Wilbert Smith was a Canadian radio engineer of high standing within the Canadian government during the 1950s and a high-level UFO researcher. In fact it could be said he was in charge of Canadian UFO studies between 1950 and 1962.
Among Smith's more conventional jobs, he was the Senior Radio Engineer at the Canadian Department of Transport and was responsible for AM/FM frequency allotment in Canada. A little known fact about Smith, according to Cameron, was that he also ran "Radio Ottawa" where Canadian spies radioed in, and where the Canadians intercepted Soviet communications. This put Smith in the position of knowing some of Canada's most highly classified secrets.
Smith's personal and related Canadian government UFO documents are among the most important ever found, since they state unambiguously that flying saucers were quite real and they were being secretly studied by both the U.S. and Canadian governments.
Smith's direct involvement in UFO research began in September of 1950 while he was in Washington D.C. attending a conference. Smith read Frank Scully's just-published "Behind the Flying Saucers," that among things stated that there had been saucer crashes in New Mexico and that the saucers utilized magnetic principles in their propulsion. As an engineer, the latter assertion particularly interested Smith, who had some ideas of his own on how this might work, and had already started preliminary studies within the Dept. of Transport.
Trying to get at the truth of the matter, Smith had the Canadian embassy in Washington discretely contact sources within the U.S. government. Among Canadian embassy personnel named in Smith's collection of correspondence are Gordon Cox, Lt. Col. Bremner, a military attache, and Dr. Arnauld Wright, Canadian Defence Research Board (DRB) Liaison Officer. Another name to pop up frequently was Dr. Omand Solandt, Chairman of the Canadian DRB. Wright was the liaison with Solandt.
Bremner arranged an interview with Dr. Robert Sarbacher, an electrical engineer and guided missile scientist with an impressive background, but most importantly, who was then a consultant to the U.S. Research and Development Board (RDB). In the interview on September 15, 1950, Sarbacher was to tell Bremner/Smith that Scully was essentially correct, flying saucers existed, they didn't originate on Earth, and the subject was the most highly classified in the U.S. government, at a level higher than the H-bomb. This is all recorded in Smith's handwritten notes of the meeting and a top secret memo Smith wrote to the Canadian Dept. of Transport on November 21, 1950. Smith's memo also stated that Dr. Vannevar Bush [the former U.S. head of the OSRD (Office of Scientific Research & Development) during WWII and who created the postwar RDB] was in charge of a small group looking into the "modus operandi" of the saucers. (The latter piece of information was not in Smith's notes of the meeting and may have come from another government source.)
30+ years later, Sarbacher was again contacted by researchers and confirmed the substance of Smith's notes and memo. Sarbacher confirmed, e.g., that Bush was definitely involved and added details about what he was told about the nature of the crash materials and aliens..
While in Washington, Smith had also read Major Donald Keyhoe's book "The Flying Saucers are Real." Keyhoe had first come to prominence in January 1950 in a famous article of the same title written for True magazine challenging Air Force public assertions that there was nothing to the flying saucer phenomenon. He wrote a number of popular UFO books, help start and became president of NICAP in 1956, the largest and most powerful of the civilian UFO groups, and was to be a thorn in the side of the Air Force and U.S. intelligence agencies for the next 20 years. Smith soon met with Keyhoe and related to him details of the work being done in Canada on the propulsion of flying saucers, before the subject became classified by the Canadians. Keyhoe wanted to write up Smith's ideas as another article for True magazine. This formed the basis for further correspondence in which Keyhoe's article was said to require clearance from Vannevar Bush and the Research and Development Board before it could be published. The first of these letters was addressed to Dr. Solandt on November 24.
This raises the obvious question as to why a magazine article on the officially non-existent flying saucers would require any sort of "clearance" at all.
From Smith's memos and letters it became clear that Vannevar Bush was in charge of a highly secretive saucer group operating within Bush's Research and Development Board.
Shortly after the first Roswell book in 1980, Smith's papers being uncovered and made publicly known between 1980 and 1982, and Sarbacher being re-interviewed starting in 1983, the infamous "MJ-12 papers" made their appearance in 1984 under suspicious circumstances. Vannevar Bush was again named as being the head of a highly secretive UFO study group called Majestic12, allegedly set up by President Truman on Sept. 24, 1947, in the aftermath of the Roswell crash, which was also described.
Among those named as being members of MJ-12 were familiar names to the Roswell case like Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Gen. Nathan Twining. Other people named, who seem very plausible given their positions, were Secretary of Defense James Forrestal and Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the first CIA director. (Interestingly Hillenkoetter was also on the Board of Directors of Keyhoe's NICAP.)
Nevertheless, the MJ-12 papers are now believed by most, but not all Ufologists, as being a clever hoax. But by whom? One theory (among several) was that they were a counterintelligence sting designed to discredit the recent revelations of the Roswell book, Smith's documents, and Sarbacher's testimony.
But unlike the MJ-12 papers, Smith's documents are unquestionably authentic and leave little doubt that Bush was indeed in charge of a highly classified UFO study and control group, even if called by some other name.
There is also another set of documents that strongly suggest deep involvement by Bush and the Research and Development Board. Just hours before the Roswell story broke in the newspapers on July 8, 1947, Bush and his Joint RDB met with Gen. Vandenberg at the Pentagon in a lengthy and hastily-called meeting. Vandenberg's daily appointment book and log show that Vandenberg cancelled a previously scheduled meeting in order to meet with Bush and the JRDB. Despite this, Bush denied knowing anything about the flying saucers in newspaper stories published immediately afterward.. Instead he called them "illusions." The skeptical reporters noted that Bush couldn't admit knowing anything even if he did know. Smith was also very unusual in being very open about his work. He wrote a number of articles, gave public speeches, and granted interviews, though didn't tell all. In one interview, e.g., he stated that he had been lent a piece of metal for analysis by a very high level U.S.agency which he wouldn't name, the metal allegedly being shot off of a small flying saucer during overflights of Washington D.C. in July, 1952. (See essay on Gen. Ramey and UFOs, which discusses the "shoot 'em down" order by the Truman administration put into effect on July 26, 1952. See also corroborating testimony of vice Adm. H. B. Knowles, who stated Smith had shown him the piece -- also just added to Roswell debris testimony section.)
The following are some of the early Smith documents fingering Bush and the Research and Development Board. Included is a letter from Dr. Robert Sarbacher corroborating information in Smith's documents. Also a letter from Dr. Omand Solandt grudgingly admitting to regular "informal" conversations with Bush on the topic of flying saucers while he was head of the Canadian DRB.
First document to name Bush as heading highly secret UFO group. States flying saucers exist and subject is classified higher than the H-bomb. Also mentions U.S. looking into "mental phenomena" associated with saucers. Discusses conversations with Dr. Solandt of the Canadian DRB giving the green light to Smith's proposed research and promising DRB help and cooperation. One of the most imporant UFO documents ever found.
Smith says they were written down from memory immediately following interview. The major difference from Smith's later memo, where he doesn't identify source, is that Sarbarcher when asked about Frank Scully's book states states that the "facts reported in the book are substantially correct." Sarbarcher mentions nothing about "mental phenomena" or Dr. Vannevar Bush being in charge of secret group, as in above memo, so Smith must have gotten this information from another source or sources.
Mentions permission was required first by the U.S. RDB before it could be published. Also requests review by Solandt and others at the DRB of latest revision.
Smith inquires as to what has become of the Keyhoe article. Says the article was first to be returned to the embassy, after which "Keyhoe was to take it to Dr. Bush for clearance." Again mentions that Solandt and the DRB were to review latest revisions and make changes "which they might consider in Canadian interests."
Tells Smith that Keyhoe's article was returned to Keyhoe by Dr. Wright. Wright hadn't heard further from Bush or what Bush did. Cox wanted to get in contact with Keyhoe to learn more, with Lt. Col. Bremner arranging contact. Smith would probably hear more via the Wright/Solandt channel. Official position was that nobody at the embassy knew anything. By the Canadian ambassador's instruction, only Cox and Wright were to discuss the matter with anyone.
The initial contact with Sarbacher 30 years later. Sarbacher confirms recovery of flying saucers, but says he knows of no specifics. Confirms that Vannevar Bush was definitely involved and also mathematician John von Neuman; probably Robert Oppenheimer as well. Corroborates that an interview took place with Bremner and the answers cited by Smith were probably the ones he provided. The flying saucer materials were reported to be "very light and very tough." The aliens were described as being insectlike, in that they were small with low mass, enabling them to withstand high accelerations. In later interviews, Sarbacher hinted at being more involved and knowing more than he does in this letter.
Other links on Sarbacher and Smith:
1996 Vancouver Courier article Includes Smith's notes of the 1950 meeting with Sarbarcher, with Sarbarcher saying that the facts reported in the Frank Scully book were "substantially correct." (New! For a mere $5.00, you can now order Grant Cameron's CD of nearly all known Smith papers, journal articles, personal correspondence, plus rare audios of public speeches on the subject of UFOs. There is also an audio of an interview Dr. Robert Sarbacher did with researcher Stanton Friedman..)
After an earlier May 1983 letter in which Solandt tried to minimize Smith's work and his personal contact with Smith, Solandt backpedaled somewhat after Steinman sent him some of Smith's documents fingering Bush heading the secret saucer group, Smith briefing Solandt about it, and Solandt and the RDB backing Smith's research efforts. Solandt admitted that Smith did discuss flying saucers "frequently" with him and more knowledgeable members of his staff. However, he claimed he didn't recall anything about any "formal team" under Bush "dealing with flying saucers." He did discuss the subject "informally" with Bush on a regular basis and that Smith's work was also discussed "informally" with Bush. Also claimed no U.S. citizen would have been granted access to any material classified higher than top-secret. He repeated that Smith's ideas on magnetic propulsion didn't pan out. Note how careful Solandt is in his choice of words, e.g., the use of the words "formal" and "informal" as possible weasel words. Would a super-secret team unknown to Congress, unsanctioned by official legislation, and not funded through normal channels be considered a "formal" group?