Dr. James E. McDonald — What Might Have Been — 3/6

Dr. James E. McDonald — What Might Have Been — 3/6

Val Germann

Columbia, Missouri


Continuing with McDonald’s speech before the AAAS in late 1969 we see scorching indictments of the Air Force and Hynek. No wonder Vallee searched his records for something Hynek could use against McDonald.

He was brutal, merciless in his criticism of the Sage of Evanston. My comments inside (( )). Begin quote:


“Within the federal government official responsibility for UFO investigations has rested with the Air Force since early 1948. Unidentified aerial objects quite naturally fall within the area of Air Force concern, so this assignment of responsibility was basically reasonable, However, once it became clear (early 1949) that UFO reports did not seem to involve advanced aircraft of some hostile foreign power, Air Force interest subsided to relatively low levels, marked, however, by occasional temporary resurgence of interest following large waves of UFO reports, such as that of 1952, or 1957, or 1965.

A most unfortunate pattern of press reporting developed by about 1953, in which the Air Force would assert that they had found no evidence of anything “defying explanation in terms of present-day science and technology” in their growing files of UFO reports. These statements to the public would have done little harm had they not been coupled systematically to press statements asserting that “the best scientific facilities available to the U. S. Air Force” had been and were being brought to bear on the UFO question. The assurances that substantial scientific competence was involved in Air Force UFO investigations have, I submit, had seriously deleterious scientific effects. Scientists who might otherwise have done enough checking to see that a substantial scientific puzzle lay in the UFO area were misled by these assurances into thinking that capable scientists had already done adequate study and found nothing. My own extensive checks have revealed so slight a total amount of scientific competence in two decades of Air Force-supported investigations that I can only regard the repeated asseverations of solid scientific study of the UFO problem as the single most serious obstacle that the Air Force has put in the way of progress towards elucidation of the matter.”


(( Not much left of Hynek and the Air Force but smoking ruins after this paragraph — and McDonald had the goods to back up this statement, too. And he did the same for Condon! ))


“I do not believe, let me stress, that this has been part of some top-secret coverup of extensive investigations by Air Force or security agencies; I have found no substantial basis for accepting that theory of why the Air Force has so long failed to respond appropriately to the many significant and scientifically intriguing UFO reports coming from within its own ranks. Briefly, I see grand foulup but not grand coverup. Although numerous instances could be cited wherein Air Force spokesmen failed to release anything like complete details of UFO reports, and although this has had the regrettable consequence of denying scientists at large even a dim notion of the almost incredible nature of some of the more impressive Air Force-related UFO reports, I still feel that the most grievous fault of 22 years of Air Force handling of the UFO problem has consisted of their repeated public assertions that they had substantial scientific competence on the job.


(( You have to understand that McDonald was participating in a Navy program as he said these words, was a Naval Reserve Officer and under orders in one way or another. There was no way he was going to accuse anyone directly of a “cover-up.” But, let me tell you, before he was through with Hynek and the Air Force they were probably wishing he WOULD accuse them of covering something up. As it was he was accusing them of being idiots. ))


“Close examination of the level of investigation and the level of scientific analysis involved in Project Sign (1948-9), Project Grudge (1949- 52), and Project Bluebook (1953 to date), reveals that these were, viewed scientifically, almost meaningless investigations. Even during occasional periods (e.g., 1952) characterized by fairly active investigation of UFO cases, there was still such slight scientific expertise involved that there was never any real chance that the puzzling phenomena encountered in the most significant UFO cases would be elucidated.

Furthermore, the panels, consultants, contractual studies, etc., that the Air Force has had working on the UFO problem over the past 22 years have, with essentially no exception, brought almost negligible scientific scrutiny into the picture. Illustrative examples will be given.


(( You see what he is doing! The Robertson Panel, with some of the top people in the country on it, is being SAVAGED! This guy is not shooting small fish in a small barrel — NO! He is going after Berkner, Robertson, Page and others with this — and it is DEVASTATING. The vibrations HAD to go up the line after this, no matter what the press and public understood, which wasn’t much.))


“The Condon Report, released in January, 1968, after about two years of Air Force-supported study is, in my opinion, quite inadequate. The sheer bulk of the Report, and the inclusion of much that can only be viewed as “scientific padding”, cannot conceal from anyone who studies it closely the salient point that it represents an examination of only a tiny fraction of the most puzzling UFO reports of the past two decades, and that its level of scientific argumentation is wholly unsatisfactory. Furthermore, of the roughly 90 cases that it specifically confronts, over 30 are conceded to be unexplained. With so large a fraction of unexplained cases (out of a sample that is by no means limited only to the truly puzzling cases, but includes an objectionably large number of obviously trivial cases), it is far from clear how Dr. Condon felt justified in concluding that the study indicated “that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.””


(( Poor Condon, accused of being an idiot and anyone who reads the report will see why. Before McDonald is through with him he will need a seeing-eye dog to go to the bathroom. ))


I shall cite a number of specific examples of cases from the Condon Report which I regard as entirely inadequately investigated and reported. One at Kirtland AFB, November 4, 1957, involved observations of a wingless egg- shaped object that was observed hovering about a minute over the field prior to departure at a climb rate which was described to me as faster than that of any known jets, then or now. The principal witnesses in this case were precisely the type of witnesses whose accounts warrant closest attention, since they were CAA tower observers who watched the UFO from the CAA tower with binoculars. Yet, when I located these two men in the course of my own check of cases from the Condon Report, I found that neither of them had even been contacted by members of the University of Colorado project! Both men were fully satisfied that they had been viewing a device with performance characteristics well beyond any thing in present or foreseeable aeronautical technology. The two men gave me descriptions that were mutually consistent and that fit closely the testimony given on Nov. 6, 1957, when they were interrogated by an Air Force investigator. The Condon Report attempts to explain this case as a light-aircraft that lost its way, came into the field area, and then left. This kind of explanation runs through the whole Condon Report, yet is wholly incapable of explaining the details of sightings such as that of the Kirtland AFB incident. Other illustrative instances in which the investigations summarized in the Condon Report exhibit glaring deficiencies will be cited. I suggest that there are enough significant unexplainable UFO reports just within the Condon Report itself to document the need for a greatly increased level of scientific study of UFOs.


(( Yes!! Yes !! Yes!! The staff submarined Condon, who never even the read the report he put his name to! They managed to stack the DATA to the point where even a moron could see what was going on – if the moron bothered to actually READ the report! But no one did and the Condon Report became one of those things that everyone talked about but nobody had read. But McDonald HAD read the thing — to Condon’s shame. ))


“That a panel of the National Academy of Sciences could endorse this study is to me disturbing. I find no evidence that the Academy panel did any independent checking of its own; and none of that 11-man panel had any significant prior investigative experience in this area, to my knowledge. I believe that this sort of Academy endorsement must be criticized; it hurts science in the long run, and I fear that this particular instance will ultimately prove an embarrassment to the National Academy of Sciences.

The Condon Report and its Academy endorsement have exerted a highly negative influence on clarification of the long-standing UFO problem; so much, in fact, that it seems almost pointless to now call for new and more extensive UFO investigations. Yet the latter are precisely what are needed to bring out into full light of scientific inquiry a phenomenon that could well constitute one of the greatest scientific problems of our times.”


(( This takes guts, to go before an AAAS meeting and blast THEM, too, for the same reasons you have blasted the Air Force, Hynek and Condon. You see the kind of person who was loose on the scene back then? Credible, capable, well-known, operating in his area of scientific competence — in other words: DANGEROUS to the program others were running, over and above the Air Force, Hynek and Condon. What happens in any bureaucracy when an employee begins to speak up against the boss? McDonald knew that. ))

** End, Part 3/6 **

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