Use ARROWS to page backward or forward


Page 22


cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby” (Condon & Gillmor, 1968, p. 1). The NAS panel concurred in this recommendation. On the other hand, the AIAA UFO Subcommittee “did not find a basis in the report for his prediction that nothing of scientific value will come of further studies.”

The NAS panel, which was appointed in late October and early November 1968, began their initial reading of the report on November 15, 1968. The panel convened on December 2 and again on January 6, 1969, to conclude its deliberations and to prepare its findings. Seven weeks is a very short time for the panel members to digest a report on what was probably an unfamiliar subject.’ This is especially true when there are gross discrepancies between the report and its summary, which readers are unlikely to expect. By contrast, the views of the AIAA Subcommittee were crystallized late in 1970, allowing more time to appreciate the subtleties of the problem and to digest the massive report.

This re-examination of the Condon Report and my comparatively brief quotations from the reviews by the NAS panel and the AIAA subcommittee may cast doubt on some of the findings of the report and some of the opinions and recommendations of the Director. The following quotation shows that such dissent was foreseen, and even encouraged, by Condon himself:

Scientists are no respecters of authority. Our conclusion that study of UFO reports is not likely to advance science will not be uncritically accepted by them. Nor should it be, nor do we wish it to be. For scientists, it is our hope that the detailed analytical presentation of what we were able to do, and what we were unable to do, will assist them in deciding whether or not they agree with our conclusions. Our hope is that the details of this report will help other scientists in seeing what the problems are and the difficulties of coping with them. (Condon & Gillmor, 1968, p. 2)


The first draft of this article was prepared in 1974, but has recently been extensively rewritten. In the intervening years, new information has come to my attention that raises serious questions about the Colorado Project.

In the Introduction, I pointed out that the importance of the Condon Report is due to the fact that the study “is the only unclassified investigation of the UFO phenomenon carried out by an established scientific organization under contract to a U.S. federal agency.” By contrast, documents that were originally classified and have since been released (such as reports arising from Projects Sign, Grudge, and Blue Book) make almost no impact on the scientific community. The reason for this may be understood from a remark of Condon

7 I have learned from private conversation with one of the panelists that, in fact, all of the panelists were not as happy with the Condon Report as the panel report would indicate. He told me that he had had concerns and reservations about the Condon Report but did not press them in the panel discussions because he “did not want to rock the boat.”