Truman: "“I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by ..."

Rroval

Member
I've stumbled across this quote when I was arguing with UFO fans:

“I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”
– President Harry S. Truman. April 4, 1950. White House Press Conference.

Can this quote be debunked?
 
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Truman gave no press conference on April 4th 1950. The Earliest version of the quote I could find was 2004:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040404170420/http://www.presidentialufo.com/truman4.htm
External Quote:
Truman was reported to have made at least two UFO comments while at his "Southern White House." In April 1950 he passed this message through his press secretary " I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth."
But there don't seem to be any other verification of this.

Truman mentioned Flying Saucers only once in an official capacity July 10th 1947, joking.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=12698
External Quote:

[8.] Q. Mr. President, have you seen any flying saucers ?

THE PRESIDENT. Only in the newspapers. [Laughter]

Q. Any explanations of them from over here?

THE PRESIDENT. Only the explanations I have seen in the newspapers. Did you ever hear of the moon hoax ?
 
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further proof, list of presidential news conferences, its not there, there was one on march 30 and one april 13 but none on the supposed date



Harry S. Truman March 2, 1950 The President's News Conference

Harry S. Truman March 9, 1950 The President's News Conference

Harry S. Truman March 30, 1950 The President's News Conference at Key West

Harry S. Truman April 13, 1950 The President's News Conference
Harry S. Truman April 27, 1950 The President's News Conference


http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/news_conferences.php?year=1950
 
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Even if he said it, the phrase 'given that they exist', might just mean 'if they exist', or 'assuming that they exist', not an admission that they do exist. It would be a slightly odd way of saying it, but some more recent Presidents have had much odder turns of speech.
 
THE PRESIDENT. Only the explanations I have seen in the newspapers. Did you ever hear of the moon hoax ?
This is veering off-topic, but what "moon hoax" would he have been referring to in 1947? Nowadays that term usually means the idea that the manned moon landings were faked.
 
This is veering off-topic, but what "moon hoax" would he have been referring to in 1947? Nowadays that term usually means the idea that the manned moon landings were faked.

He's talking about speculation in the newspapers that the UFOs might be from another planet, and that seems to remind him of a classic newspaper hoax about aliens on the moon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Moon_Hoax
External Quote:
The "Great Moon Hoax" refers to a series of six articles that were published in The Sun, a New York newspaper, beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, one of the best-known astronomers of that time.
...
The articles described fantastic animals on the Moon, including bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers and bat-like winged humanoids ("Vespertilio-homo") who built temples. There were trees, oceans and beaches. These discoveries were supposedly made with "an immense telescope of an entirely new principle."
Metabunk 2018-09-04 07-32-56.jpg
 
Even if he said it, the phrase 'given that they exist', might just mean 'if they exist', or 'assuming that they exist', not an admission that they do exist. It would be a slightly odd way of saying it, but some more recent Presidents have had much odder turns of speech.

Yep. That's the way I read it. “I can assure you that flying saucers, IF they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

Makes sense to me when you read it that way.
 
While it seems there's currently zero evidence to suggest that Truman said this, or anything resembling this, I have to disagree with the above interpretation of the word "given".

To me, "given that they exist" = "they exist".

I believe it's being used here as a preposition:

External Quote:
given

preposition
  1. taking into account.
    "given the complexity of the task, they did a good job"
    synonyms: considering, taking into consideration, taking into account, in view of, bearing in mind, giving consideration to, keeping in mind, in the light of; making allowances for; assuming
https://www.google.se/search?q=given+definition&oq=given+definition
 
While it seems there's currently zero evidence to suggest that Truman said this, or anything resembling this, I have to disagree with the above interpretation of the word "given".

To me, "given that they exist" = "they exist".

I believe it's being used here as a preposition:

External Quote:
given

preposition
  1. taking into account.
    "given the complexity of the task, they did a good job"
    synonyms: considering, taking into consideration, taking into account, in view of, bearing in mind, giving consideration to, keeping in mind, in the light of; making allowances for; assuming
https://www.google.se/search?q=given+definition&oq=given+definition

The last word there is assuming.

“I can assure you that flying saucers, ASSUMING they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

assuming
əˈsjuːmɪŋ/
conjunction
  1. 1.
    used for the purpose of argument to indicate a premise on which a statement can be based.
    "assuming that the treaty is ratified, what is its relevance?"
So it's like saying:

“I can assure you that flying saucers, for aguments sake, lets say they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

I'm still reading it as NOT admitting to anything, just telling people that IF you believe they exist, they're not made by us.
 
The last word there is assuming. So it's like saying:

“I can assure you that flying saucers, for arguments sake, lets say they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

It is like saying that, if you ignore all the other meanings of "given", and take only that meaning of "assuming".

Shall we agree to disagree? ;)
 
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I can assure you that flying saucers, ASSUMING they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

except Truman didn't say it during a conference April 1950. Which means a UFO believer wrote a fake quote. and a UFO believer means 'they exist'. Why would a UFO believer have Truman say "flying saucers, if they exist, blah blah", that doesn't help the UFO world at all. Even I know that flying saucers, if they exist, aren't constructed by any power on earth. What would be the point of having Truman say such a thing that everyone already knows?
 
except Truman didn't say it during a conference April 1950. Which means a UFO believer wrote a fake quote. and a UFO believer means 'they exist'. Why would a UFO believer have Truman say "flying saucers, if they exist, blah blah", that doesn't help the UFO world at all. Even I know that flying saucers, if they exist, aren't constructed by any power on earth. What would be the point of having Truman say such a thing that everyone already knows?

In that time, early in the Cold War, were there not suspicions that the mysterious 'flying saucers' might be secret weapons built by the USA itself, the USSR, or some other earthly power? There were rumours that Nazi Germany had developed very advanced aircraft technology, work on which secretly continued after the War. According to this Wikipedia article, in early 1950, Giuseppe Belluzzo, an Italian scientist and a former Italian Minister of National Economy under the Mussolini regime, […] claimed that "types of flying discs were designed and studied in Germany and Italy as early as 1942". Belluzzo also expressed the opinion that "some great power is launching discs to study them". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_UFOs

The timing of this would fit in rather well with Truman's alleged comments. I can imagine that in the days of Cold War paranoia some people may have preferred to be told that flying saucers were the work of advanced extraterrestrial beings rather than the dreaded Russkies.

Of course this is not evidence that Truman said it, but it might explain why he did, if he did.
 
Belluzzo also expressed the opinion that "some great power is launching discs to study them".

more semantics.
External Quote:
Belluzzo said:

"It has passed my mind that some great power is experimenting with flying discs -- without explosives or atomic bombs.
http://www.saturdaynightuforia.com/html/articles/articlehtml/taleofthenazisaucer.html
I only link that because I am a debunker. It seems most newspapers reprinting the story cut the quote like your link does, https://web.archive.org/web/20090913022250/http://www.german-discs.net/builders/belluzzo.php

So yes, Truman reading that phraseology might have been responding to Belluzos claims, meaning the technology was impossible. ? I can see your point there. But if he did, it's hard to imagine newspapers wouldn't have covered his comments since this Belluzzo thing was somewhat a sensational news story according to the archive link.
 
Isn't "the timing of Truman's alleged comments" some time around 2004?

OK, I should have said the alleged timing of Truman's alleged comments!

Did Truman make any such comments in April 1950? Nobody has yet produced any clear reference to them from before 2004, which is surprising if he did make them, as the subject is intensively, not to say obsessively, studied by many people. So Truman did make some well-attested comments on flying saucers or UFOs, but probably not these.

However, I don't think the case can quite be closed. The following web page by a UFO enthusiast should obviously be read with caution, but it does refer to a report in Time magazine on 17 April 1950 which (allegedly) states that "in April 1950 Truman sends word through his press secretary that he knows nothing about the saucers". This doesn't give the exact quote, but it would fit the timing, the means of communication, and the general drift of the alleged comments. Someone who has access to the magazine's online archive (which requires subscription) or a good American reference library would be able to check this claim.

External Quote:

Truman sends a Message

" I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth."

This was a statement supposedly made by President Truman on April 4, 1950. Some reports have the statement coming at a Washington Press Conference. Unfortunately, Truman was at his Key West, Florida residence on the day in question and did not hold a Press Conference on that day.

Each day of the Presidency, however, his Press Secretary Charles Ross would usually hold two press scrums with reporters to answer questions. As a later "Time Magazine" article more accurately put it, the statement about the President’s claimed ignorance of the situation came from his Press Secretary. The April 17, 1950 "Time" article stated, "In April 1950 Truman sends word through his press secretary that he knows nothing about the saucers."
The UFO web page I mentioned is here: http://www.presidentialufo.com/old_site/harrys.htm It appears to be from the same site as the link Mick West gave earlier, but unlike that one it cites a verifiable source.

Added: I can't access the Time report, but I have found this brief report in the Canberra Times (Australia) of 6 April 1950, which confirms that Truman's press secretary, Charles Ross, made some statement denying any knowledge about flying saucers. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2774308 And if the story reached as far as Australia, there must surely have been reports in the American press too. The New York Times would be an obvious place to search. Of course, none of these reports yet confirm the exact words of the quote at issue, but the last sentence of the Australian report (which unfortunately is not fully legible) does appear to say that "neither the President nor members of his staff knew anything of such mysterious objects, either [illegible] of this or any other country."

Further added: zooming in on the illegible words, and playing with the brightness, I think I can decipher them as "as a secret weapon". The word "weapon" is reasonably clear, which has probably biased me to read the preceding word as "secret". Other readers can make their own minds up. If I am right, the sentence would read: "neither the President nor members of his staff knew anything of such mysterious objects, either as secret weapons of this or any other country."
 
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in April 1950 Truman sends word through his press secretary
1.a Press Secretary speaks to the press. Ergo, the press would have reported on it.
2. what does "knows nothing about the saucers" have to do with “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.” ? The second sentence is the exact opposite of the first.


Bottom line: Produce the quote in newspaper print or in private letters, OR the quote is debunked.
 
According to this book c.2012 page 97, and quoting the French Space Program (CNES), a radio broadcast put out the idea on April 3 1950 that the UFOs were a secret US military project -which some UFOs probably were-

and then on April 4th Charles Ross, Truman's Press Secretary, put out a statement that the military had no such projects. Later a scientist stated that such technology wasn't humanly possible.

So maybe the radio host, Henry Taylor, said the OP quote. Or the quote was a conflation of the events in this book which does give source references back to a 1983 publication of the CNES.

ht1.PNG

crpage97.PNG

gg.PNG


kkp.PNG
 
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Zooming in on the illegible words, and playing with the brightness, I think I can decipher them as "as a secret weapon". The word "weapon" is reasonably clear, which has probably biased me to read the preceding word as "secret". Other readers can make their own minds up. If I am right, the sentence would read: "neither the President nor members of his staff knew anything of such mysterious objects, either as secret weapons of this or any other country."

That looks like the right sentence to me.

Good work Deirdre on digging out the Henry Taylor stuff.

Case closed? :)
 
Good work Deirdre on digging out the Henry Taylor stuff.
I found this book online
upload_2018-9-10_12-37-9.png



if you open the doc and search for "Truman" you will see many newspaper articles from April 3rd- (I got to april 10 then stopped reading) Los angeles Times, Denver Post, NY Journal, NY Times etc .. they are text excerpts of bits of the articles, but nothing indicates Truman himself spoke at all April 4th or later, and no newspaper is quoting Charles Ross saying anything like the OP quote.

The book is called
External Quote:


Author: Frank Scully
Title: BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS
Format: Book
Publication Year: 1950
Digitizer: Bufo Calvin

an example of some in th ebook
External Quote:


April 4, 1950:

TRUMAN, JOHNSON TRY TO DOWN THE DISKS Washington, April 4 (UP) Mr. Truman announced through his press secretary at Key West, Florida that he knows nothing of any flying saucers being developed by this or any other country. "We are not denying this because of any developments of secret weapons, but purely because we know of nothing to support these rumors," said Press Secretary Charles G. Ross.

April 4, 1950: The New York Times "SAUCERS" CALLED REAL NAVY PLANES Washington, April 3 (AP) Recap of the magazine article from U. S. News and World Report, which declares evidence indicating revolutionary craft are of U. S. development. Included a picture of scale model built in 1942 mounted for wind tunnel tests at Langley, Va.

April 4, 1950: Denver Post

U. S. DENIES SAUCERS TEST WEAPONS

Washington, April 4 (UP) Air Force and Navy say they are not experimenting with any plane or weapon that could account for widespread reports about the flying disks. A spokesman for the Air Force after investigation of hundreds of saucer stories said the armed services are standing on conclusions reached last December that flying saucers just don't exist.

April 5, 1950: The New York Times

TRUMAN, JOHNSON RIDICULE "SAUCERS"

Key West, Fla. April 4 (Special) President Truman said today he knew nothing about the flying saucer, while other White House comment relegated the


Apparently all of Ross's transcripts are available at the Truman Library (box 12 and box 25 cover the time periods) but I'm not seeing them online.

https://www.trumanlibrary.org/hstpaper/ross.htm
 
The Earliest version of the quote I could find was 2004
I found one from 2001 but doesn't give a date or location
rickrichards.PNG

https://web.archive.org/web/20010409014456/http://www.rickrichards.com:80/UFO.htm



and then I found a book published in 2003 that claims
pp.PNG


External Quote:

Global implications of the UFO reality / by David E. Twichell.
Creator: Twichell, David E.
Publisher: Haverford, PA : Infinity Publishing.com, 2003.
Format: Books
Physical Description: 176 p. ;22 cm.
Identifier: (ISBN)0741417561 (pbk.)
(OCoLC)56470874
Language: English
Subjects: Unidentified flying objects -- Religious aspects
somewhat interesting, this Twichell guy is described as a MUFON field investigator.

Your 2004 link at least investigated enough to see that Charles Ross and Truman were not in DC April 4th.

I also discovered (everyone here probably already knew) that during that specific time frame UFO talk in newspapers was mega-viral [http://sohp.us/collections/ufos-a-history/pdf/GROSS-1950-Apr-July.pdf] , so definitely if Truman, Ross, any gov guy or even the scientist who spoke said anything like “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”; it would have been reported in the newspapers of the time.

maybe a red herring but I did find a somewhat similar turn of phrase from a May 23, 1955 article in the NY American Journal. I found no other near-misses using the term "constructed" or "on earth".
External Quote:

Those "Little Men" On Flying Saucers? Real, Says Kilgallen

Remember the creepy stories about flying saucers and little men
from outer space? Dorothy Kilgallen has run into a new one in
London. Here is her dispatch to the New York Journal-American on
what a British official thinks about those "little fellows."

By Dorothy Kilgallen
Distributed by International News Service

London, May 22 - British scientists and airmen, after examining
the wreckage of a mysterious "flying ship," are convinced that
these strange aerial objects are not optical illusions or Soviet
inventions, but actually are flying saucers which originate on
another planet.

The source of my information is a British official of cabinet
rank who prefers to remain unidentified.

"We believe, on the basis of our inquiries thus far, that the
'saucers' were staffed by small men - probably under four feet
tall," my informant told me today.

"It's frightening but there is no denying the flying saucers
come from another planet."

This official quoted scientists as saying a flying ship of this
type could not have been constructed on earth.


http://ufoupdateslist.com/1999/mar/m04-013.shtml
 
I have found the original source of the Truman statement “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth." in the 1995 The Rockefeller UFO Briefing Document Page 100.
Metabunk 2019-06-16 05-50-53.jpg

You can download it here.
http://www.openminds.tv/wp-content/uploads/Rockefeller-Briefing-Document.pdf

via:
https://integralisme.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/the-rockefeller-ufo-briefing-document/

I have been unable to find the original notes from April 4, 1950, White House Press Conference.
 
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I have found the original source of the Truman statement
While this is an older source than the previous ones listed, it's not clear it's the original.

What does seem clear is that Truman did not give a press conference at the white house on that day.
 
I have found the original source of the Truman statement in the 1995 The Rockefeller UFO Briefing Document

I wonder what the legitimacy of that document is: the quote after the Ford one is from Jimmy Carter, cited in The National Enquirer.

upload_2019-6-16_20-41-22.png
 
So I looked up the article in the New York Times, 5 April 1950, p.24, "Truman, Johnson, ridicule 'Saucers': United States Not Producing Such a Weapon, Say White House, Defense Officials."

It seems clear from the article that although Truman may not have given a press conference on 4 April, his press secretary did speak to the press. And therefore, had Truman said, or been reported by his press secretary to have said, anything on 4 April 1950 along the lines suggested, the NYT would have reported it. They reported nothing of the kind.

Note that the interaction with journalists took place in Florida, not Washington. The article notes that Truman was due to return to Washington "next Monday", and that "if Mr. Truman stays here until Monday, he will have been away from the capital thirty-one days, his longest absence from Washington since he went to the Potsdam conference in 1945". So there is evidence that Truman wouldn't be giving a White House press conference on 4 April 1950.

Here is how the article starts:

KEY WEST, Fla., April 4 - President Truman said today he knew nothing about the flying saucer, while other White House comment relegated this reputed wanderer of the air to the realm of myths.
The United States was not producing these fantastic weapons, the White House said, and it doubted very much that any other country was launching them into space, either.
The views of the President and members of his staff, made public by Charles G. Ross, White House press secretary, seemed to demolish the element of reality that had been creeping into current reports of flying saucers. There has been a widespread resurgence of these reports, and the Miami Daily News has been publishing copyrighted photographs of a glowing, concave object which it identifies as the saucer that flies.

Later in the article there is this:

"I'm not denying this because they are in the secret weapon category," replied Mr. Ross. "No one in the [President's] party knows anything about them, including the President."

The bit about Johnson (Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson) is just a piece - filed from Washington this time - reporting on a press conference at which flying saucers were brought up, "and brought forth grins from the man ought to know." Just denial that the reports related to any American research project, and denial that there was any evidence that they were likely to be related to any foreign country's activity.

There's no flat denial here of the phenomenon itself - nobody quoted here says "flying saucers are made up nonsense". But equally they're evidently not taking it seriously.
 
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Ran across this:

"Due to the fabulous sleuthing of a recent Truman Library researcher, we have more to add to this topic. There is a longer clip of Mr. Truman's press conference online at Historic Films.com, which gives context clues as to the location and timing of this press conference. We have been able to determine that the press conference was in Ohio (probably Cleveland) on October 3, 1958. The Truman Library does not have this footage. Now that we know the details of where and when it was recorded, we encourage you to seek out local Ohio media sources, and check with the larger newsreel libraries to see if you can find the original footage in their holdings."

Source: https://historyhub.history.gov/pres...is-harry-truman-s-statement-on-flying-saucers


There is also a clip that has been on YouTube for a long time:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ujA92bqO_0


Reminds me of:


The January 16, 1957, Admiral S. Fahrney, head missile testing of the American Navy stated:

"According to worthy information of faith, in our atmosphere objects arrive at high speed. No aircraft, neither in the United States, either in the Soviet Union is currently able to achieve the speed attributed to these objects from the radars and from the observatories. These objects appear to be driven by an intelligence the way in which they fly. According to reports from scientists and technical personnel, these objects fly in formation and finish manoeuvres that seem to point out that are not completely driven from an automatic equipment. These objects are in incontestable mode the result of long investigations and highly technological and exceptional knowledge."

"Worthy information of faith" You guys love stuff like that! :p
 
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I had a look at some Ohio news sources, but while Truman was certainly in Cleveland at that time I can see no reporting specifically relating to 'flying saucers'. There is however plenty in the papers about 'flying saucers', just not Truman's comments about them.

Re: Fahrney (described as "retired"), I found a lot of reports of his press conference (launching a "National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena", a private organisation linking up various UFO-hunting groups).

Here's an article from the Chicago Tribune, 17 January 1957, p.3:

1708813994907.png


Source: https://www.newspapers.com/article/chicago-tribune-fahrney/142019668/
 
Truman was in Cleveland at that time, but I'm not having any success searching for a speech in the Plain Dealer archives.
This photo is from the Truman library with the caption
"
Description
Former President Harry S. Truman, partly obscured by man in the hat, is surrounded by members of the press and others after his arrival in Cleveland, Ohio. He is campaigning for the Democrats.
Date(s)

October 2, 1958"
IMG_2358.jpeg
 
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