This article was published in the daily newspaper Ouest-France, France, on March 19, 1973.
The symposium of Quimper on the unidentified flying objects
"We are only into preliminary studies..."
QUIMPER. -- "If the unidentified flying objects exist, if their existence is proven in an irrefutable manner, they would become object of scientific study", say the astronomers. "We must collect the elements of observation while refraining from making any premature interpretation" declare the representatives of the Groupement d'Etudes des Phénomènes Aériens [GEPA] [Group for the Study of Aerial Phenomena]. For the layman, this extreme prudence can seem disappointing. This first National Symposium on the unidentified flying objects, which was held Saturday in Quimper, did not bring him the answers he hoped for.
Residents of Quimper of the National Commission of U.F.O. Research can be flattered, however, to have brought together 400 people in the Tou-r-Laer hall. The historical background by Christian Severe, the speech by René Fouère [Sic, Fouéré], secretary-general of the Group for the study of Aerial Phenomena, the sommented projection of slides, allowed for a global view. Some, however, considered it regrettable that astronomers and physicists could not come to contribute their share to this symposium.
Let's say simply that thousands of people in the whole world (in particular some inhabitants of our area) were the witnesses of strange phenomena. Their testimony, subjected to scientific criticism, often makes it possible for the scientists to provide an explanation. But there remain unexplainable phenomena.
So? Many of those who are convinced of the existence of the U.F.O. are tempted by the extraterrestrial assumption. These craft, if they are quite real, would be controlled by beings coming from a remote planet, which would have thousands of years of advance technical on us.
But, without excluding this tempting explanation, the National Research Commission and the group for the studies of aerial phenomena prefer to collect the largest number of sighting reports, to study these statements seriously and to seek material clues. Before venturing in the field of the assumptions.
"We're only into the preliminary studies", explains Mr. Rene Fouère [sic, Fouéré] who, for more than twenty years, has investigated this issue.
For all the researchers, a double instruction: "Neither irony, nor sensationalism." This means that it is necessary to received seriously the statements by witnesses of good faith, but that it would be dangerous to want to jump immediately to a simplistic conclusion.
With the risk of disappointing the audience (who had remained up to 1 a.m.), the organizers of the symposium thus concluded on the need for gathering with infinite caution all information on the U.F.O., which does not prevent them from thinking that this issue might be "the most important enigma of our time."
As for the skeptics, one can to only advise them to contemplate a cartoon: it represents the members of the american commission (which had shown the inexistence of the flying saucers) looking at aliens abducting Professor Condon, their President, in a saucer. One of them is just saying: "Stay calm Dr. Condon, tell them that you do not believe in them."