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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > May > May 16

Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide -

From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 19:39:04 +0100
Fwd Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 10:51:56 -0400
Subject: Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide -

>From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 00:35:40 EDT
>Subject: Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide

>>From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 18:23:58 +0100
>>Subject: Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide


>>No. My point was simply that by taking only some of the material
>>from the Official History article, the picture painted of the
>>Ministry of Defence's early involvement with the UFO mystery was
>>incomplete. The full Official History article can be accessed at
>>the following hyperlink, though it is also widely available on
>>various UFO-related websites:


>>Although less well known, there is a second part to the Official
>>History article. Part 2 addresses various questions raised by
>>ufologists and can be accessed at the following hyperlink:


>I was the one pointing out "odd discrepancies" in the history.
>The way it still reads now is that "publicity campaign" was the
>cause of Tizard's request to set up the Working Party (also did
>he "request" or did he order it by direct command authority? if
>he did not order the Working Party into existence whose
>authority was responsible for commanding its creation?).

>But the Working Party minutes and final report and the DSI
>meeting minutes of Aug. 15, 1950, do not at all refer to any
>"publicity" as the cause for setting up the Working Party.
>Instead the final report refers to the "notable outbreak" of
>sightings in Great Britain. Presumably the RAF sightings and
>possible radar-visual of June 7 (and maybe Aug. 14), 1950, led
>Tizard to request the Working Party be set up. If I'm missing
>some reference to "publicity" somewhere in the official records
>as the motivating factor please point it out to me.

>Otherwise the way the history reads now it looks like some
>sleazy tabloid-type "publicity campaign" in October 1950 led to
>creation of the Working Party on Aug. 15, 1950.


Nobody within government will admit to being media-led, but the
fact of the matter is that both UFO sightings and media coverage
will have had a part to play. The MOD attached more weight to
RAF sightings than public ones (and the Final Report cites a
handful of military reports), but the public reports are more
numerous and the MOD often learns of these through the media.
Finally, although it cannot be proven, there may have been a
feeling that if the US had set up a UFO project in 1947, the UK
should have one too.

>The fuller history not on the MOD website goes to some length in
>Part 2 to quote the renowned R. V. Jones as "perhaps the best
>summary of Jones' view on the UFO issue, and is worth quoting
>in full." In fact, Jones' position in this July 1968 article was
>vacillating and perhaps even contradictory and it is unfair and
>not accurate to just quote Jones' most skeptical debunking
>points and ignore and fail to quote the more pro-UFO concessions
>he also made in the same article.

>For example in the very same July 1968 article R. V. Jones also
>wrote that the "distinguished" scientist McDonald and the
>official USAF scientific consultant Hynek both disagreed with
>the official conclusions dismissing UFO's. Jones did not dispute
>or disagree with McDonald or Hynek after noting their positions.

>Jones then noted that there was a residue of about 10%
>unexplained UFO sightings after official investigations. Then he
>wrote of this 10% unexplained residue:

>"A point of dispute is whether, after such errors have been
>allowed for, there is enough left that is unexplained to make us
>think that there is a gap in our knowledge either of natural
>phenomena or of an extraterrestrial invasion of our atmosphere,
>perhaps by intelligently controlled spacecraft."

>Then Jones hemmed and hawed, skeptical and open again, saying
>such pro-UFO things as:

>"If Earth proves to be the one planet in the Solar system that
>supports intelligent life, it is still possible that intelligent
>beings from a more distant system have found the way to cross
>intervening space in small craft without ageing on the long
>journey; and, although it is unlikely, it is just possible that
>the craft are small enough not to have shown up on astronomical
>or radar surveys."

>After a few more vacillations Jones remarks on the distinct pro-
>UFO possibility of an unknown natural phenomenon (before making
>the skeptical end remarks which were the _only_ ones quoted in
>the Part 2 history):

>"If known natural phenomena are insufficient to explain
>everything that has been genuinely seen, the alternative to the
>intelligently controlled vehicles is an as yet unrecognized
>natural phenomenon. This is distinctly possible -- the case may
>be similar to that of ball lightning, the occurrence of which
>has long been both asserted and disputed."

I think there is a tendency in a public talk or article to keep
one's options open and put both sides of an argument, to a
greater extent than might otherwise be the case. I speak from
experience. Jones based his 1968 article on a lecture he'd given
in Newcastle in 1967. Writing to the Ministry of Defence's
Defence Intelligence Staff about this talk, before he delivered
it, he said in a letter dated 1 November 1967:

I am no less sceptical now than I was 20 years ago, but I should
be glad to look at any of the taller stories of recent happenings".

>Another comment in the history that is not accurate is the

>"Another indication of the strong US influence on the Flying
>Saucer Working Party is the fact that their June 1951 final
>report was entitled _Unidentified Flying Objects_. This term
>had been devised by Ruppelt himself, early in 1951, but was not
>at the time in use outside US Government circles."

>Ruppelt was not in charge of Project Grudge until October 22,
>1951, and thus could not possibly have "devised" the UFO term in
>time for the June 1951 Working Party final report. The term
>"unidentified flying objects" was in lower-case use in US
>documents as early as 1947. Ruppelt did not start using the
>abbreviation "UFO" and an upper-cased "Unidentified Flying
>Objects" phrase until after Project Grudge changed names to Blue
>Book in March 1952. Who actually originated this new usage and
>abbreviation is unclear but it is clear that Ruppelt helped
>popularize it. The official USAF designation due to Ruppelt's
>influence, from 1952 onward for several years was "UFOB" rather
>than "UFO".

Yes, but Ruppelt was assigned to ATIC in January 1951, was aware
of the UFO project straight away, and was being actively
consulted by people like Jerry Cummings long before he formally
took over the project. That said, I stand corrected on the
terminology, if you have US documents that show the term "UFO"
in earlier use. Your view that Ruppelt popularized - rather than
devised - the term seems to be more accurate.

Best wishes,

Nick Pope

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