Letters Exchanged Between CUFON
and Dr. Thornton Page


{First letter from CUFON to Dr. Page}

September 21, 1992

Dr. Thornton Page
18639 Point Lookout Drive
Houston TX, 77058

Dear Dr. Page,

I have become interested in the Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects of January, 1953. I have read all that I can find on the subject. Most of the published material I suspect as being inaccurate and/or incomplete.

However, certain documents pertaining to this panel have been declassified over the years, and I believe that I have obtained copies of most of these through proper channels... i.e. Freedom of Information Act and National Archives.

Because I do not readily accept information I have not personally verified, I have taken measures to authenticate these documents. It is with this desire for verified information that I write to you today.

I have learned that you were well acquainted with Dr. Robertson and others on the Panel, I also believe you to be the sole remaining surviving person who was a member of the Panel.

Dr. Page, would you be so kind as to write down your recollections of the Panel and send them to me? I would be very grateful.

I am particularly interested in the manner in which the Panel was constituted, the attitudes of the participants regarding the task at hand and the subject matter, and your remembrances of the proceedings.

I assure you Dr. Page, that I have no intention of denigrating the Panel or the members. Just the opposite. I desire as much accurate information as possible.

Thanking you in advance for your kind attention to this matter, I remain,

                Sincerely yours,

           /s/ James L. Klotz
                James L. Klotz
                P.O. Mail unavailableMercer Island, WA 98404


{Dr. Page's reply to first letter }

18639 Point Lookout Drive, Houston, TX 77058
                                                                                                       3 Oct 1992

Dear Mr. Klotz:

I certainly do remember the Robertson Panel or Committee called together in 1952 during the public concern over UFO sightings around Washington, D.C. (See "UFOs, A Scientific Debate" by Sagan & Page, Cornell Univ Press 1972). H.P. Robertson, a world-renowned theoretical physicist and an old friend of mine, chaired the Panel and (I think) selected its members for Air Force appointment. I was not of the caliber of the other members, and was probably included because I lived in the DC area, was an astronomer known to H.P. We met in the National Academy of Sciences building, and had (I think) 7 meetings, hastily arranged over a 10-day period. Right now I cannot recall the names of the other members, but they were all famous people, mostly physicists, and at least one of them too busy to attend all the meetings except the last. The "proceedings" are included in the Condon report as Appendix U in which some of the members names were deleted at their request. We were "briefed" by "experts" (several of the CIA agents not too expert on astronomy, optics, or radar) Their goal seemed to be to convince us that UFOs are real and may be a hazard to the U.S. By contrast, H.P. Robertson told us in the first private (no outsiders) session that our job was to reduce public concern, and show that UFO reports could be explained by conventional reasoning. As indicated in "UFOs, A Scientific Debate," Sagan and I later became convinced that E.U. Condon's "scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects" (Bantam Books 1969 = "The Condon report") was neither scientific nor rational, concluding, as it did, that 15 celebrated sightings were not worthy of further investigation.

The Panel member's main contributions were in the questions they asked of each of the briefers, the informed discussion in private sessions, and in modifying the Final Report written by Robertson. Am proud that I questioned several briefers about the estimated distance to observed objects - and explained one movie of UFOs as nearby birds (seagulls) rather than distant aircraft. I also got H.P. to include paragraph 3 in the final report about the "clogging" effect of UFO reports on reporting channels during a real national emergency.

The Panel members I remember best are Louis Alvarez of Berkeley with whom I shared his remarkable research on the K-T end of the dinosaurs, and Sam Goudsmit of Brookhaven.

My recent feelings about UFOs are that they indicate a public paranoia in which I've lost interest, except for the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project urged by Phil Morrison, and even there I'm swayed by Fermi's question: "Where are they?"


                                            /s/ Thornton Page

{Dr. page included his review of the Condon Report}


{Second letter from CUFON  to Dr. Page}

October 17, 1992

Dr. Thornton Page
18639 Point Lookout Drive
Houston, TX 77958

Dear Dr. Page:

I was quite excited to receive your 3 Oct 1992 reply to my letter inquiring about your remembrances of the Robertson Panel. You have supplied several details about the Robertson Panel previously unknown to me. Thank you very much for responding in such a prompt and personal a manner.

It seems apparent from your letter that you have not seen some of the material pertaining to the Robertson Panel and it's members which has been declassified and released over the years.

Since you obviously have prized memories of the Panel, I thought that you might be interested in seeing some of this released material. Accordingly, I have enclosed a copy of two documents: a 20 Jan 53 note from Dr. Robertson to Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell of the CIA, and Dr. Chadwell's 28 January 1953 reply. Please note the proximity of the dates to the Panel meeting dates. This letter was amongst documents declassified and released under the FOIA by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Apparently, Dr. Robertson and Dr. Chadwell were well acquainted. Since you were close to Dr. Robertson, I thought that these letters might be of interest to you. There are more documents available. Should you be interested in seeing them, I would be pleased to mail copies to you.

I am confused about a couple of things and ask that you kindly indulge my questions:

I previously stated my interest in the circumstances surrounding the convening of the Robertson Panel. Recently, my associate, Mr. Dale Goudie called my attention to the following:

"November 1952. A panel of four scientists was convened in a three-day seminar, by Air Technical Intelligence Center, for procedural recommendations regarding the study of Unidentified Flying Objects. It unanimously agreed that a larger panel of specialized authorities should be presented with the problem and suggested six top practical and theoretical scientists, who were understood to have formed no definite opinion with respect to the unknowns, for the task. The projected date for the effort was December 1952 or January 1953."      ( UFO Exist!, Flammonde, 1976, G.P. Putnams, p.396)

Can you shed any light on this "pre-Robertson" meeting, and the process that led up to the actual Panel meetings in January 1953? I am particularly interested in when exactly this meeting took place, and who attended.

Were you aware of the "NSA Group Meetings" which Dr. Robertson refers to in the attached letter? This is of historical interest to me because of the very early reference to the NSA and Dr. Robertson's participation. Any information you have on this subject would be appreciated.

Through declassified documents, it has become well known that the Robertson Panel was convened by the CIA Office of Scientific Intelligence, (CIA/OSI), supported by the Air Technical Intelligence Center, (ATIC), Wright-Patterson AFB, U.S.A.F., rather than by the Air Force alone. What has not been well known is that the Director of the CIA was charged with the responsibility to convene the Panel by the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC). As you are probably aware, the IAC was an interagency committee advisory to the National Security Council, and existing at that level of the government structure.

Were you, or the other Panel members, aware, at the time or since, of the roles of the IAC, the CIA/OSI, and the Air Force ATIC as they have since been revealed by released government documents? I have the documents to which I refer. Should you wish to have copies of them, again, I would be pleased to mail them to you.

I am also confused about the Panel meeting dates and the number of sessions. The "Durant Report" as released by the National Archives, Appendix "U" of Condon Report, and your letter all note differing dates and numbers of sessions. Also, the correspondence between Dr. Robertson and Dr. Chadwell notes "rump panel meetings". Could you please clarify this for me? I would be very grateful.

Also, would you be in touch with or know of any other persons who attended or who would have special knowledge of the Panel Meetings? I would be very interested to correspond with any such person.

I wish to thank you again for such a kind, prompt reply to my first letter. Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter, I remain,

                   Sincerely yours,

             /s/    James Klotz
                    James Klotz
                    P.O. Mail unavailableMercer Island, WA 98040



{Dr. Page's reply to second letter }

James Klotz                                                                           28 Oct '92
P.O. Mail unavailableMercer Island, WA 98040

Dear Mr. Klotz:

My memory is not too good, at age 79. What I have told you and what I can tell you, is what is recorded in "Daily Memoranda" booklets which I kept in 1952 and '53 while I was working for the Operations Research Office in Chevy Chase, MD. It took me two hours to go through 1952 (when I traveled to Europe, and helped organize the Operations Research Society of America.) I discovered, among other things, that entries in red ink fade with age, but no indication of any meeting with H. P. Robertson. In particular, I have no record of a three-day seminar with ATIC, though I had lunches and dinners noted almost every day. One entry comes close: On 11 Nov, Armistice Day, at 6:30 pm, I have "Military Intelligence Chapter Army and Navy Club, 17th and 1st". During the week of 16-21 Nov I attended the AAAS Meeting.

In 1953, my Memo-Diary records "CIA" on 14, 15,16 and 17 Jan but Sunday is crossed out. Sunday 1 Feb has the entry "Charles Fort" These show, at least, that I knew that the CIA was involved. I now vaguely remember that Robertson made a point of telling us at the first meeting (when he bawled me out for joking about the Panel's purpose) that the meetings were TOP SECRET and that any notes we took must remain in the office. I also got paid $50 by the CIA (this payment was also TOP SECRET, and the US Gov't checks did not have CIA on it.)

So I have no evidence of a pre-Robertson meeting

About he "NSA Group," HPR was a much more important scientist than I and was undoubtedly involved with NSA (I was not).

As to the "Rump Panel Meeting," I have a vague recollection of a later meeting in Feb - but no record in my diary notes.

In digging through my files, I came upon three documents that summarize what I remembered in 1988, 1987. So I've Xeroxed them for you (enclosed). They tell who briefed the HPR Panel. I think all of them have passed on (surely HPR, Hynek, Alvarez), so I am probably the only one alive.

This is the best I can do to answer your questions. I wish you luck, but have no more.

/s/ Thornton Page

{Dr. Page included 3 sets of notes for talks he gave on the Robertson panel}

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