Cambridge city councillors reacted cautiously last night to a proposal that the city sponsor a permanent city civil rights committee.
An informal survey of five of the nine councillors indicated that a definite need for such a committee must be established before any action would be taken.
James Vorenberg '49, professor of law and the head of the private Cambridge Civil Rights Committee, proposed Wednesday that the city set up a permanent committee. He said that the added prestige and resources of the city administration could speed action in areas where his committee was already working.
Several city councillors said that they wanted more time to study the proposal. Most seemed to believe that the exact dimensions of the Cambridge civil rights problems had yet to be clearly established.
Some councillors said that the Cambridge "Civic Unity Committee" was already handling civil rights problems and that another committee might not be needed.
"In my estimation we don't have that much of a problem," one councillor said.
Another councillor declared that he didn't "attach too much importance to sponsorship" of the group and said that he thought it could continue successfully as a private organization. Praising Vorenberg's own work, this councillor said that the most important thing was "to have somebody who has the talent and is willing to devote as much time as Vorenberg."
Vorenberg's committee, set up a little more than a year ago, has concentrated its efforts in three areas: employment opportunities, relations between the city and predominantly Negro neighborhoods, and housing.