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The Robert Kennedy UFO Story








Thanks to the efforts of History Channel and John Greenwald a clear picture of the UFO beliefs of Robert Kennedy has finally emerged. Robert, who was the Attorney General in his brother’s administration, has often been written up in UFO lore as being a key student of Ufology.  

Over the years letters related to UFOs have circulated with purported Kennedy signatures. The letters claimed that Kennedy had anything from a slight interest in the subject, to one letter where Kennedy supposedly stated that he was a card-carrying member of the Amalgamated Flying Saucers Association. 

In the summer of 2005 John Greenwald, the webmaster of www.blackvault.com  (a web site that specializes in government documents connected to the UFO subject), visited the Kennedy presidential library and returned to his home in California with over two dozen Kennedy UFO letters. 

These letters, recovered mostly from the Kennedy Outer Space files, do indeed show an interest by Robert Kennedy in the UFO story as it was being portrayed in the media in the mid 1960s. “ I am keeping myself abreast of information developed on this subject.”[i] Without exception, however, the Kennedy letters show a man who has concluded there is no cover-up and UFOs are not extraterrestrial. 

Most of the letters were answered with a couple different form letters with small variations. In many cases Kennedy handwrites part or in one case the entire reply. This is very usual as most high-ranking government officials used secretaries or assistants to answer mail – especially UFO mail. 

In many of the letters Kennedy quoted astronomer Dr. Harlow Shapley at the Harvard Observatory that “there is a high probability that there must be other beings in the universe.” However, Kennedy made it clear that he did not believe that that ET life had arrived on earth. 

“From the evidence to date,” Kennedy told many letter writers, “I do not believe that UFO phenomena are caused by vehicles of extraterrestrial origin. ”[ii] Furthermore, Kennedy agreed with the material the Air Force was putting out on UFOs, “I have looked into the matter and do not believe that the Air Force is censoring any information of interest to the public of so-called ‘Unidentified flying objects.’”[iii] 

Some writers pushed Kennedy to back a congressional hearing into the accumulated UFO evidence. Kennedy agreed that if needed the hearing should be open to the public. “If it were desirable to hold congressional hearings on the question of unidentified flying objects, I would certainly agree that they should be open to the public.” [iv] 

Kennedy however, was skeptical of the need for any such congressional actions. “Based on the information available to me from NASA and the Air Force, I do not believe that Congressional hearings on this subject would serve a useful purpose at this time.”[v]


[i] Robert Kennedy to Robert Barrow, October 2, 1965

[ii] Robert Kennedy to Ralph Rankow, February 23, 1965

[iii] Robert Kennedy to Bob Barrow October 2, 1965

[iv]  Kennedy to Ralph Rankow, August 15, 1965

[v] Robert Kennedy to Ralph Rankow, August 30, 1965