It was strong evidence… that formed the basis of a very early appraisal of sixteen American cases made by Lieutenant Colonel Donald Springer of Hamilton Field Air Base in California. All were dated between 19 May and 20 July 1947 and were very impressive. His analysis, dated 30 July, showed that ten of the sightings had occurred in daylight and almost all had been made by well-qualified observers. This was a sample of the best of possibly dozens of cases received by military sources by that time.
These sorts of reports show how the popular misconception that UFOs were ‘flying saucer’-shaped was now taking root, thanks to the media. Of these sixteen cases, only one came close to being what we might now call disc-shaped. The rest were a mixed bag including “a bright light”, “flat on base with top slightly rough in contour”, “like barrel head” and “a wagon wheel”.
The conclusions of this first-ever attempt to conduct a serious investigation into UFO reports were amply supported by the data. The following remark was included in an appendix: “This ‘flying saucer’ situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomenon. Something is really flying around.”
Springer further noted that he was puzzled by the “lack of topside enquiries” – a decided disinterest from the highest level in Government. Many similar statements have been made since then by military personnel or witnesses to major events. Springer became the first in a long line to speculate about a conspiracy, arguing five weeks into the UFO mystery that flying saucers might well be something about which the president, etc, know.
(The Complete Book of UFOs, Hough and Randles)
[This] FBI/Army Intelligence report [was] declassified under the United States Freedom of Information Act in 1976.