Interview with Gov. John Patterson
QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

OKAY. LETS CUT RIGHT THERE. NOW THIS IS REALY IMPORTANT. I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT NOW MR. SEIGENTHALER SAYS HE SAT DOWN WITH YOU AND THE CABINET IN A MEETING. NOW, DO YOU REMEMBER THIS MEETING? THIS IS AFTER BIRMINGHAM AND PRIOR TO MONTGOMERY. PRIOR TO HIM GOING TO MONTGOMERY, HE CLAIMS HE WAS AT A MEETING AND HE WAS UMMMM, HE WAS THERE AS ROBERT KENNEDY'S … OKAY, SO I'LL JUST ASK YOU, JUST REMIND YOU SOMETHING YOU SAID AT THE TIME, NOW YOU WERE DESCRIBED IN AN INTERVIEW AS SAYING YOU WANTED QUOTE THOSE OUTSIDE AGITATORS TO GET OUT OF THE STATE AND THAT YOU THOUGHT IF FEDERAL POWER WERE USED AGAINST STATE POWER, THAT BLOOD WOULD FLOW IN THE STREETS, IN OTHER WORDS IF TROOPS WERE BROUGHT FROM THE GOVERNMENT, THAT THERE WOULD BE A DISASTER. CAN YOU REMEMBER THAT AND CAN YOU REACT TO THAT? [unintelligible]

Gov. John Patterson:

Well, I think that if I said something like that and I possibly could have something like that at the time, it must have come after the riot at the bus station here in Montgomery. When it was a very touch and go situation down there as to whether somebody would be seriously hurt or not. And I think we were very fortunate to have come out of that bus station riot without more people being hurt than were. Now at that time, I think it was obviously a serious situation. And people were gathering in here from all over the United States. There were people we didn't even know who they were coming in here from everywhere, all over Montgomery, obviously looking to get into some type of difficulty. Rockwell's Nazi's from New Jersey, came down several van loads of them. And they were here and spoiling for trouble. And it was quite obvious that we were faced with a very volatile situation and a potential riot on our hands. And it was a time in my judgment when the justice department and the White House ought to have taken a stand to support our efforts to maintain law and order rather than to encourage the thing like they were doing.