Leaders & Controversies

Transcript: Source4

A British telegram on attitudes in the southern United States, 26 September 1957
(Catalogue ref: FO 371/126719)


The country has been shocked by the Little Rock crisis. Outside the South it is generally accepted that the President had no choice but to use troops; however, many feel that the need to do so would have been avoided if he had spoken out more firmly at an earlier stage. In the Deep South a few moderates have called for obedience to Court orders, however personally distasteful they may be. But their voices have scarcely been heard over a wave of protest at the President’s action. Most white Southerners claim to see in his use of troops a return to the Reconstruction era.

2. The troops may perhaps bring about desegregation in Little Rock. But their intervention will leave in the South a bitterness which can only make more difficult the further progress of desegregation. Each September, the beginning of a new school year will bring fresh steps towards desegregation throughout the South and will be fraught with danger of further disturbances. Since desegregation has been almost entirely confined to “border” states difficulties are likely to increase as the problem is posed in the Deep South.

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