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Kennedy linked US-USSR space missions with classified UFO files

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In 1963, President John F. Kennedy launched a ground breaking initiative to get the USSR and USA to cooperate in joint space and lunar missions. In the background of this publicly announced initiative with powerful Cold War implications was a more secretive attempt to release classified UFO files. Leaked documents reveal that Kennedy instructed the CIA to release classified UFO files as part of the cooperative space effort with the Soviet Union. If Kennedy had succeeded, there would have been joint space mission to the moon and eventual public release of classified UFO files by both the US and USSR. President Kennedy’s assassination quickly led to the abandonment of his joint moon mission with the USSR, and ended his administration’s effort to force the CIA to release classified UFO files.

In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 1963, President Kennedy said:

Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity -- in the field of space -- there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon.

In putting into effect his commitment for joint space missions, President Kennedy issued National Security Action Memorandum No. 271 on November 12, 1963 with the subject header:"Cooperation with the USSR on Outer Space Matters:"

I would like you to assume personally the initiative and central responsibility within the Government for the development of a program of substantive cooperation with the Soviet Union in the field of outer space, including the development of specific technical proposals. I assume that you will work closely with the Department of State and other agencies as appropriate.

The Memorandum went on to say that the cooperation was a direct outcome of Kennedy’s September 20 proposal “for broader cooperation … in outer space, including cooperation in lunar landing programs.” The Memorandum was classified “Confidential” and circulated to James Webb (NASA Administrator), the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA, the President’s Science Advisor, and three other agency directors.

In addition to the Confidential National Security Action Memorandum, Kennedy issued a more highly classified “Top Secret” Memorandum to the Director of the CIA. Dated the same day of November 12, 1963 the subject header of the file was: “Classification review of all UFO intelligence files affecting National Security.” The Top Secret Memorandum went on to say:

[I] have instructed James Webb to develop a program with the Soviet Union in Joint space and lunar explorations. It would be very helpful if you would have the high threat [UFO] cases reviewed with the purpose of identification of bona fides as opposed to classified CIA and USAF sources…. When this data has been sorted out, I would like you to arrange a program of data sharing with NASA where Unknowns [UFOs] are a factor. This will help NASA mission directors in their defensive responsibilities. I would like an interim report on the data review no later than February 1, 1964.

It’s important to note that CIA Memorandum refers to the National Security Action Memorandum issued to Webb on the same day. Even though the leaked Top Secret Memorandum to the CIA has not been officially acknowledged (it has been ranked medium-to-high level of authenticity), there is no question about the legitimacy of the National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM). The November 12, 1963 National Security Action Memorandum clearly showed that Kennedy had decided to cooperate with the USSR on “Outer Space Matters.” If Kennedy had been warned by about the dangers of future conflict with the Soviet Union and/or with extraterrestrial life (as discussed in earlier articles in this series), then sharing classified UFO files was an obvious way to implement the National Security Action Memorandum.

At the time of Kennedy's initiative, the USAF was conducting a public investigation of UFO cases and made many available under Project Blue Book. UFO cases that had national security implications, however, were investigated under a separate reporting system. Joint Army Navy Air Publication (JAMAP) 146 created the Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS system) that required all civilian and military pilots in the US and Canada to report UFO sightings. UFO sightings with national security implications were investigated under the CIRVIS system. These UFO cases were classified and their release was an offense under the Espionage Act. Less important UFO sightings were not classified and made available through the Blue Book reporting system. The separate investigation systems for UFO sightings was eventually disclosed in 1979 by a document released through the Freedom of Information Act. In the released memorandum dated Oct 20, 1969, Brigadier General C. H. Bolender acknowledged: “reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system.” In 1963, President Kennedy was therefore seeking the release of classified UFO files collected through the CIRVIS reporting mechanism, and not those made available through Project Blue Book.

In conclusion, National Security Action Memorandum No 271 and the associated Top Secret CIA Memorandum issued on November 12, 1963 are evidence that Kennedy firmly linked cooperation with the USSR on “outer space matters” with the release of classified UFO files. For undisclosed reasons, Kennedy was convinced that the CIA was the lead agency for ensuring the release of UFO files. This suggests that the USAF and the other military services were secretly required to release UFO files reported through the CIRVIS system to the CIA. Kennedy was therefore directly confronting the CIA over its ultimate control of classified UFO files. Ten days after the two November 12 memoranda were issued, President Kennedy was dead.

[Related Articles: Did President Kennedy meet extraterrestrials? and Was President Kennedy given ET UFO message about Cuba?



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Dr. Michael Salla is an internationally recognized scholar in international politics, conflict resolution, US foreign policy and the new field of 'exopolitics'. He is author/editor of nine books; and held academic appointments in the School of (more...)

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