ORTK (UK) Press Releases

MOD Reply to our letter

Here follows the transcript of Ms Philpot's reply to a letter sent to her on 16th March by ORTK UK coordinator Mr John Holman.

You will notice it's formal and non committal style. It is also worth noting that much of it's contents seem to contradict information already made public by Nick Pope, Ms Philpot's predecessor at the MOD.

It seems to me, that they do not really have an 'official policy' and that their replies are usually muddled and not really knowing what their exact stance is.


Miss K Philpott, Secretariat(Air Staff ) 2a, Room 8245,
Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB
Telephone (Direct Dialling) 0171 2182l40
(Switchboard) 0171 2189000
Mr J Holman Your reference 20 Newton Gardens Ripon Our reference North Yorkshire D/Sec(AS)12/3 HG4 lQF Date: 5 April 1995 Dear Mr. Homan, 1. Thank you for your letter of l6th March. 2. First I feel it important to explain once more the precise responsibility that the Ministry of Defence has in connection with the subject of unexplained aerial phenomena, to clear up any lingering misconceptions. The MOD and HM Forces have responsibility for the defence of the United Kingdom. In order to carry out that responsibility we must ensure that we remain vigilant for any potential threat, from whatever source. It is therefore quite proper that we look at reports of unexplained aerial phenomena in order to establish whether what was seen is of defence significance. If no threat is discerned, and in connection with unexplained aerial phenomena this has been the case in all instances to date, we make no further attempt to investigate and establish exactly what may have been seen. 3. As such, we do not have any direct interest, expertise or role in respect of UFO/"flying saucer" matters, or those relating to the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial lifeforms, about which we remain totally open-minded. We therefore in fact fully concur with your statement in paragraph 3 that "the MOD's role in maintaining the security of the United Kingdom has little to do with the UFO subject". 4. Moving on to other points you raise in your letter I can confirm that the document entitled "International Roswell Initiative" which you enclosed with your letter of 27 February to Lord Henley was passed to this office. As the explanation in my second paragraph should have made clear, the incident to which this material refers falls outside this Department's area of responsibility, and therefore I have no comment on the document. 5. You refer to the 'UFO' sightings over Belgium in l990. In view of their location and the lack of any indication that any threat was posed, the Belgians decided not to notify any other country and the UKwas not made aware of these detections. They occurred outside the UK Air Defence Region and there is no record of any detections having been made on any British system. When this matter was raised by a member of the public last year, our experts confirmed that there was no reason to question the judgement made by the Belgian authorities at the time. 6. You asked why letters from the public directly addressed to Ministers on the subject of "UFOs" are always answered by this office. All letters from the public sent to Ministers on any topic are routinely passed to the section with responsibility for the matter addressed for official reply; in the case of unexplained aerial phenomena, this office would respond. You will appreciate that the volume of correspondence sent to Ministers is extremely high, as such they generally only personally reply to letters sent by Members of Parliament, peers and so on. 7. With reference to paragraph 3 of your letter it is incorrect to say that the MOD has "decided that UFOs do not represent a threat to the defense and security of the United Kingdom"; this is a clear misrepresentation of our stated position. To reiterate once more, the MOD remains properly vigilant for any potential source of threat; however, it remains the case that to date no "UFO" sightings has ever thrown up evidence of a physical threat to the UK. 8. I am afraid that your assertion that we would wilfully manipulate files to ensure that they would not be released to the Public Records Office in the proper fashion does not deserve a response. I have already explained in my letter of 8 March that the terms of the Public Records Act apply to all Departmental files, including those in this office relating to reports of unexplained aerial phenomena. 9. I hope that this letter will serve to clear up any remaining misconceptions. Yours sincerely, (signature: M Philpott)

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