On September 25th, 1976, King Hassan II of Morocco instructed his Commander of the Royal Gendarmerie to inquire about a strange unidentified craft that he and others had witnessed in the early morning hours over the skies of Morocco on the night of September 18th through the 19th of that year. King Hassan II described the UFO as a “…silvery luminous circular shape and gave off intermittent trails of bright sparks and fragments and made no noise.” A confidential memo, which has now been dumped by Wikileaks for public viewing, was sent to the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, asking for help or information on the strange silvery disc-shaped craft that flew over Morocco.
The cable explains how on September 18 and 19 of 1976, reports of the UFO sighting came pouring in from Agadir, the Marrakech area, Casablanca, Rabat, Kenitra, and other areas throughout Morocco. Despite being reported from widely disparate locations around the country, the description of the object remained consistent within each report. The UFO was described as a disk-shaped object, silver in color, occasionally throwing off trails of “bright sparks and fragments”. The craft made no sound as it flew slowly overhead, traveling up the Moroccan Atlantic coast in a northerly direction.
It is interesting to note that on that same night, only a few hours after the Morocco sighting, an unknown object matching the same description was spotted in Tehran, Iran. This sighting was confirmed by two F-4 pilots and several control tower operators on the ground.
After suitable stonewalling, Henry Kissinger suggested the object was a meteor, and referred the Moroccans to the Condon report, which of course, had dismissed UFOs as nothing more than a natural occurrence some years before.
The full text of the cable is below.
1. YESTERDAY, THE 23RD OF SEPTEMBER, COL HOUSNI BENSLIMANE, COMMANDER OF THE ROYAL GENDARMERIE, REQUESTED TO SEE ME AT 1000 HOURS THE SAME DAY. WHEN HE ARRIVED, COL BENSLIMANE SAID THAT THE KING HAD SENT HIM TO DISUCSS THE SIGHTINGS OF UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS (UFO’S) OVER MOROCCO ON THE NIGHT OF 18-19 SEPTEMBER. ACCORDING TO COL BENSLIMANE, THE GENDARMERIE HAD RECEIVED CALLS FROG AGADIR, THE MARRAKECH AREA, CASABLANCA, RABAT, KENITRA AND OTHER AREAS REPORTING THE SIGHTING OF UFO’S BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 0100 AND 0130, THE NIGHT OF 18-19 SEPTEMBER. REPORTS FROM THESE WIDELY SEPARATE LOCATIONS WERE REMARKABLY SIMILAR, I.E., THAT THE OBJECT WAS ON A GENERALLY SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST COURSE, IT WAS A SILVERY LUMINOUS CIRCULAR SHAPE AND GAVE OFF INTERMITTENT TRAILS OF BRIGHT SPARKS AND FRAGMENTS, AND MADE NO NOISE. HE PROMISED TO PROVIDE FURTHER DETAILS TODAY, THE 24TH OF SEPTEMBER AND ASKED THAT WE FURNISH ANY INFORMATION THAT WE MIGHT HAVE ON THESE SIGHTINGS. COL BENSLIMANE SAID THE KING WAS PERSONALLY INTERESTED. I PROMISED THAT WE WOULD DO WHAT WE COULD.
2. TODAY, THE 24TH, A MAJOR MOHAMED LISSAOUI OF THE ROYAL GENDARMERIE MET WITH DATT AND GAVE HIM A SUMMARY OF THE SIGHTINGS. LISSAOUI ALSO PERMITTED DATT TO LOOK AT DRAWINGS
RABAT 05209 250817Z OF THE UFO PREPARED BY VARIOUS INDIVIDUALS, INCLUDING HIMSELF, WHO HAD SIGHTED THE UFO.
3. THE TIMES OF THE SIGHTINGS VARIED FROM 0100 TO 0200 HOURS ON THE MORNING OF 19 SEPTEMBER, WITH THE MAJORITY OF THEM OCCURRING BETWEEN 0100 AND 0130 HOURS. SIGHTINGS WERE REPORTED FROM AGADIR, KALAA-SRAGHNA, ESSAOUIRA, CASABLANCA, RABAT, KENITRA, MEKNES AND THE FEZ REGION. THERE WAS GENERAL AGREEMENT THAT THE UFO WAS PROCEEDING ON AN APPROXIMATELY SOUTH TO NORTH COURSE, GENERALLY PARALLEL TO THE MOROCCAN ATLANTIC COAST, AT AT ESTIMATED ALTITUDE OF 1,000 METERS, AND THAT THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO SOUND FROM THE UFO.
4. DESCRIPTIONS OF THE UFO FELL INTO TWO GENERAL CATEGORIES, I.E., A TYPE OF SILVER COLORED LUMINOUS FLATTENED BALL (DISC- SHAPED), OR A LARGE LUMINOUS TUBE-SHAPED OBJECT. OBSERVERS REPORTED THAT THE OBJECT INTERMITTENTLY EMITTED BRIGHT SPARKS FROM THE REAR.
5. MAJOR LISSAOUI SAID HE WAS SENT TO BRIEF DATT ON THE SUBJECT BECAUSE HE HAD HIMSELF SIGHTED THE UFO WHILE RETURNING FROM THE CITY OF KENITRA AT ABOUT 0115 IN THE MORNING. HE DESCRIBED THE UFO AS FLYING PARALLEL TO THE COAST AT A RELATIVELY SLOW SPEED, AS IF IT WERE AN AIRCRAFT PREPARING TO LAND. IT FIRST APPEARED TO HIM AS A DISC-SHAPED OBJECT, BUT AS IT CAME CLOSER HE SAW IT AS A LUMINOUS TUBULAR-SHAPED OBJECT.
6. I FRANKLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF THESE SIGHTINGS, ALTHOUGH I FIND INTRIGUING THE SIMILARITY OF DESCRIPTIONS REPORTED FROM WIDELY DISPERSED LOCATIONS. IN ANY EVENT, I WISH TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND PROMPTLY TO KING HASSAN’S REQUEST FOR INFORMATION, AND WOULD APPRECIATE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO ASSIST ME IN THIS.
And here is Henry Kissinger’s response.
HOPE TO HAVE ANSWER FOR YOU NEXT WEEK. REGARDS. KISSINGER
Followed by a lengthier response, brushing the incident under the rug, a few days later on October 5, 1976.
1. IT IS DIFFICULT TO OFFER ANY DEFINITIVE EXPLANATION AS TO THE CAUSE OR ORIGIN OF THE UFOS SIGHTED IN THE MOROCCAN AREA BETWEEN 0100 AND 0130 LOCAL TIME 19 SEPTEMBER 1976.
2. AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION OF THIS SUBJECT WAS MADE IN THE US IN 1969; SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS, E.U. CONDON, PUBLISHED BY BANTAM BOOKS, NEW YORK. THIS STUDY INDICATES THAT DETAILED SIGHTINGS OF UFOS BY RELIABLE WITNESSES CAN BE EXPLAINED IN MANY WAYS, E.G.: IN TERMS OF LOCAL BALLOON, AIRCRAFT, OR SATELLITE ACTIVITY; BY METEOROLOGICAL AND ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS, INCLUDING METEOR EVENTS; AND BY ASTRONOMICAL OBJECTS.
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3. THE USG IS UNAWARE OF ANY US AIRCRAFT OR SATELLITE ACTIVITY, EITHER MILITARY OR CIVILIAN, IN THE MOROCCAN AREA WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN MISTAKEN FOR SUCH SIGHTINGS ON THE 19 SEPTEMBER 1976. THIS DOES NOT PRECLUDE AIRCRAFT FLIGHTS OR OTHER COUNTRIES OR UNUSUAL ATMOSPHERIC CONDI- TIONS OR EVENTS AS A POSSIBLE CAUSE.
4. THE WHOLE SUBJECT OF UFOS HAS BEEN ONE OF MUCH CONTRO- VERSY. AT PRESENT, THERE IS NO USG AGENCY STUDYING THIS MATTER, THE VIEW BEING THAT SUCH SIGHTINGS, WHERE SUFFI- CIENTLY DETAILED AND RELIABLE DATA ARE AVAILABLE, CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO NATURAL CAUSES AND THAT FURTHER STUDY IS NOT WARRANTED.
5. ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO MAJOR METEOR SHOWER IN SEPTEMBER, THE SPORADIC METEOR RATE IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE IS AT A MAXIMUM IN THE EARLY MORNING AND IN THE AUTUMN MONTHS. BUT, METEORS ARE USUALLY VISIBLE AT AN ALTITUDE AROUND 100 KM, NOT 1 KM. HOWEVER, SUBJECTIVE ESTIMATES OF THE HEIGHT OF SUCH SIGHTINGS ARE USUALLY TOO LOW. THE FLAT TRAJECTORY SW TO NE COULD CONCEIVABLY BE COMPATIBLE WITH A METEOR, OR DECAYING SATELLITE. TANGENTIAL TRAJECTORIES ARE NOT THE MOST LIKELY FOR METEORS, BUT ARE NOT IMPOS- SIBLE. IT IS UNLIKELY FROM THE DESCRIPTION THAT THE EVENT COULD HAVE BEEN A REFLECTION FROM A POLAR ORBITING SATELLITE.
6. WE ARE CHECKING FURTHER WHETHER OR NOT THIS PHENOMENON WAS SIGHTED BY THE SMITHSONIAN ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY’S GROUND STATION IN SOUTHERN SPAIN. THE CONTACT AT THE SAO, CAMBRIDGE, MASS., IS JAMES CORNELL, PHONE 617-495-7461.
7. IF THIS EVENT WERE A METEOR, A COMPARABLE SIGHTING IN THE US WOULD BE THE ALBERTA FIREBALL OF AUGUST 1972 WHICH TRAVELED S TO N FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA TO EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA AND WAS ROUGHLY TANGENTIAL TO THE EARTH’S SURFACE, ITS LOWEST POINT IN ALTITUDE BEING ABOUT 40 KM. THIS WAS A VERY STRIKING OCCURRENCE AND ONE IN WHICH THE METEOR SEEMS TO HAVE ENTERED AND THEN LEFT THE ATMO- SPHERE.
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8. IN ORDER TO ANALYZE THE MOROCCAN EVENT THOROUGHLY, FUR- THER DESCRIPTIONS OR PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE LOCAL AREA WOULD BE NEEDED. IN THE MEANTIME, ONE WOULD TEND TO BELIEVE THAT THE EVENT WAS A METEOR, AND PROBABLY A SPECTACTULAR ONE OR ON ACCOUNT OF THE DESCRIPTION OF SLOW VELOCITY, NO NOISE, AND BURNING FRAGMENTS, A DECAYING SATELLITE PART,OF WHICH THERE IS NO PRECISE RE-ENTRY RECORD.