Wednesday, July 25, 2007

McNamara Dismissed UFOs and Ford Waited

I didn't remember communicating so frequently with Gerald Ford's office when he was House minority leader in the sixties, but the letters continue to show up. I'll post a couple more today, and there may yet be others in the weeks ahead. By now, I'm sure some of my readers are rolling their eyes over my apparent infatuation with Gerald Ford, but his importance to UFO research history is truly undeniable.

Ford's May 25, 1966 letter is pretty routine as he thanks me for my interest in a UFO investigation, and apparently he was about to visit Central New York, acknowledging some words of welcome.

A week earlier his office prepared the May 17 letter. This one responded to my letter of May 9, in which I brought up comments about UFOs made by then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara during closed congressional meetings regarding a foreign aid bill. I quoted and took to task McNamara, certainly known more for his actions during the Vietnam conflict than for UFO statements, for commenting, "If anything, I am inclined to think the (UFO) investigations are more extensive than actually required." He went on to say the government did not place "any real credence in the reports we have received to date," though he added the caveat, "That doesn't mean that a full report tomorrow may not be sound and warrant the full investigation that we give it."

My concern in the letter to Ford was, if the Secretary of Defense believed that UFO investigation efforts should be trimmed and given a back seat treatment, wasn't there a high probability that something essential might be missed in future investigations?

UFO photos, McNamara continued, are illusory: "The condition of the viewer and the physical circumstances in the environment at the time generally create optical illusions." I expressed to Ford some curiosity that intelligence photos taken in Southeast Asia by military personnel of a caliber similar to many UFO photographers might also, therefore, be considered highly suspect.

On a similar note, as my letter to Gerald Ford neared its conclusion, I asked why, if UFO photos were nonsense, had the Air Force not yet returned pictures it borrowed for analysis (promising a full report) from Ohio police officers who chased a UFO for one and a half hours a few weeks previously?

Ford volunteered no answers, but at this stage he merely seemed pleased that Colorado University was about to undertake a UFO study, and was even aware of the organization NICAP's views on, as Shakespeare might call it, this star-crossed UFO project -- a project whose conclusions, despite the negative "findings," actually documented enough evidence to suggest UFOs still represent a real scientific mystery.