UFOs and Presidents: the Top 5 Encounters

US presidents keep their mouths shut about UFOs. The party line: there’s no such thing, so what’s to talk about? Beneath the secrecy, though, are stories that are stunning and maybe even frightening.

Harry S. Truman: Angered by UFO Fly-bys

Harry Truman was president of the United States when Kenneth Arnold saw flying saucers over the state of Washington, ushering in the modern era of UFO sightings. He was president when the Roswell Incident occurred in 1947. He was president in 1952 when UFOs buzzed Washington, D.C. over consecutive days.

Harry Truman was familiar with UFOs—obviously.

It was the UFO fly-bys over D.C. that forced Truman to act. There were unknown, saucer-shaped craft seen zooming over the White House, the Pentagon, and the Capitol building, and newspaper headlines shouted about the sightings. The public was talking about them; in some newspapers, the front-page UFO stories pushed articles about the Democratic National Convention to page two.

Truman’s response? Out of frustration, he gave the order: “Shoot them down!” Several well-known scientists, including Albert Einstein, heard about the order and urged him to rescind it. Truman did, around the time that the UFO sightings also ceased.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Secret Treaty with Aliens?

One day, near the start of his presidency, President Eisenhower vanished.

The president had been in Palm Springs, CA at the time, and when no one could find him they feared the worst—heart attack, stroke, or some other dire event. Eisenhower reappeared the next day at a church service. An excuse was given for his absence: he’d needed “emergency dental surgery”, an aide reported, stiffly.

Whispers and rumors started immediately—weird ones. Insiders were leaking a strange story, that the president had rushed to Muroc Air Force Base (now Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California), met with aliens, and signed a treaty with them.

Gordon Duff, senior editor of the veterans organization Veterans Today, says that he’s seen classified documents that outline the agreement. “The 1953 treaty with President Eisenhower was an agreement,” Duff told an interviewer, “a coercive agreement against the USA on behalf of a hostile alien power that wished to be able to kidnap a number of citizens from the United States, which means of course that they had agreements with other nations as well.”

JFK: UFOs Could Trigger War with Russia

There had been a spate of UFO sightings over the Soviet Union, and President John F. Kennedy was downright worried.

JFK's Memo on UFOs

JFK’s Memo Ordering the US to
Share UFO Info with the Soviets

It was the height of the Cold War, and JFK was afraid that a UFO over the USSR might be mistaken for a missile—and prompt the Russians to launch missiles of their own.

On November 12, 1963, Kennedy dictated a memo ordering that the US prepare to share sensitive information about UFOs with the USSR, so that there would be no apocalyptic mistakes. The president was shot dead in Dallas a mere 10 days later.

The memo reads: “It would be very helpful if you would have the high threat cases reviewed with the purpose of identification of bona fide as opposed to classified CIA and USAF sources. It is important that we make a clear distinction between the knowns and unknowns in the event the Soviets try to mistake our extended cooperation as a cover for intelligence gathering of their defense and space programs. I would like you to arrange a program of data sharing with NASA where unknowns are a factor.”

Richard Nixon: the Jackie Gleason Incident

Dick Nixon had some surprising friends—take famous entertainer Jackie Gleason, for example. The two were golfing chums and often chatted about their interest in UFOs, according to Gleason’s wife Beverly. One day in 1973, Nixon slipped away from his Secret Service detail and showed up at Gleason’s house alone. “I want to show you something,” the president told him.

Nixon drove Gleason to Homestead Air Force Base, not far from Gleason’s home in Florida. A security guard, shocked when he recognized the two famous men, waved them through. They entered a heavily guarded building, and Nixon guided them to an inner chamber. There, Gleason was aghast: he was looking at what appeared at first to be “mangled children”. On closer inspection, he realized that they weren’t children—and that they were not human. Gleason told a confidante that he felt very upset that the government was hiding such monumental secrets from the public.

Jimmy Carter: Truth-Seeker Reduced to Tears

He is unique among American presidents: Jimmy Carter has seen a UFO. Years before his presidency, while running for governor of Georgia, Carter and a handful of others witnessed a blueish object floating in the sky.

Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter Had
Seen a UFO, But He Wasn’t
Prepared for the Government
Secrets He Discovered

Carter told an interviewer, “All of a sudden, one of the men looked up and said, ‘Look, over in the west!’ And there was a bright light in the sky. We all saw it. And then the light, it got closer and closer to us … we were trying to figure out what in the world it could be, and then it receded into the distance.”

As president, Carter was keenly interested in what the government was keeping secret about the UFO phenomenon—and so he asked the top secret organization that would have that kind of information. CIA Director George W. Bush (later to be president) denied Carter’s initial requests, but Carter was persistent.

One day, Bush relented; Carter was told the full truth.

Later, the president was seen in the Oval Office, his head in his hands, sobbing quietly. He has never revealed what the CIA divulged to him that day.