Paul B. Thompson
Or, How a
Millionaire and a Socialite New Ager are
Trying to Influence World Leaders about UFOs
funded a report on the "best available evidence" for UFOs
As might be guessed
by his name, Laurence Rockefeller has a lot of money.
He's the grandson of John D. Rockefeller, founder of the
dynasty, and brother of John D. III, Nelson, Winthrop,
and David Rockefeller. Now 86 years old, Laurance
Rockefeller has long listened to his own personal, internal
After being a venture capitalist in his thirties, he embraced
environmental causes in the 1950s and 60s, long before they were
fashionable -- at the same time brother Nelson was
conquering the Amazon jungles with his CIA
He's also been interested in UFOs for a
long time, and often puts his money where his mind is. For
--For two years
(1993-95) Laurance Rockefeller supported Dr. John Mack's
Center for Psychology and Social Change in Cambridge, Mass.,
to the tune of $250,000 a year. Dr. Mack, of course, is the
controversial psychiatrist who investigates alleged UFO
--Rockefeller paid for at least two meeting sessions of the
Starlight Coalition, a group said to be made up of
former intelligence officers and military men interested in UFOs.
--At one time Rockefeller funded a plan to establish contact
with aliens, not using the SETI method (by radio
telescope), but by signaling them with banks of powerful halogen
--Rockefeller once held a UFO conference at his
ranch in Wyoming.
Just last year, Laurence
Rockefeller ponied up an estimated $30,000 for a special UFO
project created by Marie "Bootsie" Galbraith, wife of
investment banker Evan Galbraith and one-time U.S. ambassador to
France. Mrs. Galbraith wanted to compile a report containing the
most reliable evidence for the paranormal nature of UFOs.
This report would be sent to VIPs only -- politicians,
heads of corporations, heads of state -- to convince them of the
necessity of taking UFOs seriously.
To that end, Mrs. Galbraith arranged for the three most
influential civilian UFO groups in America to unite under
the temporary banner of the UFO Research Coalition: CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies), FUFOR (Fund for
UFO Research) and MUFON (Mutual UFO Network).
these organizations' data resources, a 169-page special report,
Flying Objects Briefing Document: The Best Available Evidence"
The bulk of the actual writing was done by Don Berliner, best
known for his work with Dr. Stanton Friedman on the Roswell
Incident. J. Antonio Huneeus, UFO columnist
for FATE magazine, also contributed, along
with Mrs. Galbraith herself. The report was printed in large
format (8 1/2 x 11 inches), perfect bound with a light blue cover.
Inside there is a letter of endorsement from the heads of the three
UFO organizations mentioned above: Mark Rodeghier of
CUFOS, Richard Hall of FUFOR, and Walter Andrus of MUFON.
Fraser Seitel, spokesman for Laurance Rockefeller, told
the Observer of New York that Rockefeller did not
personally endorse the report's conclusions. Said Seitel, "He
[Rockefeller] is interested in learning what the Government has on
The briefing document had a small print run (one unconfirmed estimate
said 300 copies were made), but bootleg photocopies have begun to
circulate. (I was offered one by a confidential source before I had
scarcely heard of the thing.) Mrs. Galbraith did not want the
report going to just anyone. "We just want the right people to know,"
she told the Observer.
"It's like your children are going
to announce their engagement and they haven't even told their mommies
and daddies, and then their mommies and daddies read about it in the
newspaper. They would be upset, wouldn't they?"
The briefing document is frankly not that exciting,
content-wise. The text is copyrighted, but here's the table of contents:
Part 1: Overview
-- Government Secrecy
-- The Case for UFO Reality
-- The UFO Cover-up
-- Summary of Quotations
Part 2: Case Histories
-- 1944-45: "Foo Fighters" Over Europe and Asia
-- 1946: "Ghost Rockets" Over Scandinavia
-- 1947: First American Sighting Wave
-- 1952: Second American Sighting Wave
-- 1956: Radar/Visual Jet Chase Over England
-- 1957: Third American Sighting Wave
-- 1958: Brazilian Navy Photographic Case
-- 1964: Landing Case at Socorro, New Mexico
-- 1967: Physiological Case at Falcon Lake, Canada
-- 1975: Strategic Arm Command Bases UFO Alert
-- 1976: Multiple Witness Case in the Canary Islands
-- 1976: UFO Dog-Fight over Teheran
-- 1980: UFO Incidents at Rendlesham Forest, England
-- 1981: Physical Trace Case in Trans-en-Provence, France
-- 1986: Jet Chase over Brazil
-- 1986: Japan Airlines 747 Case over Alaska
-- 1989: Multiple Witness Case at Russian Missile Base
-- 1991-94: Recent Cases
Part 3: Quotations
-- Characteristics of IFOs and UFOs
-- Terminology of UFOs
-- International Agreements and Resolutions
-- Recommended Reading
-- Resource Catalogs
-- CUFOS, FUFOR, and MUFON
As can be seen by this list,
the material covered is fairly familiar stuff to any well-read UFO
buff. The cases are well presented, with clear diagrams and photographs.
Part 3, "Quotations," consists of pro-UFO statements by
government officials, military men, astronauts, and scientists.
The effect of all this material is rather like reading a textbook for
UFOs 101. Or a better analogy would be to say this is the 1990s
version of the classic 1964 treatise The UFO Evidence,
compiled by NICAP under the editorship of FUFOR's
Richard Hall. The UFO Evidence contained over 700
cases, representing the best UFO evidence to that date.
Bootsie's "Briefing" has only nineteen chapters, though some
sections cover more than one case. I guess the UFO Research
Coalition decided not to tire the minds of its VIP
readers too much.
All in all, the story of the document's creation is more interesting
than the material it contains. Because of its origin and aura of
exclusivity, many UFO buffs will seek out the briefing
document, but it contains no information that can't be found in the
works of J. Allen Hynek, Timothy Good,
Richard Hall, and the
Condon Committee Report.
predict its effect on world leaders will be exactly nil.
At the recent MUFON Symposium in Greensboro, N.C. (July
5-7, 1996), I was told that the briefing was beginning to show up
illegally on the Internet. Bootsie will have a spasm. Being a
writer myself, I can't condone deliberate copyright violation, but
everyone needs to lighten up.
The briefing is not a soul-shaking
document, nor is it worth pirating. If it had been published
commercially, it would have attracted far less interest. Maybe
Rockefeller should put out a mass-market paperback edition. That way
the curious could read the briefing legally, and Laurance could
recoup his money.
As if he needs it.