Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Hoover Memo Again

(Blogger's Note: In the last couple of days I have received a number inquiries about the Hoover Memo and how it relates to Roswell or UFO crashes. Although this was posted in 2011, I thought the easiest course of action was to reprint it with a couple of updates. This is the best information and the best interpretation of the memo and is based, not only on the handwritten note, but a typewritten copy that appears in the FBI files.)

Over the decades, a few documents relating to the Roswell UFO crash (or the Roswell events if you wish to remove UFO from the discussion) have been found. One of those developed after Army Brigadier General George F. Schulgen asked for FBI help “...in locating and questioning individuals who first sighted the so-called flying discs...”

On July 10, 1947, an FBI memo was created by D. M. Ladd for E. G. Fitch, outlining the Army request. That request was forward to Clyde Tolson, the number two man in the FBI at the time. Tolson endorsed the memo, writing on July 15, “I think we should do this.”

Hoover then endorsed the endorsement (seen here). He wrote, “I would do this but before agreeing to it we must insist upon full access to discs recovered. For instance, in the La. case the Army grabbed it and would not let us have it for cursory examination.”

But Hoover’s handwriting was sloppy and the crucial point, the location, as “in the La case” has been disputed for years. It seems that it can also be read as Sw or Sov or 2a. Of course, if it said, “Sw” then that could refer to the Roswell case.

Tom Carey and I have been discussing this through email for a couple of weeks. I am of the opinion that Hoover wrote “La” and this refers to a case from Shreveport, Louisiana. It is clear that the Shreveport report is a hoax, given that the disc was recovered and examined and wasn't particularly alien in nature.

According to information from the Project Blue Book files, the Headquarters, Air Training Command, the office of the AC of S, A-2 [Assistant Chief of Staff, Air Intelligence] Barksdale Field, LA, had received a report that a “Flying Disc [had been] found in Shreveport, Louisiana [on] 7 July 1947.”

In the course of their investigation, they found that the disc was small (seen here), there was an electronic starter attached to it that came from a fluorescent light and two condensers from electric fans. The man who built it, and whose name had been removed from the file, also said that he had used a torch to put soot on the edges so that it looked as if the disc had been spinning.

In other words, the evidence of a hoax is well established.

But there is more.

According to the documentation available, the FBI was alerted to the Shreveport case and FBI agents did interview one of the sources. The FBI memo on the case also said that the Army had taken the disc into their possession.

This case seems to fit facts and it is an “La.”

There is another piece to this. On July 24, 1947, there is another FBI memo. This one mentions the Hoover note but now it is typewritten. It says the same thing but the term has been identified. The crucial sentence says, “For instance, in the La. case the Army grabbed it and would not let us have it for cursory examination.”

That seems to end the discussion. We have found a case that fits the facts, we have a typewritten version of the note, and we have nothing to support much of the speculation. This is something that should be eliminated from UFO research, other than as a footnote to the history of UFOs. Oh, and don't overlook the period after La, suggesting it is an abbreviation. 

This renewed discussion is the result of others not doing original research. It is very easy to read a couple of books and consolidate that information and quite another thing to chase the information to the original sources. Sometimes, when you attempt to find the original source, the story changes from everything that has been published in the past to what it actually is. This is another example of not using original sources and of not searching out the latest information on a specific case.

33 comments:

cda said...

Kevin:

If you are right (as I am sure you are) about the Hoover note, it means he thought it important enough to pen a brief note about a manmade hoax 'saucer' but make no mention whatever of the Roswell crashed disc and the resulting AF kerfuffle, which he certainly knew about (from the Fort Worth FBI teletype). In other words Hoover did think a hoax merited some comment, but did not think a genuine 'crashed disc' case merited any comment at all. You can draw your own conclusions.

Brian Bell said...

CDA makes an interesting point.

My understanding, right or wrong, is the bulk of FBI memos (such as this) from this period in time are largely "conversational" in tone - much like we do today via email.

They have less to do with absolute confirmed reports from agents, and more about what they were hearing, picking up and thinking

As one can see, some correspondence was simply handwritten not even on anything official per se.

KRandle said...

Brian -

You have missed the point. You have not looked at the first page of the document nor have you looked at an official report in which Hoover's handwritten note is typed into it. It is all quite clear that this refers to Shreveport and the hoax there.

And, I would suggest that anything Hoover added, handwritten or not, would have been official, given his management style.

Brian Bell said...

Kevin:

No. I don't think I missed your point. But I think you might have missed mine. Let me summarize yours:

- Despite controversy, you're convinced (based on the evidence) that Hoover's "La" refers to the hoaxed Shreveport incident.

- The Shreveport incident was, as stated, a proven hoax.

- Ufologist should stop relying on Hoover's memo, handwritten or transcribed and later typed, as valid research data.

- The evidence does not favor the position that a saucer was retrieved in the "SW" or in "La".

- Hoover's handwritten notes were "official".

What's so hard about that?

My point:

- Hoover and his men often wrote to each other as though they were having an open dialog about their thoughts about certain incidents.

- These thoughts were often conveyed by handwritten note, seemingly casually or quickly written, like in today's email world.

- Sometimes these "notes" and correspondence were later transcribed and typed into "official" FBI letterhead when they initially started as handwritten comments.

- The correspondence style, conversational tone, and comments do not validate that the FBI had conducted a full fledged and thorough case investigation.

- Hence they don't prove any saucers were really collected at all despite people's claims.

- CDA's comment on Roswell as related to "SW" and "La" is a relevant point given the date of the correspondence.

ufodude2010 said...

To cda: So you actually think you know what Hoover was thinking when he wrote a few sentences? Wow, in that case, please give me the next Powerball numbers please!

cda said...

Kevin:

The only reason this Hoover note came into the Roswell case is that Moore & Berlitz, in their book, brought it up and tried to show it was connected with Roswell. They did this to steer readers into thinking the FBI were very concerned about the case. They suggested the 'La' was actually 'Sw' (Hoover's handwriting being a bit skewed). Naturally 'Sw' meant some UFO event in the southwest, i.e. Roswell, since this was the only known case in the southwest at that time, or at least the only one that mattered to Berlitz, Moore and Friedman.

Later writers, particularly Barry Greenwood, showed that Hoover indeed wrote 'La', meaning the Shreveport hoax case, thus killing off the Roswell-link idea. Someone, I forget who, who knew Hoover's handwriting, confirmed this.

And that is the story. Nothing else really. Obviously Hoover saw fit to mention the hoax UFO as a pencilled note in that memo, but not the 'real' UFO at Roswell. My suggestion was that Hoover decided the Roswell case was just not worth talking about (although he undoubtedly knew about it).

There is a later memo which includes quoting Hoover's note, this time typed in full in the text. It is interesting that none of these later memos make any mention of the FBI teletype of July 8, which WAS to do with Roswell.

Brian Bell said...

"It is interesting that none of these later memos make any mention of the FBI teletype of July 8, which WAS to do with Roswell."

Indeed, and perhaps that was because Hoover and his agents knew already that the Roswell incident was nothing to be concerned about or interested in (at least any longer).

In many ways Hoover can be compared to the head of the Nazi's Gestapo. Constantly competing against the military and others for power, information, and control.

If Roswell had happened they way some claim, Hoover would have known and commented extensively on it during and after.

Neal Foy said...

@ cda & Brian

While you guys have Hoover on the cosmic phone line can you please ask him if the military or anyone else told him mums the word on Roswell.

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

I don't think it is unreasonable that there were some things too sensitive to mention in a casual memo that would pass through many hands. I agree that the memo references a hoax, but drawing conclusions about Roswell from the absence of mention resembles the same logic folks used to link some mummy pictures to Roswell.

Beginning to draw some lines between serious thinkers and not-so-serious thinkers is good. This is a great example, similar to MJ-12, AA, etc. Hopefully, serious thinkers will continue to distance themselves from those that damage the credibility of any serious discussion of non-prosaic solutions.

cda said...

"Hopefully, serious thinkers will continue to distance themselves from those that damage the credibility of any serious discussion of non-prosaic solutions".

Phew! Do you (as a serious thinker I presume) think that you could rephrase this so that other serious thinkers, such as I consider myself to be, can make sense of it?

David Rudiak said...

As I remember, Stan Friedman tracked down the FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAG) whose name is on the Roswell Dallas memo, by the name of Wyly. According to Stan, Wyly told him that he was enjoying his retirement and had nothing to say to him. No doubt, Wyly was fearful of bringing up the story told the Dallas FBI by Fort Worth base of the "hexagonal" radar target attached to weather balloon that was supposedly found (NOTE: the SINGULAR weather balloon explanation being put out by Gen. Ramey).

Or maybe it had more to do with the fact that when the Dallas FBI contacted Wright Field, "... telephonic conversation between their office and Wright Field had not borne out this belief."

Another issue raised in the FBI telegram is at the end. Wright Field was to advise the Cincinnati FBI office the results of its examination. A search by the General Accounting Office in 1994 of FBI files failed to uncover any documents indicating that the FBI was further informed of anything. This represents yet one more piece of missing Roswell documentation that should have been there but isn't. This put-off with the promised follow-up information that never came resulted in the final sentence of the FBI memo: "No further investigation being conducted."

As Kevin has written about in some detail, two days later began Gen. Schulgen's AF intelligence investigation of the flying disc utilizing FBI help (Hoover memo says they would help), which largely ended several months later when Hoover ended FBI cooperation after learning about the infamous "toilet seat" memo, wherein the Air Force stated that the FBI was to be used only to chase down trivial flying disc reports, such as recovered trash can covers and toilet seats, while the Air Force would handle the obviously important cases. Hoover felt this was insulting and a waste of his agents' time and resources.

So clearly the FBI and Hoover weren't being told everything and were being kept at arm's length from the important stuff, Roswell or no Roswell.

Don Maor said...

Kevin you say that the Hoover's memo should be forgotten or left as a mere foonote of the UFO History.

This time Kevin, I think you are in error. Oneself can seriously suspect being wrong when thinkers like Brian Bell and CDA seem to agree with you, much more when they start to add incredibly bogus ideas such as that Hoover was just merely "thinking" and that he (Hoover) clearly knew at that time that the LA was a hoax, etc.. (indeed, Brian Bell is just on step from claiming that Hoover was "joking" and CDA keeps insisting with his psychic ability to read the mind of the defunct Hoover.)

In general terms, Hoover's memo by itself shows the interest in UFOs held by the legendary chief of the FBI. This clearly deservers more than just a footnote in UFO History, and it even deserves a place in the politic and OVERALL History.

Much more than that, Hoover's memo speaks of 'discs', in plural, this means that there was MORE cases than the LA one. This leaves the door fully open for Roswell.

Moreover, The LA case is presented as a hoax occurred in July 7. Wait a minute... You are saying that there was a flying disc crash hoax one day BEFORE the day the Roswell case exploded? If this does not sound weird, I don't know how it sounds. This weird fact yells for clarification, and yet Kevin (and understandably CDA) wants to bury Hoover's memo and related info. Sorry but no.

cda said...

Don:

Why do you claim it is "weird" that the Shreveport hoax occurred only one day before the Roswell case "exploded"? Are you saying that this cannot be, and was not, a coincidence because the dates are so close together?

First, the Shreveport case was NOT a 'crash'. Next, recall that the Roswell case occurred in mid-June, not July 7 or 8. It only "exploded" on July 8 because a number of newspapers reported it on that day (and then followed it the next day with the explanation). There were loads of sightings during that week, all over the US, so why attach such importance to these two cases, which have nothing in common?

Thus there is no "weird fact" and no "clarification" is necessary.

Also, it was not strictly Hoover's memo. He merely added a pencilled note to someone else's memo.

KRandle said...

Don -

You are both right and wrong. Right that we should not overlook the FBI role in the early investigations or Hoover's suggestion that they become part of that investigation, which, of course they did... until Hoover allegedly ended it later in 1947, but the documentation shows that the FBI still took an interest in UFO sightings and those who claimed personal contact with the alien creatures.

But the part of the note that refers to the "La." case, should be just part of a footnote for the Shreveport UFO hoax. And remember, at that time, early July 1947, there were any number of hoaxes around the flying saucers and tales of the crashes. On July 7, there was the report of a crash near Bozeman, MT, in which two men in a P-38 said the prop wash from their aircraft knocked a "clam-shell" shaped object out of the sky. I have a clipping from the Des Moines Register from Tuesday Morning, July 8 with a headline 'Saucer' Hoax is Told." This is the Bozeman case but please note that is on the same day that the RAAF announced their flying saucer but that was in the afternoon. I'm not sure of the significance here, but it is an interesting coincidence.

CDA -

The Roswell crash did not occur in mid-June. Bill Brazel said that the field where the debris was found was one that Mack was in every other day if not every day. So, the debris wouldn't have laid there unnoticed for two weeks... the notes that refer to a crash "last week" refers to another event near Las Cruces, I believe.

Brian Bell said...

I find it interesting that when Kevin posts something other than "Roswell" only 1-2 people respond. But...if Roswell comes up everybody's mother, brother, son, daughter, and uncle has something to say about it. Is this really supposed to be the "Roswell blog"?

@ Don:

Yes Don, as CDC said the Roswell case made news on July 8. Shreveport was a confirmed hoax on July 7. In addition, be mindful that Arnold's case was still circulating high in the news at the same time. On July 7, 1947, two stories came out where Arnold raised the topic of possible "extraterrestrial origins", both as his opinion and those who had written to him. Arnold became more and more convinced what he saw was not military aircraft, but visitors from another planet. Why? Because as he stated, his fan mail kept telling him that it was. So where did all these folks get the idea that aliens were visiting? From real evidence, or pure speculation fueled by media hype? And Roswell?

And yes Don, as CDC states it really wasn't "Hoover's Memo" at all - he wrote his reactions to one of his agent's comments - that's more like "what he thought" of the report - so yes, his thoughts and reactions to a comment but not a full fledged FBI investigation proving alien saucer crashes.

Hoover's mention of "discs"...well that's that the term the media was using in their reports. They might have easily said "flying bananas" and Hoover might have easily repeated "bananas" in his note. But more importantly that doesn't prove flying bananas or discs crashed anywhere.

@ Rudiak: You said:

"No doubt, Wyly was fearful of bringing up the story told the Dallas FBI by Fort Worth base of the "hexagonal" radar target attached to weather balloon that was supposedly found."

No doubt? Are YOU the one with cosmic psychic ability to read retired FBI agents thoughts? Just because a retired FBI agent doesn't want to talk to a UFO investigator doesn't mean "no doubt he's hiding something". Pure speculation on your part.

@ Rusty:

Maybe, but then again Hoover shows interest in all of the current disc reports...and is referencing one in this memo. Why suppose that he wrote one memo at a time per case on what for him was one big topic? Isn't it possible he would reference Roswell as he mentions another case supposedly reported in the same 48 hour time span?

Don Maor said...

Kevin,

Thanks for the clarification.

Brian:
Hoover's mention of "discs"...well that's that the term the media was using in their reports. They might have easily said "flying bananas" and Hoover might have easily repeated "bananas" in his note. But more importantly that doesn't prove flying bananas or discs crashed anywhere.

No Brian, no. "Discs" was clearly used in plural and additionally Hoover did wrote "For instance in the La case", ‘for instance’ means he is giving an example out from a larger group. And no, nobody has said that discs were crashing anywhere.

Don Maor said...

Brian said:
"No doubt? Are YOU the one with cosmic psychic ability to read retired FBI agents thoughts? Just because a retired FBI agent doesn't want to talk to a UFO investigator doesn't mean "no doubt he's hiding something". Pure speculation on your part."

I had the same concern about this Brian, but finally concluded that David is right: if you ask a question to a guy and he explicitly refuses to answer it, he is indeed hiding something, what? The answer. No need to be a psychic, and absolutely different from your irrelevant claim that Hoover was just "thinking".

Neal Foy said...

cda and Brian

Since you decided not to address my post I'll put it in the form of a question and make it a little more difficult to sidestep. Isn't it possible that Hoover was told that the Roswell incident was a matter of national security and that may be the reason he didn't mention it.

Surely you know that the FBI was engaged in counter intelligence during the war and into the cold war. It isn't a stretch to imagine that Hoover would respect a matter of national security, no matter if he thought he was being left out. Can you point to any leaks Hoover made regarding the Manhattan Project? Or any other national security matter?

I realize that this may be uncomfortable to cda especially since he maintains that Roswell was a non incident because it went away for over thirty years. Could it be that the reason it went away was because it involved national security?

With witnesses refusing to answer questions about Roswell, sometimes citing security oaths, wouldn't that point to some degree of security surrounding Roswell?

KRandle said...

Brian -

You dance dangerously close to the line with your comment about David...

All -

There is nothing in the Hoover note to suggest anything other than he was annoyed that in Shreveport the Army apparently wasn't sharing information with the FBI about the disk... There is no reason to bring Roswell into this... and if Hoover knew about it in that second week of July, and it was an alien craft, he would have known that it was highly classified and couldn't be mentioned on that memo. Shreveport made the case for him without having to touch on classified material.

Brian Bell said...

@ Don: you said...

"if you ask a question to a guy and he explicitly refuses to answer it, he is indeed hiding something, what?"

No Don, no. There are many reasons he may not answer the question. Mundane things like he's retired and doesn't care to rehash the past; he doesn't care to be associated with Friedman; he still maintains a general oath not to discuss past cases (which doesn't mean he is hiding alien visitation)....and many others. Question...have you answered every question ever asked to you at any time by anyone? Probably not. And neither have most people.

Brian Bell said...

@ Neal: you said...

"While you guys have Hoover on the cosmic phone line can you please ask him if the military or anyone else told him mums the word on Roswell".

I didn't answer the question because your "question" is sarcastic mockery (perhaps acceptable under Kevin's rules).

Regarding your restated question....Sure it's possible that Hoover was told to keep quiet about Roswell or other matters. However to convince me that he was told to be quiet about ANY UFO sightings or supposed crashes you'ld have to produce some type of documentation to that effect. Notes, official memoranda, phone recordings, etc.

But if we are going to "suppose" that he was told to be quiet without any documentation, we could equally "suppose" he never mentioned anything because like Shreveport nothing really happened. Right?

Don Maor said...

Brian said:

No Don, no. There are many reasons he may not answer the question. Mundane things like he's retired and doesn't care to rehash the past; he doesn't care to be associated with Friedman; he still maintains a general oath not to discuss past cases (which doesn't mean he is hiding alien visitation)....and many others. Question...have you answered every question ever asked to you at any time by anyone? Probably not. And neither have most people.

Yes, Brian, bla, bla, bla, unlikely denial, but maybe. Maybe even he also did not like Friedman's face.

But, why would he support his refusal to answer with the clarification that 'he was enjoying his retirement'..? Clearly the guy was trying to avoid problems, and still the notion that he was hidding something, is correct, for whatever reason-.

Paul Young said...

It does seem strange that Hoover didn't seem to be too curious about the UFO phenomenon after this memo.
It seems he was completely convinced that there was nothing to investigate,almost before the USA flap of the late 40's had even ended!

Hoover made it his life's work to know everyone's business and about everything that was going on..but he was strangely mute on the subject...which is odd considering it was one the biggest topics of the time.

This relaxed attitude flies in the face of everything we know about the guy.

I can only speculate that Hoover was brought into the loop very early on. Fully briefed on the subject and regularly updated.
It makes sense, to me, that someone with his ruthless determination to gain information, and with the investigative sources that he had to hand if he wanted to investigate the phenomena himself, with or without military intelligence's help...someone, prudently decided it was better to have Hoover inside the tent, pissing out...than outside the tent, pissing in...with the understanding that his own men at the FBI kept well away from the subject.

cda said...

Don:

Let's take a realistic view of FBI agent Wyly's position. Stan Friedman phones him out of the blue in 1981 (I believe). It is very likely, although I can't prove it, that Wyly had heard of the Berlitz-Moore book, even if he had not read it. Friedman introduces himself as a UFO, and Roswell, investigator, and starts asking questions on a subject Wyly had long forgotten about and did not want to be associated with anyway.

He replies exactly as Friedman says he did, namely that he is happily retired and does NOT want to be associated with this overblown tale again, or the UFO subject in any way. Simple. It is perfectly simple to me, but I realise that to those with a conspiratorial mindset it implies evasion and a wilful refusal to talk about something affecting 'national security'. Wyly simply did NOT want to discuss UFOs at all, let alone get involved with a man like Friedman who was very pro-ET and of a highly conspiracist nature. Thus he was not hiding anything; he just did not want to get involved.

If you want to read more into this telephone conversation, then do so. But in doing so you are merely revealing yourself as another conspiracist.

Neal Foy:

Yes, of course Hoover might have omitted mentioning Roswell because of national security matters. In which case we would expect that the FBI teletype of July 8 ought to have some security markings on it. Has it? If not, why not?

You can always put forward the 'secret' or 'top secret' argument to explain the absence of something connected with Roswell. That's why the wreckage and bodies are still stashed away after 7 decades, isn't it?

Don Maor said...

"If you want to read more into this telephone conversation, then do so. But in doing so you are merely revealing yourself as another conspiracist."

CDA, this is pure hand waving debunking, which forgets that the evaluation of this situation must be done considering the clause "... telephonic conversation between their office and Wright Field had not borne out this belief."

cda said...

Don:

I have given you what any reasonable person would consider is the most likely answer to the telephone conversation we were discussing (between Friedman and an FBI agent)

Additionally, the other phone call, i.e. the "telephonic conversation between their office and Wright Field had not borne out this belief" has an equally mundane answer. The disagreement was due to Wright Field not having seen the debris at that point, and thus having their doubts, whereas the people at Fort Worth had seen it, and were in a better position to say. Again a simple answer. But you prefer something more profound and suspicious.

Brian Bell said...

I don't think so Don. You can evaluate the situation based on the words... but the word "belief" is used here. Reference to what was said in the phone call...based on the words...like "belief"....does not confirm anything.

Now...if it said "telephonic conversation, based on current and proven evidence, does not match what we have confirmed already.." I might be more inclined to believe you.

Don Maor said...

CDA claimed:
"the other phone call, i.e. the "telephonic conversation between their office and Wright Field had not borne out this belief" has an equally mundane answer. The disagreement was due to Wright Field not having seen the debris at that point, and thus having their doubts"

Why would Wright Field have had "doubts" if they had not seen the debris yet? Your "simple" explanations are 'simply' absurd, CDA.

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

@Brian,

While I agree with your point, I have had bosses who wrote on memos, etc. But not on classified ones. I think you are right but neither side is really conclusive. I am sticking with not engaging with the AC's.

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

@Brian,

While I agree with your point, I have had bosses who wrote on memos, etc. But not on classified ones. I think you are right but neither side is really conclusive. I am sticking with not engaging with the AC's.

couldbebetter said...

Perhaps the La. stood for Los Alamos. Perhaps some wreckage was transported there. BG Roger Ramey was assigned there (I believe) and he was the person in charge of the wreckage and handling the press. If one ever saw the blowup of the memo that Ramey was holding in his hand, well, it is a bit telling. That is the photo of Ramey with MAJ Marcel who was instructed to tell the press that the wreckage was a weather baloon.

KRandle said...

couldbebettter -

It is clear from the context of the memo and the information available that the La. referred to the Shreveport case. There was no reported crash at Los Alamos and no evidence that the Army grabbed said debris and wouldn't allow the FBI to examine it in or around Los Alamos. No, this clearly refers to Shreveport.

Bob Koford said...

For what its worth, several examples of Hoover's handwriting are available on the web. Doing a comparison leaves little doubt that it is an upper case L, followed by an a and a period, just as you say.

It is interesting, though, that it was preceeded by the phrase: "...discs recovered", not "debris recovered."