IS THE CUTLER - TWINING MEMO A HOAX?
NATIONAL ARCHIVES Washington, DC 20408
Date: July 22, 1987
Reply to attn of: Military Reference Branch
Subject: Reference Report on MJ-12
The Record The National Archives has received many requests for documentation and information about "Project MJ-12". Many of the inquiries concern a memorandum from Robert Cutler to General Nathan Twining, dated July 14, 1954. This particular document poses problems for the following reasons:
1. The document was located in Record Group 341, entry 267. The series is filed by a Top Secret register number. This document does not bear such a number.
2. The document is in the folder T4-1846. There are no other documents in the folder regarding "NSC/MJ-12".
3. The Military Reference Branch (Edward Reese) has conducted a search in the records of the Secretary of Defence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Headquarters US Air Force, and in other related files. No further information has been found on this subject.
4. Inquiries to the US Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council failed to produce further information.
5. The Acting Director of the Freedom of Information Office of the National Security Council informed us that "Top Secret Restricted Information" is a marking which did not come into use at the National Security Council until the Nixon Administration. The Eisenhower Presidential Library also confirms that this particular marking was not used during the Eisenhower Administration.
6. The document in question does not bear an official government letterhead or watermark. The NARA conservation specialist (Mary Ritzenthaler) examined the paper and determined it was a ribbon copy prepared on "dictation onionskin". The Eisenhower Library has examined its collection of the Cutler papers. All documents created by Mr. Cutler while he served on the NSC staff have an eagle watermark in the onionskin carbon paper. Most documents sent out by the NSC were prepared on White House letterhead paper. For the brief period when Mr. Cutler left the NSC, his carbon copies were prepared on "prestige onionskin".
7. The Judicial, Fiscal, and Social Branch searched the Official Meeting Minute Files of the National Security Council and found no record of a NSC meeting on July 16, 1954. A search of all NSC Meeting Minutes for July 1954 found no mention of MJ-12 nor Majestic.
8. The Judicial, Fiscal and Social Branch (Mary Ronan) searched the indices [sic] of the NSC records and found no listing for: MJ-12, Majestic, unidentified flying objects, UFO, flying saucers, or flying discs.
9. The Judicial, Fiscal, and Social Branch (Mary Ronan) found a memo in a folder titled "Special Meeting July 16, 1954" which indicated that NSC members would be called to a civil defence exercise on July 16, 1954.
10. The Eisenhower Library states, in a letter to NNMR, dated July 16, 1987: "President Eisenhower's Appointment Books contain no entry for a special meeting on July 16, 1954 which might have included a briefing on MJ-12. Even when the President had `off the record' meetings, the Appointment Books contain entries indicating the time of the meeting and the participants.... The Declassification Office of the National Security Council has informed us that it has no record of any declassification action having been taken on this memorandum or any other documents on this alleged project.... Robert Cutler, at the direction of President Eisenhower, was visiting overseas military installations on the day he supposedly issued this memorandum -- July 14, 1954. The Administration Series in Eisenhower's Papers as President contains Cutler's memorandum and report to the President upon his return from the trip. The memorandum is dated July 20, 1954 and refers to Cutler's visits to installations in Europe and North Africa between July 3 and 15. Also, within the NSC Staff Papers is a memorandum dated July 3, 1954, from Cutler to his two subordinates, James S. Lay and J. Patrick Coyne, explaining how they should handle NSC administrative matters during his absence; one would assume that if the memorandum, to Twining were genuine, Lay or Coyne would have signed it."
JO ANNE WILLIAMSON Chief, Military Reference Branch Military Archives Division
So, you may judge for yourself but I feel that Jo Anne Williamson is presenting a strong case. I myself is far from certain one way or the other, but let's assume someone did fake this memo. This would bring forth some interesting questions. When the documents were first found, Stanton Friedman is said to have claimed that it was impossible for the documents to have been forged since they were found "in a classified box in a classified vault". This is of course true, should the forger not have a high enough security clearance to have access to this vault. This means that if the memo is a forgery, the forger is almost certainly working for the government in one way or the other. Why would the U.S. government put any effort in making a forgery of something so useless, one has to ask. To find the answer, one must determine the use one could have of this document. The reason the finding of this memo was blown up into such a "big deal" is that it in some way verified what was found in the original Majestic 12 Briefing Documents. So, the one reason to make this forgery would be to verify what was said in the Majestic 12 documents, probably meaning that these documents are fake as well... One question remains unanswered however, and actually points in favour of the memo being real (or so I feel). If the government is behind a forgery, why is it so crappy? Why did they use security labels that weren't used at that time? Why not put a signature on the document and selecting a date for its creation during which Cutler was in the U.S.? One can say many things about the American government but one thing they aren't is sloppy. So who, if anyone, faked the Cutler - Twining memo? Was it perhaps someone within the government working on his own in an attempt to strengthen the UFO Researcher's case (and not, as would be the case should hard evidence of a hoax turn up, undermine and discredit it), or was it the government trying to discredit the same? Maybe it isn't a fake? Maybe the Cutler - Twining memo was a mistake on behalf of the government. It is said that Majestic 12 is a totally secluded fragment of U.S. Intelligence, they themselves being responsible for safekeeping of their own documents, and censoring documents concerning them that originates from Intelligence Agencies other than themselves. Maybe this memo was lost in the machinery (either by accident or because of someone interested in bringing forth the truth (remember, Moore got an anonymous tip to search the N.L.)) and was never supposed to surface in such a place as the National Library in the first place, thus explaining the lack of Top-Secret Registry Number and the lack of other documents concerning MJ-12 in the same folder. The fact that the search for more documents concerning MJ-12 failed to produce any results is hardly surprising if Majestic itself is responsible for handling of these papers. The security labelling can be explained with the matters nuclear nature (the AEC started using the security level in question the same year the memo was written). The perhaps strongest indication that we are dealing with a hoax however, is the fact that President Eisenhower's Appointment Books contain no entry for such a meeting, but maybe this matter was considered so secret that it didn't even make its way in there. Who knows?
Daniel Kling, 15 May 1999, Västerås, Sweden