rocket expert Frederick C. Durant, III (right) with Professor Kyrill F. Ogorodnikov (left)
and Academician Leonid I. Sedov at the International Astronautical Congress in Copenhagen in 1955,
the first attended by the Soviet Union.
REPORT OF MEETINGS OF SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
CONVENED BY OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
January 14-18, 1953
F. C. Durant
I: History of Meetings of Panel
II: Comments and Suggestions of Panel
Lack of Danger
Force Reporting System
of Extraterrestrial Origin
Locations of Unexplained Sightings
to Obtain Data
Problem of Mutual Interference
Cosmic Ray Phenomena
in Number of Sightings
of Personnel Concerned with Meetings
of Documentary Evidence Presented
16 February 1953
MEMORANDUM FOR: Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence
FROM: F. C. Durant
SUBJECT: Report of Meetings of the Office of Scientific Intelligence Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects,
January 14-18, 1953
The purpose of this memorandum is to present:
a. A brief history of the meetings of the O/SI Advisory Panel On Unidentified Flying Objects (Part I),
b. An unofficial supplement to the official Panel Report to AD/SI setting forth comments
and suggestions of the Panel Members which they believed were inappropriate for inclusion in the formal report (Part II).
PART I: HISTORY OF MEETINGS
After consideration of the subject of "unidentified flying objects" at the 4 December meeting
of the Intelligence Advisory Committee, the following action was agreed:
"The Director of Central Intelligence will:
a. Enlist the services of selected scientists to review and appraise the available evidence
in the light of pertinent scientific theories...."
Following the delegation of this action to the Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence
and preliminary investigation, an Advisory Panel of selected scientists was assembled.
In cooperation with the Air Technical Intelligence Center, case histories of reported sightings
and related material were made available for their study and consideration.
Present at the initial meeting (0930 Wednesday, 14 January) were:
Dr. H. P. Robertson, Dr. Luis W. Alvarez, Dr. Thornton Page, Dr. Samuel A. Goudsmit,
Mr. Philip G. Strong, Lt. Col. Frederic C. E. Oder (P&E Division),
Mr. David B. Stevenson (W&E Division), and the writer.
Panel Member, Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, was absent until Friday afternoon.
Messrs. Oder and Stevenson were present throughout the sessions to familiarize themselves
with the subject, represent the substantive interest of their Divisions,
and assist in administrative support of the meetings.
(A list of personnel concerned with the meetings is given in Tab A.).
The AD/SI opened the meeting, reviewing CIA interest in the subject and action taken.
This review included the mention of the O/SI Study Group of August 1952
(Strong, Eng and Durant) culminating in the briefing of the DCI, the ATIC November 21 briefing,
4 December IAC consideration, visit to ATIC
(Chadwell, Robertson and Durant), and O/SI concern over potential dangers
to national security indirectly related to these sightings.
Mr. Strong enumerated these potential dangers. Following this introduction,
Dr. Chadwell turned the meeting over to Dr. Robertson as Chairman of the Panel.
Dr. Robertson enumerated the evidence available and requested consideration of specific reports and letters
be taken by certain individuals present (Tab B). For example,
case histories involving radar or radar and visual sightings were selected for Dr. Alvarez
while reports of Green Fireball phenomena, nocturnal lights, and suggested programs
of investigation were routed to Dr. Page.
Following these remarks, the motion pictures of the sightings at Tremonton, Utah (2 July 1952)
and Great Falls, Montana (15 August 1950) were shown.
The meeting adjourned at 1200.
The second meeting of the Panel opened at 1400. Lt. R. S. Neasham, USN,
and Mr. Harry Woo of the USN Photo Interpretation Laboratory, Anacostia,
presented the results of their analyses of the films mentioned above.
This analysis evoked considerable discussion as elaborated upon below.
Besides Panel members and CIA personnel, Capt. E. J. Ruppelt, Dr. J. Allen Hynek,
Mr. Dewey J. Fournet, Capt. Harry B. Smith (2-a-2), and Dr. Stephan Possony were present.
Following the Photo Interpretation Lab presentation, Mr. E. J. Ruppelt spoke
for about 40 minutes on ATIC methods of handling and evaluating reports of sightings
and their efforts to improve the quality of reports. The meeting was adjourned at 1715.
The third and fourth meetings of the Panel were held Thursday, 15 January, commencing at 0900
with a two-hour break for luncheon.
Besides Panel members and CIA personnel, Mr. Ruppelt and Dr. Hynek were present for both sessions.
In the morning, Mr. Ruppelt continued his briefing on ATIC collection and analysis procedures.
The Project STORK support at Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, was described by Dr. Hynek.
A number of case histories were discussed in detail and a motion picture film of seagulls was shown.
A two hour break for lunch was taken at 1200.
At 1400 hours Lt. Col. Oder gave a 40-minute briefing of Project TWINKLE, the investigatory project
conducted by the Air Force Meteorological Research Center
at Cambridge, Mass. In this briefing he pointed out the many problems of setting up and manning
24-hour instrumentation watches of patrol cameras
searching for sighting of U.F.O.'s.
At 1615 Brig. Gen William M. Garland joined the meeting with AD/SI. General Garland expressed his support
of the Panel's efforts and stated three personal opinions:
a. That greater use of Air Force intelligence officers in the field (for follow-up investigation)
appeared desirable, but that they required thorough briefing.
b. That vigorous effort should be made to declassify as many of the reports as possible.
c. That some increase in the ATIC section devoted to U.F.O. analysis was indicated.
This meeting was adjourned at 1700.
The fifth session of the Panel convened at 0900 with the same personnel present as enumerated
for Thursday (with the exception of Brig. Gen. Garland).
From 0900-1000 there was general discussion and study of reference material.
Also, Dr. Hynek read a prepared paper making certain observations and conclusions.
At 1000 Mr. Fournet gave a briefing on his fifteen months experience in Washington
as Project Officer for UFOs and his personal conclusions.
There was considerable discussion of individual case histories of sightings to which he referred.
Following Mr. Fournet's presentation, a number of additional case histories
were examined and discussed with Messrs. Fournet, Ruppelt, and Hynek.
The meeting adjourned at 1200 for luncheon.
This session opened at 1400. Besides Panel members and CIA personnel, Dr. Hynek was present.
Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, as Panel Member, was present
at this meeting for the first time. Progress of the meetings was reviewed by the Panel Chairman
and tentative conclusions reached. A general discussion followed and tentative recommendations considered.
It was agreed that the Chairman should draft a report
of the Panel to AD/SI that evening for review by the Panel the next morning.
The meeting adjourned at 1715.
At 0945 the Chairman opened the seventh session and submitted a rough draft of the Panel Report
to the members.
This draft had been reviewed and approved earlier by Dr. Berkner. The next two and one-half hours
were consumed in discussion and revision of the draft.
At 1100 the AD/SI joined the meeting and reported that he had shown and discussed
a copy of the initial rough draft to the Director of Intelligence, USAF,
whose reaction was favorable.
At 1200 the meeting was adjourned.
At 1400 the eighth and final meeting of the Panel was opened. Discussion and rewording
of certain sentences of the Report occupied the first hours.
(A copy of the final report is appended as Tab C.) This was followed by a review of work
accomplished by the Panel and restatement of individual Panel Member's
opinions and suggestions on details that were felt inappropriate for inclusion in the formal report.
It was agreed that the writer would incorporate these comments
in an internal report to the AD/SI. The material below represents this information.
PART II: CONCERNS AND SUGGESTIONS OF PANEL
The Panel Members were impressed (as have been others, including OS/I personnel)
in the lack of sound data in the great majority of case histories;
also, in the lack of speedy follow-up due primarily to the modest size and limited facilities
of the ATIC section concerned.
Among the case histories of significant sightings discussed in detail were the following:
Bellefontaine, Ohio (1 August 1952);
Tremonton, Utah (2 July 1952);
Great Falls, Montana (15 August 1950);
Yaak, Montana (1 September 1952);
Washington, D.C. area (19 July 1952);
and Haneda A.F.B., Japan (5 August 1952);
Port Huron, Michigan (29 July 1952);
and Presque Isle, Maine (10 October 1952).
After review and discussion of these cases (and about 15 others, in less detail),
the Panel concluded that reasonable explanations could be suggested
for most sightings and "by deduction and scientific method it could be induced
(given additional data) that other cases might be explained in a similar manner."
The Panel pointed out that because of the brevity of some sightings (e.g. 2-3 seconds)
and the inability of the witnesses to express themselves clearly
(sometimes) that conclusive explanations could not be expected for every case reported.
Furthermore, it was considered that, normally,
it would be a great waste of effort to try to solve most of the sightings,
unless such action would benefit a training and educational program (see below).
The writings of Charles Fort were referenced to show that "strange things in the sky"
had been recorded for hundreds of years. It appeared obvious that there was
no single explanation for a majority of the things seen.
The presence of radar and astronomical specialists on the Panel proved of value at once
in their confident recognition of phenomena related to their fields.
It was apparent that specialists in such additional fields as psychology, meteorology,
aerodynamics, ornithology and military air operations would extend the ability
of the Panel to recognize many more categories of little-known phenomena.
ON LACK OF DANGER
The Panel concluded unanimously that there was no evidence of a direct threat to
national security in the objects sighted. Instances of "Foo Fighters" were cited.
These were unexplained phenomena sighted by aircraft pilots during World War II in both
European and Far East theaters of operation wherein "balls of light"
would fly near or with the aircraft and maneuver rapidly. They were believed to be electrostatic
(similar to St. Elmo's fire) or electro-magnetic phenomena
or possibly light reflections from ice crystals in the air, but their exact cause or nature
was never defined. Both Robertson and Alvarez had been concerned
in the investigation of these phenomena, but David T. Griggs
(Professor of Geophysics at the University of California at Los Angeles)
is believed to have been the most knowledgeable person on this subject.
If the term "flying saucers" had been popular in 1943-1945, these objects would
have been so labeled. It was interesting that in at least two cases reviewed
that the object sighted was categorized by Robertson and Alvarez as probably
"Foo Fighters", to date unexplained but not dangerous; they were not happy
thus to dismiss the sightings by calling them names. It was their feeling
that these phenomena are not beyond the domain of present knowledge
of physical sciences, however.
AIR FORCE REPORTING SYSTEM
It was the Panel's opinion that some of the Air Force concern over UFOs (notwithstanding
Air Defense Command anxiety over fast radar tracks) was probably caused by public pressure.
The result today is that the Air Force has instituted a fine channel for receiving reports of nearly anything
anyone sees in the sky and fails to understand. This has been particularly encouraged
in popular articles on this and other subjects, such as space travel and science fiction.
The result is the mass receipt of low-grade reports which tend to overload channels of communication
with material quite irrelevant to hostile objects that might some day appear.
The Panel agreed generally that this mass of poor-quality reports containing little,
if any, scientific data was of value. Quite the opposite, it was possibly dangerous
in having a military service foster public concern in "nocturnal meandering lights." The implication being,
since the interested agency was military, that these objects were or might be potential direct threats
to national security. Accordingly, the need for deemphasization made itself apparent.
Comments on a possible educational program are enumerated below.
It was the opinion of Dr. Robertson that the "saucer" problem had been found to be
different in nature from the detection and investigation of
German V-1 and V-2 guided missiles prior to their operational use in World War II.
In this 1943-1944 intelligence operation (CROSSBOW), there was excellent intelligence and by June 1944
there was material evidence of the existence of "hardware" obtained from crashed vehicles in Sweden.
This evidence gave the investigating team a basis upon which to operate.
The absence of any "hardware" resulting from unexplained UFO sightings
lends a "will-of-the wisp) nature to the ATIC problem. The results of their investigation,
to date, strongly indicate that no evidence of hostile act or danger exists.
Furthermore, the current reporting system would have little value in the case of detection
of enemy attack by conventional aircraft or guided missiles;
under such conditions "hardware" would be available almost at once.
ARTIFACTS OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL ORIGIN
It was interesting to note that none of the members of the Panel were loath to accept that
this earth might be visited by extraterrestrial intelligent beings of some sort, some day.
What they did not find was any evidence that related the objects sighted to space travelers.
Mr. Fournet, in his presentation, showed how he had eliminated each of the known and probable
causes of sightings leaving him "extra-terrestrial" as the only one remaining in many cases.
Fournet's background as an aeronautical engineer and technical intelligence
officer (Project Officer, BLUEBOOK for 15 months) could not be slighted.
However, the Panel could not accept any of the cases cited by him because they were raw,
unevaluated reports. Terrestrial explanations of the sightings were suggested in some cases and in others
the time of sighting was so short as to cause suspicion of visual impressions.
It was noted by Dr. Goudsmit and others that extraterrestrial artifacts,
if they did exist, are no cause for alarm; rather, they are in the realm of natural phenomena
subject to scientific study, just as cosmic rays were at the time of their discovery 20 to 30 years ago.
This was an attitude in which Dr. Robertson did not concur, as he felt that such artifacts would be of immediate
and great concern not only to the U.S. but to all countries. (Nothing like a common threat to unite peoples!)
Dr. Page noted that present astronomical knowledge of the solar system makes the existence
of intelligent beings (as we know the term) elsewhere than on the earth extremely unlikely,
and the concentration of their attention by any controllable means confined to any one continent
of the earth quite preposterous.
TREMONTON, UTAH, SIGHTING
This case was considered significant because of the excellent documentary evidence in the form of
Kodachrome motion picture films (about 1600 frames).
frame from the color Tremonton UFO film - the so-called "U
Film," shot by a vacationing Navy photographer on July 2, 1952.
It showed virtually featureless points of light milling around in
groups against a nearly featureless blue sky background. It was
considered a genuine anomaly by Photo Intelligence Laboratory head
Arthur Lundahl (who knew Delbert Newhouse, the photographer), but
this was disputed by the Air Force's own Photo Reconnaissance Laboratory
at Wright-Patterson AFB. Some analysts consider the objects to be
Great Salt Lake seagulls
The Panel studied these films, the case history, ATIC's interpretation, and received a briefing by
representatives of the USN Photo Interpretation Laboratory on their analysis of the film.
This team had expended (at Air Force request) approximately 1000 man hours of professional and sub-professional
time in the preparation of graph plots of individual frames of the film, showing apparent and relative motion
of objects and variation in their light intensity. It was the opinion of the P.I.L. representatives that the objects sighted
were not birds, balloons or aircraft, were "not reflections because there was no blinking while passing through 60 degrees of arc"
and were, therefore, "self-luminous." Plots of motion and variation in light intensity of the objects were displayed.
While the Panel Members were impressed by the evident enthusiasm, industry and extent of effort of the P.I.L. team,
they could not accept the conclusions reached. Some of the reasons for this were as follows:
a. A semi-spherical object can readily produce a reflection of sunlight without "blinking" through
60 degrees of arc travel.
b. Although no data was available on the "albedo" of birds or polyethylene balloons in bright sunlight,
the apparent motions, sizes and brightnesses of the objects were considered strongly to suggest birds,
particularly after the Panel viewed a short film showing high reflectivity of seagulls in bright sunlight.
c. P.I.L. description of the objects sighted as "circular, bluish-white" in color would be expected in cases
of specular reflections of sunlight from convex surfaces where the brilliance of the reflection
would obscure other portions of the object.
d. Objects in the Great Falls case were believed to have probably been aircraft, and the bright lights such reflections.
Great Falls, Montana UFO film ("M Film"), taken on August
15, 1950, showed two small luminous dots speeding horizontally over
and behind nearby buildings. Critics considered them to be sunlight
glinting from F-94 fighters from a nearby Air Force base and calculations
showed speeds consistent with aircraft, but proponents argued that
the constancy of illumination over a wide range of angles ruled out
this possibility. Lundahl also considered these objects unexplained
There was no valid reason for the attempt to relate the objects in the
Tremonton sighting to those in the Great Falls sighting. This may have
been due to misunderstanding in their directive. The objects in the Great
Falls sighting are strongly suspected of being reflections of aircraft
known to have been in the area.
The intensity change in the Tremonton lights was too great for acceptance
of the P.I.L. hypothesis that the apparent motion and changing intensity
of the lights indicated extremely high speed in small orbital paths.
g. Apparent lack of guidance of investigators by those familiar with UFO reports and explanations.
h. Analysis of light intensity of objects made from duplicate rather than original film. The original film was noted
to have a much lighter background (affecting relative brightness of object) and the objects appeared much less bright.
i. Method of obtaining data of light intensity appeared faulty because of unsuitability of equipment
and questionable assumptions in making averages of readings.
j. No data had been obtained on the sensitivity of Kodachrome film to light of various intensities
using the same camera type at the same lens openings.
k. Hand "jitter" frequencies (obtainable from early part of Tremonton film) were not removed from the plots
of the "single pass plots" at the end of the film.
The Panel believed strongly that the data available on this sighting was sufficient for positive identification
if further data is obtained by photographing polyethylene "pillow" balloons released near the site under
similar weather conditions, checking bird flight and reflection characteristics with competent ornithologists
and calculating apparent "G" forces acting upon objects from their apparent tracks.
It was concluded that the results of such tests would probably lead to creditable explanations of value
in an educational or training program. However, the Panel noted that the cost in technical manpower effort
required to follow up and explain every one of the thousand or more reports received through channels each year
(1,900 in 1952) could not be justified. It was felt that there will always be sightings, for which complete data is lacking,
that can only be explained with disproportionate effort and with a long time delay, if at all.
The long delay in explaining a sighting tends to eliminate any intelligence value.
The educational or training program should have as a major purpose the elimination of popular feeling
that every sighting, no matter how poor the data, must be explained in detail. Attention should be directed to
the requirement among scientists that a new phenomena, to be accepted, must be completely and convincingly documented.
In other words, the burden of proof is on the sighter, not the explainer.
POTENTIAL RELATED DANGERS
The Panel Members were in agreement with O/SI opinion that, although evidence of any direct threat
from these sightings was wholly lacking, related dangers might well exist resulting from:
a. Misidentification of actual enemy artifacts by defense personnel.
b. Overloading of emergency reporting channels with "false" information ("noise to signal ratio" analogy -- Berkner).
c. Subjectivity of public to mass hysteria and greater vulnerability to possible enemy psychological warfare.
Although not the concern of CIA, the first two of these problems may seriously affect the
Air Defense intelligence system, and should be studied by experts, possibly under ADC. If UFOs become discredited
in a reaction to the "flying saucer" scare, or if reporting channels are saturated with false and poorly documented reports,
our capability of detecting hostile activity will be reduced. Dr. Page noted that more competent screening or filtering
of reported sightings at or near the source is required, and that this can best be accomplished by an educational program.
GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS OF UNIDENTIFIED SIGHTINGS
The map prepared by ATIC showing geographic locations of officially reported unexplained sightings (1952 only)
was examined by the Panel. This map showed clusters in certain strategic areas such as Los Alamos.
This might be explained on the basis of 24-hour watchful guard and awareness of security measures near such locations.
On the other hand, there had been no sightings in the vicinity of sensitive related AE establishments while there were
occasionally multiple cases of unexplained sightings in non-strategic areas. Furthermore, there appeared to be
no logical relationship to population centers. The Panel could find no ready explanation for these clusters.
It was noted, however, that if terrestrial artifacts were to be observed
it would be likely that they would be seen first near foreign areas rather than central U. S.
INSTRUMENTATION TO OBTAIN DATA
The Panel was of the opinion that the present ATIC program to place 100 inexpensive 35 mm. stereo cameras in the hands of
various airport control tower operators would probably produce little valuable data related to U.F.O.'s.
However, it was recognized that such action would tend to allay public concern in the subject until an educational program
had taken effect. It was believed that procurement of these cameras was partly the result of public pressure in July 1952.
With the poor results of the year-long Project TWINKLE program of 24-hours instrumentation watch
(two frames of film showing nothing distinguishable), a widespread program of sky-watching would not be expected
to yield much direct data of value.
There was considerable discussion of a possible "sky patrol" by amateur astronomers (Hynek) and by wide-angle cameras (Page).
Dr. Page and Dr. Robertson pointed out that at present a considerable fraction of the sky is now -- and has been for many years --
under surveillance every clear night in several meteor and aurora observing programs as well as sky mapping programs at the
various locations listed below. Although the attention of these astronomers is largely directed toward
identified rather than unidentified objects, no case of any striking unidentified object is known to Dr. Page or Dr. Hynek.
Such an object would most certainly be reported if found on patrol plates.
A case was cited where an astronomer refused to interrupt his exposure in order to photograph an alleged sighting
in a different part of the sky. This led Dr. Hynek to say that, if a program of watching could be an adjunct
of planned astronomical programs, little cost would be involved and that the trained astronomical personnel
might photograph a sighting of an unidentified object.
The location of some of these programs and their directors are believed to be:
a. Harvard University, Cambridge and New Mexico (meteor patrol) -- Whipple.
b. Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago and Fort Davis, Texas (several programs) -- Meinel (auroras),
Kuiper (asteroids), Morgan (wide angle camera).
c. University of Alaska, Fairbanks (aurorae) -- Elvey
d. Dominion Observatory, Ottawa (meteors) -- Millman
e. Palomar Observatory, California (sky map) -- Minkowski
f. Lick Observatory, California (sky map) -- Shane
It was agreed by the Panel that no government-sponsored program of optical nation-wide sky patrol
is worthwhile at the present time, and that the encouragement of amateur astronomers to undertake such a program
might have the adverse effect of over-emphasizing "flying saucer" stories in the public mind. However, the issue
of radar scope cameras for recording peculiar radar echoes would serve several purposes,
including the better understanding of radar interference as well as identification of U.F.O.'s.
RADAR PROBLEM OF MUTUAL INTERFERENCE
This characteristic problem of radar operation wherein the pulse signal (of approximately the same frequency) from station A
may be picked up on the screen of station B and show as a high-speed track or series of dots was recognized
to have probably caused a number of UFO reports. This problem was underlined by information received indicating
ADC concern in solving this problem of signal identification before service use of very high-speed aircraft or guided missiles
(1955-1956). Dr. Berkner believed that one answer to this problem was the use of a "doppler filter" in the receiving circuit.
Dr. Alvarez suggested that the problem might be better solved by the use of a "controlled jitter" wherein the operator
receiving "very fast tracks" (on the order of 1000-10,000 m.p.h.) would operate a circuit which would alter slightly his station's
pulse frequency rate. If the signal received on the screen had been caused by mutual interference with another station,
the track would now show itself at a different distance from the center of the screen, if it still appeared at all.
Dr. Alvarez felt such a technical solution was simpler and would cost much less than a "doppler filter."
UNEXPLAINED COSMIC RAY PHENOMENA
Two reported cases were examined: one at Palomar Mountain, California, in October 1949, when cosmic ray counters
went "off scale for a few seconds," apparently while a "V" of flying saucers was observed visually;
and two, a series of observations by the "Los Alamos Bird Watchers Association" from August 1950 to January 1951,
when cosmic ray coincidence counters behaved queerly. Circuit diagrams and records were available for the latter,
and Dr. Alvarez was able quickly to point out that the recorded data were undoubtedly due to instrumental effects
that would have been recognized as such by more experienced observers.
The implication that radioactive effects were correlated with unidentified flying objects in these two cases was,
therefore, rejected by the Panel.
The Panel's concept of a broad educational program integrating efforts of all concerned agencies was
that it should have two major aims: training and "debunking."
The training aim would result in proper recognition of unusually illuminated objects (e.g., balloons, aircraft reflections)
as well as natural phenomena (meteors, fireballs, mirages, noctilucent clouds). Both visual and radar recognition
are concerned. There would be many levels in such education from enlisted personnel to command and research personnel.
Relative emphasis and degree of explanation of different programs would correspond to the categories of duty
(e.g., radar operators; pilots; control tower operators; Ground Observer Corps personnel;
and officers and enlisted men in other categories). This training should result in a marked reduction in reports
caused by misidentification and resultant confusion.
The "debunking" aim would result in reduction in public interest in "flying saucers" which today evokes
a strong psychological reaction. This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television,
motion pictures, and popular articles. Basis of such education would be actual case histories which had been
puzzling at first but later explained. As in the case of conjuring tricks, there is much less stimulation if the "secret"
is known. Such a program should tend to reduce the current gullibility of the public and consequently
their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda. The Panel noted that the general absence of Russian propaganda
based on a subject with so many obvious possibilities for exploitation might indicate a possible Russian official policy.
Members of the Panel had various suggestions related to the planning of such an educational program.
It was felt strongly that psychologists familiar with mass psychology should advise on the nature and extent of the program.
In this connection, Dr. Hadley Cantril (Princeton University) was suggested. Cantril authored "Invasion from
Mars," (a study in the psychology of panic, written about the famous Orson Welles radio broadcast in 1938)
and has since performed advanced laboratory studies in the field of perception. The names of Don Marquis
(University of Michigan) and Leo Rosten were mentioned as possibly suitable as consultant psychologists.
Also, someone familiar with mass communications techniques, perhaps an advertising expert, would be helpful.
Arthur Godfrey was mentioned as possibly a valuable channel of communication reaching a mass audience
of certain levels. Dr. Berkner suggested the U. S. Navy (ONR) Special Devices Center, Sands Point, L. I.,
as a potentially valuable organization to assist in such an educational program.
The teaching techniques used by this agency for aircraft identification during the past war was cited
as an example of a similar educational task. The Jam Handy Co. which made World War II training films
(motion picture and slide strips) was also suggested, as well as Walt Disney, Inc. animated cartoons.
Dr. Hynek suggested that the amateur astronomers in the U.S. might be a potential source of enthusiastic talent
"to spread the gospel." It was believed that business clubs, high schools, colleges, and television stations
would all be pleased to cooperate in the showing of documentary type motion pictures if prepared
in an interesting manner. The use of true cases showing first the "mystery" and then the "explanation" would be forceful.
To plan and execute such a program, the Panel believed was no mean task. The current investigatory group
at ATIC would, of necessity, have to be closely integrated for support with respect to not only the historical cases
but the current ones. Recent cases are probably much more susceptible to explanation than older ones;
first, because of ATIC's experience and, secondly, their knowledge of most plausible explanations.
The Panel believed that some expansion of the ATIC effort would certainly be required to support such a program.
It was believed inappropriate to state exactly how large a Table of Organization would be required.
Captain Ruppelt of ATIC unofficially proposed, for purposes of analyzing and evaluating reports:
a. An analysts' panel of four officers
b. Four officer investigators
c. A briefing officer
d. An ADC liaison officer
e. A weather and balloon data officer
f. An astronomical consultant
g. A group Leader, with administrative assistant, file clerks and stenographers.
This proposal met with generally favorable comment. The Panel believed that, with ATIC's support,
the educational program of "training and debunking" outlined above might be required for a minimum of
one and one-half to two years. At the end of this time, the dangers related to "flying saucers"
should have been greatly reduced if not eliminated. Cooperation from other military services and agencies concerned
(e.g., Federal Civil Defense Administration) would be a necessity. In investigating significant cases
(such as the Trementon, Utah, sighting) controlled experiments might be required. An example would be
the photographing of "pillow balloons" at different distances under similar weather conditions at the site.
The help of one or two psychologists and writers and a subcontractor to produce training films
would be necessary in addition. The Panel considered that ATIC's efforts, temporarily expanded as necessary,
could be most useful in implementing any action taken as a result of its recommendations.
Experience and records in ATIC would be of value in both the public educational and service training program envisaged.
Dr. Robertson at least was of the opinion that after public gullibility lessened and the service organizations, such as ADC,
had been trained to sift out the more readily explained spurious sightings, there would still be a role for a very modest-sized
ATIC section to cope with the residuum of items of possible scientific intelligence value. This section should concentrate on
energetically following up (perhaps on the advice of qualified Air Force Scientific Advisory Board members)
those cases which seemed to indicate the evidence of unconventional enemy artifacts.
Reports of such artifacts would be expected to arise mainly from Western outposts in far closer proximity
to the Iron Curtain than Lubbock, Texas!
UNOFFICIAL INVESTIGATING GROUPS
The Panel took cognizance of the existence of such groups as the "Civilian Flying Saucer Investigators" (Los Angeles)
and the "Aerial Phenomena Research Organization" (Wisconsin).
It was believed that such organizations should be watched because of their potentially great influence
on mass thinking if widespread sightings should occur. The apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups
for subversive purposes should be kept in mind.
INCREASE IN NUMBER OF SIGHTINGS
The consensus of the Panel was, based upon the history of the subject, that the number of sightings
could be reasonably expected to increase again this summer.
REPORT OF THE SCIENTIFIC PANEL ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
1. Pursuant to the request of the Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence, the undersigned Panel of Scientific Consultants
has met to evaluate any possible threat to national security posed by Unidentified Flying Objects ("Flying Saucers"),
and to make recommendations thereon. The Panel has received the evidence as presented by cognizant intelligence agencies,
primarily the Air Technical Intelligence Center, and has reviewed a selection of the best documented incidents.
2. As a result of its considerations, the Panel concludes:
a. That the evidence presented on Unidentified Flying Objects shows no indication that these phenomena constitute
a direct physical threat to national security.
We firmly believe that there is no residuum of cases which indicates phenomena which are attributable to foreign artifacts
capable of hostile acts, and that there is no evidence that the phenomena indicates a need for the revision
of current scientific concepts.
3. The Panel further concludes:
a. That the continued emphasis on the reporting of these phenomena does, in these perilous times, result
in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic.
We cite as examples the clogging of channels of communication by irrelevant reports, the danger of being led
by continued false alarms to ignore real indications of hostile action, and the cultivation of a morbid national psychology
in which skillful hostile propaganda could induce hysterical behavior and harmful distrust of duly constituted authority.
4. In order most effectively to strengthen the national facilities for the timely recognition and the appropriate handling
of true indications of hostile action, and to minimize the concomitant dangers alluded to above, the Panel recommends:
a. That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status
they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired;
b. That the national security agencies institute policies on intelligence, training, and public education designed to
prepare the material defenses and the morale of the country to recognize most promptly and to react most effectively
to true indications of hostile intent or action.
We suggest that these aims may be achieved by an integrated program designed to reassure the public
of the total lack of evidence of inimical forces behind the phenomenon, to train personnel to recognize and reject
false indications quickly and effectively, and to strengthen regular channels for the evaluation of and prompt reaction
to true indications of hostile measures.
/s/ Lloyd V. Berkner
Associated Universities, Inc.
/s/ H.P. Robertson, Chairman
California Institute of Technology
/s/ S. A. Goudsmit
Brookhaven National Laboratories
/s/ Luis W. Alvarez
University of California
/s/ Thornton Page
Johns Hopkins University
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
14 - 17 January 1953
1. Seventy-five case histories of sightings 1951-1952 (selected by ATIC as those best documented).
2. ATIC Status and Progress Reports of Project GRUDGE and Project BLUE BOOK (code names for ATIC study of subject).
3. Progress Reports of Project STORK (code name for Battelle Memorial Institute contract work supporting ATIC).
4. Summary Report of Sightings at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.
5. Report of USAF Research Center, Cambridge, Mass., Investigation of "Green Fireball" Phenomena (Project TWINKLE).
6. Outline of Investigation of UFOs Proposed by Kirtland Air Force Base (Project POUNCE).
7. Motion Picture Films of sightings at Tremonton, Utah, 2 July 1952 and Great Falls, Montana, August 1950.
8. Summary Report of 89 selected cases of sightings of various categories (Formations, Blinking Lights, Hovering, etc.).
9. Draft of manual: "How to Make a FLYOBRPT," prepared at ATIC.
10. Chart Showing Plot of Geographic Location of Unexplained Sightings in the United States during 1952.
11. Chart Showing Balloon Launching Sites in the United States.
12. Charts Showing Selected Actual Balloon Flight Paths and Relation to Reported Sightings.
13. Charts Showing Frequency of Reports of Sightings, 1948-1952.
14. Charts Showing Categories of Explanations of Sightings.
15. Kodachrome Transparencies of Polyethylene Film Balloons in Bright Sunlight Showing High Reflectivity.
16. Motion picture of seagulls in bright sunlight showing high reflectivity.
17. Intelligence Reports Relating to U.S.S.R. Interest in U.S. Sightings.
18. Samples of Official USAF Reporting Forms and Copies of Pertinent Air Force, Army and Navy Orders Relating to Subject.
19. Sample Polyethylene "Pillow" Balloon (54 inches square).
20. "Variations in Radar Coverage," JANP 101 (Manual illustrating unusual operating characteristics of Service radar).
21. Miscellaneous official letters and foreign intelligence reports dealing with subject.
22. Copies of popular published works dealing with subject (articles in periodicals, newspaper clippings and books).
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL ON UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
14 - 17 January 1953
H. P. Robertson
Institute of Technology
Physics, weapons systems (Chairman)
Luis W. Alvarez
Lloyd V. Berkner
Atomic structure, statistical problems
Office of Research Operations, Johns Hopkins University
J. Allen Hynek
Frederick C. Durant
D. Little, Inc.
Gen. William N. Garland
and technical intelligence
H. Marshall Chadwell
Assistant Director, O/SI, CIA
and technical intelligence
Ralph L. Clark
Assistant Director, O/SI, CIA
and technical intelligence
FIELD OF COMPETENCY
Philip G. Strong
Operations Staff, O/SI, CIA
and technical Intelligence
Stephan T. Possony
Chief, Special Studies Group, D/I USAF
and technical Intelligence
Edward J. Ruppelt, USAF
Aerial Phenomena Branch, ATIC, USAF
and technical Intelligence
Dewey J. Fournet, Jr.
R. S. Neasham, USN
USN Photo Interpretation Laboratory, Anacostia
USN Photo Interpretation Laboratory, Anacostia