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Wallace to JFK: We Can Handle Situation in Birmingham

May 12, 1963 - Alabama Governor George C. Wallace told President Kennedy tonight that “we have sufficient state and local forces” to handle the situation in Birmingham and asked him to leave the entire matter to the state and local governments. Governor Wallace, in a telegram to the President, questioned Mr. Kennedy’s authority to send Federal troops into Alabama. In Washington, it was said that President Kennedy’s order had been issued under a U.S. law, which dates to 1871, giving the President power to quell civil disturbances. Governor Wallace’s telegram was dispatched an hour after Mr. Kennedy made his announcement in Washington that he was dispatching troops trained in riot control to military bases near Birmingham. The President also took preliminary steps toward federalizing the Alabama National Guard. Earlier today, Governor Wallace blamed Communist agitators for the racial violence in Birmingham and invited the House Committee on Un-American Activities to investigate. “Violence and internal disorder are the stock in trade of the Communists,” Governor Wallace said in a statement. “In my judgment, there has been sufficient activity in Alabama by outside subversives to strongly indicate their involvement in the bombing incident.”



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