Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

From Rocco C. Siciliano

Main content start

Author: Siciliano, Rocco C.

Date: October 17, 1958

Location: Washington, D.C. 

Genre: Letter

Topic: Churches - vandalism


White House aide Siciliano replies to King’s 13 October telegram to the president.1

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
208 Auburn Avenue, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Dr. King:

The President has asked me to thank you for your telegram of October 13 in which you commend his actions following the recent bombing in Atlanta

As you know, the President feels very strongly about this outrageous occurrence, as well as that in Peoria.2 His indignation was evident again in Wednesday's press conference when he said that he would continue to speak out against this type of action.3 He emphasized that the full facilities of the Federal Government would be and are being provided local authorities so that these "hoodlums," as he called them, may soon be apprehended and punished.

I have been asked to assure you that your suggestion for a White House conference, which was first made by your group to the President last June, is receiving continuing consideration.

Sincerely yours,
Rocco C. Siciliano
Speical Assistant to the President

{I hope you have recovered!}

1. Rocco C. Siciliano (1922-), born in Salt Lake City, Utah, received a B.A. (1944) from the University of Utah and an LL.B. (1948) from Georgetown University. He joined Eisenhower's staff in 1957 as the President's Special Assistant for Personnel Management and soon became Eisenhower's chief advisor on minority affairs. On 9 June 1958 Siciliano met with King prior to the 23 June meeting between civil rights leaders and Eisenhower.

2. On 14 October a bomb was hurled at the Anshal Emeth Temple in Peoria, Illinois, causing minor damage to the building's annex ("Crude Bomb Damages Synagogue in Illinois," Washington Post, 15 October 1958).

3. At the 15 October press conference Eisenhower denounced the Confederate Underground, the organization suspected of the Atlanta bombing: "For hoodlums such as these to describe themselves as any part or any relation to the Confederacy of the mid-19th century is, to my mind, a complete insult to the word. Indeed they should be described as nothing but Al Capones and Babyface Nelsons and that kind of hoodlum" (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower [1959], p. 742).

Source: MLKP, MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

© Copyright Information