July 7, 2010

from NationalUFOCenter Website

At a certain level of government, it seems that ‘Reports of UFOs’ rather than the UFOs themselves were regarded as a threat to national security.


After World War II operators who literally plugged you in when making a phone call handled telephone calls. The government became concerned that our phone system was being overrun by UFO reports.


On September 24, 1952, H. Marshall Chadwell, wrote a memo to CIA Director Walter Smith stating,

“I’m concerned that large numbers of phone calls, a huge volume of letters and press releases, ATIC (Air Technical Intelligence Center) had received 1500 official UFO reports since 1947, and 250 reports in July alone.

That the public concern with the phenomena, which is reflected in both in the US press and the pressure of inquiry upon the Air Force indicates that a fair proportion of our population is mentally conditioned to the acceptance of the incredible. In this fact lies the potential for creating mass hysteria and panic.

The U.S.S.R. is credited with the present capability of delivering an air attack against the United States, yet at any given moment now, there may be current a dozen official unidentified sightings plus many unofficial ones.

At any moment of attack, we are now in a position where we cannot, on an instant basis distinguish hardware from phantom, and as the tension mounts, we will run the increasing risk of false alerts and the even greater danger of falsely identifying the real as phantom.


What could be done to stop people from reporting UFOs?”

The Robertson Panel was convened by the CIA to discuss the problem during January 14 to 17, 1953.


The panel concluded UFOs were not a threat, but that the continued emphasis on the reporting of these phenomena does, in these perilous times, result in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic.


This threat involved the clogging of communication channels with UFO reports, the cultivation of a morbid national psychology in which skillful hostile propaganda could induce hysterical behavior and harmful distrust of duly constituted authority.


Consequently, the Panel recommended that,

“the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the UFOs of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately have acquired."

The method prescribed was “debunking” UFOs.


Here is the Panel’s debunking strategy from some the top scientific minds in the government such as,

  • Nobel Prize winner in Physics Dr. Luis Alverez

  • Dr. Lloyd Berkner director of the Brookhaven National Laboratories and Chairman

  • Dr. H.P. Robertson director of Weapons Systems Evaluation at the Secretary of Defense



The “debunking” aim would result in reduction in public interest in “flying saucers” which today evokes a strong psychological reaction.


This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television, motion pictures and popular articles. Basis of such education would be actual case histories, which had been puzzling at first but later explained.


As in the case of conjuring tricks, there is much less stimulation if the “secret” is known. Such a program should tend to reduce the current gullibility of the public and consequently their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda.


See Dr. Edward Condon’s, “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.”



Editor’s Note

Essentially belittling and propaganda techniques were used to debunk the reality of UFOs in order to help protect the United States and other countries from propaganda that could induce hysterical behavior and clog communications channels.


Robertson Panel was still putting a negative spin on UFO news at least 13 years after the panel met.