James Forrestal and the Roswell Incident

I do not know if all of you watched "Showtimes" made for tv movie called "Roswell", but one of the characters I thought they protrayed very well was Secretary Forrestal, especially his question to all the Military Brass discussing the Incident, about "How Long" would they keep the public in the dark. Also there appears to be very mysterious circumstances around his so-called "Suicide". So here are a few posts from the newsgroups that share some insight about Secretary Forestal and his connection with "Roswell". Dig in ..............


From: sjohns19@facstaff.wisc.edu (Steven Vincent Johnson)
Subject: Re: Forestal/Roswell Incident
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 1995 09:13:28 UNDEFINED
Summary: Forrestal connection to UFOs
Keywords: Forrestal Roswell

In article
Caliban writes:

>From: Caliban
>Subject: Forestal/Roswell Incident
>Date: Fri, 9 Jun 1995 00:05:32 -0500


>my wife is looking for basic info about the life/death(?) James Forestal
>(sp?) and his connection to the Roswell incident. Any info or source of
>info would be greatly appreciated.


Here is part of an article I wrote last year which might be helpful:

****** BEGINNING of ARTICLE *******

Near the end of the [ROSWELL] movie there is an enacted dramatic incident of the speculative kind involving the Secretary of Defense, who back in 1947 was James Vincent Forrestal, and a live "captured" extraterrestrial. Apparently, there have been a number of controversial rumors suggesting that Forrestal had been deeply involved in the extraterrestrial equation. Prosaically speaking, it certainly would have made logical sense to assume that our nation's Secretary of Defense would have been personally involved with discussions and/or interactions concerning ultra-secret extraterrestrial meetings - had contact actually been established. Tragically, Forrestal allegedly committed suicide on May 22, 1949 by jumping out of a window at Bethesda Naval Hospital where he had been held for treatment of emotional exhaustion which included paranoia and suicidal tendencies.

Why Forrestal needed treatment to the point that he was essentially isolated from most of his family and friends, as well as why he had become emotionally unstable, paranoid, and suicidal in the first place, has been debated for decades by a number of prominent UFO investigators. Forrestal was (and still is, I believe) the highest ranking U.S. government official to have allegedly committed suicide, an incident that did not escape the attention of communist block countries who attempted to milk the embarrassing situation for all it was worth. Apparently, there are some who knew him closely and who remain convinced that his death was not accidental or suicidal, or at least that his death had been desired by some who, in 1949, possessed a considerable amount of power in the United States.

As had been suggested by the SHOWTIME movie there has been a lot of speculation concerning an alleged Forrestal "diary." For those who would like to do a little scholarly research of their own, there exists an excellent biographical book on Forrestal titled "James Forrestal, A study of Personality, Politics and Policy" by Arnold A. Rogow. (I believe it was published back in the 1960s and, thus, may be somewhat hard to find. Ask your local librarian or professional book locator for help!) The author, Rogow, writes in the biography the following series of puzzling events as well as recovered official documents on page 47:

     ... on White House orders a number of papers and documents
     were removed from Forrestal's files, either for "security"
     reasons or other reasons.  Although evidence is not
     conclusive, it is probable  that certain individuals, for a
     variety of reasons, were reluctant to make Forrestal's
     private papers available until they had been properly
     "screened."  Two such individuals, apparently, were
     President Truman and [the next] Secretary of Defense
     Johnson.  In a memorandum to the President of August 27,
     1949, Johnson wrote:

I am glad to be able to advise you that the individuals who were in the best possible position to know the truth or falsity of the rumors about the Forrestal "diary," the Forrestal "recordings" of telephone conversations with you, etc. have assured me that there is absolutely no truth whatever to the stories which you and I have heard. Specifically, I have received categoric assurances to the following effect: 1) There was never a recording device on Forrestal's White House' Phone. 2) No conversation between you and Forrestal was ever recorded, either by machine or otherwise. 3) There was never an occasion when a secretary or anyone else was permitted to pick up the extension "phone and "listen in" on conversations between you and Forrestal. 4) There was never a volume that could accurately be described as a Forrestal "Diary." FOOTNOTE: In a letter to the present writer [Rogow], Johnson declared that he had no recollection of this memorandum, and therefore could not comment on its significance or discuss the context in which it was written.

It should be mentioned here that nowhere in Rogow's book that I'm personally aware of is there any mention of rumors concerning crashed extraterrestrial craft and/or alien bodies. Never the less, I personally find it rather odd and somewhat unconvincing that Johnson claimed he could not "recall" the contents of the memos he had written to Truman which likely had to have been of a (difficult to forget) sensitive nature. The reader is invited to draw their own speculations.

******* END of ARTICLE ********

Respectfully, Steven Vincent Johnson
INTERNET (work): steven.johnson@mail.admin.wisc.edu
INTERNET (home): sjohns19@facstaff.wisc.edu
Visit the Virtual Art Gallery of Steven V. Johnson

From: rdol@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (Richard Dolan)
Subject: Re: Forestal/Roswell Incident
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 95 19:36:50 GMT

( followup to previous message ) .........

Hi. James Forestall was the nation's first Secretary of Defense, assuming the position in 1947, after Truman pushed through a major reorganization of the American military establishment. This reorganization consolidated the control over the major military services within the Department of Defense, and also created the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Prior to his position as Defense Secretary, Forestall had earned tremendous praise as Secretary of the Navy during the Second World War. Incidentally, I am not sure if I've spelled his name correctly (I think I have, but I've also misspelled it more than once, and don't have any books on him at hand).

Naturally, there is no documented information on Forestall's "connection" to the Roswell incident, since there is no proof that the incident actually occurred (Santilli's movie notwithstanding). Forestall committed suicide in May of 1949, a few months after Truman had replaced him as Defense Chief. The reasons behind the suicide are no mystery.

Essentially, Truman had given Forestall an impossible job. In the years immediately following WWII, Truman radically increased US global commitments while cutting defense spending to $13.5 billion (a rather small sum considering what he wanted the military to do). Not only that, but he told Forestall to oversee the consolidation of the armed services that took place during this time -- no easy task. The strain on Forestall throughout 1948 was evident to all who knew him. By early 1949, Truman replaced him with Louis Johnson, a man committed to making the defense cuts that Forestall couldn't bring himself to do. Part of Forestall's problem was that he had not wanted to usurp budget-creating authority from each of the major services (Army, Navy, Air Force). As a result, he never felt that he could do much more than request budgets from them. Later the powers of the Defense Secretary were expanded, but not for Forestall. He was hospitalized shortly after leaving the office, and committed suicide (jumping out of a window) during his hospitalization.

There is a great deal available about Forestall to anyone interested. Any book on the Truman administration naturally covers this. I would recommend Melvyn Leffler's *Preponderance of Power: National Security and the Truman Administration*, an outstanding work published just a few years ago. Leffler's work on the subject is, so far, definitive. Forestall himself left his diaries, which are available (though severely and poorly edited). His complete writings are available in one of the major archives, which I cannot recall offhand (perhaps the National Archives in D.C., though I am not certain).

Your question about Roswell took me by surprise. Forestall was indeed Defense Chief during the summer of 1947. Therefore, if the Roswell Incident turns out to have been true, he would be an obvious person to know about it. But even in UFO literature, I have never come across references to Forestall. Admittedly, I have not read the various in-depth books that are now available on Roswell, only some shorter essay-length pieces.

The important point about any connection is this: there is (as yet, fifty years later) not a single piece of evidence in anything writing by or about Jim Forestall about the Roswell crash. Period.

The only reason I can tell you anything about Forestall, by the way, is that my doctoral disseration (which I am in the middle of) concerns US national security strategy of the early 1950s. Truthfully, I was scanning the ufo board on the internet when I should be back at work!

I hope you found this information helpful.


Rich Dolan
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York

From: fkidd@cybernetics.net (Fred Kidd)
Subject: Re: Forestal/Roswell Incident--Shootdown ?
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 1995 20:48:25 +1000

In article <1995JUN9.193650.3392@GALILEO.CC.ROCHESTER.EDU>
rdol@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (Richard Dolan) writes:
>From: rdol@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (Richard Dolan)
>Subject: Re: Forestal/Roswell Incident
>Date: Fri, 9 Jun 95 19:36:50 GMT

>Hi. James Forestall was the nation's first Secretary of Defense, assuming
>the position in 1947, after Truman pushed through a major reorganization of
>the American military establishment. This reorganization consolidated the
>control over the major military services within the Department of Defense,
>and also created the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence 


Perhaps there's another possible explanation. I traveled through New Mexico last May on my way home to North Carolina from Arizona. I took the scenic Southern route through Phoenix and Tucson over to Las Cruces up to Alamogordo and on over to Roswell. I passed through White Sands Missle Test Range, by Holloman AFB (saw the World Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo) and ended up in Roswell near the old AFB there. What kept coming up for me during this trip was the question as to why would our government want to cover up contact with possible aliens.

When I got to Roswell, I had the feeling that maybe "they" tried to make first contact at Holloman or White Sands. Holloman was a test center for high altitude/speed during this time and was likely a high security area just like White Sands just down the road. Perhaps "they" were seeking out our "best and brightest". The military misinterpreted "their" intent and panicked because of the nukes stored on the bombers at Roswell AFB.

They sent up interceptors or fired missles at them and our first contact ended with a hostile shootdown. They made it as far as Roswell from Holloman before the missles caught up with them. Weather delayed the initial search, but a rancher found what the military had brought down--accidentally.

Oops !

Why else would they want to cover it up ?

How do you explain that to the public ?

Can you spell major "F*** Up boys and girls ?

I wouldn't admit it either and yeah, if I was in charge I'd do what Forestall did. How could you live with that.

Waiter, check please !

Just a thought. Thanks for letting me share.

Fred Kidd fkidd@cybernetics.net
"The truth is what's so. It's also so what." ....Werner Erhard

From: rdol@uhura.cc.rochester.edu (Richard Dolan)
Subject: Re: Forestal/Roswell Incident--Shootdown ?
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 95 21:54:51 GMT

fkidd@cybernetics.net (Fred Kidd) writes:


>Perhaps there's another possible explanation [for the death of James
>Forrestal].  I traveled through New Mexico 
>last May on my way home to North Carolina from Arizona.  I took the scenic 
>Southern route through Phoenix and Tucson over to Las Cruces up to Alamogordo 
>and on over to Roswell.  I passed through White Sands Missle Test Range, by 
>Holloman AFB (saw the World Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo) and ended up in 
>Roswell near the old AFB there.  What kept coming up for me during this trip 
>was the question as to why would our government want to cover up contact with 
>possible aliens.

Hi, Fred. There is a serious problem to your theory. It seems to be based, as you wrote, on "the feeling" of something rather than on a single shred of evidence. On the basis of this feeling, you derive a story of an encounter and shooting-down of an alien craft, the US government cover-up, and James Forrestal's eventual suicide.

The problem is that you provided no evidence to support your view. Speculation does not count as evidence. Now, having read Forrestal's published diaries, I can tell you that there is a much more plausible explanation for his suicide. I will be the first to concede that the diaries, as published are incomplete (giving more fodder, undoubtedly, to conspiracy theorists). The fact remains that James Forrestal's suicide is (and was at the time) comprehensible in terms of what the historical record shows he had to contend with. In other words, his suicide is easily explainable in terms of what we already know. Essentially, the strain, visible to all who knew him, of reoganizing the Department of Defense, and trying to prepare a military budget that was irreconcilable based on the demands of Truman on the one hand, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the other. In fact, Truman himself has said privately about Forrestal that he was cracking under the pressure.

Incidentally, since my entry on Forrestal yesterday, I checked the spelling of his name. To my slight embarassment, I did indeed misspell it. Sorry folks. It's correct now. Two r's and one l.

The last question I have about your theory is this: did all of that come from your speculation, or are there any books, sources, etc. on this subject that you drew from? I'm genuinely interested if there are. Of course, my feeling is that any work claiming a connection of Forrestal to Roswell would have to be based on sources that are still top secret or (far more likely in my opinion) made-up stuff. The story of whatever did, may have, or did not happen at Roswell (as well as the story of James Forrestal) is not well served by groundless speculation.

I hope you do not take this as a flame. It is not meant that way. It's simply a critique, not an insult, or your remarks.

Take Care,

Rich Dolan

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