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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > May > May 24

Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide -

From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 01:21:16 +0100
Fwd Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 08:20:24 -0400
Subject: Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide -

>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 23:53:26 +0100
>Subject: Re: British National Archives UFO Research Guide


I've snipped your extremely lengthy post, but hope that I've
nonetheless answered all your questions about the British
Government's UFO Project.


>I note that you wrote in relation to an earlier version of the
>article at TNA which you addressed at:


>"The National Archives research notes on UFOs were adapted from
>an article that Georgina Bruni and I wrote, documenting the
>British Government's handling of the UFO issue up until the

>I am slightly puzzled by the different reactions by you to each
>of these. In response to the earlier article, you don't appear
>to have contacted TNA about proper crediting of the article, yet
>on the latest occasion, you seem to have gone to some lengths,
>causing at least two re-writes of the article. Perhaps you would
>care to explain the different reactions?

> I also see that the latest version at:


>has not only removed any reference to Georgina having worked for
>the MoD, but also any reference to you having done so. Do you
>know why that is?

The National Archives Research Note 6, on UFOs, was adapted from
the Official History article that Georgina Bruni and I wrote
several years ago. I wasn't consulted on this, but since I state
that all material on my website may be freely used, for non-
commercial purposes, I wasn't concerned.

Recently, however, I noticed that Research Note 6 had been
expanded to give a list of file references provided by ufologist
Dave Clarke. But somehow, his name had appeared at the end of
the Research Note, as if he'd written the Official History. As
this was an obvious falsehood, I had it corrected. When the
revised version wrongly stated that Georgina Bruni worked for
the MOD, I had it corrected again. I wasn't insistent on my MOD
background being mentioned, as I'd been writing to The National
Archives in a private capacity. Indeed, being named as an MOD
employee could have been misleading, as it might have implied
that Research Note 6 was an official MOD publication.


>In respect to the Flying Saucer Working Party at the site
>referred to above, you describe a series of clues which led
>researchers to request the document from the MoD.


This isn't correct. If you re-read the Official History you'll
see that I was pointing to clues that should have alerted
ufologists to the existence of these documents. I wasn't
commenting on how various ufologists actually learned of their
existence and obtained them.

>Please can you elaborate on exactly how and when you became
>aware of the FSWP document and the date that you requested a
>copy of it?

Georgina Bruni obtained them in 2001, but I don't know precisely
when. She learned of their existence through unrelated research
into the Cold War. I didn't find out that she had the papers
until later.

>I further note that you have pointedly avoided mentioning the
>work of Clarke and Roberts by name in respect to the discovery
>of the document. Are you willing to correct that situation now?

Clarke and Roberts were sent the documents by the MOD, as were
numerous other ufologists and journalists. They published
extracts in their book in May 2002, but UFO Magazine had
published the documents in full, a month earlier, together with
a detailed analysis written by Georgina Bruni and myself. This
scoop was seen (incorrectly) as a deliberate spoiler, and led to
some furious abuse from certain quarters.


I've snipped out much of the rest of your post, which relates to
the scope and scale of the British Government's UFO Project, and
the extent to which it was drawn into looking at phenomena such
as alien abductions, crop circles and cattle mutilations.

The best way I can explain this to you is to say that the
Project was reactive. If we received reports of such phenomena,
we'd look into them. It didn't matter whether or not it was in
our terms of reference. My article on the Ministry of Defence's
involvement with the crop circle mystery gives an illustration
of how this worked in practice, though clearly neither this
article nor the chapter on crop circles in my book Open Skies
Closed Minds can possibly capture everything that took place:


You also asked how the British Government's UFO Project compared
to Project Blue Book. We were always the poor relation and if
that's your point, I can only agree with you. Naturally, I wish
we'd been better resourced. However, the aims of the UK and US
projects were the same: to research and investigate the UFO
phenomenon, with a view to assessing whether there was evidence
of anything of defence significance, and specifically, any
threat to national security.

>Since investigations into the defence implications of
>alleged UFO sightings might involve highly classified material
>it was agreed that S4(Air) has no "need to know" about the
>enquiries made by any specialist branch in the course of an
>investigation. It followed that detailed reports on such
>investigations could not be included in the S4 files which would
>ultimately be disclosed when UFO reports were opened to the


I'm afraid you've misunderstood the document you quote. What
this actually means is that methods and sources aren't
discussed. All cases (public and military) would still go to the
civilian secretariat division, as they did during my tour of
duty. If you look at the Subject Indicator Code on any UFO
signals in the public domain, you'll notice that the secretariat
is the action addressee. What the document means is that if the
Defence Intelligence Staff found an explanation, they wouldn't
necessarily share information on how they'd reached that

You're not the first to suggest that the division where I worked
was some sort of 'shop window', dealing only with UFO cases from
the public. However, documents recently released under the FOIA
are demonstrating what I've tried to explain for some time,
namely that the civilian secretariat division and the Defence
Intelligence Staff worked together on all UFO investigations. If
you think about it logically, this is the only way that the
relationship could work, and that UFO sightings could be
properly investigated.

Best wishes,

Nick Pope

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