Form: 97 BB Document
Dated: 4 March 2006
From: Francis Ridge
Subject: The Bolender Memo, Oct 20, 1969
Distribution: CE, SHG, NCP


My thanks to Gildas Bourdais for this copy of the 3-page document. I had misplaced or misfiled my copy. This reproduction is poor but readable and is a copy made from FUFOR's "U.S. Government Documents" package. The text version presented below was provided by Brad Sparks. Robert Todd obtained the release of the Bolender memo in Jan 1979.  The implications from this memo, issued just before the shutdown of Project Blue Book, is clear, and  is found on page 2: " reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system." Although this comment has been made before in BB memos going back to 1958-9, this is the document often cited.

The Bolender Memo states that "in 1966 the Air Force Office of Scientific Research contracted to have the University of Colorado conduct an independent scientific investigation of unidentified flying objects.  This study, directed by Dr. Edward U. Condon and made available as the "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects," serves as a basis for evaluating the Air Force investigative effort.  After an extensive study of this report as well as the review of the report by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, past studies, Project Blue Book operations and other inputs, the Office of Aerospace Research concluded, and we agree, that the continuation of Project Blue Book cannot be justified, either on the ground of national security or in the interest of science." The flawed study was fully exposed in a May 14, 1968, LOOK Magazine article, Flying Saucer Fiasco, by John G. Fuller.

http://nicap.org/bluebook/bolender1_3.htm
http://nicap.org/bluebook/bolender2_3.htm
http://nicap.org/bluebook/bolender3_3.htm

    OFFICE  ACTION SIGNATURE (Surname and Grade)
1  [illegible]                               6  AFCC   Coord  [illegible]
2  AFRDC  Appr  Bolender [?]    7  SAFRD  Coord  [illegible]
3  SAFOI   Coord  Hogan           8  SAFCS  Sig
4  SAFLL   Coord  Graves [?]     9
5  AFCCS  Appr    [illegible]      10
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SURNAME OF ACTION OFFICER AND GRADE   SYMBOL  PHONE  TYPIST'S INIT.SUSPENSE DATE

Major Espey                           AFRDDG  52181    vc
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SUBJECT                                                   DATE

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)                              20 OCT 1969
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SUMMARY
1.  For more than twenty years the Air Force has had the responsibility
within the Department of Defense for the investigation of unidentified
flying objects (UFOs) (Atch 2).  As stated in Project Blue Book, this
investigative program has two objectives:

   a.  To determine whether UFOs pose a threat to the security of the
United States: and

   b.  To determine whether UFOs exhibit any unique scientific information
or advanced technology which could contribute to scientific or technical
research (Atch 3).

Procedures for Project Blue Book reporting are defined in Air Force
Regulation 80-17.  This regulation requires the Commander of an Air Force
base to provide a UFO investigative capability and for Air Force Systems
Command to continue Project Blue Book (Atch 4).  In response to this
regulation most Commanders have appointed a UFO investigating officer,
usually as an additional duty.  Project Blue Book has two officers, one
NCO and one civilian assigned on a full-time basis.  In addition, Dr. A.
J. Hynek served as a scientific consultant until 1 July 1969.

2.  In 1966 the Air Force Office of Scientific Research contracted to have
the University of Colorado conduct an independent scientific investigation
of unidentified flying objects.  This study, directed by Dr. Edward U.
Condon and made available as the "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying
Objects," serves as a basis for evaluating the Air Force investigative
effort (Atch 5).  After an extensive study of this report as well as the
review of the report by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, past
studies, Project Blue Book operations and other inputs, the Office of
Aerospace Research concluded, and we agree, that the continuation of
Project Blue Book cannot be justified, either on the ground of national
security or in the interest of science (Atch 6).

3.  The general conclusion of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying
Objects is that "nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21
years that has added to scientific knowledge."  As to what the federal
government should do with the UFO reports it receives from the general
public, the authors add that they are "inclined to think that nothing
should be done with them in the expectation that they are going to
contribute to the advance of science."  A panel of the National Academy
of Sciences concurred in these views, and the Air Force has found no
reason to question this

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  Subject: 1969 BOLENDER MEMO PG. 2


conclusion.  For example, it has been the Air Force experience that although a
significant portion of the Air Force's environmental research program is
concerned with natural phenomena that could be associated with unidentified
flying objects (Atch 7), Project Blue Book reports have not added any
useful data to these research efforts (Atch 6).  Thus, we concur with the
University of Colorado recommendation "that only so much attention to the
subject should be given as the Department of Defense deems to be necessary
strictly from a defense point of view."

4.  As early as 1953, the Robertson Panel concluded "that the evidence
presented on Unidentified Flying Objects shows no indication that these
phenomena constitute a direct physical threat to national security" (Atch
9).  In spite of this finding, the Air Force continued to maintain a
special reporting system.  There is still, however, no evidence that
Project Blue Book reports have served any intelligence function (Atch 8).
Moreover, reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect
national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force
Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system (Atch 10).  The
Air Force experience therefore confirms the impression of the University
of Colorado researchers "that the defense function could be performed
withing the framework established for intelligence and surveillance
operations without the continuance of a special unit such as Project
Blue Book."

5.  The conclusion which follows is that Project Blue Book does not merit
future expenditures of resources.  Accordingly, we recommend that it be
terminated and that the actions which follow from this decision, such as
cancelling Air Force Regulation 80-17 and not renewing the consultant
contract, be initiated.  Termination of Project Blue Book would have no
adverse effect on Air Force operations or research programs.  It would
free manpower for useful purposes, eliminate the need for a scientific
consultant and relieve base commanders of a minor responsibility and an
administrative burden.

6.  Termination of Project Blue Book would leave no official federal
office to receive reports of UFOs.  However, as already stated, reports
of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled
through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose.
Presumably, local police departments respond to reports which fall within
their responsibilities.  Similarly, as to scientific research, the
Colorado researchers conclude that, although they do not see "any
fruitful lines of advance from the study of UFO reports, we believe that
any scientist with adequate training and credentials who does come up
with a clearly defined, specific proposal for study should be supported."
We see no reason why the normal channels and criteria for the funding of
scientific research should not be adequate for UFO-related research.

7.  Some feel that a central reporting center should be established, and a
proposal has been made to establish a Rare Atmospheric Phenomena Reporting
Center (Atch 11 and 12).  Because the problem affects a number of
agencies, this center might be under the auspices of the Federal Council
on Science and Technology.  However, in the light of the University of
Colorado recommendation

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  Subject: 1969 BOLENDER MEMO PG. 3


that the federal government should not set up a major new agency for the
scientific study of UFOs, we do not favor this suggestion and feel that
UFO reports should be left to normal scientific and defense channels.
If such a center is established, it should not perform an investigative
function and should be initiated only on a trial basis for a specified
lifetime.

8.  Project Blue Book has accumulated records on over 13,000 sighting
cases.  During his study, Dr. Condon expressed concern about the possible
loss of these records and their relative inaccessibility at Wright-
Patterson Air Force Base.  He was assured by Secretary Brown that we would
look into the feasibility and desirability of relocating the files in the
Washington area and that no action would be taken until the Colorado
report was released (Atch 13).  If Project Blue Book is terminated, the
records should be transferred to an appropriate archive and preserved for
historical value and to prevent charges that the Air Force is concealing
facts.

9.  To receive the candor and cooperation essential to the successful
investigation of UFOs, the Air Force adopted a practice of confidentiality;
witnesses were assured that their names would not be used without their
permission (Atch 14).  Therefore, access to these records and the
publications [illegible] access must be carefully reviewed and
controlled.  SAFOI feels that an Air Force controlled archive away from
the Washington, D.C. area is the most appropriate storage facility.
Considering the existence of local, privately sponsored UFO investigative
organizations, the ready availability of these records in the Washington
area would result in an inordinate workload in clearing investigators,
providing documentation, and reviewing and clearing manuscripts.
Therefore, the Air University was queried about the possibility of
storing these documents at the Air Force Archives (Atch 15).  Air Force
Air University will accept these records providing:

   a.  SAFOI will answer all requests about Blue Book, and not require AU
research to answer such queries.

   b.  SAFOI will rigidly limit the right of access to recognized,
legitimate researchers, and

   c.  SAFOI will screen researcher's notes to insure that
"confidentiality" is maintained (Atch 16).

10.  Project Blue Book should be terminated, and Blue Book records should
be transferred to the USAF Archives at Air University.  The attached
memorandum would initiate these actions.

RECOMMENDATION

11.  That the memorandum be signed.


3    /s/ C.H. Bolender
C. H. BOLENDER, Brig Gen, USAF      16 Atch
Deputy Director of Development            (Listed on Separate Page)
DCS/Research & Development