The following is a transcript from the July 7, 1947 breakfast meeting of President Harry S. Truman and White House Chief of Staff John R. Steelman, who had flown to Key West, Florida, overnight and interrupted the president's vacation to deliver the following news:
CHIEF OF STAFF: Mr. President, late last night on a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, the Air Force recovered a- crash-landed alien spacecraft with extraterrestrials aboard.
PRESIDENT: Why, that is without a doubt the most significant piece of news in the whole of human history! After millennia of speculation, the citizens of Earth will finally learn and rejoice in the knowledge that we’re not alone in the universe!
CHIEF OF STAFF: About that, sir, we propose we cover it up.
PRESIDENT: Cover it up?
CHIEF OF STAFF: We'll say that it's simply one of a classified weather balloon that crash-landed.
PRESIDENT: But why?
CHIEF OF STAFF: In case the aliens have technology that the military can use against the Russians.
PRESIDENT: Oh, okay.