THE UFO EVIDENCE, published by the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, Copyright 1964
CONGRESS & THE UFOs
Soon after NICAP was formed in late 1956, one of the main goals established was to press for Congressional hearings as a step toward bringing scientific attention to UFOs. Hearings, it was felt, would clarify the problem and bring out information about the scope and seriousness of the phenomenon. Hoaxers would be exposed, and serious fact separated from misinformation. Then it would be possible for scientists and others to lend their skills to a thorough investigation, without fear of ridicule. An equally important result would be a more regular flow of reliable information to the public.
At first, there was only scattered interest in UFOs among Members of Congress. As NICAP began to publish solid information, sending occasional reports to Congress, interest picked up. NICAP members also began to write their Senators and Congressmen urging them to look into the subject. In June 1960, NICAP sent a confidential report to Members of Congress outlining the accumulated evidence. Congressional interest reached a peak in 1961, when the House Committee on Science & Astronautics began to look into the matter.
Serious discussion of UFO hearings continued until, late in the year, Chairman Overton Brooks died. About the same time, NICAP had nearly exhausted its financial resources (always slim), and was forced to send an emergency appeal to its members. The response was excellent, but it was too late to allow effective use to continue the drive for hearings.
A misunderstanding with the Chairman of the UFO Subcommittee about Congressional protocol, at the peak of interest, also was a setback. However, the misunderstanding was cleared up and the Subcommittee Chairman was willing to proceed with hearings, if approved by the new parent committee Chairman. The new Space Committee Chairman opposed UFO hearings.
Then, in answer to letters about UFOs, the House Science & Astronautics Committee began stating that the subject was not in their jurisdiction, referring inquiries to the House Armed Services Committee. The Chairman of that Committee also opposed UFO hearings.
Since early 1962, neither Committee has taken any action on UFOs. However, interest has been shown by individual Members of Congress, including an increasing number of Senators. The problem has been to find an appropriate Committee Chairman who is willing to undertake an investigation. At the present time, it appears that the Senate Committees on Space and Armed Services offer the best chance, although interest could also be revived in the House Committee.
Chronological List of Statements by Members of Congress
(From letters to NICAP members; copies on file at NICAP)
Senator Barry Goldwater (R. Ariz.) - August 31, 1957
"I am an Air Force Reserve Officer and have been one for the past 27 years and, consequently, I am, indeed, interested in unidentified flying objects. I, frankly, feel that there is a great deal to this and I have discussed it often with many Air Force Officers. . "
Congressman William H. Ayres (R. Ohio) - January 28, 1958 "Congressional investigations have been held and are still being held on the problem of unidentified flying objects and the problem is one in which there is quite a bit of interest. . Since most of the material presented to the Committees is classified, the hearings are never printed. When conclusions are reached they will be released if possible. .
Congressman Ralph J. Scott (D. N.C.) - March 13, 1958
"I quite agree with you that the general public should be allowed information thus far known about Flying Objects except, of course, in the case where they might become unduly alarmed or panicked by such a revelation. . .you can readily understand and appreciate the seriousness of such a reaction. If this information could be presented to the American public in such a way as to appeal to reason and not to emotion, I think it would be a good thing. .
Senator George Smathers (D. Fla.) - June 26, 1958
"The subject of flying saucers is one in which we all share a great interest. No legislation is pending in the Congress at the present time to require that information on the subject be made public, but you may be sure that your interest in the matter will have my attention should it come before the Senate.
Congressman Thomas Ludlow Ashley (D. Ohio) - July 14, 1958
"I have made a number of inquiries of the Air Force relative to its activities in connection with these unidentified flying objects, but have invariably received comment that evidence to date is too inconclusive to sustain any theory but that these objects are 'hoaxes, hallucinations, or normal meteorological manifestations.' I share your concern over the secrecy that continues to shroud our intelligence activities on this subject, and I am in complete agreement with you that our greatest national need at this time is the dissemination of accurate information upon which responsible public opinion can be formulated. . "
From "Senate Cloakroom" Newsletter of Senator J. Glenn Beau (R. Md.) - March 23, 1959
"Hello, Outer Space Who's There? --Definite, serious steps are being made by the Space agency leading to the sending of a rocket to Venus, one of our close little family of planets, 'clustered' about our sun (which is but one of millions of such suns, which we call 'stars'). We'll get to Venus. Nevertheless, there are those who dismiss the idea of 'flying saucers' from other planets as preposterous. Isn't it stupid and conceited -- for us human beings to think no one else in the universe is as intelligent as we are?
"A famous physicist, when asked if it were possible for the planet Earth
to be destroyed by nuclear power, answered: 'Yes, it theoretically could happen,
but it isn't as if the Earth were one of the major planets.'"
Senator Stuart Symington (D. Mo.) - April 17, 1959
"There is little doubt that the American public has sound reason for being confused about the existence and nature of these phenomena. While I am not in a position to comment on any particular report, I am certain it would be in the interest of public understanding if a current and objective evaluation of this situation were issued.
"There are undoubtedly some objects observed directly or on radar scopes
which are not subject to positive analysis. However, the public should be
given all information which would not adversely affect our national security."
Congressman Dante B. Fascell (D. Fla.) - May 12, 1959
"There are many areas where unrealistic policy keeps vital information
from the American people. . Certainly, accurate information concerning so-called
unidentified flying objects, within the proper bounds of National Security,
should be made available immediately to the American people.
Congressman George P. Miller (D. Calif.) - May 15, 1959
"I am concerned, as are most Americans, with unidentified flying objects.
Surely the public should be kept informed about them. On the other hand, nothing
should be done to create fear in the minds of the public if a reasonable explanation
can be made. There may be cases where so-called unidentified flying objects
are part of our scientific research in the problem of outer space and missile
development. This could not rightfully be disclosed to the public because
it would immediately tip our hand to our enemy..."
"I cannot help but feel that there may 'be some justification behind some
of the UFO reports. I also feel that if there is any information available
within the Government which has not been released to the American public it
should be made known. I have every confidence that the American people would
be able to take such information without hysteria. The fear of the unknown
is always greater than fear of the known. .
"I have noted your comments and the articles you marked with specific reference
to government 'secrecy' concerning UFOs. I would not oppose open hearings
on this subject for I believe the public is entitled to know the facts that
can be divulged without violating our national security. .
"Personally, I have always felt that maybe there was some substance in
what is described as 'UFO' or 'Unidentified Flying Objects.' I am not certain
what Committee would have proper jurisdiction, but I must stress what difficulty
we have in getting information even on foreign military aid, on the theory
it is strategic or constitutes classified or top secret information. . . "
Senator Thomas J. Dodd (D. Conn.) - February 27, 1960
"Thank you for your recent letter concerning unidentified flying objects. This is a matter which has always aroused my interest and curiosity."
In a telecast March 14, Senator Dodd enlarged on his statement in answer to a newsman's question: "UFOs have never been accurately explained. I think there is as much reason to believe that there is something to them as there is for believing that there is not. There is certainly reason for thinking we don't have all the facts and certainly the Senate committee dealing with space should have all the facts."
Congresswoman Gracie Pfost (D. Idaho) - March 25, 1960
". . . regarding flying objects. I am interested in this subject also, and you will want to know that after conversing with the Air Force Department I am not completely satisfied with the information they gave me..."
Congressman J. Canton Loser (D. Tenn.) - April 8, 1960
". . . relative to the present policy of the Air Force in handling the problem of unidentified flying objects. . .I am in full accord with what you say about the necessity for full disclosure of pertinent information to be made our people on any subject of such national importance. .
Congresswoman Florence P. Dwyer (R. N.J.) - April 26, 1960
"I am not one of those who arbitrarily dismiss 'flying saucers' as figments
of the imagination. I take them seriously, and I certainly would have no objections
to a careful and reasonable investigation of this phenomenon. Too many intelligent
and thoroughly responsible people, who have been in positions to observe such
unidentified foreign objects, have testified to their conviction that such
objects exist for me or anyone else to deny the validity of their observations.
Under careful supervision, and with the proper safeguards, I would think that
a Congressional investigation would be a worthwhile undertaking. .
Congressman Joseph E. Karth (D. Minn.) - August 24, 1960
"As a member of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, I, of
course, have had contact with high Air Force officers and have had opportunity
to hear their comments on and off the record on the subject of unidentified
flying objects. Despite being confronted with seemingly unimpeachable evidence
that such phenomena exist, these officers give little credence to the many
reports on the matter. When pressed on specific details the experts refuse
to answer on grounds that they are involved in the nation's security and cannot
be discussed publicly. . .I will continue to seek a definite answer to this
most important question."
Congressman Edgar W. Hiestand (R. Calif.) - September 19,1960 (to Secretary of Air Force)
"I am wondering if we ought now re-examine our policy with regard to Unidentified Flying Objects. Won't you kindly suggest to your associates that the matter be considered? I am apprehensive that right now, in the middle of a campaign, some concrete and well-documented incident may occur, and a sensational revelation could really hurt. After all, although the UFOs are unknown devices, there seems to be enough evidence available to convince that they are real rather than imaginary. Therefore what harm could complete frankness do?. . "
Congressman John V. Lindsay (R. N.Y.) - October 25, 1960
". . .with regard to suppressing information covering sightings of unidentified flying objects. . such matters are of vital importance. . .the security of the United States does not always demand total secrecy in the gathering of information vital to our needs. The American people are fully capable of understanding the nature of these problems.
Congressman John W. McCormick (D. Mass.) - 1960 [See photostat]
Senator Alan Bible (D. Nev.) - December 6, 1960
"Dear Major Keyhoe: Thank you for sending on to me the Confidential Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.
"I found this Report to be very interesting and I certainly do appreciate
your thoughtfulness in making it available to me."
Senator Wallace F. Bennett (R. Utah) - February 16, 1961
"Dear Major Keyhoe: Thank you for your letter of February 12, concerning unidentified flying objects.
"Certainly, this is an area which deserves our careful study and I hope that the Air Force will not keep any essential facts from the public."
The Late Senator Estes Kefauver (D. Tenn.) - March 30, 1961
"Uncertainty over UFOs certainly exists and I think it is wise to keep an open mind about them. I occasionally hear from Major Keyhoe who is with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena here in Washington, and while I am not able to evaluate the Committee's work, I think it should be continued. ."
Congressman Daniel B. Brewster (D. Md.) - April 21, 1961
"The Air Force has consistently said, after extensive investigations, that it can find no information to support the contention of some that Unidentified Flying Objects are under intelligent control. . In this connection, the Air Force has also said that it has no classified information which would show, or tend to show, such intelligent control. In my judgment, this is the salient point to be remembered in connection with any allegations that classified information, which is pertinent to the point under consideration, is being suppressed. Repeated inquiries and other efforts by the Committee failed to disclose any derogatory information on this point. Under all prevailing circumstances, it is my current judgment that the Committee should not undertake a Congressional investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects. .
Congressman Horace R. Kornegay (D. N.C.) - May 3, 1961
"I had a very interesting conference with Major Keyhoe [NICAP Director], and I am continuing to urge the Majority Leader, Mr. McCormack, and the Committee Chairman, Mr. Overton Brooks, to hold hearings to bring all data and new information up to date relative to Unidentified Flying Objects."
Senator Harry F. Byrd (D. Va.) - May 9, 1961
"As you know, I am a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and this Committee is frequently briefed on the subject matter of your communication. Access to U.F.O. files is necessarily restricted. .
Congressman Perkins Bass (R. N.H.) - May 17, 1961
"I have just been put on a small 3-man subcommittee of the House Space Committee to investigate this UFO situation. We will hear various witnesses from the Air Force, NASA, and other Defense Department officials, but these will probably not be public hearings. . and would appreciate your sending me along any particular points or questions I might ask of these Defense Department officials which might throw more light on the matter and answer some of the questions in your own mind. .
June: News stories began to appear stating that the House Committee on Science & Astronautics was considering holding hearings on UFOs.
Waterbury (Conn.) Republican, June 20: Bulkley Griffin, reporting from Washington, said the House Space Committee would conduct hearings, "according to present plans of Chairman Overton Brooks. He is designating a subcommittee to hear witnesses. Rep. Joseph H. Karth, (D. Minn.), will head the subcommittee it is stated. . The question whether all the subcommittee sessions will be secret or whether some will be public, has not been finally decided. "
In their column June 26, Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott reported: "The Unidentified Flying Objects, that have been mysteriously appearing over the U. S. for years, are going to be investigated by the House Space Committee."
July 3, Newsweek, in its "Periscope" column, reported that a three-man House subcommittee would soon start a UFO probe, beginning with Air Force reports.
(By August 6, Bulkley Griffin reported a hitch in the investigation.
in a story headlined "Flying Object Probe Out This Session," the Waterbury
Republican said no investigation would be held. "The Air Force is understood
to have succeeded in blocking it. . (Rep.) Karth has declared he won't serve
unless some public hearings are permitted and (Chairman) Brooks has always
been against public hearings. it is believed, however, that the Air Force,
as usual, has been urging against any UFO hearings at all.")
Congressman Thomas N. Downing (D. Va.) - August 4, 1961
"The Bureau manager of Newsweek informs me that his information indicates that an investigation of the UFO phenomenon is being contemplated by the Science and Astronautics Committee. The information that I was provided indicates that Congressman Joseph E. Karth of Minnesota may serve as Chairman of the three-man Subcommittee. ."
Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R. Mass.) - August 18, 1961
"I can assure you that Congressional hearings have been held on UFOs, and the responsible committees continue to receive up-to-date reports."
Congressman Dominick V. Daniels (D. N.J.) - September 12, 1961
"I have discussed your letter with Congressman Karth and I understand that attention will be focused on the UFO problem during the next Congressional session. Presumably many of the issues which you raise will be investigated at that time..."
Congressman Joseph E. Karth (D. Minn.) - September 19,1961
(To Major Keyhoe, after misunderstanding about Congressional protocol was cleared up.)
"Now that we better understand each other, I would hope we could properly proceed with a hearing early next year - providing the new chairman authorizes hearings."
Congressman Joseph E. Karth (D. Minn.) - October 3, 1961
"Chairman Brooks with whom I had the agreement to conduct hearings, as
you know, has passed away. What the new Chairman will decide, I do not yet
know. Sorry I cannot answer your question, as to whether or not hearings relative
to unidentified flying objects will definitely be held, in a positive manner
at this time..."
Congressman Bruce Alger (R. Tex.) - November 28, 1961
"I have studied some of Major Keyhoe's works and have discussed this matter with a number of people in my office in Washington. Certainly, I will not dismiss the questions which have been unanswered, but I am afraid we will have little success
in getting more information from the military services. This does not mean that I will stop trying. ...."
Congressman Charles A. Mosher (R. Ohio) - December 18,1961
"We are advised by Mr. Karth's secretary that no action is scheduled as yet concerning hearings by a UFO subcommittee. Mr. Karth was named chairman to such a subcommittee by the late Congressman Overton Brooks. . The decision to create such a committee. . now rests with the new chairman. . Congressman George Miller."
Congressman Horace R. Kornegay (D. N.C.) - January 3, 1962
"I am returning to you Flying Saucers: Top Secret [by Maj. Donald F. Keyhoe] along with my expression of gratitude for your lending it to me. I found it very interesting. "I shall return to Washington on January 8 and look forward to conferring with Mr. Miller, Chairman of the Space Committee, and others on that Committee in connection with the matter of holding hearings on unidentified flying objects in accordance with our earlier conversation here in Greensboro..."
Congressman W. M. Abbitt (D. Ma.) - January 31, 1962
"I am very much in accord with your sentiments and am hopeful that we can get the [UFO] hearings started in the not too distant future. "
Congressman W. Pat Jennings (D. Va.) - February 1, 1962 "The Air Force, it seems, is taking the whole subject seriously, which is important at the moment because of the need to maintain our Nation's defense in an ever-ready state. It would be helpful to hear more of the background on these objects, and I shall await the action of the Space Subcommittee with interest. . "
Congressman Hugh J. Addonizio (D. N.J.) - February 1, 1962
" . concerning the subject of UFOs. - It is a pleasure to cooperate in the matter. I have expressed my deep personal interest in early and open hearings to the Committee and I shall keep in touch with developments......"
Congressman George P. Miller (D. Calif.), Chairman, Committee on Science and Astronautics - February 2, 1962
"I don't intend at this time to conduct any hearings on UFOs since that subject really is not a scientific, research and development, nor space related activity. I should think that the subject matter of UFOs is really in the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee since the Air Force has been given the responsibility to investigate all such unusual aerial phenomena...."
Congressman Carl Vinson (D. Ga.), Chairman, Committee on Armed Services - February 7, 1962
"While it remains true that some aerial phenomena remain unexplained, the great majority of the reports which have been investigated have been subject to a valid scientific explanation. As I have previously said, we have found no evidence to substantiate the allegation that such vehicles are under intelligent control..."
Charles F. Ducander, Executive Director & Chief Counsel, Committee on Science and Astronautics, House of Representatives - March 27, 1962
"At the present time, the Committee agenda does not include any investigations of UFOs. In addition, I must be candid and tell you that the Chairman has no plans for scheduling this type of investigation in the foreseeable future."
Congressman Odin Langen (R. Minn.) - July 5, 1962
"It would be my hope and desire that facts in this instance [UFOs] may be brought out at an early date so the controversy may be cleared up...."
Congressman John B. Anderson (R. Ill.) - July 12, 1962
"I would certainly have no objection to an investigation of AF-UFO policies."
Senator Jacob K. Javits (R. N.Y.) - July 19, 1962
". . regarding unidentified flying objects. Reports of investigations made by the Department of the Air Force and National Aeronautics and Space Administration indicate there is no foundation to these allegations.
Congressman Harlan Hagen (D. Calif.) - July 20, 1962
"I have read with interest your comments regarding unidentified flying objects. This is a subject which has been of interest to me for some time and I am asking the Air Force to furnish me with its reaction to your remarks, and for a statement of its position with respect to the subject...."
Senator Kenneth B. Keating (B. N.Y.) - July 23,1962
"I do feel that more information should be available to the general public on this matter, and would favor, of course, some Senatorial hearings on UFO problems."
Congressman Emiho Q. Daddano (D. Conn.) -September 13, 1962
"I would certainly be interested in any information [on UFOs] that can be developed by the Committee or by the scientific investigators."
Senator Thomas J. Dodd (D. Conn.) - September 26, 1962
"I believe that hearings would be a good way to help clear up the differences of opinion that exist with respect to UFOs. Perhaps the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee will be able to conduct hearings, or another possibility is the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee...."
In September, NICAP published an issue of the UFO Investigator (membership publication) containing an outline and preview of this report. Copies were sent to all Members of Congress. Sample reactions:
Congressman W. R. Poage (D. Tex.) - September 22, 1962 "I have long been disturbed by these UFOs. I would be very much interested in seeing the accumulation of facts which you have assembled. . ."
"Congressman E. C. Gathings (D. Ark.) - September 24, 1962
"I shall be interested in seeing a copy of the report your Committee is preparing for Congressional distribution."
Congressman F. Edward Hebert (D. La.) - September 24, 1962
"I shall certainly appreciate receiving a copy of your report when it becomes available. . ."
Congressman Thomas N. Downing (D. Va.) - September 24, 1962
"Thank you for writing to enclose a copy of the "UFO Investigator", and to also bring to my attention your plans to submit a report on your Committee's five-year investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects. I very much appreciate your thoughtfulness. . ."
Congressman Charles Raper Jonas (R. NC.) -September25, 1962
"If you care to send me the 128-page report on your five-year investigation, I will be glad to have it. . ."
Senator Jacob K. Javits (R. N.Y.) - October 25, 1962
"I appreciate your views regarding the aerial phenomena. As you know, the Department of Defense and NASA have repeatedly denied the existence of such objects."
Congressman John E. Moss (D. Calif.) - Chairman, Government Information Subcommittee - December 19, 1962
"The Subcommittee has no authority to go into the over-all question of unidentified flying objects, but other Congressional committees may well look into it."
Congressman Richard H. Poff (R. Va.) - December 31, 1962 "I am not satisfied that the Air Force has disclosed all the information which it has assembled, and I am hopeful that the Armed Forces Committee (of which I am not a member) will see fit to conduct an appropriate investigation. . ."
Senator Milward L. Simpson (R. Wyo.) - January 8, 1963
"I have not yet been able to determine that any Congressional Committee plans to hold hearings on the UFO problem, but something may develop after the 88th Congress convenes. I do know that the Senate Armed Services Committee plans early hearings on the entire defense posture and it is possible that the question of unidentified flying objects will be brought up during this investigation. .
Senator Gaylord Nelson (D. Wis.) - January 14, 1963
"I share your belief that there should be no unnecessary secrecy surrounding the matter [of UFOs] and will do what I can to see to it that relevant facts are brought out and made available to the public."
Congressman John F. Shelley (D. Calif.) - January 28, 1963
"I share the concern of my colleagues in Congress about the gravity of the UFO problem. . .my genuine desire to see positive action taken to lessen the danger caused by UFOs to air travel and our national security."
Senator William Proxmire (D. Wis.) - January 31, 1963
"The NICAP report [outline] is a fine document which does much to substantiate the allegation made. You probably noted my remarks that 'The very fact that so many inexplicable incidents have occurred is reason enough for a thorough investigation.' I am going to contact the Department of Defense on this matter..."
Congressman Clark MacGregor (R. Minn.) - May 28, 1963
"I would certainly agree with Senator Keating that more information should be available to the public. I would favor Congressional hearings [on UFOs] which, of course, would require action by the Congressional majority leadership. . ."
Senator Birch Bayh (D. Md.) - May 29, 1963
"I too am interested in these aerial phenomena. Some people tend to discount UFOs, but I feel that any such unknown objects bear investigation. . ."
Senator Vance Hartke (D. Ind.) - June 5, 1963
"I agree. . .that a full explanation of the 'Flying Saucers' seems due."
Senator Kenneth B. Keating (R. N.Y.) - June 28, 1963
"I want to assure you that as a high officer in the military myself, I am not overawed or over impressed by some of the conclusions reached by Air Force officers. As you know, I have no hesitancy in taking issue with other government agencies as to the dangers facing our country. . .I am sorry that there seems to be nothing which I can add to the UFO situation at the present time."
Congressman Glenn Cunningham (R. Nebr.) - August 8, 1963
"I think it quite possible that the Air Force is withholding information about at least a certain number of these [sightings] because I have found that the military services in the past have sometimes acted in a secretive way in other matters when there was really no justification for it. . ."
Senator Len B. Jordan (H. Idaho) - August 16, 1963
"Since you are a member of NICAP, I would welcome any in formation you might provide me which would improve my knowledge of this very mysterious phenomenon. ."
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