NICAP Policy on Contactees
National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon or NICAP was founded in October of 1956 and was a civilian non-profit dedicated to doing research into UFOs. It was founded by Thomas Townsend Brown and the board included several prominent men, including Donald Keyhoe, Maj USMC (Ret.) [Learn More at Wikipedia].
In July of 1957 it published its first newsletter entitled “The UFO Investigator” and in it, included a “Policy on Contact Claims”, specifically directed at Contactees such as Daniel Fry. Here it is below:
(“The UFO Investigator”, NICAP, Page 19, July 1957 [400KB, PDF] )
“Policy on Contact Claims Announced
Committee will Evaluate Any Supporting Evidence Submitted
In approaching the subject of the so-called contact and communication claims, it should be clearly understood that NICAP has no evidence to substantiate these reports, nor has the committee made any investigation of the various claims stated here and abroad.
The decision announced herewith is not to be construed as indicating any such evidence, but rather an intention to examine any available facts, in line with NICAP’s impartial policy.
During the past ten years, scores of persons, here and abroad, have claimed to have witnessed landings by flying saucers, to have communicated by radio or in person with space beings, and in some cases even to have flow in space ships and to have visited other worlds.
These reports, especially claims of personal contact with space beings, have set off many controversial discussions. The claims have been denounced by some and accepted by others. They have been ridiculed frequently in the press — ridicule which unfortunately has at the same time been extended to cover the entire UFO field.
Among the members of NICAP, as among non-members, there are varying viewpoints. Some feel that NICAP in line with its stated aims, must make an impartial investigation of the “contact” stores, as well as of other UFO reports. Many, convinced that “contact” stories are obvious frauds, believe NICAP would be wrong even to discuss these. Others, equally positive, believe that at least a few contact claims are true and should be given a favorable reception.
The first policy, that of impartial evaluation, is obviously the only correct one.
Since NICAP is dedicated to the evaluation of all UFO evidence, we cannot in all honesty evade or ignore these claims. Most NICAP members, from the Board on down, have their own personal opinions, but these will not influence the investigation. As an organization, NICAP will invite claimants to submit their evidence and the Committee will weigh it fairly.
All the available information will be submitted to the Board of Governors, to the Panel of Special Advisers, and to citizens not connected with NICAP but who are well-known for their fair and objective analyses of evidence.
If definite conclusions are possible — that claims are true or false — these conclusions will be made public with the basic facts and analyses. If no positive conclusions are possible, then members, the pres, and the public can decide for themselves, from the detailed records NICAP will publish.
There is one controlling factor which separates contact and communication claims from ordinary UFO reports:
It is possible to make an honest mistake about a saucer sighting — an error in identification, for instance. It is not possible to make an honest mistake about actually meeting and talking with spacemen, riding in spaceships, or visiting other worlds.
(It may be argued that complete delusions, and also certain claims based on extra-sensory perception, can be perfectly honest so far as the claimant is concerned. These factors, too, will have to be thoroughly discussed. However, any claims so identified would have to be clearly separated from claims of actual, physical meetings and space voyages.)
In printing the following list of questions to be submitted to contact claimants, NICAP emphasizes that this is only a preliminary step. Other questions may be added, but these are considered basic:
1. If you have any other evidence of your claim, beyond that which has been published, will you please submit it to NICAP for evaluation? Will you also list all published evidence?
2. Please include any photographic negatives for evaluating (This is a routine request in evaluating ordinary UFO sighting reports).
3. Please give us the names and addresses and if possible notarized statements of any witnesses.
4. Will you sign a notarized statement that all your claims are absolutely as stated and or published by you?
5. Will you take a lie-detector test, arranged by NICAP with the agreement of your lawyer or other adviser, said test to be made privately and by responsible and neutral experts?
6. Will you agree to appear before a NICAP-organized panel for a public hearing? This panel would include non-NICAP citizens of unquestioned integrity, as well as members of NICAP.
7 Will you agree, if the answer to Question 5 is negative, to attend a private NICAP hearing, with permission to record and later make public the transcript of your statements? If neither of these hearings can be arranged because of distance and time, will you make a tape recording, answering a list of NICAP questions, and forward it with a notarized statement that it is a true record?
8. If you have been called a fraud or hoaxter in print, on the air, or in the presence of witnesses, have you instituted a lawsuit for libel or slander? If not, do you plan to do so?
9. Please add any suggestions or comments you feel to be pertinent.
Because of the large number of persons who have reported contacts or communication with space beings, and because of the impossibility of printing a complete list at this time, NICAP will write privately to the persons known to be concerned.
Meantime, we shall appreciate receiving authentic information from any sources regarding these contact reports. If possible, the truth or falsity of such claims must be established. If not, it will greatly hinder all serious investigations of the UFO problem.
NICAP has taken this step only after careful deliberation. It is not pleasant to turn the spotlight on these men and women and demand proof of their statements. But pressure on the Committee for such hearings — pressure from both sides — has made this decision inevitable.
We can only say that there will be no “star chamber” proceedings. NICAP will offer a fair hearing, or review of the evidence in each case. We earnestly hope that this offer will be accepted by all concerned.”
You can find all the newsletters from NICAP here.
The policy was NICAP’s response to pressure to authenticate the contactee reports and was a veiled attempt at McCarthy style hearings. Ultimately, the hearings never went ahead and Daniel responded with a letter (“Letters to the Editor”, Understanding, January 1958):
OPEN LETTER Daniel W. Fry to N.I.C.A.P.
The following letter was written to the National Investigating Committee for Aerial Phenomena by your Editor, in reply to a request for answers to a list of questions issued by N.I.C.A.P. and directed to those who have reported contact with extraterrestrials. In order that his position be understood by all concerned, Mr. Fry requested that his letter be printed in its entirety in the NICAP publication. Some five months have passed and the Editors of NICAP have been unable to find room in their publication for the letter. Therefore, in order that it become available to the public, it is being printed here.
Washington, D. C.
I am writing this letter in the hope that it may clarify my position in regard to the “policy on contact claims” announced in the July issue of your publication.
In the first place, allow me to point out that I make no “claims,’ nor have I ever made any. The word ‘claim’ implies the desire or intent upon the part of the claimant to acquire something as the result of the claim. There has never been any desire or intent upon my part to acquire anything as a result of the report which I made concerning the event which occurred at the White Sands Proving Ground. I published the report only because I felt that there might be a few people, in this country and abroad, who could benefit by the information contained therein. I believed that if there was any value in the report, that value would be recognized by discerning minds, and once recognized, it would stand upon its own feet without need for substantiation. That my belief was correct, has been demonstrated by the thousands of letters which I have received from all parts of the world, written by those who have been able to discern the value, and, in many- cases, to make practical use thereof.
At the present time, my report, which is called “The White Sands Incident” and its sequel “To Men of Earth” have been translated from the English, and are being printed in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and Icelandic and are being set up for printing in Braille. In thus making available the information which I received, I have discharged the duty which was placed upon me as a result of the contact. I do not have, nor have I ever had, the slightest desire to force upon any individual or group, the realization of these beings. Those who can profit by the information are able to discern the reality without being forced, while those who are unable to discern the reality would be unable to make use of the information, and would probably be harmed rather than benefited by being forced to face the reality.
My attitude toward the U.S. Air Force investigation is as follows:
Several years ago the Air Force group which was charged with the investigation of the UFO reports, made the official statement that “In their opinion the UFO did not represent a danger to the people of the U.S.” With this statement, I fully agree; and, inasmuch as the sole duty and entire purpose of the Air Force is to protect the people of the U.S. against the possibility of danger from the air, when the investigating group had made this statement they had completed their duty, and their responsibility was ended. From that moment on, they had no further right to expend public funds in the investigation of a subject which could be better assigned to The State Department, or some other agency more competent in this type of inquiry. I would never knowingly be a party to any attempt to convince the leaders of any branch of the armed services of the reality of the craft or of the existence of their operators. I cannot conceive of any agency more likely to toss a monkey wrench into the machinery of interplanetary relations.
In composing my report of the incident at White Sands, I took great care to present it in such a manner that it would immediately be dismissed as nonsense by the `military’ type of mind, and yet would present all the vital information in such a. manner that its value could readily be understood by the type of mind capable of making use of it.
The Air Force has frequently stated that it does not believe that these objects exist. If this statement actually represents their opinion then I believe that this is a very fortunate situation, and one which should be allowed to continue as long as possible, or at least until we have had time to become better acquainted with our visitors.
I cannot see how any particular-purpose could be served by attempting to establish an opinion in the minds of the Investigating Board of N.I.C.A.P., particularly in view of the repeated statement that the aforesaid members already have opinions. It was also stated that their opinions would not influence the final decision. To this I can only reply that if this condition can actually be achieved, then it will be the first time in the history of mankind that such a feat has been accomplished. No juryman is ever allowed to serve upon a jury if he admits that he has already formed an opinion concerning the case.
It has always been, and will continue to be. my policy to answer to the best of my ability, any sincere question concerning the event at White Sands or anything which has come about as a result, providing that I know the answer and providing that I feel the answer may be of some benefit to him who asks. I have spoken in public many times upon the subject of the UFO and their significance, but I have never yet sought an audience. Every talk which I have ever given has been in response to the urgent request of some other person or group. I am employed as the Superintendent of Research for the Crescent Engineering and Research Co. of El Monte, a job which requires from nine to ten hours per day of my time. During the past several years I have spent a very considerable portion of the salary which I receive from this position, and all of my spare time, in the effort to be of service to my fellow man. I am perfectly content to leave the decision concerning the factuality of the White Sands Incident to the judgment of history, which, after all, has proven to be a better judge than any individual or group can ever hope to be.
As a founding member of N.I.C.A.P., I respectfully request that this statement be published, verbatim, and in its entirety, in the next issue of the UFO Investigator. In this way, my position will become known at once, both to the Investigating Board, and to the readers of our publication. With best wishes for the continued sucess of N.I.C.A.P.
Daniel W. Fry
Fry eventually had his membership rescinded from NICAP, after the following article was published by NICAP:
(“The UFO Investigator”, January – February, 1967, page 8 [1.1MB, PDF] )
“Fry Membership Revoked
Members and supporters of NICAP are herewith notified that all connections between our organization and Daniel W. Fry have been ended. Mr. Fry is the author of The White Sands Incident, Steps to the Stars, and other works. He is also the head of the organization called “Understanding Inc.” which has a number of branches throughout this country, and editor of its magazine Understanding. He lectures frequently, here and abroad.
Mr. Fry joined NICAP early in its history, but he was never a “founding member,” as he has repeatedly claimed in promoting his books and lectures. His original membership was received three weeks after the deadline for founding memberships, and he has therefore never been more than an associate member, like thousands of others.
Soon after Major Keyhoe became Director of NICAP, we took cognizance of the existence of the “contactees” by inviting eight of them, including Mr. Fry, to answer a group of questions regard their alleged experiences, and to appear before an investigative panel to discuss their claims. On August 26th, 1957, Mr. Fry declined in writing, on the grounds that the panel would be prejudiced. He added, referring to The White Sands Incident, that “if there were any value in that report, it would stand upon its own feet without need for substantiation” (italics ours). Inasmuch as NICAP was not concerned with the “value” of the book but with its truthfulness, this bland disclaimer of any responsibility for pving it missed the point completely.
(For those not familiar with the book, we may add that is purports to describe Fry’s meeting with “A-Lan”, whom Fry never say in person because A-Lan at that time still had four years to go in the process of acclimatizing himself to Earth’s gravity, air and germs. Fry’s conversation with his unseen friend took place by ESP and by “direct modulation of the auditory nerve”‘ but at A-Lan’s invitation Fry made a record breaking trip in the saucer: round trip White Sands to New York and return, 32 minutes.)
NICAP’s reason for revoking Mr. Fry’s membership is simple. We do not attempt to control the private opinions of any member. We do object vigorously, and with reason, when a member holding view diametrically opposed to ours expresses these views publicly, and repeatedly, in writing and in lectures, while using his NICAP membership to publicize and promote his expression of these views.
When Fry bills himself as “Dr.,” claiming a PhD from St. Andrews College in London, he is telling a half-truth. The other half is that – to put it mildly – the standards for obtaining a “doctorate” at this alleged college are miles below par. NICAP checked their advertising brochure, which made this plain. A check was also made with the National Cathedral, which had no record of St. Andrews in its listings of a legitimate church-affiliated colleges.
Fry is undoubtedly the most troublesome, because the most sophisticated, of the contact claimants. We feel that his removal from membership will be advantageous to NICAP, since he will no longer be able to present his notions as a “representative” – however nominal – of NICAP.”
Fry then sent a copy of the receipt (shown) to NICAP that showed, that at least at one point, he was a founding member.
NICAP disagreed and wrote a response:
(“The UFO Investigator”, March-April 1967, Page 8 [1.1MB, PDF] )
“Fry Not Founder Member
Mr. Daniel Fry, whose associate membership in NICAP was recently revoked, is now circulating two documents attempting to prove that he was a “founding member.” (Fry claims that he flew aboard a “flying saucer,” and has since headed a metaphysical study group with goals and purposes entirely different from NICAP. His claims of a Special relationship with NICAP were the prime reason for revocation of membership).
The two documents are: a copy of his application for founding membership, and a letter from Mrs Rose Hackett Campbell, former NICAP office secretary, in which she told Fry he was a “founding member.”
The application form submitted by Fry shows clearly that the deadline date for receiving founder memberships was well past when he filled out the form. Sending him a “founder membership” was therefore unwarranted and unauthorized. Secondly, when Major Keyhoe assumed direction of NICAP a few months later he asked Mrs. Campbell to give him a complete list of all founding members. Mr. Fry’s name was never mentioned, and Major Keyhoe was entirely unaware of the action by Mrs. Campbell.
Mr. Fry is there not entitled to refer to himself as a “founding member” of NICAP on any basis whatsoever.