1. Rroval

    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?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2019
  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

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

    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.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  3. RFMarine

    RFMarine Member

    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

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  4. DavidB66

    DavidB66 Member

    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.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    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.

    Metabunk 2018-09-04 07-32-56.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. FatEarther

    FatEarther Member

    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.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    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:

    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  9. FatEarther

    FatEarther Member

    The last word there is assuming.

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

    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.
  10. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    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? ;)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
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  11. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    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?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. DavidB66

    DavidB66 Member

    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.
  13. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    more semantics.
    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.
  14. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Isn't "the timing of Truman's alleged comments" some time around 2004?
  15. DavidB66

    DavidB66 Member

    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.

    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."
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  16. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  17. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    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.


    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
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  18. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    That looks like the right sentence to me.

    Good work Deirdre on digging out the Henry Taylor stuff.

    Case closed? :)
  19. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I found this book online

    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
    an example of some in th ebook

    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.

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  20. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I found one from 2001 but doesn't give a date or location

    and then I found a book published in 2003 that claims

    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".
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  21. Scotts62

    Scotts62 New Member

    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.
    You can download it here.


    I have been unable to find the original notes from April 4, 1950, White House Press Conference.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2019
  22. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    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.
  23. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

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