We recently reported on an interview with movie producer/director, Steven Spielberg, in which he finally admitted that during a viewing of his movie ET: The Extra-Terrestrial at the White House, President Reagan commented that “there are a number of people in this room who know that everything on that screen is absolutely true.” The room erupted with laughter and everyone, including Spielberg, assumed that Reagan was joking.
If Reagan wasn’t joking, who was in the room that might have known his comment was true? Luckily, through the hard work of Grant Cameron, founder of PresidentialUFO.com, we now know who was at that movie showing. He was able to receive a complete list of attendees through the Reagan Library, you can see it here.
At first glance, the top suspects would most likely be the Administrator of NASA and the two astronauts who were present. Astronauts, Colonel Joseph Engle and Captain Richard Truly, a few months prior to the showing, had been the crew of STS-2, the second flight of the brand new Space Shuttle Columbia. This was the second flight of any space shuttle, and served as an orbital test flight. Reagan visited Mission Control during the flight. This was the first space mission for both astronauts.
There are no records of either of these gentlemen having any knowledge of UFOs or extraterrestrials, unless you assume all astronauts are aware of such things. Although, of the two, Truly is the most likely to have possibly been later “read in” to such programs, as he eventually retired a Vice Admiral of the Navy was the first commander of Naval Space Command, and the eighth Administrator of NASA (1989-1992).
In 1982, the Administrator of NASA was James Beggs, who was also present at the film screening. It is interesting to think about what might be going on in the head of the guy in charge of NASA as he watches a movie like ET. He is certainly one of the possible people Reagan was referring to, if he wasn’t joking.
There are two other “in the know “possibilities, the first being Vernon Walters, who from 1972 to 1976 was the Deputy Director of the CIA. During the time of the movie screening he was working for Reagan as a roving ambassador, sort of an on-call diplomat working with countries that don’t have an assigned ambassador. He then went on to the be the US ambassador to the United Nations from 1985 to 1989, a role George Bush, Sr. served from 1971 to 1973. Bush, Sr. later became the head of the CIA from 1976 to 1977.
Daniel Sheehan, who while serving as the General Counsel to the United States Jesuit National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was approached by the Director of the Library of Congress’ Science and Technology Division, Marcia Smith, in 1997 to help with a UFO research project. He says that during the course of his participation with Smith, she had told him that President-elect, Jimmy Carter, had requested that George Bush, Sr., who was Director of the CIA, brief him on the UFO situation. Bush refused, telling Carter that he did not have the need to know. If this story is true, and it does come from a credible source, then perhaps the CIA does know something about this subject. This would make Walters the most likely candidate to be someone who knew if ET was real.
Another possibility would be James Baker. In 1982 he was Reagan’s Chief of Staff. The only reason he may have known something is because of his high ranking at the White House at this time, and continuing on into the presidency of Bush, Sr.
The question remains, was Reagan joking, and if not, who in the room was Reagan referring to that would have know that he was not?
Here is a list of other movie screening attendees with a brief explanation of who they were, if we could identify them. I did not list their spouses who were also in attendance. Let us know if you have information about any of the people we have listed with a question mark.
Also, listen to Grant Cameron and I talk more about this issue on Open Minds Radio.
Martin Agronsky – American journalist and host of the television program Agronsky & Company.
James Addison Baker – Ronald Reagan’s Chief of Staff, later to become Secretary of Treasury in Reagan’s second term. He also served as Chief of Staff and Secretary of State for George Bush, Sr.
James Montgomery Beggs – The 6th Administrator of NASA, nominated by President Reagan in 1981, serving in the post until 1985.
William Dodson Broyles – American screenwriter and Journalist.
James Buckley – Undersecretary of State for Security (1981-1982), previously US Senator for New York (1971-1977).
Lane Calhoon – ?
Joseph Canzeri – He worked in the Reagan White House for two years, handling travel arrangements and special events for the president and first lady
Kathleen Carey – ?
Michael Deaver – Deputy Chief of Staff, his primary role was media management, how Reagan was seen and perceived, became close friends with Nancy Reagan.
Ralph de Toledano – Conservative journalist, editor of Newsweek and founder of the National Review.
Col. Joseph Engle – USAF Colonel and astronaut, commander of the second orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-2, in November, 1981.
Sir John Nicolas Henderson – British Ambassador to the United States.
Alexander Morgan Mason – Politician, film producer and actor. He was Reagan’s special assistant to the president for political affairs.
Sandra Day O’Connor – The first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States, appointed by Reagan in 1981.
Allan Ryskind – Conservative journalist.
Captain Richard Harrison Truly – US Navy Captain (eventually retired as Vice Admiral), aviator, and astronaut. Flew in 2 space shuttle missions, STS-2 in 1981 and STS-8 in 1983. Later became the first commander of Naval Space Command, and the eighth Administrator of NASA (1989-1992).
Peter Victor Uberroth – American executive, for five years Ueberroth served as the organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. He served as the sixth commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1984 to 1989.
Vernon A. Walters – United States Army officer and a diplomat. Most notably, he served from 1972 to 1976 as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, from 1985 to 1989 as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations and from 1989 to 1991 as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany during reunification.
Barbara Cook – American singer and actress.
Robert Gubitosi –
Jerald Pasternak – Lawyer?