As I, and many, many others have shown over the years, MJ-12 didn't exist, and the MJ-12 documents are bogus beyond any reasonable doubt (google MJ-12 in this blog's search engine to read past columns on this subject).
But that doesn't mean that Hillenkoetter and Menzel were unacquainted, or that Hillenkoetter wasn't playing games with members of the UFO community.
On 13 December, 1964, Major Donald Keyhoe, of NICAP, sent a letter to his old freind and former Annapolis classmate Hillenkoetter, who was a former member of NICAP's Board of Directors (1957 - 1962). In it, Keyhoe asked about information he had been given that Hillenkoetter, among other things, had discussed NICAP and UFOs with Menzel, and had commented favourably on one of Menzel's anti-UFO books.
Hillenkoetter replied on January 8, 1965, that Keyhoe had been misinformed. Hillenkoetter wrote:
This was a lie.
I saw Dr. Menzel at a dinner in December but other than saying 'Good Evening - Merry Christmas' there was no conversation and I have never carried on any conversation with Menzel about NICAP or UFO. He did send me a copy of his book for which I thanked him but took no posiiton on the statements he made. (emphasis added - PK)
On September 19, 1963, Hillenkoetter had written to Menzel:
Thank you very much for your book. To my mind, it was very well done and I enjoyed it and found it of great interest. I should say that you have effectively put to rest all surmises about flying saucers being from 'outer space'. You have done a thorough and praiseworthy job."
As I told you at the last 'Ends of the Earth', I resigned from NICAP about 20 months ago feeling that it had degenerated from an organization honestly trying to find out something definite about possible unknowns, into a body bickering about personalities.He concluded:
At all events, you have done a fine job and I am very grateful you were so kind as to send me your book Again with thanks and the hope of seeing you at the next 'Ends of the Earth'.In this letter, Hillenkoetter does indeed discuss UFOs and NICAP with Menzel, and also offers high praise for his anti-UFO work.
One could say that there was a difference between "carrying on a conversation with Menzel", as Hillenkoetter stated in his letter to Keyhoe, and "writing him", but, all things considered, that is a distinction without a meaningful difference in this instance.
So, what can we glean from this?
First and perhaps foremost in the context of MJ-12, Hillenkoetter's letter to Menzel is not the kind of letter that one MJ-12 member would have written to another, as I noted here.
However, it does reveal a fair bit about Hillenkoetter's character, little of it good, and leads one to wonder just how sincere he was about his involvement with NICAP in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
After all, if he would lie to Keyhoe about matters as relatively trivial as this, what else might he have lied to him about?
It's a question worth asking, even without the bogus MJ-12 connection.