additional investigative power for the FBI in crimes involving destruction or attempted destruction of buildings including synagogues and Jewish community centers. His proposal would make it a Federal offense to flee from one state to another to avoid detention or prosecution arising from such bombings.
In explanation of his request for wider FBI authority in bombings, the President said state authorities have been diligent in dealing with these crimes under local laws but some basis for Federal action also is required.
“Such recommendation, when enacted, would make it clear that the FBI has full authority to assist in investigations of crimes involving bombings of schools and churches. At the same time, the legislation would preserve the primary responsibility for law enforcement in local law enforcement agencies for crimes committed against local property,” said Mr. Eisenhower.
The President also said that “two principles basic to our system of government are that the rule of law is supreme, and that every individual regardless of his race, religion or national origin is entitled to the equal protection of the laws. We must continue to seek every practicable means for reinforcing these principles and making them a reality for all.”
The President, among other civil rights proposals put forth today, proposed conversion of the present U.S. Committee on Government Contract Compliance into a commission on equal job opportunity on a statutory basis. At present, non-discrimination in employment under government contracts is required only by Presidential Executive orders rather than under specific legislation enacted by Congress.