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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > May > May 18

Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide -

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 12:24:00 +0100
Fwd Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 08:01:44 -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

I apologise for the delayed responses, I have been working extra
shifts, and struggle to find the time at the moment to spend on
ufology. This is probably the only post that I will be able to
respond to today.


>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?).

Without any definitive record of the reasons for his decision to
form the FSWP we can only speculate as to the reasons. By 1950,
he had already held the post of Chief Scientific Adviser for a
number of years. He could not have failed to notice the press
coverage of the UFO phenomenon in the USA, yet he waited until
1950 to launch the FSWP. As you suggest, this might have been
because of the high-profile military sightings that occured in
the UK earlier that year - the question then is whether he heard
about these via military channels or via the media. I think that
there is a good case for it having been the media.

>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.

As I said there is no overt link between his decision and the
media coverage, but there is also no overt link to any other
stimulation for his decision - either way, it has to be
speculation until and unless an overt link either way is
uncovered. There is evidence of widespread press coverage in the
run-up to his decision, but so far there is no evidence to
support an alternative direct stimulus.

>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.

The power of the press should not be lightly dismissed. Tizard
would have been conscious that it would only be a matter of time
before politicians would want to know what, if anything the Air
Ministry were doing to investigate the situation. He could
simply have been doing what all civil servants spend a lot of
time and effort doing and covering his backside.


[quoting from RV Jones]

>"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."

This is not very far wide of my own view as it happens.

>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'll defer to Nick to respond to your comments about his
material specifically other than to comment that the view
expressed by Jones is perfectly balanced, and not just deriding
the possible ET origin of UFOs IMO.

>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_.=C2 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".

I take your point - it is surprising how many inaccurate (albeit
often minor) details, when repeated often enough, become
accepted as "fact". As an aside in relation to the origin of the
term "UFO", I came across an article on the internet attributed
to "Fate" magazine (July 2000) at:


which included the following paragraph:

"Father of Ufology?

Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard had a long and successful career.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1910 when he was 13 years old, later
transferring to the RAF in 1918. He is thus considered one of
the founders of the RAF. As Deputy Head of the RAF Delegation to
the United States, he was stationed in Washington, D.C., from
1946 until 1948. He represented the RAF on the combined Chiefs
of Staff Advisory Committee and coined the word ufology in 1946
when there was an outbreak of UFO sightings."

Which if true, appears to pre-date Ruppelt's claim.



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