I only met the late Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe (USMC, ret.) once, at the Washington, D.C. office of NICAP in the summer of 1965. I was a teenager then, thrilled to spend even those few minutes at the old Connecticut Ave. office. I guess the experience was something like going to a mini theme park in an office space, so much to see -- and, unfortunately for the office staff, so much work to do. The U.S. was right in the middle of a flurry of UFO reports, and desks were piled high with clippings and files.
The highlight for me was meeting Maj. Keyhoe himself, the NICAP director whose books about UFOs were amongst the first I ever read on the subject. Keyhoe, the Marine Corps veteran who astounded readers of True Magazine in 1950 with exciting UFO reports obtained via official sources. Keyhoe, whose first book about UFOs in 1950, Flying Saucers Are Real was followed by several more in addition to articles in major magazines. Keyhoe, personal aide to Charles Lindbergh during a cross-country flight, documented in his book, Flying with Lindbergh. Keyhoe, who knew Admiral Richard Byrd personally and realized Byrd would have been outraged over fabrications about his relationship to "hollow earth" tales.
I was greeted by Richard Hall, NICAP's assistant director who, as many of you must know, remains active in UFO research and has authored numerous articles in additon to his well known books. The 1964 NICAP publication intended for every member of Congress, The UFO Evidence, was very much Hall's literary baby and remains one of the most respected and most consulted UFO compilations ever produced.
The third person of three whom I met that day and the first whom I encountered was Lelia Day, NICAP's secretary, and she was a very nice lady. In fact, more than a decade later I was searching for her because I never doubted the extent of NICAP knowledge she must have absorbed over the years, and I was working on a writing project longing for her insight. Sadly, however, I learned that she had been long dead even before I began the search. Of interest, however, is the fact that I learned this and other things of significance from Maj. Keyhoe himself in a letter, the only letter I ever received from Keyhoe personally. By 1977, Keyhoe and Hall had departed NICAP, the organization had seemingly been taken over by people with perhaps more than passing government affiliations (see the NICAP.org site and read the NICAP history) and there remain numerous questions about NICAP's eventual administration and downfall that may rival the UFO mystery in some ways.
So, here's Maj. Keyhoe's letter, dated December 4, 1977, with an intriguing reference on the letterhead to his role as NICAP's "former director." Note also my re-posting from an early blog entry of Al Chop's 1953 letter to Holt publishers, vouching for Keyhoe's integrity and actions (though Chop's incredibly open-ended admission regarding some government people accepting the ET theory is the real high point of the letter -- which Holt printed on the jacket of a Keyhoe book, much to Chop's surprise and the Dept. of Defense's probable chagrin).
I had also forwarded a copy of a newspaper review I wrote for Keyhoe's final book, Aliens From Space, referenced in his letter. But of considerable interest here are Keyhoe's comments and plans regarding the Jimmy Carter presidency as it might relate to UFO information release. Based upon information Keyhoe accumulated from official sources, he was poised to write another book, a project of no eventual publication, unfortunately. Keyhoe had briefly outlined his plan to me here in confidence, though I certainly see no point in staying silent 30 years later. Actually, as is the case with so many other documents on this blog, even I hadn't seen this letter since receiving and filing it away.