NICAP and the UFO Challenge
The organization known as NICAP, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., was incorporated August 29, 1956, with T. Townsend Brown in charge. The first meeting of its Board of Governors was held on January 14 and 15, 1957. I was privileged to attend this meeting and to participate as a Board member. At this meeting we elected Rear Admiral Delmer S. Fahrney, USN (Ret.), Chairman of the Board of Governors. Admiral Fahrney is known as the "Father of Guided Missiles" and he has been awarded the highest commendation by the United States Government for his work in this field. At a press conference held on January 16, 1957, he issued a statement which received nationwide publicity. This statement in part read as follows:
"Reliable reports indicate that there are objects coming into our atmosphere at very high speeds.... No agency in this country or Russia is able to duplicate at this time the speeds and accelerations which radars and observers indicate these flying objects are able to achieve.... There are signs that an intelligence directs these objects because of the way they fly. "
At the first meeting of the Board of Governors, Major Donald E. Keyhoe, U. S. M. S. (Ret.) was elected Active Director, a position he still holds, and in which he is rendering meritorious service in the advancement of information in this field. The "flying objects" referred to by Admiral Fahrney are popularly referred to as "flying saucers" but among serious investigators of the subject are called UFOs, or unidentified flying objects.
Major Keyhoe is the author of three standard popularly written books on "flying saucers.” *He has a background of 30 years'
* Since this broadcast Major Keyhoe has written a fourth book Flying Saucers: Top Secret, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1960).
experience in observing aeronautical developments, is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, flew in active service with the Marine Corps, managed the tour of the historic plane in which Bennett and Byrd made their North Pole flight, was aide to Charles Lindbergh after the famous Paris flight, and was for some years Chief of Information for the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce.
Major Keyhoe has listed the goals of NICAP as follows:
Major Keyhoe conceives of the first chief goal of NICAP as "acceptance by the American people that the UFO problem is real.”
Some members of the NICAP Board of Governors, who by public addresses, scientific research, and financial contribution and by other means have aided the problem of this nonprofit, truth seeking organization, include the following:
Dr. Marcus Bach, educator, author, and professor of religion at the State University of Iowa.
The Reverend Albert Bailer, author, of Greenfield, Massachusetts, Robbins Memorial Church.
Dr. Earl Douglass, author and Presbyterian clergyman, of Princeton, New Jersey.
Frank Edwards, radio and TV commentator, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Colonel Robert B. Emerson, USAR, research chemist and nuclear physicist, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Major Dewey Fournet, Jr., USAFR, former liaison intelligence officer in the Air Force, Director of the Air Force UFO Project Blue Book, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
J. B. Hartranft, Jr., president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, having a nationwide membership of 65,000, former Lieutenant-Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, of Washington, D. C.
Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN (Ret.) formerly Director of the highly secret U. S. Central Intelligence Agency, May 1, 1947 to November 1950, of New York, New York.
Rear Admiral Herbert B. Knowles, USN (Ret.) submarine expert and World War II veteran, of Eliot, Maine.
The Reverend Leon LeVan, New Jerusalem Christian Church, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. *
Along with this Board of Governors, NICAP has a Panel of Special Advisors of the same intellectual and moral fibre as possessed by the members of the Board of Governors. These include men of high standing, captains of airliners and others who have been witnesses to some of the most spectacular sightings on record. ** In this group are also a former U. S. Air Force Public Information Officer on UFOs, the former chief of the Canadian Governments UFO project, and several astronomers.
In the week of January 12 to 19, 1953, a panel of six top-ranking American scientists met in Washington, D. C., at the request of the Air Force to review the then accumulated evidence material on flying saucers. Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, in charge of the Air Force investigation, discussed in detail with this group of scientists all of the significant information gathered under his direction. This panel of scientists devoted the entire week to thought and study of the evidences and drew up a set of recommendations as follows:
In spite of the recommendations of this panel of illustrious scientists who gave one week of their valuable time to seriously consider the UFO problem the Air Force by subsequent policy rejected these recommendations and pursued an opposite course,
* The Reverend Mr. LeVan has since resigned from the Board for personal reasons.
** See Appendix F.
namely a drastic reduction of emphasis in the study of this phenomenon. To all appearance this has been the policy of the Air Force ever since.
Two or three weeks later, early in 1953, Captain Ruppelt received word from those in authority that Project Blue Book would follow the recommendations that the panel of eminent scientists had made. He then proceeded to the implementation of the approved recommendations. One of his first moves was to release for public information the so-called Tremonton Movie. This motion picture had been taken by a Navy Chief Photographer, Warrant Officer Delbert C. Newhouse, on July 2, 1952, of some UFOs which were observed to be maneuvering over the town of Tremonton, Utah, on that date. Although the photographs taken did not show all the details observed visually by Newhouse and his family, they did constitute a striking bit of evidence.
"When the Pentagon got a draft of the release they screamed, 'No!! No movie for the press and no press release!'" Then, says Captain Ruppelt, "we had a new publicity policy--don't say anything." And, in July 1955, he wrote: "This policy is still in effect."
Thus the recommendations of the scientists then, since then, and now, are being ignored.
The statement of the former Secretary of the Air Force Donald A. Quarles on October 25, 1955, on the question of the reality of unidentified flying objects was given widespread publicity with two-inch letter front-page headlines in most of the leading newspapers in the country. This statement was as follows: "On the basis of this study," said Quarles, referring to the 316-page report of the Air Force, "we believe that no objects such as those popularly described as flying saucers have over flown the United States." The former Air Force Secretary refers to a study completed by Captain Ruppelt in September 1953, two years and one month prior to the highly publicized statement.
Captain Ruppelt, long since retired from the Air Force at the time of the 1955 announcement, was somewhat taken back by this statement of the high government official. The so-called study, the basis of the public pronouncement, was largely a compilation of opinions analyzed by statistical methods. Captain Ruppelt's comment was as follows:
"After spending a considerable amount of money, statistical methods were no good for a study like this. They didn't prove a thing. The results were such that by interpreting them in
different ways you could prove anything you wanted to. This is not a good study. I was out of the Air Force by the time that the report [Project Blue Book Special Report 14] was published in its final printed form, but I saw the unpublished draft and had it written off as worthless...
"Another interesting point is that the report was finished in September 1953, and it wasn't released as the 'latest hot dope' until October, 1955."
A number of other competent specialists have carefully examined this study upon which Donald Quarles based his widely publicized pronouncement of October 25, 1955, and have come to the same conclusion as Captain Ruppelt, the Air Force Officer in charge of the study, who labeled it as worthless. Among these persons is Major Donald E. Keyhoe, Director of NICAP. Major Keyhoe's statement reads as follows:
"On the basis of these facts, and considering Ruppelt's estimate of Special Report 14, it seems probable that the release of this document (already considered worthless at ATIC in 1953) was a deliberate attempt to convince the Press and public that UFOs did not exist. At the same time, and since, the Air Force has been actively investigating and secretly muzzling pilots and other official witnesses, keeping reports classified by the ’official use only’ device--and sometimes by 'Confidential' and 'Secret' labels. The hasty release of this last brush-off, after November 3-10, 1957 excitement, seems to clinch this. It appears the aim is to keep the truth hidden as long as possible--or such facts as are known--until they are forced to reveal everything.
"When you add the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) 1947 letter stating the UFOs are real, and the 1948 Estimate of the Situation saying they are interplanetary--both cited by Ruppelt, and admitted to me by others on the Project, the answer seems inevitable: The Air Force has known this for nine years, but does not think the American people should be given the facts. I personally do not believe the military has a right to decide what is safe for Americans to know."
Notwithstanding official suppression of government-held information on UFOs, notwithstanding failure of Air Force policy to pursue an unbiased vigorous policy of scientific investigation of these phenomena, and notwithstanding official pronouncements of the Air Force as to the nonexistence of UFOs, a considerable amount of progress in the study of these mysterious phenomena has been made by individuals and private organizations dedicated to the search for truth in this sphere. Time on this broadcast
does not permit the detailed discussion of the various contributions to knowledge made by these agencies. It is to be hoped, however, that scientific organizations and various intellectual groups interested in the advancement of knowledge be sufficiently open-minded to be willing to entertain presentation of material in this field by its competent representatives.
Unfortunately the present practice followed by certain prominent purveyors of programs of popular interest to the general public has been to exploit indiscriminately the crackpots and charlatans in this field with their wild tales and illogical claims. The public is thus exposed to a grossly distorted picture of the real situation, and the cause of truth suffers thereby.
Brief mention can be made of certain findings of characteristics of these UFO bodies which have been found as a result of study. These are well documented and established by testimonies of literally countless reliable and reputable witnesses. Among these evidences are the following:
What is the real meaning back of this whole subject? It is indeed a most fantastic field for investigation and the knowledge gained year by year is not merely cumulative: It gains insignificance, serving mainly to emphasize the reality of these strange occurrences.
No worldwide setup by investigational agencies is yet available to check on the frequency of sightings and other significant data for the reason that established scientific groups have not yet responded to the challenge of research in this field. In a few places in the world, as in the United States and France, there are serious, private nonprofit investigating agencies who do compile and analyze data.
From the limited sources of information which are presently available it does appear that the frequency of sightings is on the increase.
The spring and summer of 1947 produced an unprecedented number of sightings in the United States. The month of July 1952 registered the largest number of United States sightings for a single month, a total of 108, according to the records of the Air Force, up to that time. Although no definite comparative figures have yet been published, it is believed that the number of sightings in the United States in November 1957 exceed all previous totals. * The fall of 1954 in France greatly exceeded all previous totals for a corresponding period in that country. There have been recent peaks in other countries, notably in South America. All things considered, it appears that sightings are on the increase.
But it must be pointed out that long lulls do exist between the peaks of sightings. Just when the next concentration will occur, or where it will occur, cannot be predicted upon the basis of previous records, for the reason that no basis for prediction has yet been discerned. But one can predict with some assurance that his judgment will be correct on the basis of the records of the past 11 years, that at some time and someplace in the not too distant future there will be another concentration of sightings of dramatic significance. All of this, of course, points up the reality of the phenomena. This is definitely the one most surely established aspect of the whole study.
Along with the establishment of the reality of the phenomena we have significant evidence of the superior non-terrestrial scientific knowledge reflected in the various types of performance of these objects. It is a scientific attainment that surely makes our present world knowledge seems meager by comparison. The only logical conclusion to be drawn from this is that intelligences far more advanced in scientific development than we are visiting this planet from afar.
What would such a realization mean to all of earthly beings? Would it mean that were we to establish contact with such intelligences and receive from them greatly advanced knowledge, the possession of such information would greatly change the complexion of life on this planet? Would this be something to dread, or would it mean benefit to the people of the earth?
* An Air Force "fact sheet" on UFOs (January 29, 1960) has since confirmed that 701 of the of the total of 1178 officially reported UFO sightings in 1957 occurred in the last three months of that year. Due to the great number of reports in this period, 1957 ranks second only to 1952 in total number of official reports for one year. There were 1501 official cases in 1952.
Probably an out-of-this-world source of scientific enlightenment and wisdom would aid in the promotion of better understanding between terrestrial groups now bitterly separated by their divergent ideas and ideals. Truly the philosophical implications of establishing intellectual contact with more intellectually advanced personalities are tremendous. Such an intellectual contact would well be the greatest adventure in the history of this planet.
But to leave the realm of speculation for one last word: Would it not be the part of wisdom to undertake right now to solve this mysterious problem by employing the best scientific resources available on this planet, to go about this challenging task with cooperative effort on the part of all agencies interested in the pursuit of truth?
This is the challenge to world intelligence, of the UFO mystery!
C. A. M. February 1959