MJ12 – THE TWINING PAPERS – 09/28/2019

Chuck Berry said “Your lovin’ give me a thrill…”, well, viewing original historical documents gives ME a thrill !!!

I had been spending Sept. 21 through Sept. 27 examining the the papers of General Nathan F. Twining held in the Library of Congress (“LOC”), Madison Building, Manuscript Reading Room, Washington DC.

There are so called “Finders Aids” for many of the contents in the Manuscripts section.  Once you have an LOC ID card, you can go into the file cabinets and pull the hardcopy versions.  The aids are also posted on-line at the Library of Congress web site loc.gov.

Nathan F. Twining was Commanding general, 20th Air Force, Pacific in 1945; Commanding general, Air Materiel Command, Wright Field, Ohio (Lt. Gen.) from 1945 to 1947;  Commander in chief, Alaska (1947-1950) and became a full general of the US Air Force in 1950.  From 1950-1953 he was Air force vice chief of staff under General Hoyt Vandenberg.  Vandenberg died from cancer in 1954,  and Twining became Air Force chief of staff from 1953-1957.  He served as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1957 to 1960. Nathan F. Twining died at Lackland AFB in 1982 (Source:  Nathan F. Twining finders aid summary).

As you may be aware, the Roswell incident occurred in July 1947.

General Twining is listed as member of the alleged MJ12 group in the questioned “Eisenhower Briefing” document.  If you are unfamiliar with the subject of MJ12, please see the Wikipedia article well as the document itself.

On page 42 on Stanton Friedman’s book Top Secret/MAJIC, he mentions correspondence between Twining and Earl Schaefer.  To quote: “(Schaefer) …had written on July 10 asking Twining to stop by to see the prototype XL-15 liaison plane on his way to Seattle.  In his July 17 response to Schaefer, Twining said ‘with deepest regrets we had to cancel our trip to the Boeing factory due to a very important and sudden matter that developed here….’ “ (The implication being that Twining was involved in the Roswell recovery aftermath).

I have been able to confirm Friedman’s reference.  Here is the actual document from Twining’s personal correspondence in Box 18 of the Twining papers in the Library of Congress:

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The Eisenhower Briefing Document (“EBD”) was in the original MJ12 set of documents received by UFO researchers William Moore and Jaime Shandera.  They received them in 1984 on a roll of 35mm camera film.  Notice that the date on on the EBD is “18 November, 1952” (see link above).  Skeptics and debunkers of the MJ12 documents have pointed out that such a date format is not used in US government record keeping and correspondence.  In the numerous documents that I viewed in the Twining daily logs, the date format is consistent as “28 September 2019”.   However I did turn up something interesting in Twining’s personal correspondence file:

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As the date format is the same as in the EBD and is from the New Zealand legation, I’m planning on following up to see if that date format is/was standard for government communications “Down Under” (or perhaps in other English speaking countries such as UK or Canada) during the 1984 time frame.  The EBD is widely believed to be a forgery.  Could the forger have been from Australia/New Zealand/UK/Canada ?

The Twining daily logs consisted primarily of appointments the general had during working hours.  There were also logs of phone conversations with subordinates and various high level officers.  Interestingly, most of the phone logs do not include conversations he (must have) had with General Vandenberg, his boss.  I reviewed every single document word for word in the 1952 file.  There are a couple interesting tidbits related to UFOs:

This is the second page of the phone log for July 21, 1952.  See 16:30 Gen. Chidlaw to Gen. Twining, mid paragraph:

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Here is the daily log for July 28, 1952.  General White is standing in for Twining who was out of town at the time:

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I found a number of references to Twining meeting with Mr. Harold C. Stuart on various occasions.  Mr. Stuart served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civil Affairs for a time.  I will be addressing Harold Stuart in another blog.

My most interesting finding was Twining’s daily log for November 18, 1952, the date of the Eisenhower Briefing Document.  Take a look at this:

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As I said above, I reviewed every single document in that file folder, and the log for November 18 is the only reference to President elect Eisenhower.  This came at the end of the last day of my work sequence (Sept. 21 -27) and it gave me a jolt for sure.  It doesn’t prove anything, but it’s a striking coincidence.  This is a clue that I will be following up.

Many thanks to the courteous, professional and helpful staff at the LOC Manuscript Reading Room.

Next step:  Review diplomatic and military correspondence from non-U.S. English speaking countries during the 1984 time frame.

 

 

 

 

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DC NOTES 09/21/2019 Library of Congress

Saturday, September 21 I visited the Library of Congress and set myself up in their system with a research ID.  I took a tour of the facility, and learned how to get from one building to another through the tunnels.  There are three buildings:  Jefferson, Madison and Adams.

The Library of Congress Jefferson Building is truly awe inspiring.  No expense was spared in creating the absolutely first class artwork and decor:  the granite, the marble, the frescos, mosaics, wall and ceiling paintings, gold leaf, statuary, architectural ornamentation, windows, wood… I could go on and on.

Here are a few snapshots:

I applied for my research card first, then went to the Madison Building where historical papers are kept.  Here are some photos of the manuscript reading area:

From left to right:  Manuscripts reading room, Reference library shelf, Finding Aids file, my ID card.  Many of the document collections are extensive and finders aids are published in order to help researchers locate what they are looking for.  They are published in hard-copy as well as on-line.  The file cabinets shown above are where the hardcopy finding aids are kept.

My visit to the Madision Building was specifically to view the papers of General Nathan F. Twining.  I requested and received two boxes, which I will discuss later in my MJ12 blog.

To get downtown from my apartment, I drove to the Fort Totten metro station (parking is free on Saturdays) and took the metro to Union Station.  I had great views of the Capitol building and Supreme Court in walking back to the metro that evening.

Stay tuned to this blog for more “DC Notes” in the future!

 

 

 

 

NARA NOTES 09/09/2019 THE CUTLER TWINING MEMO

NARA NOTES 09/09/2019  UPDATE 09/12/19

NOTE:  When I visited the Archives on Monday, September 9, I was under the incorrect impression that cell phone photography was allowed in the research room.  Photos of documents (as explained below) are permitted, but other photography in the room is not.  I was not interrupted or corrected from taking many of the photographs originally shown in this blog.  Out of a spirit of enthusiasm I originally published those, but have deleted them in order to be in compliance with NARA rules.  I have modified the text below accordingly, and have provided additional edits for clarity.

FIRST DAY AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES – “WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY HAS MADE!”

The National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”) is comprised of government records in a number of locations around the U.S., including presidential archives (see archives.gov).  In the DC area the two archives locations are on Pennsylvania Avenue (downtown), and in College Park Maryland.  The records downtown are before WWI and the College Park location has everything since. 

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The rules are strict.  To park, you have to show your ID.  Personal articles are x-rayed.  Certain types of clothing are prohibited.  To enter the research rooms you need a researcher card. 

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One is only allowed to bring a laptop computer, phone, pencils (not pens) (in a plastic see through bag) into the research areas.  If you have anything else, you have to store them in lockers located on the basement floor.  

Before entering the elevator to the research rooms, you have to show your researcher card to the guard. Personal items are inspected.  Upon entering the research room, you must sign in, show your card and have your items inspected there as well.  Only scratch paper and pencils are allowed. No notebooks.  Upon leaving the research area, your notes are stamped and locked in a green canvas bag and your items are inspected.  After getting off the elevator, the guard unlocks the bag and inspects your items still again. You can then take your things and notes to other unsecured areas, or leave the building.

The “Cutler Twining Memo” 

I made it my first task to view the actual “Cutler Twining Memo” document.  (If you are unfamiliar with the MJ-12 topic, please see “Majestic 12” in Wikipedia or Google “Cutler Twining memorandum”).

The research room I was working in has two sections: Military and Government.  On the military side I worked with an archivist to locate the records.  The record locations are indexed in ring binders throughout the room.  The Cutler Twining Memo (“CTM”) is in records group 341, entry number 267.

 

 

The archivist then filled out the Reference Service Slip.  This form is the actual hardcopy order that enables the archivists to locate the record.  The “RSS” is logged into the system and approved by another employee. 

 

I then submitted the RSS at the “Pull Desk” entering in the date, time and initials into their log.

About 30 minutes transpire before receiving the records.  When the records are available, an employee enters your information into a log. I then gave my name to the attendant (and had to present my researcher card again). 

The Documents

The records box was on a trolley which I moved to a work desk.  The desks are nice…they have electrical outlets, lighting and enough room to examine the material.

 

The box contained 12 folders. 

 

The Cutler Twining Memo is in file folder 4-1846. 

This Cutler Twining document’s treatment is different in that it is the only item in the whole box in a plastic cover.  There is also a memorandum from the National Archives concerning the document’s (alleged lack of) authenticity (which I will get to later in this blog).  Here it is in the cover.  

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And here it is, uncovered. 

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This is the advisory memorandum included with the document.   

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You may notice the declassification number at the top of these photos.  The folders that I went through contained material declassified by the US Air Force.  When photographing, I placed the documents on top of the declassification sheet so that the number was showing at the top.  So when the documents show up in the public domain (as they are now), there’s proof that the documents were properly declassified.

In order to photograph, copy or scan original documents you have to go through the Copy Desk attendant who writes down the declassification number from the label on the records box.  The documents are logged out, then logged in at the time of returning to the Copy Desk.  The researcher is issued a “Document and Equipment Review Confirmation” tag, which is to be displayed over the desk light.  This affirms that the documents being photographed have been logged with the Copy Desk.

 

After taking all my notes, I returned the records box to the Pull Desk.

Comments on the Cutler Twining Memo

The memo is on onion skin paper.  Text is in blue, presumably carbon copy (?) or “blue ribbon” (?). The type appeared fresh (after all this time).  The paper looked pretty fresh still, with a slight discoloration at the top edge.

Comments On The Records Box Contents

As I mentioned above, there were 12 folders in the records box.  They contained Air Intelligence reports among other subjects.  All in all, there were 16 items in the folders. Of those 16, eight were “Access Restricted” cards.  Those items’ classification status were retained.  Here is an example. 

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Some of the documents in other file folders had records access cover sheets that viewers signed off on:

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Other Comments

Controls are strict.  You can tell from my descriptions that everything is logged…. at each step.

I hope you have enjoyed viewing this blog.  My objective as a researcher is to provide substantive, referenced information.  If I am ever expressing an opinion or speculation, I will say so accordingly.  We are just getting started…stay tuned for more research!