The British government did not dare to criticize people who turned to UFOs because they were afraid to turn voters against themselves in this way. Information about this became known thanks to recently declassified documents, The Times reports. The idea that flying saucers may exist in reality gained immense popularity in the late 70s. It came to the point that this issue was discussed at a UN meeting, the newspaper notes.
As it turned out, such an extravagant assumption caused serious discontent among British government officials. A 1979 civil service correspondence indicates that ministers were called upon to launch a public attack on “flying saucer nonsense.” But there were fears that such a frank position could offend voters who believe in alien civilizations.
“There is a temptation to get away from a clear answer about UFOs because of the thought that we may one day come into contact with the inhabitants of distant stars. Nevertheless, nothing indicates that ufology is nothing more than an absurd idea, and there is no evidence of the existence of an alien spaceship”, one of the service notes from 1979 said.
“Given the fact that 1979 was proclaimed the “Year of UFOs”, Her Majesty’s government seems quite appropriate to bring huge common sense to this matter and unconditionally attack ufology,” the authors of the document called. They linked the popularity of the aliens with the success of Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
According to officials, the topic of UFOs could be confusing or even cause concern for “less intelligent” people. Therefore, they called on the current government to take a more clear and uncompromising position on this issue. Nonetheless, Secretary of the Air Force James Wellbeauler believed that public condemnation of UFOs would split society. He called for any public statement to be softened, so as not to “overly humiliate alien believers.”