Summary: Official papers have revealed the Ministry of Defence set up a secret flying saucer working party in the 1950s. The papers show the group involved experts from the Directorate of Scientific Intelligence and the Joint Technical Intelligence Committee.
Official papers have revealed the Ministry of Defence set up a secret flying saucer working party in the 1950s.
The papers show the group involved experts from the Directorate of Scientific Intelligence and the Joint Technical Intelligence Committee.
It was established in 1951 after a spate of sightings in Sweden and the US led to a "notable outbreak" of reports in Britain.
However, the scientists gave short shrift to the idea that the earth was facing an alien invasion from space, dismissing the claims as "optical illusions and psychological delusions" - or just plain hoaxes.
"We consider that no progress will be made by attempting further investigation of unco-ordinated and subjective evidence, and that positive results could only be obtained by organising throughout the country, or the world, continuous observation of the skies by a co-ordinated network of visual observers, equipped with photographic apparatus, and supplemented by a network of radar stations and sound locators," they concluded.
"We should regard this, on the evidence so far available, as a singularly profitless enterprise."
The papers, being made public for the first time, went on: "We accordingly recommend very strongly that no further investigation of reported mysterious aerial phenomena be undertaken, unless and until some material evidence becomes available."
One of the cases they looked at was RAF Flight Lieutenant Hubbard who twice claimed to have seen "a flat disc, light pearl grey in colour, about 50 feet in diameter" flying low over Farnborough at speeds to 800 to 1,000 mph.
The scientists drily noted: "We find it impossible to believe that a most unconventional aircraft, of exceptional speed, could have travelled at no great altitude, in the middle of a fine summer morning, over a populous and air-minded district like Farnborough, without attracting the attention of more than one observer."