Declassified UK documents: UFOs don’t scare British government

Alex Brown Contributor
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If documents released today by UK Defense Ministry are any indication, the British government is not alarmed by the threat of an alien invasion.

“There is nothing to convince the government that there has ever been a single visit by an alien spacecraft,” said government spokesman Lord Strabolgi, according to a transcript from a 1979 House of Lords debate.

Thousands of files show a pattern of UFO reports being discredited or attributed to natural causes, and most sightings were given explanations the government considered more probable than the possibility of outer space visitors.

A 1998 letter from one resident who described himself as “BLOODY TERRIFIED!” expressed concern that he had been abducted by aliens one night, due to the fact that his watch was mysteriously one hour fast when he awoke in the morning. A response from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) patronizingly reminded him that clocks had been set back an hour that night.

The MoD’s Flying Saucer Working Party described its own efforts to track UFO activity as a “singularly profitless enterprise” in a 1951 report used to brief Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The report classified UFO sightings in four groups, discounting the possibility of an intergalactic presence on the British Isles.

  1. Astronomical or meteorological phenomena of known types.
  2. Mistaken identification of conventional aircraft, balloons, birds, or other normal or natural objects.
  3. Optical illusions and psychological delusions.
  4. Deliberate hoaxes.

Strabolgi’s skeptical remarks came in response to a call from the Earl of Clancarty for an intra-governmental study of UFOs, the only time Parliament has held a full debate on the subject. Clancarty used numerous examples to make his case, including a “mother ship” that supposedly appeared in Iran, releasing a smaller craft and disabling the electronics systems of jets that approached it.

Lord Strabolgi responded that “plain explanations” could account for most visual UFO sightings, citing space debris, “tricks of light and cloud” and meteorological balloons as causes of many UFO reports.

“There is no need, I suggest, for the far-fetched hypothesis of alien spacecraft,” Strabolgi said.

Another series of documents show a frantic MoD effort to prevent the formation of a United Nations UFO research agency. A series of resolutions introduced by Grenadan Prime Minister Eric Gairy in 1977-78 flustered British diplomats, who were convinced that Gairy’s proposals would “bring the UN into disrepute.”

One transmission outlined a plan to let Gairy, who was traveling to New York to make his case, “have his day,” then negotiate a compromise after his departure that would “require minimal, or even no, UN involvement.” Another expressed hope that “the UFO issue would be placed at the bottom of (the Committee on Outer Space)’s agenda with a fair chance of being ignored indefinitely.”