Wednesday, May 1, 1968
WASHINGTON, April 30 - Field investigations of "flying saucer reports by University of Colorado scientists were completed on schedule today, Dr. Edward U. Condon, head of the project, said today.
A final report of the scientists' findings will be given to the National Academy of Sciences late in September.
Dr. Condon, a physicist and a former head of the National Bureau of' Standards, said he would not discuss any conclusions the researchers might have reached, but there has been a general impression that the U.F.O. riddle remains unsolved.
Dr. Condon's statement came amid a controversy between himself and Look magazine over an article it printed calling the project the "flying saucer fiasco." The completion of the field investigations and the controversy were not related. the physicist said.
The university undertook a $500,000 study of Unidentified Flying Objects (U.F.O.'s) late in 1966 at the request of the Air Force, whose critics accused it of failing to make a comprehensive, scientific investigation of saucer reports from the public over two decades.
On the House floor today, representative J. Edward Roush, Democrat of Indiana, using phrases from the Look article, said Congress should take over the investigation from the Air Force. He contended that grave doubts had arisen "as to the scientific profundity and objectivity of the Colorado project."
In a related development, a nongovernmental organization, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, held a news conference here to announce that it has "broken with" the Colorado project and claiming to "reveal the firing of top project scientists and other incidents leading to the project's failure."
Many of the group's members take seriously the possibility that flying saucers are of extraterrestrial origin.
The Look article, written by John G. Fuller, concerns primarily the oustings of David R. Saunders, a psychologist, and Dr. Norman E. Levine, an electrical engineer, from the project last February.
Dr. Condon said in a telephone interview today that he had sent a telegram on Sunday to Gardner Cowles, editorial chairman of Look, saying the article contained "falsehoods and misrepresentations." The telegram requests a meeting with Mr. Cowles "in the interest of responsibility and truth n publishing."
Dr. Condon said Mr. Cowles had designated a Look editor to talk to him. Dr. Condon said he did not consider the response adequate and said he still hoped to talk to Mr. Cowles.
The physicist also said the NICAP announcement of a "break" with the Colorado project "comes at a peculiar time in that this is the very day on which we discontinued further field investigations leading toward the conclusion of our study."
NICAP headquarters here has been expressing strong skepticism about the project for months in its newsletter to members. But it is understood that a number of its members around the country had continued to cooperate with the Colorado scientists.
At the time that the two project scientists were dismissed in February, they refused to discuss the matter with reporters. Dr. Condon also refused, except to say that the dismissals were "for cause."
The Look article, in the May 14 issue, indicates that the two ousted men and others on the staff had taken a negative attitude toward the possibility that flying saucers existed and were attempting to end up with a report containing such a "negative" conclusion.