A range of books and Internet sources provide accounts of various American presidents and their involvement with UAP. You can easily find details of President Jimmy Carter's 1969 observation of a light in the sky ( e.g. Kean, p.214;) and the fact that President Ronald Reagan had two UAP sightings ( e.g. click here.)
If you dig deeper, you will locate such insider knowledge as Vallee (pp376-377) writing about President Carter and the 1976 Tehran aircraft encounter (click here). Vallee wrote "One of the most troubling UFO cases I have recently studied took place in Iran...The press hasn't been told that the Shah personally called Jimmy Carter after the sighting. The United States had just sold some AWACs to Iran. The planes were equipped with radar equipment impervious to jamming. "What is going on?" The Shah asked Carter. "What's wrong with your equipment? This object jammed those radars you sold me!"
Similarly with President Bill Clinton, "President Clinton privately expressed some interest in UFOs, but certainly had no special knowledge. In his memoirs, a close confidante of the Clinton's, Webster "Webb" Hubbell, wrote that while working in the White house Clinton had asked him to look into two of the most controversial conspiracies of the United States...the second was to find out what the truth was about UFOs. According to Hubbell he failed on both counts and was unsatisfied with the response he received." (Alexander, p.108.)
I found a number of references I was not previously aware of relating to Lyndon Johnson in the recent book "UFOs and Government" (Powell et al 2012.) (Click here for Amazon Books details.)
"A young congressman from Texas, Lyndon Johnson, was questioned by a constituent, and followed up with a formal request for information from the Pentagon." (p.38 citing "29. Lyndon Johnson to the War department, 8 July 1947, FOIA (USAF.")
"...the Air Force got another request for information. This time it was from Lydon Baines Johnson. We do not know the response of the Pentagon, when the powerful senator's letter came in, but we suspect that everyone jumped. Johnson's constituent (called the "source" below) was complaining about Air Force handling of some obscure incident in Texas...(p.277 citing "26. Blue Book microfilm roll 32. Colonel H K Gilbert to Major Tacker, memorandum, subject: Results of investigation requested by Senator Lyndon Johnson, 19 May 1958.)
In the late 1960s:
President Johnson was reportedly involved with a hitherto little known secret study of UAP.
"One unknown-to-the-public result of this was that McDonald cajoled President Lyndon Johnson about UFOs. Johnson had always been curious about the subject, but did not want to be assaulted continuously by McDonald. So he asked for an informal, internal; staff study by top people who would report back to him so he could "get McDonald off his back."
Johnson's study involved important people committed to the reality of UFOs, such as Kelly Johnson of the famous aero-engineering "Skunk Works," and Art Lundahl of the National Photographic Interpretation Center.
A handful of other scientists was involved, administered by Hubert Humprhey's advisor for aeronautical and aerospace matters. They concluded that UFO phenomena in all likelihood involved advanced technology created off the planet. We have no information to indicate that McDonald, who served as an information-feeder early in the study, saw these conclusions and the informal study was, of course, never made public." (pp.308-309, citing "10. Frank Rand, untitled draft manuscript of a book, written c. 1996, and revision following, CUFOS files.)
A note on page 234 expands on the above information:
"John Timmerman of the Center for UFO Studies received, in the early 2000's, a series of letters and then draft manuscripts from Hubert Humphrey's former advisor on Military and NASA Affairs, Frank Rand. These materials described in detail a "private" UFO study done for President Lyndon Johnson by Rand, Kelly Johnson and several other prestigious scientists in the late 1960's. Kelly Johnson is described by RAnd as one of the two group members absolutely convinced of UFO reality as technological devices. (Materials all seen and read buy current writer [MDS}."
For further information on Lundahl click here. For more on Kelly Johnson click here.
James E McDonald:
I was surprised to see James E McDonald's name mentioned in this context, as I had recently re-read Ann Druffel's excellent 2003 book on McDonald (called Firestorm.) I didn't recall any mention, in the book, of McDonald interacting with President Johnson.
I turned to the index of "Firestorm" and there actually is a reference to Lyndon B Johnson in the book on page 203. However, it is not a reference to the late 1960's but to the year 1961.
"NICAP distributed a report "NICAP Report on Secrecy Dangers" to several members of Congress, including then Senator Lyndon Johnson...This powerful document helped convince congressmen that UFO hearings should be held. Sen. Lyndon Johnson ordered the Senate Preparedness Investigating Committee to keep close watch on UFO developments and on Air Force investigations of recent, significant sightings." (p.223.)
I examined "Firestorm" for other references to Lyndon Johnson but failed to find any.
What of Frank Rand? There are actually two "Firestorm" references to Rand. On page 201, Druffel, writing about McDonald says:
"In a self-typed memo to Frank Rand on February 12, 1968, he wrote 'If you know of any loose money, let me know. As a result of some criticisms of USAF made while in Australia, no ONR-renewal! Please don't mention this in casual conversation much, as it nettles me - it's not a point to air just now. Maybe I'll have to if all leads on UFO funding fall through." (27)
Druffel's footnote 27 reads " The identify of Frank Rand is unknown to this author. However, he is mentioned in a letter from McDonald to Dr Edward C Welsh of NASA in Washington DC. He was apparently a close friend and colleague of McDonald."
Rand is also mentioned in a 1967 note on page 203. Again writing to Dr E C Welsh of the National Aeronautics and Space Council. McDonald wrote "I believe that the UFO problem is one to which the National Aeronautics and Space Council should give careful attention. If you have had a chance to talk with Frank Rand about my visit with him last spring, you will have some impressions that may go beyond the remarks I made at the AIAA [Seattle] talk. 31." (Citing 31. Letter from McDonald to Dr Edward C Welsh, September 15, 1967.")
Do any blog readers have any further information that they can share on this Presidential "secret" study? You may be aware of another "secret" study conducted at around the same time, by McDonnell-Douglas (click here for my post on this second study.)
Alexander, John B. 2011. "UFOs:Myths, Conspiracies and Realities." Thomas Dunn Books. New York.
Druffel, Ann. 2003. "Firestorm." Wild Flower Press. Columbus, NC.
Hubbell, Webster. 1997. "Friends in High Places." William Morrow. New York.
Kean, Leslie. 2010. "UFOs: General's Pilots and Government Officials Go on the record." Harmony Books. New York.
Swords, M; Powell, R et al. 2012. "UFOs and Government." Anomalist Books. San Antinio, TX.
Vallee, J. 2008. "Forbidden Science Vol. II." Documentica Research, LLC. San Francisco.