Condign: Background> [prev ¦ 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ next]

  3. What have we discovered about the report? Who commissioned it? Who wrote it and why?

From 1978 onwards UFO reports continued to arrive at MoD where they were copied to a list of specialist branches. In addition to Sec(AS) or DAS as it became, these included “air defence” branches such as Ops (GE) 2b (RAF), DI 55, Science 3 (RAF) and, in some cases, the Meteorological Office. But these branches - were never allowed to follow up the reports or undertake any study of the material as this was deemed to contradict public statements that MoD had no interest in the subject.

In 1986, under great secrecy, staff at Science 3(RAF), an MoD branch – a now defunct scientific support branch – drew up a plan to produce a computerised database of UFO reports. Their proposal was supported by DI 55. But when news of the plan leaked to Sec(AS) in February 1988 officials were furious and demanded that all work on the database must stop. A handwritten note found in policy documents released in 2005 reads:

“Spoke to [Science 3] explaining that this could be very embarrassing for us and urging caution. It is exactly what we (and Ministers) have been saying for years we do not do, and could not justify!”

As a result of this intervention the DI55 officer backed down and sent a memo to the Director General of Scientific & Technical Intelligence (DGSTI) on 11 March 1988 which read:

“I understand that when Sec(AS)2 heard about the study, they decreed that all work should cease as it was in contravention of Ministerial statements to the effect that UFOs did not pose a threat to the UK, and that resources would not be diverted from more important work to investigate UFO incidents.”

Striking a note of disappointment and annoyance, he added:

“I also understand that there was some concern about public reaction if knowledge of the work being undertaken emerged in the media.”

DI55’s intention, he explained, was that Science 3’s database and report would provide “the definite UK position on the subject [UFOs] and that it could be used for many years to respond to PQs [Parliamentary Questions] and the like. However, it now seems that all work must stop.” Following this debacle, Science 3 was removed from the list of branches who received copies of UFO reports. A terse minute from its director, dated 24 March 1988, reads:

“As of now the subject is removed from Science 3 (Air)’s field of professional interest and the subject has been deleted from its task list.”

Clearly he had been visited by the “Men from the Ministry”!

But the impetus to produce a database of cases which could form the basis for a definitive study did not end in 1988. And curiously, it was DI 55 who continued to champion the cause for a fully funded study of UFOs in the face of continued attempts by the “UFO desk” – Sec(AS) - to place obstacles in its path.

On 1 June 1993 the DI55 desk officer wrote to his new opposite number in Sec(AS)2a, Nick Pope, who was already noted as being more sympathetic to the subject than his predecessors:

“You may be interested to hear that at long last I have had some funds allocated for serious UFO research. The study will include a review of our data, the construction of a database, a detailed review of specified incidents and recommendations for the future…Needless to say we do not want this broadcast and it is for your information only.”

A follow up minute from DI 55 to Sec(AS), dated 18 October 1993, makes some fascinating revelations concerning intelligence interest both in the USA and Russia. The DI 55 officer writes:

“A cursory glance at [our] files indicates that over the years a large amount of data has been accumulated. We have never therefore established if UAP’s exist and, if they do, whether or not they pose a defence threat to the UK, Some recent events, and a cursory examination of the files indicate that the topic may be worthy of a short study.”

And he added:

“I am aware, through intelligence sources, that Russia believes that such phenomena exist and has a small team studying them. I am also aware that an informal group exists in the US intelligence community and it is possible that this reflects a more formal organisation…It is difficult to meet our remit of advising on possible threat implications since we have never studied the topic of UAPs [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena].”»

[prev ¦ 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ next]


“Unless stated otherwise the material on this site is owned by the authors and is copyright protected. Material can be used as long as appropriate credit is given. We will vigorously pursue and expose plagiarists.”