Canadians Sent Flying Saucer Article to Vannevar Bush
In November 1950, Major
Donald Keyhoe sent a six-page draft paper on
flying saucers to the Canadian
Defense Research Board (DRB), and Wilbert
Smith, through the Canadian Embassy in
Washington, D.C. The DRB was a Canadian defense
group responsible for all weapons development in
Canada, and a group, which provided “full
cooperation” to the Canadian government official
flying saucer investigation,
which became known as “Project
Keyhoe’s intention was to
publish the article in “True” magazine. It was
an article that dealt with the Canadian government
effort to investigate flying saucers, and was
based on an earlier interview that Keyhoe had been
done with Wilbert Smith, who would go on to head
the Canadian Government saucer study. Dr.
Omond Solandt, then the Chairman of the DRB
realized that the article was going to present
problems, so he forwarded the article on to
In a reply
letter to Keyhoe, written on November 24,
1950, Smith thanked Keyhoe for “letting us see
this advance document and to comment upon it.”
He stated, however, that he felt “the
presentation might cause considerable
embarrassment to the Canadian Government since
they would be required to make some sort of
official statement shortly after the release of
the article, which they are not, at the present
time, in a position to do.”
On the same day Smith wrote
back to Dr. Solandt notifying him that he had sent
a five-page revision of the flying saucer paper to
Keyhoe along with a letter explaining the Canadian
position. In his memo to Solandt, Smith also
suggested that “the article, as revised, be
scrutinized by others in the group” for any
further revisions they might suggest.
The reference to a “group”
associated with the Defense Research Board,
dealing with UFOs, directly opposes letters and
interviews with Dr. Solandt in the eighties and
early nineties. During a 1991
interview, for example, Solandt claimed the
Defense Research Board support of Smith was “entirely
passive”, consisting only of supplying a garage
size building in 1953, which was used for the “flying
In the memo to Solandt,
Wilbert Smith also stated that the article had
been sent to the U.S.
Research and Development Board, which was the
U.S. equivalent to the Defense Research Board. “The
publication of this material,” wrote Smith, “if
permitted by the United States Research and
Development Board, would be in the public
Most importantly, it should
be noted that the following five-page draft was
sent not only to the Research and Development
Board, but to a key member of the board Vannevar
Bush, who Smith had identified in a Top
Secret memo as the head of a small group was
making a concentrated effort on the modus operandi
of the saucers. This Bush role in the article was
described in January 1951
correspondence between Wilbert Smith and the
Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
No document has yet surfaced
as to exactly what Bush’s opinion of the article
was. We do know that it was cleared for public
distribution though. The Canadian military liaison
to the Research and Development Board, Arnauld
Wright, got the article from Vannevar Bush and
returned it to Keyhoe.
It did not make the 1950 issue of “True” as
intended, but was published in Major Keyhoe’s
`1954 book “Flying Saucers from Outer Space”
The Smith revision of the
Keyhoe article forwarded to Vannevar Bush “for
clearance” was found in Smith’s files at the
University of Ottawa. It reads as follows.
DRAFT OF PROPOSED REVISION OF “TRUE” ARTICLE ON FLYING SAUCERS
A group of Canadian
Scientists has been working for some time on
certain problems connected with the earth’s
magnetic field. These investigations appear to
point the way to new technology in magnetics, and
if the initial conclusions are correct, they offer
a ready-made explanation for many of the striking
features, which have been reported in connection
with the sighting of flying saucers. The basic
promise is that it is possible to produce a
magnetic “sink” within the earth’s field;
that is, a region into which the magnetic flux
will flow at a controlled rate, giving some of its
potential energy in the process. Such a sink would
have many interesting properties, such as the
It is curious to note that most of the descriptions of flying saucers are in accordance with the design, which would be necessary to exploit the properties of a magnetic sink. For example, the saucers are described as consisting of a large circular disc, slightly dished, with a small central cabin. In this sense, the sink could be located in the upper central part of the cabin, and the collapsing field in cutting through the surrounding magnetic ring would induce in it an electric current, which would react with the magnetic field that induced it, producing a force, which would have a substantial vertical component. Support and propulsion of the ship would then be a combination of this resultant force, the airfoil action of the disc, and the interaction between currents in the disc by its rotation and the main field.
Rotation of the disc may be either deliberate, for induction of eddy currents or may be incidentally caused by the electronic drag of the very large current circulating around the disc. In any case, there is good observational evidence that the disc appears to rotate.
Since the lift on the saucer will be proportional to the product of the earth’s magnetic field and the field produced by the current induced by the disc, it follows that when the saucer is accelerating upwards, a greater force is required and hence a greater circulating current. If the circulating current is sufficiently large and the cooling of the disc is inadequate, it may become red or even white hot, which is in line with several reported observations. Also, under certain conditions of operation a very high voltage may be built up between the center and the rim of the disc, which would result in corona discharge through the surrounding air if the saucer were at a sufficiently high altitude. Such a discharge would resemble the northern lights but would be very much more intense. This also seems to be confirmed by observations.
Navigation of such a flying saucer would be a very complex process indeed. In the first place the earth’s magnetic field makes all sorts of angles with the horizontal, depending upon geographical latitude, and upon peculiar local conditions. Thus, the direction of the force, which results from the interaction of the earth’s field and the field of the disc, may be in almost any direction.
Furthermore the tilt of the saucer to get the reaction force in the wanted direction most probably will result in aerodynamic forces in some other direction. Navigation therefore would resolve into a determination of the field direction, comparison with the direction in which it is desired to move, and an analysis of the aerodynamic forces, which would result from such a motion, and the suitable correction in the initial tilt of the saucer and the flow of magnetic flux. It is doubtful if a human pilot could manage to do all this at the speed that which would be necessary to maneuver a saucer at the speeds and through the intricate motions, which have been observed. It is therefore highly probable that the saucer control systems are semi if not totally automatic, and most likely a push button effort.
There are many reports of saucers hovering in one spot for some time. For a saucer designed to operate as described, this would probably be its easiest maneuver, as it would be necessary merely to adjust the flux flow and tilt until the resultant force exactly balanced the weight of the saucer. There would be little or no aerodynamic problem in this case.
The only sound, which would be expected from such a saucer, would be a swish as of any object passing through the air, plus any incidental noises, which might originate with the internal machinery of the saucer. There would be no roar of engine exhaust or jets, or beat of propellers, or any other noises usually associated with aircraft.
It would be quite possible for a saucer such as has been described to leave vapor trails if it happened to pass through a region of supersaturated air, with a sufficient voltage on the disc to produce a corona discharge. The ions produced by the discharge would form nuclei for the condensation of droplets of water or crystals of frost, and the path of the saucer would be marked by the resulting visible cloud.
There is no indication that accelerations to which a saucer crew would be subjected would be any different from the accelerations going on through the same maneuvers. Those authorities that have been consulted say that gravity can be neutralized or the inertia of matter overcome. Where saucers have been observed to execute close turns and other maneuvers which would result in large accelerations, it is most probable that such saucers are remotely controlled and do not contain living matter as we know it.
 Letter – Wilbert Smith to Gordon Cox, January 3, 1951.
 Letter – Wilbert Smith to Major Donald Keyhoe, November 24, 1950. ) Copy of letter from Wilbert Smith files at the University of Ottawa Archives.)
 Memo – Wilbert Smith to Dr. Omond Solandt, November 24, 1950. (From Smith files.)
 Telephone Interview – Dr. Omond Solandt by Dr. Armen Victorian, June 8, 1991.
 Letter - Gordon E. Cox to Wilbert Smith, January 6, 1951 (written on Canadian Embassy stationary, and found in the Wilbert Smith files) Also see Letter, Wilbert Smith to Gordon Cox, January 3, 1951.
 The draft of Smith revision was found in the Wilbert Smith files at the University of Ottawa Archives.