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British Government Statement Regarding UFOs

The following is a statement prepared by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) civil servants for Professor, Sir D.E.N. Davies, FRS (Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence) in case he was asked a question concerning the attitude of her Majesty's Government to the "UFO" phenomenon.  As it turned out, the question was not asked during my IEE lecture on May 21, 1996 but comments were made by members of the audience about the X-Files, which at that time had developed a cult following on the BBC.  The "official" brief below was read to a small group of guests present at the IEE dinner held immediately after the lecture.  Amongst those present at the dinner were Dr. Barrie Jones of the Open University and Professor John Midwinter of University College London.  Professor, Sir D.E.N. Davies kindly gave me his copy of this statement.



The MOD does not have a direct interest, expertise or role with respect to "UFO/Flying saucer" matters, or the question of the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial lifeforms, about which we remain open-minded.
To date we are not aware of any evidence which substantiates the existence of lifeforms of extraterrestrial origin.
The MOD does look into reports of "UFO" sightings that are sent to us, many of which are very vague, but only to establish if what was seen may have defence significance, e.g., hostile foreign military aircraft in UK airspace.  We believe that down-to-earth explanations are available for most reported "UFO" sightings, such as aircraft seen from unusual angles, or natural phenomena.
If there is no evidence to suggest a matter of defence relevance we do not investigate or seek to establish the precise nature of what was observed.
Secretariat (Air Staff), the single service secretariat branch which provides administrative support for RAF activities and operations, is the nominated MOD focal point for the subject of "UFOs".  Although there are two members of staff in Sec(AS)2a who deal with "UFO"-related queries as a part of their much wider ranging secretariat duties, there are no staff who work on this topic full-time.

May 14, 1996
Ministry of Defence
Whitehall, London


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