Government Records:

Results of a Search for Records Concerning the 1947 Crash Near Roswell, New Mexico

NSIAD-95-187: Published: Jul 28, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the 1947 weather balloon crash at Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF), New Mexico, focusing on: (1) the requirements for reporting air accidents similar to the Roswell crash; and (2) any government records concerning the Roswell crash.

GAO found that: (1) in 1947, Army regulations required that air accident reports be maintained permanently; (2) four air accidents were reported by the Army Air Forces in New Mexico during July 1947, all of which involved military aircraft and occurred after July 8, 1947, the date the RAAF public information office first reported the crash and recovery of a "flying disc" near Roswell; (3) the Navy reported no accidents in New Mexico during July 1947; (4) Air Force officials said that, according to record-keeping requirements in effect during July 1947, there was no requirement to prepare a report on the crash of a weather balloon; (5) some government records covering RAAF activities had been destroyed and others had not, and the document disposition form does not indicate what organization or persons destroyed the records and when or under what authority the records were destroyed; (6) there were two records originating in 1947 concerning the Roswell crash -- a July 1947 history report by the combined 509th Bomb Group and RAAF and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) teletype message dated July 8, 1947; (7) the 509th-RAAF report noted the recovery of a "flying disc" that was later determined by military officials to be a radar-tracking balloon, and the FBI message stated that the military had reported that an object resembling a high-altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector had been recovered near Roswell; (8) the other government records reviewed, including those previously withheld from the public because of security classification, and the Air Force's analysis of unidentified flying object sightings from 1946 to 1953, did not mention the crash or the recovery of an airborne object near Roswell in July 1947; and (9) executive branch agencies' responses to GAO's letters of inquiry produced no other government records on the Roswell crash.

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