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Bilderberg Conferences

Origins of the Bilderberg meetings

[This site campaigns for a press conference at all Bilderberg venues - and a declaration from the steering committee that any consensus reached must be in our public, not their private interest]

Creator of the Bilderbergers was a card carrying member of Hitler's SS (seperate page all about Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands)

The Bilderberg Group and the project of European unification - From Lobster 32

"Imagine yourselves to be dictators of Europe" extract from a paper on the single market programme

An Uncommon View of the Birth of an Uncommon Market - Alfred Mendez

1939-1945 - The Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies Group - roundtable

'Memoirs of an Eminence Grise' - by John Pomian - 1972 - extract from biography of Joseph Retinger

Eisenhower’s special assistant for psychological warfare.......

'The Global Manipulators' by Robert Eringer - Chapter 1 'In Search of Answers'

'Uniting the West' - by ex British chancellor Denis Healey - from his autobiography 'The Time of My Life'

'The Hôtel de Bilderberg' from 'H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands; an authorized biography' - Alden Hatch

'Bosnia, Bohemia & Bilderberg: The Cold War Internationale' - Alfred Mendes - from 'Common Sense' issue 16 - 1994

'Prince Bernhardt's Secret Society' by A.K. Chesterton

Historical Links

The Bilderberg Group and the project of European unification -

From Lobster 32

This article copyright Lobster and Mike Peters

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NAZIS - NATOThe Bilderberg Group and the project of European unification

Mike Peters <>


Despite their reputation for 'empiricism', British academics have tended to treat political power by means of abstract concepts rather than empirical information about the actions of determinate individuals and groups (e.g. Giddens, 1984, 1985; Scott, 1986). After a brief efflorescence of empirical studies of the so-called 'Establishment' in the early 1960s, sociologists in Britain became diverted from empirical investigation of power, as the study of national and international power-structures became conducted under the aegis of increasingly abstract theoretical categories derived from Marxism, and in particular by a wave of concepts based on Poulantzas's 'structuralist' critique of Miliband, and was followed by ever more esoteric discussions of the 'theory' of the state (e.g. Jessop, 1990), culminating in the hegemony of a post-Marxist version of Gramsci's conception of 'hegemony' - in which 'struggle' is posited without any identifiable human beings as its active protagonists, and with the stakes reduced to ideas rather than concrete interests.

This was in sharp contrast with the USA, where the impetus of C. Wright Mills's pioneering study of the network of interests involved in the Cold War (Mills, 1956) was continued by a flourishing group of scholars. There has been nothing in Britain of comparable scope or detail to the work conducted in the USA by G. W. Domhoff, Thomas Dye, Mark Mizruchi or Noam Chomsky, etc.

The present article is concerned with one specific facet of American power-structure research which, I believe, has important implications for the study of power in the UK. This is the subject of power-elite networks and forums, conceptualised as arenas for the conduct of intra-capitalist and inter-corporate strategic debates and long-range social planning, from which wider 'democratic' interference is carefully excluded.

The particular institution about which I will present information is the so-called 'Bilderberg Group', which is an interesting example of this kind of power-elite forum. It is one among a number of little-publicised institutions which have played an important role providing a means for debates and discussions to take place amongst different capitalist groups and different national governments over long-term planning issues and, especially, in Co-ordinating strategic policy at an international level. Other such bodies on this trans-national scale include the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in the USA, with its UK sister organisation, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (otherwise known simply as Chatham House) and the Trilateral Commission (which itself grew out of Bilderberg meetings and has been essentially a more globalist version of the latter, since it incorporates Japanese representatives). Each of these bodies will be mentioned in what follows.

One of the 'functions' such institutions appear to serve is that of 'mediating' between the economic interests of private capital and the requirement of a general interest on the part of the capitalist class as a whole. I shall suggest that much of the theorising about the 'state' in the tradition of structural Marxism since the 1970s has confused this relation between capital and national governments, owing to the tendency to reify the abstraction called ‘the state' and posit it as enjoying a virtual autonomy vis-à-vis capital; whereas the empirical evidence lends more support to the rather hastily dismissed (and often grotesquely caricatured) model called 'instrumentalism’.

To anticipate what will be said later, I believe that one of the key assumptions often made by structural Marxists, namely that the capitalist class is always divided into competing fractions which have no mechanisms for co-ordination other than the state, is not empirically sustainable. Part of this misconception, it could be said, derives from an over-literal understanding of the concept of the 'market' as constituting the only social relation amongst different fractions of capital. At least as far as the very large, and above all, the international (or as we would say in today's jargon, the ‘global’) corporations are concerned, this is definitely not the case: very sophisticated organs do exist whereby these capitalist interests can and do hammer out common lines of strategy. Bilderberg is one of these mechanisms.

The Context

As the second world war drew to a close, the capitalist class in Western Europe was under severe threat from an upsurge of working class radicalism, the management of which required a strategy more sophisticated than conventional repression, and the first steps were taken, by political panes of both left and right, to develop 'corporatist' programmes based on a kind of national protectionism. By contrast, in the USA, the war had brought to dominance an internationally-oriented capitalist class who saw very clearly that their interests lay in a thorough 'liberalisation' (1) of the world market, abolition of tariffs etc.. Only the false wisdom of hindsight could make the eventual Atlantic Alliance system that emerged by 1950 seem preordained by 'objective' historical forces. Indeed, so used have we become to hearing phrases like 'American imperialism' and witnessing US interventions throughout the world that we can forget just how difficult it was for this internationally oriented fraction of the American capitalist class to impose its agenda upon the US state: the deep-rooted tendency of American political culture has always been what Europeans call Isolationist' and it took extensive political work to drag the Americans into these foreign entanglements. In this paper I will not be looking in any detail at how these interests influenced the US government during and after the Second World War, but rather at how they succeeded in effecting the integration of the Western European capitalist class into a new Atlantic alliance system

The period 1945-50 is highly complex and debate still rages over the origin and nature of the 'Cold War': for example over the degree to which the US was acting offensively or defensively against a (real or imagined) Soviet threat, as well as over the relation between the external or geopolitical aspect of the Cold War on the one hand and its domestic, ideological or 'class' aspect. And die recent work of. Alan Milward, for example, has thrown into question many of the received assumptions about the causes and consequences of the 'supranational' institutions created in Europe in the aftermath of the war (Milward, 1984 and 1994; Anderson, 1996).

The beginnings of a clarification of these events were made with the pioneering analysis of Kees Van der Pijl, in conjunction with other Dutch Marxist scholars (Fennema, Overbeek etc.) ten years ago, together with the detailed empirical work of US power-researchers (e.g. the journal Critical Sociology). With the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent 'coming out' of veteran anti-Communists now prepared to open up some of their dubious accomplishments to outside scrutiny (Peter Coleman, Brian Crozier e.g.), more direct documentary evidence of the scope and intensity of covert US involvement in European politics in the post-war period is now available.

The Marshall Plan and NATO

The official version of the history of the creation of the Atlantic system reads like the 'lives and teachings of saints (Milward, 1992). in these school textbook accounts, each of the pillars of the post-war world order has its great founding father, whose photographs invariably appear in magazine articles:

* the IMF and the World Bank are the work of Keynes

* European economic recovery is the work of General Marshall

* NATO is the work of Ernest Bevin, and

* the European Community is the work of Jean Monnet (with his faithful discipline Schuman)

These are not just myths; they are, in intelligence parlance, more like 'cover stories'.

The Marshall Plan is named after the speech on June 5 1947 by US Secretary of State Marshall, which invited European countries to join in a co-operative plan for economic reconstruction, with explicit requirements for trade liberalisation and increases in productivity. Over the next ten months there emerged the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, which set up the Economic Co-operation Agency (ECA) to administer the European Recovery Programme (ERP) - the so-called 'Marshall Aid' - which gave $13 billion in aid to 16 western European states. In four years, the ECA was superseded by the Mutual Security Agency (MSA) in 1951 which in turn was transformed into the Foreign Operations Agency (FOA) in 1954, later the International Co-operation Agency (ICA) in 1955 and finally the Agency for International Development (AID) in 196l (Carew 1987 p. 6ff). it is generally recognised that this aid had a decidedly militaristic purpose, being essentially a prerequisite for the development of NATO. (2)

It is less generally acknowledged, however, that this unprecedented exercise of international generosity (dubbed by Churchill the 'most unsordid act in history') served direct economic purposes for the internationally oriented US corporations which promoted it. William Clayton, for example, the Under-secretary for Economic Affairs, whose tour of Europe and letters sent back to Washington played a key role in preparing the plan, and who pushed it through Congress, personally profited to the tune of $700,000 a year; and his own company, Anderson, Clayton & Co. secured $10 million of Marshall, Plan orders up to the summer of 1949. (Schuman 1954 p. 240). General Motors similarly got $5.5 million worth of orders between July 1950 and 1951 (14.7% of the total) and they Ford Motor Company got $1 million (4.2% of the total).

Roots in the Council on Foreign Relations

The origins of the Marshall Plan are in fact to be found in the 'War and Peace Study Groups' instituted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in 1939. (For the details see Shoup & Minter p. 117 ff). on December 6 1939 the Rockefeller Foundation granted the Council nearly $50,000 to finance the first year of the project. Well over 120 influential individuals (academics and business leaders), at least 5 cabinet levels departments and 12 separate government agencies, bureaux or offices were involved in this. There were altogether 362 meetings and no less than 682 separate documents produced. I find it frankly astonishing that virtually none of the British academic scholarship on this period even acknowledges the existence of the CFR, let alone the War and Peace Study Groups. Evidence is surely required to show that they had no influence, if that is what scholars believe.

The plan which Marshall presented in his speech had already been outlined in the proposals of a CFR study group of 1946 headed by the lawyer Charles M. Spofford and David Rockefeller, entitled 'Reconstruction in Western Europe'; and the specific proposal for unifying the Western European coal and steel basin as a bulwark against the USSR was made by John Foster Dulles in January 1947.

To trace the origin of the movement for European unification, however, requires that we go back to May 8 1946 and an address given at Chatham House by a Pole named Joseph Retinger. In this talk he outlined a plan for a federal Europe in which the states would relinquish part of their sovereignty. At the time, Retinger was secretary general of the Independent League for European Co-operation (ILEC), run by the Belgian Prime Minister Paul van Zeeland. During the war Retinger worked closely with van Zeeland and other exile leaders who would become prominent in the Bilderberg network, (including Paul Rijkens, whom we will meet again shortly). (3) Out of these connections was born in 1942-3 the Benelux customs union, a kind of prototype of the Common Market.

The ideas adumbrated by Retinger were not new: there is a whole history of such projects for European unification and for even larger global schemes. One might just note here the assumption of the need for a 'great power' status as well as the almost taken-for-granted racism which informed Retinger's thinking:

'The end of the period during which the white man spread his activities over the whole globe saw the Continent itself undergoing a process of internal disruption........ there are no big powers left in continental Europe....... [whose] inhabitants after all, represent the most valuable human element in the world.' (Retinger 1946, p. 7)

Shortly after this speech, Retinger was invited by the US ambassador, Averell Harriman, to the USA to secure American support for ILEC.

'I found in America a unanimous approval for our ideas among financiers, businessmen and politicians. Mr Leffingwell, senior partner in J. P. Morgan's [bank], Nelson and David Rockefeller, Alfred Sloan [chair of General Motors], Charles Hook, President of the American Rolling Mills Company, Sir William Wiseman, [British SIS and] partner in Kuhn Loeb [New York investment bank], George Franklin and especially my old friend Adolf Berle Jr [CFR], were all in favour, and Berle agreed to lead the American section [of ILEC]. John Foster Dulles also agreed to help. (Pomian 1972, p. 212)

Thus was formed the European Movement (whose first congress at the Hague in 1948 is- the origin of the Council of Europe), which received substantial contributions from US government secret funds as well as private sources via the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE). The names mentioned above are significant in the present context: Leffingwell preceded John McCloy and David Rockefeller as CFR chair, 1946-53, and had been a CFR director since 1927, while Franklin was executive director of the CFR 1953-7 and was later a Trilateral Commission Co-ordinator: also, incidentally an in-law of the Rockefellers.

US funding for the European Movement extended beyond 1952, most of it going to the European Youth Campaign, initiated by John McCloy, whose own career virtually personifies the Atlantic ruling class as a whole: a corporate lawyer of relatively humble origins, he became, through his contacts at Harvard, assistant Secretary of War 1941-45 and first President of the World Bank (IBRD), which he revamped to suit the interests of Wall Street; and then US High Commissioner for Germany 1949-52 (where, among other things, he enabled Krupp to regain control of his steel companies, advising on the establishment of the Krupp-Stiftung, modelled on the Ford Foundation - he was connected to Adenauer through his German wife, whose sister married Lewis Douglas, J. P. Morgan financier and later US ambassador to Britain), after which he became a director of both the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Ford Foundation in 1953. He was also an active member of the Bilderberg Group, becoming chair of the Council on Foreign Relations itself.

As for ACUE, its chair was William Donovan (who ran OSS - forerunner of the CLA during the war) and its vice-chair was Allen Dulles (who was a leading figure in the CFR War and Peace Study Group during the early part of the war, and later the director of the CIA); and it was run in Europe by another CIA executive, Thomas W. Braden.

The Bilderberg Group

'The Treaty of Rome [1957], which brought the Common Market into being, was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings.' (George McGhee, former US ambassador to West Germany)

'Bilderberg' takes its name from the hotel, belonging to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, near Arnhem, where, in May 1954 the first meeting took place of what has ever since been called the Bilderberg Group. While the name persisted, its meetings are held at different locations. Prince Bernhard himself (who, incidentally, was actually German not Dutch) was chair until 1976 when he was forced to resign because of the Lockheed bribery scandal. The possible significance of this group may be gleaned from the status of its participants: the membership comprises those individuals who would, on most definitions, be regarded as members of the 'ruling class' in Western Europe and North America-In particular, the conferences brought together important figures in most of the largest international corporations with leading politicians and prominent intellectuals (in both academia and journalism).

Moreover, virtually all the European institutions we take for granted today, or treat as if they 'emerged' as a matter of course, from the ECSC, EEC and Euratom down to the present European Union, were conceived, designed and brought into existence through the agency of the people involved in Bilderberg.


What Gill has referred to, with disarming brevity, as its 'almost completely secretive' character (Gill 1990, p. 129) is neither incidental nor superficial but integral to its functioning. It is essential that these discussions be kept out of the public sphere. The lengths to which the organisers go are quite astonishing. An entire hotel is taken over in advance (existing guests being moved out) and a whole caravanserai, including special catering staff and armed security guards, descend on the site several days in advance. I recommend the amusing account by Robert Eringer - to my knowledge the only journalistic investigation yet conducted (Eringer 1980). The maintenance of this secrecy has been remarkably effective. In 1967, Cecil King, then chair of the International Publishing Corporation (at the time the press group with the largest circulation in the UK) and chair of the Newspaper Proprietors Association, formally requested his fellow proprietors to see to it that 'on no account should any report or even speculation about the content of the conferences be printed' (quoted in Sklar 1980, p. 178).

On one of the few occasions when Bilderberg meetings were mentioned in a major British newspaper, the outcome was quite interesting. In the 'Lombard' column of the Financial Times, C. Gordon Tether wrote on May 6 1975: 'If the Bilderberg Group is not a conspiracy of some sort, it is conducted in such a way as to give a remarkably good imitation of one.' In a column written almost a year later, for the March 3 l976 edition, Tether wrote: 'The Bilderbergers have always insisted upon clothing their comings and goings in the closest secrecy. Until a few years back, this was carried to such lengths that their annual conclave went entirely unmarked in the world's press. In the more recent past, the veil has been raised to the extent of letting it be known that the meetings were taking place. But the total ban on the reporting of what went on has remained in force....Any conspiratologist who has the Bilderbergers in his sights will proceed to ask why it is that, if there is so little to hide, so much effort is devoted to hiding it.'

This column never appeared: it was censored by the Financial Times editor Mark Fisher (himself a member of the Trilateral Commission), and Tether was finally dismissed from the 'Lombard' column in August 1976.

What goes on at Bilderberg?

It is important at the outset to distinguish the active, on-going membership from the various people who are occasionally invited to attend. Many of those invited to come along, perhaps to report on matters pertaining to their expertise, have little idea there is a formally constituted group at all, let alone one with its own grand agenda. Hence the rather dismissive remarks by people like sixties media guru Marshall McLuhan, who attended a Bilderberg meeting in 1969 in Denmark, that he was 'nearly suffocated at the banality and irrelevance,' describing them as 'uniformly nineteenth century minds pretending to relate to the twentieth century'. Another of those who have attended, Christopher Price, then Labour MP for Lewisham West, found it 'all very fatuous.... icing on the cake with nothing to do with the cake.' (Eringer 1980, p. 26). Denis Healey, on the other hand, who was in from the beginning and later acted as British convenor, says that 'the most valuable [meetings] to me while I was in opposition were the Bilderberg Conferences'. (Healey 1990, p. 195)

Bilderberg from the beginning has been administered by a small core group, constituted since 1956 as a steering committee, consisting of a permanent chair, a US chair, European and North American secretaries and a treasurer. Invitations are 'only sent to important and generally respected people who through their special knowledge or experience, their personal contacts and their influence in national and international circles can further the aims set by Bilderberg.' (Retinger, cited in Sklar p. 168)

John Pomian, Retinger's secretary observed that:

'...during the first 3 or 4 years the all-important selection of participants was a delicate and difficult task. This was particularly so as regards politicians. It was not easy to persuade the top office holders to come Retinger displayed great skill and an uncanny ability to pick out people who in a few years time were to accede to the highest offices in their respective countries today there are very few figures among governments on both sides of the Atlantic who have not attended at least one of these meetings.' (Pomian, pp. 254-5)

The Bilderberg discussions are organised on the principle of reaching consensus rather than through formal resolutions and voting. Such is the influence and standing of the active members that, if consensus for action is arrived at, one might expect this to be carried out and the resulting decision to be implemented in the West as a whole. But the exact position of the group, and that of other such groups, is only discernible by a close scrutiny of the specific careers and connections of the individual participants. Here, one has to say that social theorists seem convinced of the irrelevance of this kind of information, which would be called 'prosopographic' (i.e. data pertaining to concrete individuals, which companies they represent, their family connections etc.). This is somewhat contradictory, of course, because in their every-day roles, social theorists are just as interested in this kind of information as anyone else, and display a keen sense of its political relevance when it comes to conducting their own careers: but it has it nonetheless become almost a matter of principle to denounce use of this kind of data in social science itself. This tendency seems to come from a reification of the concept of 'roles' (as if these were real rather than constructs) and possibly from a functionalist assumption that social systems are subject to laws; with concrete human actors having no significance in shaping outcomes.

Origins of Bilderberg

The initiative for the first convocation came from Joseph Retinger, in conjunction with Paul Rijkens, President of Unilever. Retinger has already been introduced; and the significance of Unilever needs to be examined briefly. Unilever is one of the largest and most powerful multinational corporations in the world and one of the top European capitalist companies. In the 1950's the advisory directors of Unilever were as follows (and I'm drawing attention to the links with the Rotterdam Bank and Philips, the electrical firm):

· H.M. Hirschfield: also on the board of Philips and Rotterdam Bank and with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs during the war, and after it Commissioner for the Marshall Plan in the Netherlands;

· K.P. Van der Mandel, also on the board of Rotterdam Bank;

· Paul Rijkens: also on the board of Rotterdam Bank;

· H.L. Wolterson: also chair of Philips and on the board of Heldring and Pearson (linked with the Rotterdam Bank);

· P S.F Otten: also President of Philips (and married to a member of the Philips family)

One of the unusual features of Unilever is its bi-national structure (Stokman et al, 1985): it is a jointly-owned AngloDutch company, with a 50/r0 structure and a unitary board. This was a very useful device during the war, when operations could be shifted easily from the Netherlands to the UK. Philips had a similar arrangement under a Dutch law called the Corvo Law, whereby in an emergency it could divide itself into two parts, which it did when the Germans invaded: one with its HQ in Germany and the other American. Both these parts got large military contracts during the war, playing a role on both sides (Aaronovitch 1961, pp. 110-11). Unilever's financial advisers are the US investment bank Lazard Freres, which handles the private financial affairs of many of the world's wealthy families, including the Agnellis of Fiat. (See Koenig, 1990, Reich. 1983, Business Week June 18 1984).

Unilever's chief adviser on international affairs was David Mitrany, whose book, A Working Peace Svstem, published in 1943, secured him this post. (He also worked for Chatham House). it was Mitrany who coined the term 'functionalism' to refer to the strategy of supra-national integration through a series of sectoral processes of internationalisation, designed to set in motion an autonomous logic, making inevitable further integration and ultimately making national states obsolete (Groom and Taylor p. 125 ff.). In the post-war period there were three basic models for European union: alongside the 'functionalists' (in this sense), were the 'inter-governmentalists' (e.g. Spaak) and the 'federalists' (e.g. Monnet himself). In the 1960s the functionalists used the slogan 'Atlantic Partnership' as the framework for the integration or synchronisation of US and European interests.

The immediate chain of events leading to the setting up of the first conference was as follows. Prince Bernhard set off for the USA in 1952 to visit his old friend Walter Bedell Smith, director of the newly-formed CIA. Smith put the organisation of the American end into the hands of Charles D. Jackson (special assistant for psychological warfare to the US President), who appointed John S. Coleman (president of the Burroughs Corporation. and a member of the Committee for a National Trade Policy), who in turn briefly became US chair of Bilderberg.

Charles Jackson was president of the Committee for a Free Europe (forerunner of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) whose extensive operations financing and organising anti-Communist social democratic political intellectuals has only recently been fully documented (see Coleman 1989); and ran the CIA-financed Radio Free Europe in Germany. Earlier he had been publisher of Fortune magazine and managing director of Time/Life, and during the war was deputy head of psychological warfare for Eisenhower. At the time of Bernhard's visit he was working with a committee of businessmen on both sides of the Atlantic which approved the European Payments Union.

It was thus a European initiative, and its aim was, in official bland language, to 'strengthen links' between Western Europe and the USA. A selected list of people to be invited to the first conference was drawn up by Retinger, with Prince Bernhard and Rijkens, from the European countries of NATO plus Sweden. The resulting group consisted of the Belgian and Italian prime ministers, Paul van Zeeland and Alcide de Gasperi (CDU), from France both the right wing prime minister Antoine Pinay and the Socialist leader Guy Mollet; diplomats like Pietro Quaroni of Italy and Panavotis Pipinelis of Greece; top German corporate lawyer Rudolf Miller and the industrialist Otto Wolff von Amerongen and the Danish foreign minister Ole Bjorn Kraft (publisher of Denmark’s top daily newspaper); and from England came Denis Healey and Hugh Gaitskell from the Labour Party, Robert Boothby from the Conservative Party, Sir Oliver Franks from the British state, and Sir Colin Gubbins, who had headed the Special Operations Executive (SOL) during the war.

On the American side, the members of the first Bilderberg assembly included:

· George Ball, who was head of Lehman Brothers, a former high State Department official, where he was architect of the policy of Atlantic Partnership, and later member of the Trilateral Commission. Ball was closely associated with Jean Monnet, owing to his work as legal counsel for the ECSC and the French delegation to the Schuman Plan negotiations.

· David Rockefeller was the key American member of Bilderberg. Space only permits the briefest sketch of his direct economic and political involvements: head of the Chase Manhattan Bank, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, member of the Business Council, the US council of the International Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, the founder of the Trilateral Commission.

· Dean Rusk: US Secretary of State 1961-69, earlier President of the Rockefeller Foundation 1952-60, having succeeded John Foster Dulles, himself an earlier Secretary of State and - this is not at all a coincidence - a close personal friend of Jean Monnet whom he had first met at Versailles in 1918 as well as of Dean Acheson, Truman's Secretary of State and the true author of the Marshall Plan.

The final list was 67. Since then, the group enlarged somewhat, but the steering group remained the same size. (4)

After Retinger's death in 1960, the role of secretary was taken over by E. H. van der Beugel, who had headed the Dutch bureau for the Marshall Plan and later became president of KLM airlines and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. After the resignation of Prince Bernhard, the role of chair was taken by British ex-prime minister Lord Home.

The status of the group and its meetings is ostensibly 'private'. Gill names it simply 'a private international relations council', but nothing could be more misleading than this name private, unless in its sense of ‘secret’ When political leaders gather together with a view to arriving at consensus, in conjunction with leaders of industry and finance and press magnates and leading journalists, then this is not the same kind of thing as an assembly of ordinary private citizens. The vocabulary of pluralist political science ('lobbies', 'non-governmental organisations' etc.) systematically distorts the actual power relations at work in these different kinds of associations. It is even questionable whether Bilderberg meetings are really 'private' in the legal sense of non-governmental. Robert Eringer, for example, having received an official reply that 'government officials attend in a personal and not an official capacity', found that in fact officials had attended Bilderberg conferences at government expense and in their official capacity. The British Foreign Office responded to his queries by saying 'we can find no trace of the Bilderberg Group in any of our reference works on international organisations', while he later learnt that the Foreign Office had paid for British members to attend Bilderberg conferences.

Van der Pijl's assessment of the role of Bilderberg seems about as accurate as the available information would allow:

'Rather than constituting an all-powerful secret Atlantic directorate, Bilderberg served, at best, as the environment for developing ideas in that direction, and secrecy was necessary for allowing the articulation of differences rather than for keeping clear-cut projects from public knowledge. In this sense Bilderberg functioned as the testing ground for new initiatives for Atlantic unity.' (Van der Pijl p. 183)

But on occasions the group is known to have exerted real power. An (unnamed) German participant at the 1974 conference held six months after the Arab Israeli War at Edmond de Rothschild's hotel at Megeve in France, commented:

'Half a dozen knowledgeable people had managed, in effect, to set the world's monetary system wolfing again [after OPEC's quadrupling of oil prices], and it was important to try to knit together our networks of personal contacts. We had to resist institutionalism, bureaucratic red-tape, and the creation of new procedures and committees. Official bodies should be put in the position of ratifying what had been jointly prepared in advance.' (Sklar, p. 171)

The European 'Community'

The Treaty of Rome signed on March 25 1957 created the 'common market' (the European Economic Community) and its roots were laid down in the ECSC (the European Coal and Steel Community) established on April 18 1951, based on the Schuman Plan of May 9 1950 (Vaughan 1976, Milward 1984). It is not implausible to suggest that the route from the one to the other in fact passed through the first five Bilderberg conferences, May 1954 at Oosterbeek (Netherlands), March 1955 at Barbizon (France), September the same year at Garmisch (Germany), May 1956 at Fredensborg (Denmark) and finally in February 1957 at St. Simon's Island (Georgia, USA); and that these secret meetings played a decisive role in overcoming the opposing, centrifugal tendencies symbolised by the collapse of the European Defence Community in 1954, the Hungarian revolution and its suppression and the fiasco of the Anglo-French adventure at Suez in 1956 - the last gasp of independent European imperialism.

Even more important the 'protectionism' implicit in the European unification project was successfully subordinated to the ‘liberalising’ hegemony of the Americans, through the close involvement of the key US players at every stage. The evidence for this is entirely circumstantial, and this hypothesis must remain speculative, but I believe there is a prima facie case to launch an investigation. It should be clear from the details recounted earlier that not all the possible roads led to the Rome Treaty, and that there is far more to the politics of European 'integration' than the legislative enactments already known about.

Monnet's network

Monet himself, who mentions-neither Retinger nor Bilderberg in his memoirs (Monnet 1978), cannot have been unaware of the activities of these crucial constituents of his programme. However much he may be portrayed in the hagiographies as a far-sighted idealist, Monnet was, first and foremost, an international financier, with an extensive network of connections on both sides of the Atlantic, occupying a particular place in the configuration of capitalist interests forming what Van der Pijl calls the Atlantic circuit of money capital (Van der Pijl 1984). He was, for example, a close friend of all the key figures in the US power structure; but, more importantly, his network centred around the New York investment banks Lazard Freres (run by Andre Meyer who was also on the board of Rockefeller's Chase International Bank), and Goldmann Sachs, which, after the war gravitated into the Rockefeller orbit. Monnet's right-hand man, Pierre Uri, was European director of Lehman Brothers; and Robert Marjolin, one of Monnet's assistants in the first modernisation plan, subsequently joined the board of the Chase Manhattan Bank. Uri and Marjolin were also active in Bilderberg.

When Monnet resigned from his position of 'High Authority' in the ECSC in 1955 to run his Action Committee for a United States of Europe (ACUSE), his secretary at ECSC, Max Kohnstamm who had earlier been private secretary to Queen Wilhelmina, (i.e. Prince Bernhard's mother-in-law), and then Dutch representative in the Schuman Plan negotiations, became the vice-president of ACUSE, which had extensive overlaps with Bilderberg. Kohnstamm, for example, later became a member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, and Georges Berthoin, who was Monnet's private secretary at the ECSC 1951-55, took over Kohnstamm's place on the Trilateral Commission in 197S. Francois Duchene and Paul Delouvner, who both worked for ECSC in the fifties (and joined the Trilateral Commission in the 1970s), Guy Mollet and Antoine Pinay were in the Bilderberg network (5)

Europe since the fifties

It would be simply too large and complex a matter to trace the twists and turns in the politics of European unification since the period from the fifties to the present. Too much water has flowed under the bridge, and it is doubtful that it is any longer even the same bridge, so many times has Europe' or the European idea' had to be periodically 'relaunched'. Instead of even attempting this in broad outline, I will draw attention very briefly to the role played by secretive and unaccountable organisations of members of the European economic and political elites.

One little-reported group, for example, which seems to wield immense influence is the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT). To my knowledge there have only been two or three reports of this group in the British press, and yet in articulating the demands and interests of the largest and most powerful European multinational corporations, it surely calls for close study. I suspect this is the same group as that mentioned in passing in Charles Grant's biography of Jacques Delors. Delors' arrival as European Commissioner in 198S, he says, could not have occurred at a more propitious moment: he had spent the autumn of 1984 searching for a 'Big Idea' to relaunch the EEC.

'That autumn, in Brussels, Delors had met a group of officials and industrialists brought together by Max Kohnstamm, who had been Monnet's chief assistant. After Monnet's death in 1979, Kohnstamm had become one of the guardians of the sacred name of federalism. The Kohnstamm group advised Delors to make the internal market his priority and to lay down a timetable of eight years (the life of two Commissions) for its achievement...... At the same time Wisse Dekker, the chairman of Philips, made several speeches calling for the EEC to remove its internal barriers by 1990.' (Grant 1994, p. 66)

If this is in fact referring to the same group as that known as the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), then we have an example of a continuity between the fifties and today. This ERT comprises the chairs/CEOs of the leading European multinational corporations and it is by no means a mere assembly of dignitaries. This is an extremely powerful body. According to research conducted by the ASEED collective, its reports feed directly into the European Commission decision making process. One of its first reports, for example, entitled 'Missing Links', urged the immediate construction of a series of large-scale transport projects, including the Channel Tunnel. As well as Dekker of Philips, other leading figures in the ERT are Agnelli of Flat, Gyllenhammer of Volvo, and Denys Henderson of ICI.

Theoretical Excursus

A persistent problem with theories of power over the last 20 years has been their lack of engagement with empirical evidence, compounded by the demonstrable empirical ignorance of theorists. It is as if every academic feels able to develop theories about power, and engage in debates it, without any requirement for relevant information, or at any rate with a tacit assumption that everyone at has such information.

One possible place to start an attempt to 'theorise' the role of Bilderberg and other international power-elite forums, might be to re-enter an old debate at the beginning of the present century: this is the debate between Lenin and Kautsky over imperialism.

Lenin’s theory of imperialism sought to explain the first world war by reference to what he called inter-imperialist rivalries. While this theory has had an enormous influence during this century (it under-pins, for example, much contemporary discussion of the relations between 'the West' and the 'Developing World, in which it is assumed that power operates between geographically-defined regions, and that nation-states act at the behest of nationally-based capitalist classes), it is nevertheless demonstrably false in a number of crucial particulars. For example, one of the difficulties in Lenin's theory is reconciling it with the increasing interpenetration of national economies by trans-national capitalist blocs. To put this issue simply: wars take place between states, but inter-capitalist rivalries do not necessarily coincide with the territories between states, especially where international or trans-national corporations have developed. The material presented here, I would suggest, is of just this kind: it shows an inter-penetration of capitalist interests between the USA and Western Europe, and indicates a field of 'political struggle' within and between states, entirely outside that of the public sphere.

What is far less well-known today, however, is Kautsky's alternative conception which explicitly addressed this issue, and can be summed up by his notion of ultra-imperialism (Fennema, 1982). The simple hypothesis is that rival capitalist interests may, at least for a time, be able to coalesce into a relatively unified hegemonic bloc. Now this idea of a tendency towards stabilisation on a global scale may sound unrealistic today, but arguably this was what was achieved for fifty years, at least in the American-dominated half of the world, after 1945. It could even be said that the demise of the other half permits its universalization. Where are the 'inter-imperialist rivalries in the world today'?

Silence of the Academics

When first asked for a title for this paper, I briefly entertained the idea of using the above sub-heading, (paraphrasing a recent film-title), and I do believe it is important to ask why certain topics rather than others are deemed worthy of investigation. The material presented here is certainly 'dated' and therefore unfashionable, but similar information about the present could be investigated. It is surprising and somewhat depressing that such investigations no longer seem to be being carried out in universities today. (6) Academics often represent themselves somewhat flatteringly as 'critical' intellectuals, independent from or even determinedly opposed to the established systems of power in society, willing to face personal or professional risks in the pursuit of truth. Maybe they are more like lambs.


(1) The term 'liberal' signifies policies opposed to restrictions on international trade. The distinction between 'free trade' and 'protectionism' in international trade does not correspond exactly with the theoretical opposition of 'competition' and 'monopoly'. None of these concepts have straightforward empirical reference. The 1992 NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) for example, is in fact profoundly 'protectionist' in relation to such matters as intellectual property rights (software, patents for seeds, drugs etc.) with elaborate 'rules of origin' designed to keep out foreign competitors etc. see Dawkins 1993.

(2) If the Marshall Plan had military objectives (containment of Soviet influence) as much as economic ones (creation of markers for US industry), then NATO has a civilian, political and ideological role as much as a military one. NATO has been relatively neglected by students of 'supranational' organisations, and it is often Presumed to be just a treaty rather than a quasigovernmental organisation in its own right. Its highest political body, the North Atlantic Council, covers foreign policy issues as well as strictly military questions, and the North Atlantic Assembly works to influence the parliamentary members of individual countries. It falls within the brief of NATO to conduct propaganda and defend states the 'infiltration of ideas'. Few citizens of NATO countries are aware of the whole apparatus to which membership commits them - e.g. Plans 10 G and 100-1 under which in 'emergency situations' special US units would be activated to suppress any movement 'threatening to US strategic interests'.

(3) It is extremely difficult to define the exact status of Retinger. One Polish war-time exile leader has been quoted as saying that Retinger was 'suspected of being in close touch not so much with British politics as with certain of its discrete institutions'. Presumably SIS. See Korbonski p. 20.

(4) Later American participants included Robert MacNamara, US Secretary of Defence under Kennedy and Johnson (earlier chair of the Ford Motor Company, and later President of the World Bank); and McGeorge Bundy, who worked on the Marshall Plan, was US National Security Adviser and later special foreign policy adviser to Kennedy and Johnson 1960-65, and became President of the Ford Foundation 1966-79. His brother, William Bundy, was with the CIA 1951-61 and later managed the CFR journal Foreign Affairs from 1979, after working at the Pentagon 1964-69. He married Dean Acheson's daughter. Finally, all three Directors of the CIA in this period were also members of Bilderberg: Allen Dulles (John Foster Dulles's brother), John McCone and Richard Helms. Needless to say, all these figures were also members of the CFR. For more details of participants see the essay by Thompson in Sklar ed. 1980, and Eringer 1980.

(5) Pinay, who was French Prime Minister in 1951, figures rather allusively in Brian Crozier's memoirs (Crozier, 1993 ch. XV) as the eminence grise of the controversial 'Pinay Cercle', an anti-communist intelligence outfit in the 1970s and 80s (Ramsay & Dorril 1986, p. 39 and Teacher 1989).

(6) It is ironic that while the initial research which discovered the existence of the Bilderberg network and explored its ramifications within the power structure of Atlantic capitalism came entirely from Marxist and left-inclined scholars in the USA, the whole subject has now been virtually taken over by the US far right as the centre piece of its own bizarre world-view. These writers of the far right (Anthony Sutton, Lyndon La Rouche, Spool and the Liberty Lobby etc.) have added virtually nothing to our understanding or knowledge of the phenomenon, and accordingly, are not referenced in the bibliography below. They have, however, contaminated the topic with their confusion. Since around the mid-1980s, the American Left has dropped the whole issue like a hot potato. For a singular exception sec Brandt 1993, which is essentially a response to Bcrlet, 1992.


Aaronovitch, Sam The Ruling Class, Lawrence & Wishart 1961

Anderson, Perry 'Under the Sign of the Interim', London Review of Books, 4 January 1996

Ayala, Cesar J. 'Theories of Big Business in American Society' Critical Sociology, Vol.16 No. 2-3, Summer-Fall 1989

Beret, Chip Right Woos Left, Political Research Associates, October 1992

Brandt, Daniel 'Multiculturalism and the Ruling Elite', NameBase Newsline, October- December, 1993

Businessweek, June 18 1984

Carew, Anthony Labour under the Marshall Plan Manchester University Press, 1987

Chomsky, Noam Necessary Illusions, South End Press, 1989

Chomsky, Noam What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Odonian Press, 1993

Chomsky, Noam Secrets, Lies and Democracy, Odonian Press, 1994

Chomsky, Noam Powers and Prospects, South End Press, 1996 Coleman, Peter A Liberal Conspiracy, Macmillan 1989

Crozier, Brian Free Agent, Harper Collins, 1993

Cumings, Bruce 'Chinatown: Foreign Policy and Elite Realignment' in Ferguson, Thomas & Rogers, Joel (ads.) The Hidden Election, Random House, 1981

Hawkins. Kristin NAFTA: The New Rules of Corporate Conquest Open Magazine, 1993

Domhoff, G. William The Power Elite and the State, Aldine de Gruyter, 1990

Eringer, Robert The Global Manipulators, Pentacle Books, 1980

Fennema, Meindert International Networks of Banks and Industry Maninus Nijhoff, 1982

Fennema, Meindert & van der Pijl, Kees 'International Bank Capital and the New Liberalism' in Mizruchi, Mark & Schwartz, Michael (eds.) Inter-corporate Relations, Cambridge University, 1987

Freitag, Peter J. 'The Cabinet and Big Business: A Study of Interlocks', Social Problems Vol. 23, 1975

Giddens, Anthony, The Constitution of Society, Polity Press, 1984

The Nation-State and Violence, Polity Press, 1985

Gill, Stephen American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission, Cambridge University Press, 1990

Grant, Charles Delors, Nicholas Brealey, 1994

Groom. A. J. R. & Taylor, Paul beds.) Frameworks for International Co-operation, Pinter, 1990

Hatch, Alden HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Harrap, 1972

Healey, Denis The Time of My life, Penguin, 1990

Isaacson, Walter and Thomas, Evan The Wise Men, Simon & Schuster, 1986

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri The CIA and American Democracy Yale University Press, 1989

Jessop, Bob State Theory, Polity Press, 1990

Koenig, Peter 'A prince among bankers who wears Lazard's triple crown' Independent on Sunday, 11 February 1990

Korbonski, Stefan Warsaw in Exile, Allen and Unwin, 1966

Milward, Alan The Reconstruction of Federal Europe, Methuen, 1981

The European Rescue of the Nation State, Routledge, 1992

Milward, Alan et al The Frontier of national Sovereignty, Routledge, 1994

Mills, C. Wright. The Power Elite, Oxford University Press, 1956

Mizruchi, Mark The American Corporate Network 1904-1971 Sage, 1982

Monnet, Jean Memoirs Collins, 1978

Pisani, Sally The CIA and the Marshall Plan University of, Edinburgh Press, 1992

Pomian, John (ed.) Joseph Retinger: Memoirs of an Eminence Grise Sussex University Press, 1972

Ramsay, Robin & Dorril, Stephen Lobster 11, April 1986

Ramsay, Robin & Dorril, Stephen 'The Pinay Circle' Lobster 17, 8 November 1988

Ramsay, Robin & Dorril Stephen 'In a Common Cause: the AntiCommunist Crusade in Britain 1945-60' Lobster 19, May 1990

Reich, Cary Financier: the biography of Andre Meyer Quill, 1983

Retinger, Joseph The European Continent? Hodge, 1946

Schuman, Frederick The Commonwealth of Man Robert Hale 1954

Shoup, Laurence H. & Minter, William Imperial Brain Trust Monthly Review Press, I977

Sklar, Holly (ed.) Trilateralism South End Press, l980

Stokman. Frans et al. (eds.) Networks of Corporate Power Polity Press, 1985

Teacher, David The Pinay Circle and Destabilisation in Europe' Lobster 18, October 1989

Tether, C. Gordon The Banned Articles of C Gordon Tether Hetheringstoke, 1976

Van der Pijl, Kees The Mating of an Atlantic Ruling Class Verso, 1984

Vaughan, Richard Post-War Integration in Europe Edward Arnold 1976

Preceeding article is copyright The Lobster, a most readable intelligence oriented journal from Humberside in North East England

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'Imagine yourselves to be dictators of Europe'

The Single Market programme was the 1980's relaunch of the economic and ultimately political integration of Europe. So-called Father of the EU, [see Mike Peters' paper for more on his role] Jean Monnet, had always felt it crucial to rein back big business. The single market programme turned this policy on its head. The relaunch document (see below) was prepared by Philips Industries in Holland and researched by unnamed Philips staff. The staff were told to "imagine yourselves to be dictators of Europe."

Few realise how pivotal the 2000 Bilderberg chairman, Viscount Etienne Davignon, was in this process. As European Commissioner for Industry and the Internal Market from 1977 to 1980 he was perfectly placed to put big business in the driving seat of European policy. In 1985, as Industry Commissioner, he challenged Pehr Gyllenhammar, CEO of Volvo, (also administrator of United Technologies, Vice President of the Aspen Institute and one of the five partners of Kissinger Associates) to organise a group of the top European businessmen to lobby the Commission. Davignon argued that the Commission would be obliged to respond to the demands of some of the largest European industrialists. The Gyllenhammar group was to become the highly influential European Round Table of Industrialists or ERT, drawing up policy for Europe.

Extract from: The Politics of Big Business in the Single Market Program, by Maria L. Green, The American University, Visiting Fellow, CSIA, Harvard University.

School of International Service, The American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20016.

Paper presented for the European Community Studies Association, Third Biennial International Conference, May 27 1993, Washington DC.

This is an essential document for anyone curious about the origins of the present policies and direction of the European Union. The above paper has the following structure. The opening section of the most relevant chapter, IV, is reproduced below.

I. The Early Years: The Rise of the Multinationals in EC Policymaking
II. The Origins of the ERT: Setting the Agenda for a New Europe
III. The ERT and the French Connection
IV. The Dekker Paper, the Political Agenda and a Constituency for Delors [extract below]
V. The Delors Commission's Policy Alternative and the Eurpean Council Vote
VI. Ensuring the SEA's Implementation: The Internal Market Support Group (Committee)
VII. Conclusions

IV. The Dekker Paper, the Political Agenda and a Constituency for Delors - extract

Repackaging the message: The Dekker Paper

On January 11, 1985, in Brussels, Wisse Dekker, CEO of Phillips, unveiled a plan, "Europe 1990", before an audience of 500 people including many of the newly appointed EC commissioners. The plan laid out in precise terms the steps needed in four key areas - trade facilitation (elimination of border formalities), opening up of public procurement markets, harmonization of technical standards, and fiscal harmonization (elimination of the fiscal VAT frontiers) -- to open up a European Market in five years. For the first time a plan was produced which identified some 50 measures needed to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and to relaunch the European Market. The Dekker paper was revolutionary -- not only because it was proposed by the head of a major multinational, but because it produced what had escaped national and European policymakers -- a simple plan for a unified market.

The Dekker paper was an internal Philips project led by Dekker's government affairs representative in Brussels, Coen Ramaer. It was the result of the company's growing dissatisfaction with the inability of government officials -- national or EC -- to produce a concrete proposal for a European market. While Mitterrand was promoting an industrial initiative, there were no specifics to the French President's plan. Moreover, when the Commission did produce a comprehensive package of proposals in late 1984, there was no outpouring of support for the initiative. The Commission document developed by Commissioner Narjes listed hundreds of pre-existing pieces of legislation -- ranging from standardisation to social actions to environmental issues -- deemed necessary for the creation of an internal market. Business leaders, while pleased that a package was produced, found the Commission package "unwieldy" and lacking "a precise time-table." Moreover, there was no strategy to ensure its implementation and no rationale for industrial growth. It became apparent to the heads of multinationals that industry needed to produce its own concrete program.

With Dekker's support, Ramaer assembled four Philips experts who had long dealt with the four key areas later outlined in the Dekker speech. As Ramaer explains, he instructed the men to:

"imagine yourselves to be dictators of Europe and that you have decided that the job must be done in five years. And they [the experts] started out "but this is impossible! Be realistic!" And I told them that I couldn't care less if we were realistic or not.

Once they had picked up this idea, they found it fascinating. And they discovered that it could be done -- given the political will, of course." [Interview, September 24th 1992]

Some of the experts set up informal meetings with their counterparts in the Commission to discuss the project and to hammer out key problems. Dekker stressed to Ramaer that the proposals had to be complete -- he did not want the outcome to be simply another speech on the necessity of European integration.

"Europe 1990" was not simply another speech. In addition to introducing a precise agenda, the paper introduced a number of new conceptualisations of what a unified European market might entail. In the trade facilitation area, for example, the "ultimate goal" of the plan was to create "frontiers without formalities for goods traffic and the replacement of paper documents by data transmission via a telecommunications network used by traders, transporters, banks and statistical and tax authorities..." Of course, to implement this strategy, member states would also be required to allow for the development of a trans-European telecommunications network. The paper left little doubt of the importance of creating a united European market. As Dekker noted in his introduction: "The survival of Europe is in fact at stake."

When the "Europe 1990" plan was presented, it was not for Brussels' consumption alone. Dekker sent the plan, along with a letter, to the heads of government and state of the European Community. One letter went to The Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher, January 7th 1985, from Dr. Wisse Dekker. The letter opens as follows "Europe's industries - both large and small - will have little future if the common market is not created as intended by the Treaties of Rome. This we all know..." Dekker concludes by submitting "these proposals for the consideration of you and your government, hoping that you will promote the action necessary to get Europe out of the deadlock in which it has been for a number of years. You will agree that this is an urgent matter. There is little time left to correct the consequences of a lack of dynamism in the past decade.

[from footnote - Margaret Thatcher refused to meet with ERT who were promoting 'Europe 2000'.]


Alfred Mendez <>

[See Also Alfred Mendez' piece 'THE MONEY-TRADERS GLOBAL NETWORK' on my BIS page]

Any research into the subject of the Common Market is immediately confronted by a veil of confusing acronyms: E-this, E-that and E-the other. True, the Common Market - or the EEC, or the EC, or the EU (it transpires that they are all the same at different stages of evolvement) - must be one of the most complex, if not the most complex bureaucracy ever created. That complexity and the constant political bickering over its very raison d'etre has tended to distract public attention away from a proper understanding of it - and to achieve this understanding, it is essential to recapitulate the events leading to its birth - viewed from within the context of the political/economic situation of the post-World War 2 period

The political situation was one of ideological confrontation between the West and the USSR: between Capitalism and Marxism (the question as to whether the USSR was a marxist state or not is irrelevant here inasmuch as the West - and particularly America - perceived it to be such). Again, the term 'confrontation' may at first seem to be an overstatement as the West and the USSR had just emerged from a war in which they had been allies, but it must be recalled that this alliance had been one of circumstance and convenience, as events in the immediate pre-war period clearly demonstrated. The French and the British had favoured a policy of appeasement towards Germany, whereas the USSR - well aware that it was Hitler's target (see Mein Kampf) - favoured a policy of confrontation backed by an alliance with France and Britain. As disclosed in the Alger Hiss trial in 1949, the US Ambassador ot France, William Bullitt, in January 1938, had reported to his State Department that the French Foreign Minister, Yvon Delbos, had told him that the Soviet Ambassador had just informed him (Delbos) that "..if France should begin serious negotiations with Germany, the Soviet Union would come to terms with Germany at once". That France and Britain did not heed that warning until Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia - when by then it was too late - can only be explained by the fact that their policy of appeasement was governed by the anti-communist bias they shared with Germany. They were certainly in no position to claim that they had not been warned when, in August 1939, the Soviet-German non-aggression Pact was signed! It is necessary at this point to recall that the intellectual dichotomy between Capitalism and Marxism of the late nineteenth century had become political confrontation with the advent of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. This invalidates the popularised view of the Cold War as being a post-WW 2 phenomenon.

Another popular misconception is that at the end of the war it was the USSR that had reneged on decisions reached by the Allies (The Big Three) at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 - particularly over the question of the future of Poland. Indeed, this was precisely the reason given, more than once, by the West for their subsequent policy of 'going their own way' - one of the results being the Common Market. It therefore calls for a closer look. The American Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius (FDR's right-hand man at Yalta) later records: "The Soviet Union made more concessions to the United States and Great Britain than were made to the Soviet Union.". Again, on the 27th of February 1945 Churchill, in his speech to the House of Commons, stated: " I know of no government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly that the Soviet Government.". Given this background, it is extraordinary that on the 23rd of April 1945, a fortnight after Roosevelt's death and while Molotov was in America en route to the Founding Conference of the UN, Truman summoned him (Molotov) to the White House and berated him (in Missouri mule-driver's language, to quote the columnist Drew Pearson), accusing the Soviets of failing to adhere to the Yalta agreements, agreements that had been reached only two months previously - and the war was still being fought! (It is not difficult to imagine what Truman's response to the Soviets would have been had the roles of the protagonists in this situation been reversed: mule-driver's language would most certainly have been used!). Furthermore, the following month, immediately after VE Day, Truman cancelled Lend-Lease aid to the USSR, a country that had pledged at Yalta to declare war against Japan 3 months after Germany's defeat - namely, on the 8th of August...on the 6th of August the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, without previously notifying their Soviet ally of their intention so to do.

So why this public switch in America's attitude? It must be appreciated that the US was then (as it still is) a corporate state. In his first two years in office, of the 125 administrative posts appointed by Truman: 49 were bankers, industrialists and financiers; 17 were corporate lawyers; and 31 were high-ranking military officers. True, he had inherited a similarly oriented administration from Roosevelt, but the war had been profitable enough to sedate the latter's corporate cohorts - and Roosevelt an excellent diplomat. Now, the European war was over, Roosevelt dead, and a successfully tested atomic bomb to hand. And when it is recalled that in July 1941, Truman, on learning of the German invasion of the USSR, had stated that: " if we see that Germany is winning the war we ought to help Russia; and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and in that way let them kill as many as possible." (as reported in the New York Times on the 24th of July 1941), then the Americans' actions noted above are comprehensible. There would certainly be no more co-operation with the Red Enemy!

Talk of international unity was relegated to the posturings of diplomats and officials within the halls of the UN - much as it had been under the League of Nations between the wars. European integration was the call heard more frequently in the world outside. This call was by no means a new one, but before 1939 it had been of an amorphous nature with religious (mainly Catholic) overtones - hardly surprising given the Vatican's centuries-long dominion over Europe under the banner of the Holy Roman Empire which, in an historical sense, had not long ended. The Pan-European Union (Pan Europa) formed by the Habsburgian Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1923 was such a one. During the war there had been other instances of movement towards European unity or federation which, because of their common aim, contributed something towards the eventual birth of the Common Market - even though it may not have been of a direct nature. After all, there would be the inevitable intermingling of ideas of those participating within the various groups formed. The call by André Malraux and Georges Bidault in 1941 for a post-war federal style European New Deal - excluding the Soviet Union - was such a one. There were others, but there was no possibilty of fulfilment before war's end, anway.

At war's end, the West European nations emerged economically bankrupted; the USSR with its infrastructure decimated; and America with three-quarters of the world's invested capital and two-thirds of the world's industrial capacity (thanks in no small measure to the war). On the one hand, a group of nations in desperate need of reconstruction - and on the other hand a rich nation with the capacity to satisfy that need. On the face of it, the problem so posited carried within it a built-in solution - but there was one main obstacle to such a resolution: namely, one of those nations was the USSR. The problem here for corporate America was that, although it had no intention of acceding to the Soviet's request for assistance, both countries were still part of the Big Three Alliance. Indeed, at the Potsdam Conference in mid-july 1945, the USSR had acceded to the American's call for the establishment of a Council of Ministers which was duly set up, and although relations between West and East became more strained with each subsequent Foreign ministerial meeting, peace treaties with the ex-Nazi satellite nations (Italy, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary and Romania) were signed by the Big-Three in October 1946.

To appreciate more fully the events that followed, it must be recalled that Britain at the end of the war had, by military intervention, supplanted the popular left-wing Greek movement EAM with the right-wing dictatorship of Tsaldaris - and had thereby found itself enmeshed in a civil war it could no longer afford to finance. On the 24th of February 1947 it notified America of its intention to withdraw from Greece, and Truman immediately told Clark Clifford, a corporate lawyer (later to be special attorney to Du Pont, GE, Standard Oil, TWA and RCA), to draft what was subsequently known as the Truman Doctrine Speech.

The next Foreign ministers meeting in Moscow, beginning on the 10th of March 1947, turned out to be a critical one in East-West relations. In the afterglow of the Satellite Peace Treaties signed some 5 months previously, the negotiators and staff met in Moscow in a hopeful mood to discuss such questions as German unity, disarmament, and an end to the Soviet occupation of Austria. As eye-witness correspondent Howard K. Smith wrote: " Molotov proved uncommonly conciliatory in the opening discussion on rules and procedure and yielded his own suggestions first to those of Marshall, then to those of Bevin. The Russians had undoubtedly assumed that all was well and that things would go according to prescription. Stalin even told Secretary of State Marshall that ..'these were only the first skirmishes and brushes of recconnaisance forces'..Then, right on top of the Conference - two days after it had opened - burst the bombshell of the Truman doctrine speech in which President Truman had said that 'nearly every nation must choose between' the two worlds. It sounded like an ultimatum to the rest of Europe to be with us or be counted against us. That wiped the smiles off the Russian's faces. "

That had, indeed, been Truman's message to his Congress - and the USSR. Now the main obstacle to the flow of American capital investment into Europe had been removed and was now to be activated by means of the Marshall Plan as proclaimed by Marshall at Harvard University 3 months later on the 5th of June 1947. This speech called upon the Europeans to draw up plans for economic recovery which the Americans would then finance. He had also stated in his speech that: " our policy is not directed against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos". But in saying this had he forgotten that two months before, as later revealed by Walt Rostrow (Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe from 1947 to 1949): " On April the 29th, the day after his report to the nation on the failure of the Moscow Conference, Secretary Marshall instructed the Policy Planning Staff to prepare a general plan for American aid in the reconstruction of Western Europe "? No mention here of Eastern Europe or the USSR. But in any case, had not the United Nations been created with just such a scenario in mind? So why by-pass it? Again,Walt Rostow:"..there was even in being an organisation dedicated to European economic co-operation - the Economic Commission for Europe - the ECE was, however, an organisation of the United Nations, with Soviet and Eastern European countries as members. Its very existence posed a basic question. Should an effort be made to embrace all of Europe in a new enterprise of reconstruction, or should the lesson of the Moscow Conference be read as indicating that the only realistic alternative was for the West to accept the split and to strengthen the area outside Stalin's grip? ".(Remember, Rostow had served in the ECE). This decision to by-pass the UN aroused the suspicions of the Soviets, suspicions that were confirmed at the Paris Conference of the Committee of European Economic Co-operation (CEEC) called in July 1947 to discuss the administration of Marshall aid. Molotov walked out after two days attendance.

A closer look at Marshall's planning staff is revealing. The committee charged with formulating the Marshall Plan was as follows: Chairman - Henry Stimson (ex-Sec. of State & war; Wall st. lawyer; Dir. of Council on Foreign Relations); Exec. C'tte. Chm. - Robert Patterson (ex-Sec. of War); Exec. C'tte. - Dean Acheson (Under Sec. of State; corporate lawyer of Covington & Burling); Winthrop Aldrich (Banker & uncle of Rockefeller bros.); James Carey (CIO Sec. Treasurer); Herbert Lehman (Lehman Bros. Investment); Philip Reed (GE Exec.); Herbert Bayard Swope (ex-Editor & brother of ex-Pres. GE); David Dubinsky (Labor Leader). The composition of this planning group confirms what has already been referred to: that the American executive administration had, since the mid-thirties been heavily staffed with corporate executives - men who, because they were unaccountable to the democratic processes of the country, could more readily act in their own corporate interests. Interests, moreover, that were co-ordinated to a high degree by interlinked membership of numerous advisory councils, Foundations and other forms of quangoes whose common affinity was obeisance to Profit.

Here, two points need to be emphasised: the importance that America attached to the Marshall Plan, and the fact that the Common Market could not have evolved into the form it subsequently adopted without the Marshall aid. The US Congress duly authorized this aid by passing the Economic Co-operation Act (ECA) on the 3rd of April 1948, and Paul Hoffman (Studebaker, Ford Foundation & co-founder of the Committee for Economic Development in 1942) was subsequently appointed Administrator of the aid program - and since ECA approval was required before such aid funds could be supplied, this allowed US planners to influence directly the direction of economic change in Europe.

Meamwhile, as a result of the above-mentioned CEEC Conference in Paris, the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was formed in order to determine the allocation of Marshall aid. The American desire was for a more integrated organisation than the Europeans were prepared to accept. As Paul Hoffman put it: "The substance of such integration would be the formation of a large single market within such quantative restrictions of movement of goods, monetary barriers to the flow of payments and eventually all tarrifs are permanently swept away". This was a scenario within which corporate America could move its capital at will, and, as such, a statement reflecting blatant self interest. Indeed, this message was further driven home by another ECA official, Richard Bissel, at whose instigation the OEEC set up the European Payments Union (EPU) in September 1950 in order to facilitate intra-European trade, and provide a basis for European integration and monetary union. (One interesting point here: good ecenomist he may have been, in1950, Bissel was no military strategist when, in 1961, as CIA Deputy Director of Planning, he oversaw the Cuban Bay-of-Pigs fiasco!). The Europeans, some of whom were still in the time-warp of Empire, and reluctant to relinquish any of their individual sovereign rights, opposed further integration. This not only meant that the aid became a scramble for dollars, but, more crucially , posed an obstacle to the American's aim as laid out by Hoffman. This called for a change of mind on the part of the dissedent Europeans, which would eventually be accomplished primarily through economic necessity - but also by a little-help-from-my-friends. Help that, initially, would be of a non-governmental nature, given the already noted opposition of governments whose hands, in any case, would be full coping with their day-to-day, short-term problems. Use would be made of the numerous lobbying groups formed in the aftermath of the war as a result of earlier calls for European Union.

The earliest of these groups, and one which was to play a significant role in alleviating any discord among the Europeans, was the Independent League for Economic Co-operation (ILEC) - still in existence today, but now known as the European League for Economic Co-operation). This lobby group, ostensibly motivated by its desire to find an economic solution to Europes' problems - as implied by its title - was responsible for the subsequent establishment in May 1949 of the Council of Europe (COE) which, contrary to the aspirations of those who had laid the foundation for it at the Congress for Europe the previous year, ended up as a purely consultative body with no economic mandate, due primarily to the reluctance of Britain and the Scandinavians (as noted above). Be that as it may, the COE was established in Strasbourg with all the key Europeans onboard - and is still in existence today. Indeed, it is often referred to as the Mother of the Common Market - with some justification: was not its flag adopted by the EC in May 1986? To gain a clearer understanding of the above, it is necessary to take a closer look at the means by which the ILEC evolved into the COE. ILEC was the brainchild of a 60-year-old Pole, Dr. Josef Hieronym Retinger, a man with a history intriguing enough to warrant a biography. Suffice it to say here that, as a result of comprehensive political dealings in both Europe and the New World stretching from pre-WW 1 to post-WW 2, he had become the archetypal broker - an eminence grise. In Sir Edward Beddington-Behren's words: " I remember in the US his picking up the telephone and immediately making an appointment with the President ; and in Europe he had complete entrée in every political circle as a kind of right". Having set up the ILEC with the assistance of Paul Van Zeeland (Belgian Prime Minister-tobe), Retinger went to America at the end of 1946 seeking financial backing for the group. In his own words ( as reported by his biographer and Personal Assistant, John Pomian): " At that time I found in America a unanimous approval for our ideas among financiers, businessmen and politicians: Mr. Leffingwell, senior partner in J.P.Morgan's; Nelson and David Rockefeller; Alfred Sloan, Director of the Dodge Motor Company...(et al)...and especially my old friend Adolph Berle Jnr. were all in favour, and Berle agreed to lead the American section". (Berle was a prestigious corporate lawyer).

In March 1947, ILEC was established at a meeting in New York, with Van Zeeland as President of the Central Council and Retinger as General Secretary. In December 1947, as a result of Retinger's approaches to a number of other groups of similar aims of European unity - either of a co-operative or federalist nature (Churchill's UEM; Coudenhove-Kalergi's IPU; the Catholic NEI; the CFEU and the UEF), the the International Committee of the Movement for European Unity (ICMEU) was formed, with Duncan-Sandys (Churchill's son-in-law) as Chairman and Retinger as Honorary Secretary. This Committee, more commonly known as the European Movement (EM), convened the Congress of Europe in the Hague in May 1948 which, in turn, established the Council of Europe (COE) by the Treaty of Westminster in May 1949 (as already noted).

In July 1948 Retinger and Duncan-Sandys went to America to seek financial backing for the EM, accompanied by Winston Churchill and Paul Henri Spaak, the Belgian Prime Minister. This resulted in the launching of the American Committee on a United Europe (ACUE) at a luncheon in honour of Churchill on the 29th of March 1949. The significance of ACUE lay in its stewardship: Chairman: William Donovan (ex-Director of the OSS); Vice-Chairman: Allen Dulles (then Deputy Director of the CIA); Secretary: George Franklin (Director of the Council for Foreign Relations); and Executive Director: Thomas Braden (Head of CIA Division on International Organisations). Funds for the EM (by now transformed into the COE) were soon flowing into the COE's headquarters in Brussels - most of it from State Department's secret funds. ACUE was also the channel subsequently used to fund the Youth Campaign for European Unity, formed in1950 by Retinger and Duncan-Sandys as a result of a deal they had made with John McCloy US High Commissioner for Germany (later Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank), and Robert Murphy, US Ambassador in Brussels (later consultant on Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board). Between 1951 and 1959 this group received approximately 1.5 million pounds.

Perhaps the most intriguing of Retinger's contacts during this period was Dr. Hermann Josef Abs, who then set up the German section of ILEC. Abs, as Director of the Deutsche Bank during the Third Reich, had been responsible for laying out the economic base the Nazis would adopt on attaining hegemony over Europe and the USSR. Arrested for war crimes in January 1946, he was released three months later on the intervention of the British - who then appointed him economic advisor in their zone! More pertinently, in March 1948 Abs was appointed Deputy Head of the Loan Corporation as well as President of Bank Deutsche Lander, and, as such, was in charge of the allocation of Marshall aid to German industry. Another fascinating link was that, among the 40-or-so Directorships Abs had held, one was in the I.G.Farben conglomerate which had been a client of the corporate law firm Sullivan & Cromwell - whose senior partners were the Dulles brothers.

The end result of the foregoing was the Council of Europe which, although it had failed to create an economic climate in Europe amenable to the free flow of American capital, was nonetheless the first post-war organisation of European unity, and, as such, was of political importance. From now on, in order to create the necessary economic climate, the dissident British and Scandavians would be by-passed. This was accomplished by the formation of the European Coal & Steel Community (ECSC) in April 1951, the result of the French Prime Minister Paul Schuman's call the previous year for the placing of French and German coal & steel production under the control of a supranational body, by which means the French hoped to gain some control over the future of Germany, and thus, at the very least, hinder the American's plan to re-arm the latter. Schuman, born in the Alsace region, served in the German army in WW 1 and subsequently adopted French nationality. He later joined the right-wing group Energie of professor Louis de Fur - who was later to serve under Pétain during the Vichy régime.

In July 1967 the six ECSC members, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Holland, formed two more analagous bodies: the European Economic Community (EEC - or Common Market), and the European Atomic Energy Committee (EURATOM). Thus, in spite of the non-membership of Britain and the Scandinavians, the Common Market was born - later to evolve into the European Community (EC) in 1986, and finally into the European Union (EU) in 1992.

The ECSC (or Schuman Plan), which entailed a close Franco-German relationship, exemplified on the one hand the important role played by the coal and steel industries in their respective countries, and on the other hand the role played by post-war American aid in the resurrection of those industries. But it must be kept in mind that aid was being distributed as early as 1946, primarily in the form of grants, and prior to the distribution of Marshall aid. The popular conception of this aid is that it was primarily for the reconstruction of West European democracies ravaged by war. This was not so. From 1946 to 1951 five right-wing dictatorhips (Greece, Turkey, South Vietnam, South Korea and Formosa), with a total population of 75 million, received more American economic aid in grants than Western Europe, which had a larger population. Again, the five dictatorships received 7.9 billion dollars in military aid (this excludes such aid to South Korea during the war there) - whereas Europe received 7.5 billion dollars in military aid, of which 4 billion dollars went to France (2.5 billion dollars of which was for her war in Indochina), and 0.5 billion dollars for fascist Spain (which had received 1 billion dollars in economic aid). From 1946 to 1953 West Germany received 3.6 billion dollars in economic aid. It is thus hardly surprising that it was debtor France who formulated the idea leading to the ECSC (an organisation whose federalist structure conformed to America's wishes), and that fellow-debtor Germany was a willing accomplice.

The aid so allocated reflected corporate America's political orientation in a nutshell, and a further example was the warning given by Secretary of State Marshall - aimed primarily at France and Italy - that no aid would be forthcoming if communists gained any positions of political power. Result: the Italian communists lost the general election in 1948 (which they were expected to win); and French communists were removed from cabinet posts they already held. Then, one year after the implementation of the Marshall Plan, NATO was created, ostensibly to act as a shield against Soviet expansion westwards. However, the Americans were well aware that the Soviets posed no serious military threat in the post-war period: had they not for the last three years of the war been supplying the USSR, under the Lend-Lease program, with military equipment that the latter lacked? Moreover it is inconceivable that they were not aware of the devastation caused by the strategy of Total War waged by the German army on Soviet soil. A cursory glance at the statistics of that devastation would have been enough to convince them of the improbability of any military aggression from that quarter. The passage of time has proved that NATO's purpose was primarily political, not military. Had it been the latter, it would have been made redundant on the collapse of the USSR. Its political role assumed two functions: primarily to ensure the hegemony of American capital (or American Leadership as propounded by all post-war US Presidents - and most recently by Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in her address to the House); and secondarily, to satisfy the more immediate need (at the time of its foundation) for an organisation that would embrace all the key European nations, including Germany and the then dissident Britain.

The Truman doctrine of containment of the USSR having struck a sympathetic chord among some European governments, and Marshall Aid having bolstered that sympathy with the added sense of indebtedness, NATO was the logical outcome. As noted above, this would be an ostensibly military organisation with a command structure fenced with statutory clauses which ensured American control - to say nothing of the financial largesse that would accompany it - but the American's plan to induct Germany into the organisation and thereby re-arm her met with stiff European resistance. And the setting up by the French of the ECSC and its supplementary European Defence Community (EDC) did not help matters. Enter Josef Hieronym Retinger - once again. As a result of his approaches in the early 1950's to the most influential West European leaders, he and Prince Bernhard of Holland went to Washington in 1953 to lobby support from Walter Bedell Smith (Dir. of the CIA) and Charles Jackson (National Security Advisor to Eisenhower) for a group that would serve as a forum for lobbying at the highest political level in order to ensure that consensual policies would be adopted by the members of NATO in particular. A US committee was formed: John Coleman (Chm. Burroughs Corp.), David Rockefeller (Chase Manhattan Bank), Dean Rusk (Rockefeller Foundation), Henry Heinz II, Joseph Johnson (Pres. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), and George Ball (Corporate lawyer & partner of Lehman Bros.). This committee, in turn, resulted in the formation of the Bilberberg Group in May 1954. Since that date, all doors to the seats of power in the West have been accessible to the Bilderberg. According to George McGhee (ex-US Ambassador to West Germany), who attended all Bilderberg meetings from 1955 to 1967: " The Treaty of Rome which brought the Common Market into being, was nutrured at the Bilderberg meetings.".. Germany Joined NATO on the 6th of May 1955. The movement of American capital could now be facilitated.

This calls for the posing of a very common-sensical question: who benefitted most from the Common Market?. The answer to this question was spelt out clearly by the French newspaper owner Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber in his well-researched book "The American Challenge" of 1967. (In fairness, it should be noted here that the message of the book was the somewhat naive one that Europe should copy the American way of doing-business!). The following are taken from that book, and, unless otherwise noted, are as of the year 1967:

(1) America had invested 14 billion dollars in fixed assets in Europe - working capital being as much again (US Dept. of Commerce).

(2) From 1958 to 1957 " American corporations have invested 10 billion dollars in Western Europe - more than a third of their total investment abroad. Of the 6000 new businesses started overseas by Americans during that period, half were in Europe."

(3) " The US Department of Commerce finds it 'striking' that from1965 to 1966 American investment rose by 17 percent in the US, 21 percent in the rest of the world, and 40 percent in the Common Market".

(4) By1963 "American firms in France controlled 40 percent of the petroleum market, 65 percent of films & photographic paper, 65 percent of farm machinery, 65 percent of telecommunications equipment, and 45 percent of synthetic rubber. (quoted from Foreign Investment in France by Giles Bertain)."

(5) "As early as 1965 the Commerzbank estimated American-controlled investments in Germany at 2 billion dollars, while the gross capital of all firms quoted on the German stock exchange was only 3.5 billion dollars".

(6) "More than half of the US subsidiaries in Europe belong to the 340 American firms appearing on the list of the 500 largest corporations in the world. Three American giants are responsible for 40 percent of direct American investment in France, Germany and Britain.

(7) "During 1965 the Americans invested 4 billion dollars in Europe. This is where the money came from:

1. Loans from the European capital market (Euro-issues) and direct credits from European countries - 55 percent.
2. Subsidies from European governments and internal financing from local earnings - 35 percent.
3. Direct dollar transfers from the United States - 10 percent. Thus, nine-tenths of American investment in Europe is financed from European sources. In other words, we pay them to buy us".

(8) "In the words of M. Boyer de la Giroday of the Brussels Commission: 'American investment in Europe has its own special nature. When we set up the European Economic Committee (EEC) we did something useful, but simple and still incomplete. So far its major result has been to speed our economic prosperity by creating the most favourable climate for a growing invasion of American industries. They are the only ones to have acted on the logic of the Common Market'".

Implicit in the truism that the child is the product of its parents is the equally valid truism that in order to know the child well, one must know its parents. In the case of the Common Market, in view of the incestuous nature of its parentage (to say nothing of the strange midwives attending its birth), it is hardly surprising that it turned out to ba a most uncommom market.


The following statistics illustrating US direct investment abroad in more recent times (in millions of dollars) will be seen to be of direct pertinence to the above critique - to say nothing of exposing the true nature of Britain's Special Relationship with America!

US direct investment abroad
1980 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
Europe 96287 214739 235163 248744 280506 300177
France 9347 19164 21569 25157 24281 27894
Germany 15419 27609 32411 33003 36879 39886
Britain 28460 72707 70819 85176 104313 102244
Latin America 114986


C.William Domhoff : Higher Circles (Vintage Books 1971)

Robert Eringer: The Global Manipulators (Pentacle Books 1980)

David Horowitz: The Free World Colossus (Hill & Wang 1965)

John Pomian: Joseph Retinger (Sussex University Press 1972)

W.W.Rostow: The US in the World Arena (Harper 1960)

J-J Servan-Schreiber: The American Challenge (Hamish Hamilton 1968)

John Chabot Smith: Alger Hiss (Penguin Books 1977)

H.K.Smith: The State of Europe (Knopf 1949)

Alexander Werth: Russia at War (Pan Books 1965)

Pasymowski & Gilbert: Bilderberg, Rockefeller & the CIA (Temple Free Press 1968)

Statistical Abstract of the US 1996 - 116th Edition (The National Data Book)

1939-1945 - The Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies Group

On September 12, 1939, the Council on Foreign Relations began to take control of the Department of State. On that day Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Editor of Foreign Affairs, and Walter H. Mallory, Executive Director of the Council on Foreign Relations, paid a visit to the State Department. The Council proposed forming groups of experts to proceed with research in the general areas of Security, Armament, Economic, Political, and Territorial problems. The State Department accepted the proposal. The project (1939-1945) was called Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies. Hamilton Fish Armstrong was Executive director.

In February 1941 the CFR officially became part of the State Department. The Department of State established the Division of Special Research. It was organized just like the Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies project. It was divided into Economic, Political, Territorial, and Security Sections. The Research Secretaries serving with the Council groups were hired by the State Department to work in the new division. These men also were permitted to continue serving as Research Secretaries to their respective Council groups. Leo Pasvolsky was appointed Director of Research.

In 1942 the relationship between the Department of State and the Council on Foreign Relations strengthened again. The Department organized an Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policies. The Chairman was Secretary Cordell Hull, the vice chairman, Under Secretary Sumner Wells, Dr. Leo Pasvolsky (director of the Division of Special Research) was appointed Executive Officer. Several experts were brought in from outside the Department. The outside experts were Council on Foreign Relations War and Peace Studies members; Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Isaiah Bowman, Benjamin V. Cohen, Norman H. Davis, and James T. Shotwell.

In total there were 362 meetings of the War and Peace Studies groups. The meetings were held at Council on Foreign Relations headquarters -- the Harold Pratt house, Fifty-Eight East Sixty-Eighth Street, New York City. The Council's wartime work was confidential.17

In 1944 members of the Council on Foreign Relations The War and Peace Studies Political Group were invited to be active members at the Dumbarton Oaks conference on world economic arrangements. In 1945 these men and members of Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs were active at the San Francisco conference which ensured the establishment of the United Nations.

In 1947 Council on Foreign Relations members George Kennan, Walter Lippmann, Paul Nitze, Dean Achenson, and Walter Krock took part in a psycho-political operation forcing the Marshall Plan on the American public. The PSYOP included a "anonymous" letter credited to a Mr. X, which appeared in the Council on Foreign Relations magazine FOREIGN AFFAIRS. The letter opened the door for the CFR controlled Truman administration to take a hard line against the threat of Soviet expansion. George Kennan was the author of the letter. The Marshall Plan should have been called the Council on Foreign Relations Plan. The so-called Marshall Plan and the ensuing North Atlantic Treaty Organization defined the role of the United States in world politics for the rest of the century.

In 1950 another PSYOP resulted in NSC-68, a key cold war document. The NSC (National Security Council) didn't write it -- the Department of State Policy Planning Staff did. The cast of characters included CFR members George Kennan, Paul Nitze, and Dean Achenson. NSC-68 was given to Truman on April 7, 1950. NSC-68 was a practical extension of the Truman doctrine. It had the US assume the role of world policeman and use 20 per cent of its gross national product ($50 billion in 1953) for arms. NSC-68 provided the justification -- the WORLD WIDE COMMUNIST THREAT!

NSC-68 realized a major Council on Foreign Relations aim -- building the largest military establishment in Peace Time History. Within a year of drafting NSC-68, the security-related budget leaped to $22 billion, armed forces manpower was up to a million -- CFR medicine, munition, food, and media businesses were humming again. The following year the NSC-68 budget rose to $44 billion. In fiscal 1953 it jumped to $50 billion. Today (1997) we are still running $300 billion dollar defense budgets despite Russia giving up because it went bankrupt.

America would never turn back from the road of huge military spending. Spending that included the purchase of radioactive fallout on American citizens in the 50's, and buying thermonuclear waste from the Russians as we approach the year 2000. Spending resulting in a national debt of $5.5 Trillion Dollars that continues to grow, and interest payments of over $270 billion a year. Is the Council on Foreign Relations trying to make the United States economically vulnerable to influence from outside sources? Isn't that treason? Is the Royal Institute of International Affairs doing the same thing to Britain?


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How many Secretaries of State belonged to the Council on Foreign Relations? See CFR Secretaries of State

Memoirs of an Eminence Grise - extract

Do bear in mind that Stephen Dorril revealed - in his book: 'MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations' published by Fourth Estate, London, 2000 - that Retinger was an MI6 asset (agent). [ed.]

Retinger is on the right

John Pomian. Sussex University 1972.


European Unity.

1952 started badly. The Cold War was at its height. Pressure for German rearmament was mounting and was creating tensions and stresses in Europe. The Korean war dragged on, and so did war in Indo-China. While neutralist feelings were spreading in Europe, McCarthyism was growing in the United States. On both sides of the Atlantic there was good deal of reciprocal mistrust. The newly born Atlantic Alliance and NATO were seriously threatened as a result. A rift between a scared and confused Europe and an America over-confident in its power boded ill for the future. Everything that had been so painfully built up in the West since the War would be adversely affected.

Many people, including Retinger, were concerned about this situation, but could see no solution. What could possibly be done on both sides of the Atlantic at a moment when governments themselves seemed to be drifting apart?

Retinger always believed that public opinion follows the lead of influential individuals. He much preferred working through a few carefully selected people to publicity on a massive scale. Perhaps it would be possible to bring together a group of people, from among the most influential men in their respective fields, and cause them to take an active interest in redressing the situation both in Europe and America. but although few would disagree with this admirable aim, most people would be reluctant to devote much time to something so vague, Any proposal would, therefore, have to be sufficiently attractive and, above all, demonstrate that it was effective.

In the early part of 1952 Retinger consulted some of his friends and in particular Paul van Zeeland and Paul Rykens, who was then Chairman of Unilever. They shared his views and offered some advice. It seemed that the problem was real and serious enough and many people were concerned about it. It affected every country and every party alike. But for that very reason anything that might be done about it could appear suspect should it be identified with any major country or any political party. The principal difficulty was, therefore, to find the right kind of person to play a leading part. Retinger thought about Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, whom he had met briefly during the War and later during the Congress of the Hague. The Prince was interested in politics and supported European Unity. His official position of prince Consort limited his freedom of action but he was always ready to help good causes. He was universally liked and was popular in America. His support would be invaluable.

And so, in May, Paul Rykens, who had the ear of the Prince, arranged an appointment. During their first meeting, the Prince was sympathetic and intrigued by the project. He wanted to think it over and consult his advisers and friends. Other meetings took place, more people were consulted and soon a small select group of people became involved. In addition to Dr Rykens and Mr van Zeeland it comprised Signor de Gasperi and Ambassador Pietro Quaroni for Italy, Hugh Gaitskell and Sir Colin Gubbins for Great Britain, Antoine Pinay and Guy Mollet for France, Max Brauer, the Mayor of Hamburg, and Rudolf Mueller for Germany, Panajotis Pipinelis for Greece and Ole Bjorn Kraft for Denmark.

The first meeting was arranged in Paris on 25 September 1952. Although de Gasperi could not come, the presence of all the others was more than enough to draw attention and create a stir. Paris under the Fourth Republic - when France was involved in colonial wars and government crises succeeded one another rapidly - lived in an atmosphere of permanent conspiracy and intrigue. However ridiculous it might be everybody had to take it into account and play the part. In our case it was said that should it be known that Mr Pinay was meeting Mr Mollet grave trouble would result for both. But also if anybody asked questions it would be extremely difficult to explain what the meeting was all about and why so many important people were taking part. It was purely exploratory and it was too early to say what the outcome would be. In the circumstances it was thought preferable to keep it all as discreet as possible.

The meeting went very well and everybody agreed that there was an urgent need to do something to improve relations with the United States. The method of doing so would gradually become clearer. In any case it was necessary to have further consultations and establish contacts in the United States. In the meantime more people and more countries should be brought into the circle and papers should be prepared on the feelings and position in each European county. It would set people thinking and might yield interesting results.

Many years later, Ambassador Quaroni, writing on Retinger, described this occasion as follows:

"I also recall the first meeting to which I was invited. We were squeezed round a very large table in a tiny room; we agreed on the principle, but did not know how to execute it, how to organize things, whom to turn to, how to find the wherewithal. It was not very clear-cut. Suggestions issued forth from Retinger's mouth like machine gun fire. They were not all excellent, it is true, but when one was refuted, he had ten more up his sleeve. He was probably the only one among us who had really studied the question on both sides of the Atlantic and who had specific ideas on the subject. With his pleasant, old schemer's manners, he persuaded us to accept most of what he wanted.'

The whole of 1953 was spent on further contacts and consultations - there were more meetings - and a couple of visits to the United States. There, things were a little slow to start, mainly because people were absorbed in the Presidential elections. Once these were over everything went smoothly. General Eisenhower, the new President, as well as some of his closest collaborators had a recent experience of Europe and appreciated its problems. Also they knew Prince Bernhard well and held him in high esteem. As a result an American group was quickly brought together under the Chairmanship of the late Mr John Coleman, President of the Burroughs Corporation, assisted by Mr Joseph Johnson, Director of the Carnegie Foundation.

Then in May 1954 the first conference took place in a secluded hotel called the Bilderberg, near Arnhem in Holland. There were about eighty participants, including some twenty Americans. It was a very high-powered gathering of prominent politicians, industrialists, bankers and eminent public figures, writers, trade unionists and scholars. Prince Bernhard, Paul van Zeeland and John Coleman took the Chair in turn. A certain atmosphere of tense expectation, noticeable when people who are gathered together for the first time warily feel their way, was soon dissipated, thanks largely to the charm, easy manner and sense of humour of the Prince. Speakers were only allowed five minutes at a time which helped to liven up debates, while the pungent interventions of C.D. Jackson, Denis Healey, Lord Boothby and a few others added bite to the discussions.

In addition to the plenary meetings, meals and drinks were occasions for some of the most interesting, stimulating and often amusing exchanges. After three days of living together in this secluded place, which participants left only once, when Prince Bernhard invited them to cocktails at the Royal Palace nearby,m a certain faint but discernible bond was created. A new entity was born. But it was difficult to define what it was. Its purpose, its methods and its structure were new and original. They did not bear any analogy and did not fit into any known category. For the time being, for lack of any better term, it was called the Bilderberg Group after the name of the hotel in which the first meeting took place.

This name has stuck and is still used today. Since the first conference in 1954 many others have been held under the Chairmanship of Prince Bernhard, usually at yearly intervals and each time in a different country, including the United States and Canada. The subjects discussed vary, but always cover the problems which confront the Western countries and which are apt to create friction and divergencies between them. It is perhaps the best forum possible to debate the great issues of the day. It is certainly one of the best informed assemblies, and after a Bilderberg week-end one leaves with a feeling of knowing not only the points of view within the different countries but, what is more important, having had an insight into the inner feelings of the principal actors.

Yet the importance of the Bilderberg Group stems from the people who take part. At each successive meeting, new persons are invited. The circle thus grows larger and never gets stale. Only the inner circle, called the Steering Committee, which is responsible for the preparation of the meetings, remains the same and even there a change of guard occasionally takes place. During the first three or four years the all-important selection of participants was a delicate and difficult task. This was particularly so as regards politicians. It was not easy to persuade top office holders to come. The occasion was interesting and pleasant enough but was it worth a four day foreign journey? Here Retinger displayed great skill and an uncanny ability to pick out people who in a few years time were to accede to the highest offices in their respective countries. In this way after a few years, when the fame of the conferences began to spread, getting people to come was no longer a problem. Rather the opposite was the case. Then the most frequent problem was how to keep them out without creating offence.

After several years the Bilderberg Group could claim an impressive array of statesmen and potentates of all sorts, who at one stage or another have been brought into its circle. No names need be quoted - and indeed the rule was not to - but it would suffice to say that today there are very few key figures among governments on both sides of the Atlantic who have not attended at least one of these meetings. What is perhaps more important is that everyone is flattered to receive an invitation.

The character, the strength and the vitality of any group depends on the growth of a network of personal relations between its members. In the early days Retinger was largely the focus and the intermediary in addition to being the moving spirit of it all. He had plenty of initiative and was full of ideas - sometimes too much so for less adventurous spirits. But also, involved as he was in many affairs, he often had things up his sleeve which were of real or potential advantage to many members of the Group.

Within a few years, however, Prince Bernhard became the true centre of all the loyalties and affective bonds. At first, he had to step warily, establishing precedents and getting to know people, most of whom, by the very nature of things, felt diffident towards their royal Chairman. Time was needed to build confidence an that intimate mutual understanding necessary for sure-footed management.

To build the whole group around the person of the Prince was a master-stroke on the part of Retinger. Prince Bernhard has great qualities of heart and mind, whose harmonious blend results in an enormous personal charm which few people can resist. Also his position is unique. As a royal prince he naturally takes precedence without arousing anybody's envy. He is politically impartial, while the fact that he represents a small country is also reassuring. There were also many intangible but very real and very great advantages in having a royal prince as Chairman, and to illustrate this it might not be inappropriate to quote from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta:

Though men of rank may useless seem,
They do good in their generation,
They make the wealthy upstart teem
With Christian love and self-negation;
The bitterest tongue that ever lashed
Man's folly, drops with milk and honey,
While Scandal hides her head, abashed,
Brought face to face with Rank and Money!

Although taken out of context this little rhyme makes a point which is likely to remain valid for many generations to come.

How useful and effective have the Bilderberg Conferences really been? Much , of course, depended on the circumstances at the time. The meeting held in Florida in February 1957 was, for instance, very much apropos to help heal the bruises after the Suez disaster. Lord Kilmuir, who was then Lord Chancellor, recalls in his memoirs, that having been expressly sent there by the Prime Minister, Mr Macmillan, he found it an immensely useful occasion for talks with high-ranking Americans.

Certainly it created countless extremely helpful contacts between people who bore some of the principal responsibilities for the affairs of their countries both in politics and in economics. Although completely intangible, this is a very important factor in international affairs which sometimes leads to great results. European Unity would not have been possible without a enormous number of personal contacts and confrontations between the political and economic leaders of European countries. There is much less of this between Europe and America and therefore occasions where it takes place are all the more precious.

Moreover, the relationship between the United States and its European partners suffers from a disparity of power, and this is further aggravated by the sheer physical distance between America and Europe. It is a very real factor and whatever the issues of the day might be its influence is constantly felt. Inside Europe, political opinion within a country can be influenced by the views and wishes of other European nations. Governments have to take note of what others think. A good deal of pressure can be brought on a country who is out of step with its partners, and this is almost always effective enough as none is sufficiently strong to disregard others for long. That is why the Common Market or any other European grouping can be made to work.

General de Gaulle was no exception to this rule. It might have seemed as if he could get away with more than anybody else but, in fact, by means of his very skilful diplomacy he managed to bring others round to share his views.

America is in an altogether different position. It towers in the distance, and Europeans, of whatever country, enmeshed as they are in a network of treaties of which America is always the hub, simply feel that they cannot exert the kind of influence nor bring the degree of pressure which their own involvement requires. They can pray, hope and watch but there is not much they can do. Any occasion of talking fully and frankly to top American leaders is particularly useful and important. Hence the very fact that the Bilderberg exists is in itself a factor of some consequence in Atlantic relations.

I remember that, while making a modest start in politics, I tried to explain what to me seemed the most important aspect of some problem to Mr Paul de Auer, an old and experienced Hungarian diplomatist. I must have appeared too intent and gone on for too long. When I finished, Mr de Auer wearily waved his hand and said: 'Monsieur Pomian, in politics those things are important which important people think are important.' By this simple rule the Bilderberg Group is certainly important.

Since the first meeting in Paris in 1952, a slight air of mystery has surrounded the Bilderberg Group. Neither what was said, nor who the participants were, were ever divulged to the Press. Publicity was shunned. Sometimes. Sometimes this contributed to stir curiosity and imagination, sometimes to spread fame, sometimes to spread stories. On many occasions it gave rise to a great variety of amusing incidents.

An innocent one occurred in July 1956. Till then no Turks had participated in the meetings. This gap had to be repaired and Prince Bernhard, who was on good terms with Prime Ministermenderes agreed to introduce Retinger to explain what was wanted. For a variety of reasons the meeting could not be arranged until one day, Prince Bernhard, who was leaving on an African safari, rang up. He had just spoken about it to the Turkish Minister at the Hague and an appointment had been fixed in Turkey in a fortnight's time. The line was bad and Retinger was not sure whether he had understood everything correctly. And so, on our way to istanbul we passed through the Hague to check the arrangements and also to discover how much the Turks knew about the purpose of the visit. They Turkish Minister was most helpful and had organized everything very well, but although he seemed very impressed with the importance of the mission he knew little of what it was about or who on earth Retinger was. On one or two occasions he addressed Retinger as Professor, instead of his usual title of Doctor, but this seemed irrelevant.

In Istanbul, where we arrived the same day, an impressive welcome awaited us, and here again everybody addressed Retinger as Professor. The same thing happened in Ankara, where Retinger first called on the Foreign Minister. All our Turkish hosts were so hospitable and so deferential towards Retinger that we let pass this slip which, after all, seemed perfectly inconsequential. The talk with the Foreign Minister took a good half-hour longer than scheduled. We emerged from it to be greeted by our guide, a pleasant young man from the Protocol Department, who, with a worried look announced that we must hurry as we were late for our next appointment. This was news to us as none had been expected. It turned out that our hosts thought it would please Retinger, who was in Turkey for the first time, to meet his colleagues .... other Professors at the University. It was too late to react. We could not explain that it was all a mistake. Too many people to whom we were indebted for a most hospitable reception would be embarrassed. We set off exchanging worried glances.

At the University we were greeted by the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Economics, accompanied by some twenty professors. Drinks were served and an animated conversation started. Retinger was particulary voluble and I, too, tried to second him as best I could. Our sole aim was not to let any of our hosts ask from which university Professor Retinger came. That would have been awful, for everybody would have lost face. Happily we stood our ground for a good three-quarters of an hour. Suddenly, lunch was announced; but that was too much. We could face it no longer. Retinger pleaded some previous engagement and, exhausted, we beat a hasty retreat to the bar of our hotel where the biggest whiskies were promptly ordered!

Otherwise the visit to Turkey proved very successful, largely thanks to the help and understanding of a very able diplomatist, Ambassador Nuri Birgi who, at that time, was Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry. Two years later the Turks played host to a Bilderberg Conference in a secluded hotel on the magical shores of the Bosphorus.

Although the Bilderberg Group was mainly concerned with problems facing the Atlantic Alliance, Retinger remained, as before, primarily attached to European Unity. His views did not change nor did his involvement get less. His field of action grew wider and as a result he could do more in European affairs. Unfortunately the opportunities to do so were now fewer. Progress in Europe was limited to the Six and all efforts were concentrated on this area. The failure of the European Defence Community in 1955 was followed by the Messina Conference which gave birth to the Common Market. Again Britain refused to join. Instead, seeing the results, she took the initiative of forming the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) grouping the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal who were like-minded in their attitude to European unification. Then followed an attempt to join the two together. It threatened the purpose and existence of the newly formed Common Market and General de Gaulle, who by then had come to power in France, objected. At the same time he firmly set his face against any further extension of the supranational principle. The next phase was to be 'L'Europe des Patries' which at the same time was the Europe of Governments.

The Bilderberg Group was, naturally, a great political asset for Retinger. Thanks to it he could intervene and help most effectively in many matters. Many of his friends sought his advice and since he never refused to help, he participated in the organizing and developing of many undertakings. They all had to do either with 'Europe' or the 'Atlantic'. Among these the European Cultural Foundation and the Atlantic Congress loomed larger as far as time and effort were concerned.

There were also many things he launched himself. One of them had to do with Asia. He sought to find a way of establishing a dialogue between the West and the East, in which philosophers, theologians and political thinkers would take part. Much time and effort was spent on it and many people became involved. The brilliant book L'Aventure Occidentale de l'Homme by his friend Denis de Rougemont, who participated in it all, will long remain as a lone monument connected with this venture. Otherwise it came to nothing.

Then there was also Eastern Europe. After the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, it seemed that a wind of change was beginning to blow throughout the Soviet bloc. Perhaps the evolution might even go far enough for the Bilderberg experience to become relevant to EastWest relations. Retinger always like to proceed empirically and gradually test the ground. In this case it would take a long time and in the meantime he needed to build up his own personal renown. For the first time in his like he felt in need of some publicity for himself. He needed to be noticed and be in a position to impress people in the Eastern bloc. The Nobel Peace prize occurred to him as the best way to do so and some of his friends began to canvass support. But Right at that time priests rather than politicians were getting all the prizes and nothing came of it. Earlier on, in 1956, a letter he wrote to Mr Cyrankiewicz, the then Polish Prime Minister, whom he knew of old, asking for a visa to Poland, remained unanswered. Altogether, in the late fifties, any moves in the direction of Eastern Europe were, in fact, premature. I like to think that in this case as in so many others he anticipated the course of events.

All along Retinger worked closely with Prince Bernhard, to whom he was very deeply devoted. He served his prince faithfully and unsparingly as a kind of self-appointed political courtier, and in turn the Prince was always a most loyal and faithful friend and ally.

Retinger's gravestone in PolandIn 1957 his health began to decline. It worried him but he did little about it. When he finally retired at the end of 1959 his health was very poor. Yet until a few weeks before he died, on the 12 June 1950, he was sill active. Although he no longer had any responsibilities he never cease making plans with regard to the various causes that were dear to his heart. There was a sharp decline during his last few weeks but even that had no visible effect on his good humour or his interest in men and problems. He was heard in confession and received the last sacraments. In his last months he certainly felt that he had fulfilled his task and had done what he had set out to do except to complete his memoirs. This book might, perhaps, help to fill that gap.


AUTHOR: Retinger, Joseph Hieronim, 1888-1960.
ADDED NAMES: Pomian, John, 1924-
TITLE: Joseph Retinger--memoirs of an eminence grise
SUBJECT: Retinger, Joseph Hieronim, 1888-1960
PUBLISHER: Sussex University Press; Distributed by Ghatto and Windus,
ISBN: 0856210021

So... Mostly harmless then? [transcriber]

Eisenhower’s special assistant for psychological warfare.......

Kai Bird’s account in "The Chairman, John J. McCoy, The Making of the American Establishment", states:

"In late 1952, Retinger went to America to try the idea out on his American contacts. Among others, he saw such old friends as Averell Harriman, David Rockefeller, and Bedel Smith, then director of the CIA. After Retinger explained his proposal, Smith said, ‘Why the hell didn’t you come to me in the first place?’ He quickly referred Retinger to C. D. Jackson, who was about to become Eisenhower’s special assistant for psychological warfare. It took a while for Jackson to organize the American wing of the group, but finally, in May 1954, the first conference was held in the Hotel de Bilderberg, a secluded hotel in Holland, near the German border. Prince Bernhard, and Retinger drew up the list of invitees from the European countries, while Jackson controlled the American list."

Prince Bernhard, of The Netherlands, became the first Chairman, and served in this post until scandal forced him to resign in 1974. Dr. Retinger became the first Secretary, and remained so until his death.

Liberty Lobby, Inc., 300 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20003, publishes a weekly newspaper titled The Spotlight. At my request, they sent me a reprint of a summary of Bilderberg information, titled Spotlight on the Bilderbergers, Irresponsible Power, published mid-June, 1975. Page 6 of this document states:

"The Congressional Record - US Senate, April 11, 1964, states:

(Speaking) - Mr. (Jacob) Javits - Mr. President, the 13th in a series of Bilderberg meetings on international affairs, in which I participated, was held in Williamsburg, VA, on March 20, 21, and 22.

I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a background paper entitled ‘The Bilderberg Meetings.’

The Bilderberg Meetings

The idea of the Bilderberg meetings originated in the early fifties. Changes had taken place on the international politician and economic scene after World War II. The countries of the Western World felt the need for closer collaboration to protect their moral and ethical values, their democratic institutions, and their independence against the growing Communist threat. The Marshall plan and NATO were examples of collective efforts of Western countries to join hands in economic and military matters after World War II.

In the early 1950’s, a number of people on both sides of the Atlantic sought a means of bringing together leading citizens, not necessarily connected with government, for informal discussions of problems facing the Atlantic community. Such meetings, they felt, would create a better understanding of the forces, and trends affecting Western nations, in particular. They believed that direct exchanges could help to clear up differences, and misunderstandings that might weaken the West.

One of the men who saw the need for such discussions was the late (Dr.) Joseph H. (Heironymus) Retinger (as a matter of interest, the name Heironymus is literally translated to be "MEMBER OF THE OCCULT"). In 1952, he approached His Royal Highness, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, with the suggestion of informal and unofficial meetings to discuss the problems facing the Atlantic community. Others in Europe wholeheartedly supported the idea, and proposals were submitted to American friends to join in the undertaking. A number of Americans, including C. D. Jackson, the late General Walter Bedel Smith, and the late John Coleman, agreed to cooperate. (Very reliable information from a former CIA member now reveals that the CIA financed Dr. Retinger's efforts to convince Prince Bernhard to form this group that was later to be called the Bilderbergs. This is confirmed by the fact that General Walter Bedel Smith was the CIA director from 1950 to 1953, so, is it surprising that he would agree to join this group?)

The first meeting that brought Americans and Europeans together took place under the chairmanship of Prince Bernhard at the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek, Holland, from May 29 to May 31, 1954. Ever since, the meetings have been called Bilderberg meetings.

No Strict Rules of Procedure

From the outset, it was the intentions of the Bilderberg founders, and participants that no strict rules of procedure govern the meetings. Every effort was made to create a relaxed, informal atmosphere conducive to free, and frank discussions.

Bilderberg is in no sense a policy-making body. No conclusions are reached. There is no voting, and no resolutions are passed.

The meetings are off-the-record. Only the participants themselves may attend the meetings.


It was obvious from the first that the success of the meetings would depend primarily on the level of the participants. Leading figures from many fields - industry, labor, education, government, etc. - are invited, who, through their special knowledge or experience, can help to further Bilderberg objectives. Representatives of governments attend in a personal, and not an official capacity. An attempt is made to include participants representing many political parties, and points of view. American participation has included Members of Congress of both parties.

Over the years, Bilderberg participants have come from the NATO countries, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Finland, and have included prominent individuals such as Dean Rusk, Christian A. Herter, Maurice Faure, Franz-Josef Strauss, Amitore Fanfani, Panayotis Pipinelis, Reginald Maudling, the late Hugh Gaitskell, Omer Becu, Guy Mollet, the late Michael Ross, Herman Abs, C. L. Sulzberger, Joseph Harsch, and T. M. Terkelsen. Individuals with international responsibilities have also participated, among them being Gen. Alfred Gruenther, Lord Ismay, Eugene Black, Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, Paul-Henry Spaak, and the late Per Jacobsson. `

The Meetings

Bilderberg meetings are held at irregular intervals, but have taken place once or twice a year since 1954. All the early conferences were held in Europe, but a meeting is now held on this side of the Atlantic every few years to provide a convenient opportunity for American, and Canadian participants to attend."

The Spotlight reports that the Bilderberg meetings are highly secret, and are held at random times each year, and rarely at the same location, for security reasons. The responsibility for security for these meetings is in the hands of the government of the country in which the meetings are held. They must supply military security, secret service, national and local police, and private security personnel to protect the privacy and safety of these very powerful international Elite members who are not required to conform to regulations that private citizens are subject-to, such as customs searches, visa requirements, or public notice of their meetings. When they meet, no "outsiders" are allowed in or near the building. They bring their own cooks, waiters, telephone operators, housekeepers, and bodyguards.


John J. McCloy (former Chairman of the CFR, and Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank) used his position as coordinator of information for the US government to build the framework of what was to become the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), created in 1941-1942 era, headed by Bill Donovan. During 1947, the OSS was rolled into a new group called the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by the 1947 National Security Act, which made the activities of the CIA immune from all civil, and criminal laws. [Immunity similar to that of the Knights Templar, ed.]

In 1950 General Walter Bedel Smith became Director of the CIA. The CIA helped organize, and sponsored the formation, and operation of the Bilderberg Conferences. There is little doubt that the CIA sponsored the formation of the Bilderbergs, and continue to do so, to this day.

The Global Manipulators

Robert Eringer, a likenesse

The Bilderberg Group... the Trilateral Commission... covert power groups of the West by Robert Eringer, Pentacle Books, 1980. Extract: Chapter 1

In Search of Answers

It is indeed intriguing when a prestigious collection of internationally powerful men lock themselves away for a weekend in some remote town far away from the Press to talk about world problems.

Since the late 1950s, the Bilberberg Group has been the subject of a variety of conspiracy theories. For the most part, conspiracy theories emanate from political extremist organisations, Right and Left. The 'Radical Right' view Bilderberg as an integral part of the 'international Zionist-communist conspiracy'. At the other end of the political spectrum, the radical Left perceive Bilderberg to be a branch of the 'Rockefeller-Rothschild grand design to rule the world'. For many it is less frightening to believe in hostile conspirators than it is to face the fact that no one is in control. And after all, isn't conspiracy the normal continuation of normal politics by normal means?

Conspiracy or not, the Bilderberg Group is a fascinating example of behind-the-scenes 'invisible' influence-peddling in action.

Bilderbergers represent the elite and wealthy establishment of every Western nation. They include bankers, industrialists, politicians and leaders of giant multinational corporations. Their annual meetings, which take place at a different location each year, go unannounced, their debates unreported, their decisions unknown.

The group certainly fits C. Wright Mills's definition of a Power Elite: 'A group of men, similar in interest and outlook, shaping events from invulnerable positions behind the scenes.'

I began my investigation of Bilderberg while in Washington, D.C. in the autumn of 1975. I had read bits and pieces on Bilderberg in right-wing literature and so I went directly to its source, the Liberty Lobby, an ultra-conservative political pressure group located a stone's throw from Capitol Hill. There I interviewed one E. Stanley Rittenhouse, Liberty Lobby's legislative aide. Rittenhouse solemnly explained the existence of a Jewish-communist conspiracy to rule the world by way of a 'New World Order', whose eventual goal is one world government. To prove this point Rittenhouse incessantly recited passages from his handy pocket Bible and explained the evolution of this great conspiracy.

It all goes back to the Illuminati, a secret society/fraternity formed in Bavaria in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, based on the philosophical ideals of Plato. John Ruskin, 'a secret disciple of the Illuminati' and a professor of art and philosophy at Oxford University in the 1870s, revived these ideals in his teachings.

The late Dr. Carroll Quigley, a distinguished professor at Georgetown University for many years, wrote in Tragedy and Hope that 'Ruskin spoke to the Oxford undergraduates as members of the privileged ruling class ... that they were possessors of a magnificent tradition of education, beauty, rule of law, freedom, decency, and self-discipline but that this tradition could not be saved, and indeed did not deserve to be saved, unless it could be extended to the lower classes in England and to the non-English masses throughout the world'.

Cecil Rhodes, a student and devoted fan of Ruskin, 'Feverishly exploited the diamond and gold fields of South Africa. With financial support from Lord Rothschild he was able to monopolise the diamond mines of South Africa as De Beers Consolidated Mines.

'In the middle of the 1890s Rhodes had a personal income of a least a million pounds a year which he spent so freely for his mysterious purposes that he was usually overdrawn on his account. These purposes centred on his desire to federate the English-speaking peoples and to bring all habitable portions of the world under their control.'

To this end, Rhodes, along with other disciples of Ruskin, formed a secret society in association with a group of Cambridge men who shared the same ideals. This society, which was later to become the original Round Table Group (better known in the 1920s as the 'Cliveden Set') was formed on February 5, 1881.

According to Dr. Quigley, 'This group was able to get access to Rhodes's money after his death in 1902.' Under the trusteeship of Alfred (later Lord) Milner, 'They sought to extend and execute the ideals that Rhodes had obtained from Ruskin.

'As governor-general of South Africa in the period 1897-1905, Milner recruited a group of young men, chiefly from Oxford and from Toynbee Hall, to assist him in organising his administration. Through this influence these men were able to win influential posts in government and international finance and became the dominant influence in British imperial and foreign affairs up to 1939. Under Milner in South Africa, they were known as Milner\s Kindergarten until 1910. In 1909-1903 they organised semi-secret groups, known as Round Table Groups, in the chief British dependencies and in the United States.'

It was at the Majestic Hotel in Paris in 1919 that the Round Table Groups of the United States and Britain emerged out from under a cloak of secrecy and officially became the (American) Council on Foreign Relations and the (British) Royal Institute for International Affairs.

To Mr. Rittenhouse and his breed of religious isolationists at Liberty Lobby, Bilderberg evolved directly from the 'satanic-communist' Illuminati, and the Council on Foreign Relations - Royal Institute of International Affairs relationship.

I phoned Dr. Quigley at his office in Georgetown University's elite School of Foreign Service. A man of impeccable credentials, Quigley used Tragedy and Hope as a text for his courses on Western Civilisation.

Published in 1966, Tragedy and Hope has become a rare book to locate. Quigley apparently had trouble with his publisher over the book's distribution. The publisher claimed demand was poor. When Quigley sought and acquired the necessary demand, the publisher responded by saying that the plates had been destroyed.

In his book, 1310 pages in all, Quigley detailed how the intricate financial and commercial patterns of the West prior to 1914 influenced the development of today's world. It has been suggested that these revelations, especially in coming from a respected historian, did not amuse the higher echelons of big banking; hence a form of censorship resulted.

It is for this reason that Tragedy and Hope, much to Quigley's annoyance, has become the Bible of conspiracy theorists and may be found for sale only through mail order book clubs which specialise in conspiracy literature.

Quigley, in his best Boston accent, dismissed the Radical-Right interpretation as 'garbage'. But he was quick to add, 'To be perfectly blunt, you could find yourself in trouble dealing with this subject.' He explained that his career was a lecturer in the government institution circuit was all but ruined because of the twenty or so pages he had written about the existence of Round Table Groups. I recently studied the late Dr. Quigley's private files on the Round Table Groups at the Georgetown University library. There I discovered great substance to his findings in the form of personal correspondence and notes of interviews and conversations.

Exhausted with right-wing cries of communist conspiracy, I wrote to the embassies in Washington of each one of the countries whose citizens are involved with Bilderberg. I received only three replies. A letter from the Royal Swedish Embassy states: 'Prominent Swedish businessmen in their private capacities are and have been members of the group. Swedish politicians have also - mostly as invited guests as I understand it - participated in meetings with the group. I may add that I am not aware of any official Swedish view on the Bilderberg Group.' The Canadian Embassy wrote: 'To our knowledge, the Canadian Government has no position with regard to this group.'

I telephoned all of the embassies. Out of twenty, the only one which had any information of Bilderberg was that of the Netherlands. The official I spoke with knew very little about the group but he speculated that its purpose was to make this 'a more liveable world'. A diplomat at the Embassy of West Germany exclaimed, 'Bilder What?', and he refused to believe the existence of such a group. This was a familiar response, even from many university professors of politics whom I questioned.

Mark Felt, the former Assistant Director of the FBI, had never heard of Bilderberg. Neither had Michael Moffitt of the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of Global Reach.

After spotting his Name on a poster advertising a seminar on the power elite, I phoned Dr. Peter David Beter, a former Counsel to the Import-Export Bank. Beter contends that Bilderberg Conferences are nothing more than social occasions where prostitutes and large amounts of alcohol are enjoyed. But these days, Dr. Beter's full-time profession consists of peddling a monthly 'Audio Letter' to a very gullible public. Beter was last heard by this author proclaiming that the Russians have secretly implanted nuclear missiles in the Mississippi River.

I wrote to President Gerald Ford at the White House to enquire about Bilderberg when I heard of his one-time involvement. His 'Director of Correspondence' replied and stated: 'The Conference does not intend that its program be secret, although in the interest of a free and open discussion, no records are kept of the meetings.' (I later learned that records are indeed kept of the meetings, although they are marked 'Strictly Confidential'.)

I wrote to David Rockefeller, Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, to enquire about Bilderberg. An assistant wrote back and he suggested I write to 'Mr. Charles Muller, a Vice President at Muden and Company, the organisation which assists with the administration of American Friends of Bilderberg, Incorporated'

I wrote to Mr. Muller and was sent the following printed message: 'In the early 1950s a number of people in both sides of the Atlantic sought a means of bringing together leading citizens both in and out of government, for informal discussions of problems facing the Western world. Such meetings, they felt, would create a better understanding of the forces and trends affecting Western nations.

'The first meeting that brought Americans and Europeans together took place under the chairmanship of H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek, Holland, from 29th May to 31st May, 1954. Ever since, the meetings have been called Bilderberg Meetings.

'Each year since its inception, Prince Bernhard has been the Bilderberg chairman. There are no members' of Bilderberg. Each year an invitation list is compiled by Prince Bernhard in consultation with an informal international steering committee; individuals are chosen in the light of their knowledge and standing. To ensure full discussion, an attempt is made to include participants representing many political and economic points of view. Of the 80 to 100 participants, approximately one-third are from government and politics, the others are from many fields - finance, industry, labour, education and journalism. They attend in a personal and not in an official capacity.  From the beginning participants have come from North America and Western Europe, and from various international organisations.  The official languages are English and French.

'The meetings take place in a different county each year. Since 1957, they have been held in many Western European countries and in North America as well.

'The discussion at each meeting is centred upon topics of current concern in the broad fields of foreign policy, world economy, and other contemporary issues. Basic groundwork for the symposium is laid by means of working papers and general discussion follows. In order to assure freedom of speech and opinion, the gatherings are closed and off the record. No resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued during or after the meetings.

'In short, Bilderberg is a high-ranking and flexibly international forum in which opposing viewpoints can be brought closer together and mutual understanding furthered.'

I wrote to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and received a reply from the Bureau of European Affairs at the State Department: 'In the early 1950s a number of people on both sides of the Atlantic sought a means of bringing together leading citizens ' And so on.

I went to see Charles Muller at his Murden and Company office in New York City. He appeared to know little about Bilderberg and merely repeated information available on the printed message. It is claimed that' Government official attend in a personal and not an official capacity'. Mr. Muller was surprised to learn from me that the State Department acknowledged in a letter to Liberty Lobby that department officials Helmut Sonnenfeldt and Winston Lord attended a Bilderberg Conference at government expense in their official capacities.

I tried to obtain interviews with both Sonnenfeldt and Lord. Their secretaries channelled me through to many different offices. Finally, Francis Seidner, a public affairs advisor, advised me to mind my own business.

Back in London and armed with a list of Bilderberg participants (supplied by Liberty Lobby), I sought out and conducted an interview with Lord Roll, chairman of the S.G. Warburg Bank. Roll gave little away and he stated outright that records of Bilderberg Conferences do not exist. (Little did he realise that I had one in my briefcase!)

I wrote to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and they replied: 'Thank you for your letter enquiring about the Bilderberg Group. Unfortunately, we can find no trace of the Bilderberg Group in any of our reference works on international organisations.' (Much later, I learned that the Foreign Office has on occasion paid the way for British members to attend Bilderberg Conferences.)

A letter to one-time member Sir Paul Chambers brought this response: 'I am under obligation not to disclose anything about the Bilderberg Group to anybody who is not a member of that Group, I am very sorry that I cannot help, but I am clearly powerless to do so and it would be wrong in the circumstances to say anything to you about Bilderberg.' Sir Paul suggested I write to the Bilderberg secretariat at an address in the Hague. I did so and was again sent a copy of the standard printed message.

I had eagerly looked forward to the next Bilderberg Conference, which in 1976 was to be held in Hot Springs, Virginia. For the first time since 1954, the meeting was cancelled. The international steering committee felt it inappropriate to conduct a conference that year because permanent chairman Prince Bernhard was under such heavy public scrutiny after having been publicly disgraced for taking a bribe from the Lockheed Aircraft Company.

So my first Bilderberg Conference took place a year later, in April 1977, at the serene Devon resort of Torquay.

It is the Bilderberg custom to book a whole hotel for the weekend conference. The five-star Imperial Hotel was no exception and it, too, was emptied to accommodate over 100 Bilberberg participants. Even the Imperials permanent guests were told to find lodging elsewhere for the weekend.

I managed a booking at the Imperial for three nights before the Bilderbergers moved in. On Thursday, two days before the conference was due to begin, heavy lorries and workmen unloaded large wooden file cabinets and sealed crates. I was not allowed access to the conference hall, despite assurances from a Bilderberg secretary that 'We have nothing to hide'.

At 2 am Friday morning with the night club finally closed and the Imperial asleep, I tiptoed down five flights of stairs from my room to the conference hall. To my surprise, the doors were unlocked and unguarded. I slipped into the darkened hall and inspected the locked file cabinets, glass translation booth and electronic equipment for tape-recording and translation. Having already consumed a half-dozen whiskies, I could not repulse an urge to purloin a mahogany and brass-plated Bilderberg gavel [1. A small hammer used by a chairman, auctioneer etc.,to call for order or attention.  2. A hammer used by masons to trim rough edges off stones  (ed.)]. It now sits atop my desk, a trophy of my research.

Like all others, I was thrown out of the hotel on the Friday to make way for American Secret Servicemen and Special Branch bodyguards. The Bilderbergers arrived later, mostly by way of a quiet entry through Exeter Airport 10 miles form Torquay. They held their hush-hush meetings and then, just as quietly, disappeared back to their respective banks, multinational corporations and government jobs, perhaps a little more the wiser than when they arrived.

Since that time, I have gradually been able to piece the Bilderberg puzzle into shape................

If you want to read a similar account by journalist Jim Tucker from The Spotlight who actually attended Bilderberg Conferences to have a good 'nose round' check this out.

Chapter 4 of this book, Bilderberg and the Media, appears in the Media Control and Power section of this site

'Bilderberg Group, The Global Manipulators', by Robert Eringer, Pentacle Books, 1980. Available from:

Donald A Martin

Bloomfield Books
26 Meadow Lane
Suffolk CO10

Why not ask your library to order this book so other people in your area can read it.

Buy Caroll Quigley's Books here

'Uniting the West' - by Denis Healey (extract)

From his autobiography 'The Time of My Life'.  Published by Penguin, 1989.

[Talking about contradictions in the post-war Labour party]

Before long a benign providence developed another mechanism for assisting impecunious European socialists to learn something of the outside world - the international conference.  Konigswinter performed this function for Germany. The Council of Europe covered Western Europe as a whole.  The NATO Parliamentarians Conference brought politicians from Europe, the United States, and Canada together once a year.  Before long there was also an annual meeting in Bermuda of British MP's and members of Congress. Then the great American foundations of Ford and Rockefeller took a hand.  There was a proliferation of cultural conferences in all parts of the world, including the Congress for Cultural Freedom, where I could meet people less directly involved in politics such as the poet Stephen Spender, the philosopher Raymond Aron, and the novelist Mary McCarthy. I later discovered that the Congress for Cultural Freedom, like Encounter magazine, was financed by the CIA; both nevertheless made a useful contribution to the quality of Western life at that time.

Of all these meetings, the most valuable to me while I was in opposition were the Bilderberg Conferences - so called after the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem, where the first was held in 1954.  They were the brain-child of Joseph Retinger, a Pole who had settled in England after the Great War, married the daughter of the socialist intellectual, E.D. Morel, and worked as a secretary to Joseph Conrad, another Polish ex-patriate.

Retinger was a small wizened man, with a pince-nez on a wrinkled brown face.  He was crippled by polio. During the war he had been an aide to General Sikorski, and despite his extreme physical disability was parachuted into Poland to make contact with the Home Army.  After the war he organised the Congress of the Hague, which launched the European Movement.  Convinced of the need for a similar forum to strengthen unity between Europe and North America, he approached Hugh Gaitskell, General Colin Gubbins, who had commanded SOE during the war, and several leading politicians and businessmen who were concerned to strengthen Atlantic cooperation.  They asked Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands to act as Chairman, because they rightly thought it would be difficult to find a politician whose objectivity would be above suspicion, and who could call Cabinet ministers from any country to order without causing offence.

I was invited to the first meeting and later acted as convener of the British who attended; Reggie Maudling and I were the British members of the Steering Committee.  Retinger and his successor, the Dutch Socialist Ernst van der Beughel, who later became Chairman of KLM, were extraordinarily successful in persuading busy men to give up a weekend for private discussions, though they found it more difficult to attract ministers than politicians out of office.

The Bilderberg conferences inevitably aroused jealousy, because they were exclusive, and suspicion, because they were private.  In America they were attacked as a left-wing plot to subvert the United States, in Europe as a capitalist plot to undermine socialism.  They were neither.  Immense care was taken to invite a fair balance from all political parties, and to include trade unionists as well as businessmen.  Though the discussions were more carefully prepared than at many such meetings - I myself wrote a paper for most conferences - their real value, as always, was in the personal contacts made outside the conference hall.  Industrialists like Gianni Agnelli and Otto Wolf von Amerongen had to listen to socialists and trade unionists - and vice versa.  Experience has taught me that lack of understanding is the main cause of all evil in public affairs - as in private life.  Nothing is more likely to produce understanding than the sort of personal contact which involves people not just as officials or representatives, but also as human beings.  That is why the Commonwealth Scholarships, which bring students from America and the Commonwealth to Britain, have made a contribution to good relations between the Anglo-Saxon democracies out of all proportion to their cost.

Bosnia, Bohemia & Bilderberg: The Cold War Internationale

IMPORTANT NOTE: Revised (in 2000) versions of this article are available here in Word 6.0 Format and Rich Text Format

From 'Common Sense' issue 16 - published in 1994
Common Sense is the journal of the Edinburgh conference of Socialist Economists - an independent left collective in Edinburgh
Common Sense is distributed by AK Press in Edinburgh

by Alfred Mendes

To elicit some sense of logic out of current events - with America firmly ensconced in the role of 'World Policeman' and the entry of NATO on to the Balkan scene - it is necessary to recall some crucial events from 1917 onwards.

The vast wealth amassed by the Vanderbilts, Astors, Morgans and other suchlike at the turn of the century fuelled the extraordinary growth of the American mass-production machine, and the resultant corporations were soon looking abroad with the intention of extending their interests. On the other hand, the Bolshevik's seizure of power in Russia in 1917 created, in effect, a call to wage-earners worldwide for the setting up of a marxist system of social distribution of wealth - the very antithesis of the capitalist system of garnering profit from the wealth created by labour. The corporatists now had little option but to commit themselves to the destruction of the subversive, marxist threat, even though this entailed the dubious - if not impossible - concept of the destruction of an Idea, an Ideal! Above all, they had to avoid this dichotomy being seen as one of ideology per se, the inequity inherent within their capitalist system being too vulnerable to scrutiny. No, the struggle had to be seen by their public as one of 'Good Nation' against 'Evil Nation'; 'White' against 'Red'. This would be made easier both by ownership of the means of communication - the media - and the subornation of political parties of all shades outside of America (as in Italy post-World War 2): the weak left in America itself would be squashed by bâton and gun.

Such was the ideological impasse that lay at the root of all subsequent events, and it is therefore essential to look more closely at the role of corporate America, the key stall-holder in the world market, and the group that would stand to lose the most in the case of failure. For them, political control was now important: politicians could not be entrusted with the task of avoiding, repudiating the temptations of this new ideology. Control was accomplished in two ways:

By direct secondment of top company executives to high government posts, thus skirting the democratic process. An example of this was the fact that in the first two years of Truman's presidency, of the 125 principal appointments made: 56 were corporate lawyers, industrialists and bankers (one of whom James Forrestal of Dillon, Read & Co., was probably the earliest and most vigorous promoter of what was soon to be known as the 'Cold War'); and 31 were high ranking military officers. And by the formation of the influential 'advisory' groups. A survey of these reveals that, contrary to the popular view of America as the epitome of a pluralistic, competitive society of 'rugged individuals', its corporations display a very high degree of cohesion of purpose, and this cohesion is exemplified by their manifest urge to form cabbalistic groups, many of a pseudo-social character. This is a phenomenon that should come as no surprise to anyone who has attended an American university, with its fraternity ethos which invariably leads to the masonic lodge on graduation. Indeed, when it is recalled that the first president, Washington, and nine of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were known freemasons, and that subsequent rituals used for both Washington's inauguration and the laying of the Capitol's cornerstone were masonic - then it would seem that this phenomenon has certain traditional roots.

The result is such groups as:

  1. The Business Council: a government advisory body holding immense political clout since 1936, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) commissioned it to draw up his Social Security Act, thus helping to diffuse a potentially revolutionary situation. (It is interesting to note that from FDR onwards the only time that the Business Council withdrew from its advisory status was in the latter part of JFK's presidency, after its confrontation with him in 1962).
  2. The Bohemian Club, with its prestigious membership and its 127-lodge Grove Camp north of San Francisco on the Russia river - where, for instance, the atom-bomb Manhattan Project was conceived in 1942 at the prompting of physicist Professor Ernest Lawrence.
  3. The Euro-American Bilderberg Group, formed in 1954 to serve as a forum for lobbying at the highest political level in order to ensure that consensual policies were adopted by the West in general, and signatories to the NATO Alliance in particular. Implicit within the structure of this group, with its publicised claim to having no formal organisation; no 'membership' as such; no charter, and no elected officers is its unaccountable, autocratic nature. However, the very fact that it has a chairman (currently Lord Carrington), a steering committee, and annual conferences surely means that - contrary to the claims above - it has a formal organisation. All doors to the seats of power are open to the Bilderberg.

The inevitable interlocking of membership among such groups resulted in the creation of an intricate web of influence (The Bohemian Club, with tongue in cheek, cautions its members - and equally influential guests - on entry to the Grove: "Spiders Weave Not Here!" - as if a spider could exist without weaving its web!). The following table covering nine of such clubs/groups illustrates concisely the complexity and scale of the web, as it existed in the early 1970s. (Two points: the Bilderberg is not included because of its structural ambiguity noted above, and it must be kept in mind that each figure represents a top-ranking executive in the American military/industrial/banking complex):

PU 252
CA 136 96
RA 40 20 45
LI 67 69 33 1
CE 22 8 7 1 57
CFR 34 25 15 1 108 332
CED 20 24 17 2 60 23 52
BC 27 24 14 2 77 12 42 49 *


BO=Bohemian Club

PU=Pacific Union

CA=Californian Club


LI=Links Club

CE=Century Club

BC=Business Council

CFR=Council for Foreign Relations

CED=Council for Economic Development

Two notorious, well-documented examples of the use to which this influence was put are:

  1. In Iran, mid-'53, the Americans deposed Mossadegh, President of Iran who had nationalised the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) (latterly BP) in 1951, and installed the Shah by means of a CIA operation codenamed 'AJAX'. Legal counsel for the AIOC had for years been the distinguished New York Corporate law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, the senior partners of which were the Dulles brothers (another partner was Arthur Dean, who was later a co-chairman in the Bilderberg for some years). At the time of the coup, John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State; Allen Dulles was CIA Director. It is worth adding here that the AIOC was financed from its early years by the Industrial Bank of Iran, an offshoot of the German Schroeder banking house (about which, more later).
  2. In Guatemala, June '54, a CIA-sponsored coup d'état removed the reformist, constitutionally elected government of Jacovo Arbenz Guzman (a land-owning, military officer), and replaced it by a military dictatorship. Arbenz had, in 1953, expropriated, as part of his much-needed agrarian reform, large, uncultivated tracts of land belonging to the American United Fruit Company (UFC), whose earlier predatory incursion into Central America had caused the area to be known as 'the Banana republica'. For years, the counsel for the UFC had been Sullivan & Cromwell, and at the time of the coup the Dulles still held the posts they had held in 1953. Indeed, John Foster Dulles was also a large stockholder in the UFC. This coup, incidentally, was a blatant violation of Article 15 of the, US-inspired, Organisation of American States (OAS) which specifically forbade any interference - political or military - by one state in the affairs of any other state.

These examples of corporate power-wielding reveal the lack of any democratic accountability, as well as a disregard of national frontiers, this latter aspect due largely to the nowmultinational nature of the corporations. There were even a number of cases in the 20's and 40's when such activities militated against the national interest of their own country - to the benefit of Germany in the instances that follow.

The 1920's had been a particularly crucial period in Germany because of the extraordinarily rapid rise to power of the Nazis: what had been a rag-tag of street dissidents had, within a decade, become a well-uniformed, well-organised, and obviously well-financed organisation. Above all, it projected a very marked anti-Bolshevik bias. This attracted Corporate America, and contacts were soon made. International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) and Sullivan & Cromwell were among the more high profile firms to do so. In the case of both firms, the German contact used was Dr Gerhardt Alois Wetrick, Hitler's financial agent - and through him deals were made with Baron Kurt von Schroeder of the Schroeder banking house (see AIOC above). This bank was a channel for funds for the Nazi Party in general, and the Gestapo in particular (it was in von Schroeder's villa in Köln on the 7th January 1933 that Hitler and Franz von Papen had met to plan details for their subsequent seizure of power, and von Schroeder was later made SS Gruppenfuehrer).

In ITT's case, in return for directorships for both Westrick and von Schroeder in ITT, the latter acquired a number of German firms, the most intriguing of which was a 28% share in the Focke-Wulf aircraft company, whose aircraft saw much service in the ensuing World War 2 much to the discomfiture of Allied servicemen and civilians. Moreover, in 1967, ITT were paid $25 million in compensation by the American government for war damages to its factories in Germany!

For its part, Sullivan & Cromwell acquired as clients:

  1. I.G. Farben, the German chemical conglomerate which, in 1937, developed the deadly nerve gas, Tabun.
  2. The well-known Swedish ball-bearing manufacturer, SKF, which supplied 60% of its production to Germany - primarily for its armaments.
  3. The Schroeder banking house itself, Allen Dulles becoming a director at its New York offshoot - a post he held until 1944. Inasmuch as it exposes one of the filaments of the 'Corporate Web', it is pertinent to note here that the man who initially approached Sullivan & Cromwell on behalf of Schroeder was the latter's vice-president, John L. Simpson, the chief confidant of Steve Bechtel Sr. (of Bechtel Corporation) who was a member of the most influential 'camp' in the Bohemian Grove, Mandalay Camp (Bechtel was later to supply the US government with such figures as John McCone, George Schultz and Caspar Weinberger).

Implicit in the political unaccountability of the American Corporate oligarchy is its public domain - as above - must mean that there are many more of like import and gravity not in the public domain, and any concerned curiosity about such unpublicised activities, or hidden agenda, is therefore equally justified.

Balkan Backdrop

The current Balkan crisis, and America's role in it, offers an opportunity to indulge this curiosity. However, any examination of a subject as complex as the Balkans must necessarily be preceded by a brief historical review of the region: the Roman/Orthodox split in the Christian church and the subsequent five centuries of Muslim Ottoman rule ensured that the Yugoslavia that was to be formed in 1918 would be a land simmering with religious discord - a situation not eased by the earlier incursions of the Habsburgs in the north and the Bulgars in the east. The setting up of the Catholic State of Croatia under the fascist Ustase in the wake of the German massacres of Orthodox Serbs - and jews, muslims and gypsies on a lesser scale. Another area of discord during the war was the split between the ultra-Serbian royalist Chetniks under Mihailovich and the more ethnically-mixed communist/republican Partisans under Tito, a Coat (it is strange that this historical aspect has not been taken into account by any publicised analysis of the current crisis: after all, the 'Bosnian Serbs' are self-proclaimed Chetniks, a minority group among Serbs as a whole, and to imply that they - the Chetniks - reflect the aspirations of all Serbs is therefore misleading, and smacks of duplicity).

At this point it is necessary to recall that at the end of World War 2, America emerged with three-quarters of the world's invested capital and two-thirds of the world's industrial capacity - Russia with its infrastructure decimated. The distribution of American aid that followed was significant in the choice of countries so aided, and the relative amounts involved. Russia was denied aid, and the reason given by the US for this denial (which, incidentally, circumvented UN agreements) was that, at the critical Moscow Conference which started on the 10th March 1947, the Russians had spurned America's gestures of compromise - conveniently disregarding the fact that on the 12th March 1947 (just two days into the conference) Truman had dropped his bombshell of a speech to Congress - his 'Doctrine', which was, in effect, an ultimatum to Stalin: you're either with us - or against us! The Marshall Plan was announced three months later. Between 1946 and 1961 the US distributed $8.7 billion of economic aid and $7.9 billion of military aid to the five dictatorships of Turkey, Greece, South Korea, South Vietnam and Formosa (Taiwan). This was more aid than Europe - with a greater population - received over the same period. Furthermore, of the economic aid received by Europe, fascist Spain received $1 billion ($2.5 billion for her Indo-Chinese war); and Spain, $500 million.

George Kennan, who was head of the US State Department Planning Staff in the late '40s (and protégé of James Forrestal), supplied the official rationale that lay behind the above facts concisely in articles he wrote at the time under the pseudonym of 'Mr. X'. He stated "The United States has it in its power to increase enormously the strains under which Soviet policy must operate - and to promote tendencies which eventually find their outlet in either the break-up or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power".

These irreconcilable ideological differences between Russia on the one hand, and Britain and America on the other, meant that their wartime alliance had been an alliance of convenience, of pragmatism (e.g. contrary to America's assurance to Russia in May '42 that a 'second front' would be opened up later that year, this, in fact, did not occur until June '44 - when it became clear to the Western Allies that the Russians were advancing inexorably westwards). Thus, at war's end in 1945, the Western Allies, for their part, immediately reverted to their pre-war anticommunist strategy. This entitled the recruitment of key Nazis - such as the chief of Intelligence on the Eastern Front, General Reinhard Gehlen (who, with the assistance of the CIA, formed the West German Intelligence agency, the BND), and the channeling of many others - such as wanted war criminals like Eichmann, Barbie, Mengele et al - to sanctuary in the West (primarily South America). This channel ran through Italy, and understandably, due to its geographic proximity and its close relationship with the Vatican, many of the escapees were Croatian Ustase (including the Poglavnik, Croatian Fuehrer, Ante Pavelic, a wanted war criminal). This escape channel was a Vatican-controlled operation run by a Croatian priest, Fr. Kronoslav Draganovich, Secretary of the Confraternity of San Girolamo in Rome, member of Interarium, and a man, moreover, who co-operated with Reinhard Gehlen, whose brother was a secretary to the SMOM (see below) in Rome. American intelligence (OSS at that time), under the command of Allen Dulles in Bern, co-operated with this operation, naming it RATLINES after their own escape route for downed Air Force crews in Europe in the war. And with Tito now in power, over the next few years bands of Krizari (Crusaders) were recruited by WEstern Intelligence from the Ustase who had fled into Austria and Italy - and sent into Yugoslavia on destabilising missions.

A significant post-war event that was to play a crucial role in both the 'Cold War' and Yugoslavia's future was the Greek civil war. The popular communist-led party, EAM - with its military wing, ELAS - would have assumed power in Greece in 1944 had not the British intervened militarily with two divisions, as a result of the (then) secret deal Churchill had made with Stalin in October '44: in effect, allowing the British a free hand in Greece in return for Russia having a freehand in Bulgaria and Romania. The subsequent guerrilla war waged by ELAS, with Tito's assistance, was held up as the 'bête noire' by Truman in his 'Doctrine Speech' in '47, calling for the West to rally to his crusade against the "un-American, communist way of life". In the following year, 1948, two crucial events occurred in Yugoslavia - now understandably in a parlous economic state: 1) Tito broke off relations with Stalin, and 2) America loaned Yugoslavia $1 billion. Disregarding any question of a causal line here (inasmuch as the chronology of the two events is not to hand), the consequences were that Tito stopped assisting the Greek rebellion - which collapsed as a result - and embarked on a debt-ridden course which eventually left to the dissolution of the Yugoslav Federation. And America had now replaced Britain as the broker in the region.

Roman Gladiators

Furthermore, any historical review of the region would be inadequate if it did not include the role that religion in general, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular, has played in it - but in view of the schism that exists in the Church between the oligarchic 'Integralists' and the liberal 'Base Communities', it should be noted here that any reference/s to 'the church' is/are directed towards the former: the autocrats in the Vatican. The involvement of the church in the region was inevitable, given its geographical juxtaposition tom and historical association with Slovenia and Croatia - long regarded by the Church as a bastion against both the Orthodox Serbs (since Pope John 10th's crowning of Tomislav as King of Croatia in 925 AD) and later, the Muslim Ottomans.

One significant aspect of the Vatican/Yugoslav relationship during the early post-war period was that, whereas the polish government (a Russian satellite) had intervened far more in the internal affairs of the church than had Yugoslavia (which had broken off relations with Russia) the Vatican had adopted a far more intransigent attitude towards the latter (as exemplified by their opposition to Tito's agrarian reform, their stance over the Istria confrontation, and their ban on priests joining the long-established Priests' Associations) than towards the former. This could only have been a case of political opportunism aimed at Tito's comparative weakness. It was certainly not a case of religious principle.

Given their common, fervent anti-communist bias, it was also inevitable that there would be cooperation between Corporate America and the Vatican (as already referred to). Perhaps the most active Catholic group which so co-operated was the Venerable Sovereign Military & Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta, better known s the Knights of Malta (SMOM for short), an Order which, like the Vatican itself, is based in Rome and enjoys sovereign status, issuing its own passports and stamps. One of the SMOM's functions in the RATLINES operation was, in fact, the supplying of false passports to the Nazis on their way to sanctuary. Other examples of this co-operation in the post-war period were the setting up of the anti-communist propaganda radio station, Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, joint ventures of the CIA (for funding) and SMOM members J. Peter Grace (W. R. Grace Corp.) and frank Shakespeare (CBS-TV, RIO and US Information Agency) - among others. Although membership of the Order was opened to Americans only in 1927, it is a measure of that country's influential standing that by the 1940s the American Cardinal Spellman held the post of 'Grand Protector' within the Order, whereas King Leopold of Belgium and Queen Wilhelmina of Holland were mere 'protectors' within their respective countries! To name but a few of its members, past and present, is to reveal its élitism and power. Juan Péron, CIA directors John McCone and William Casey, King Juan Carlos, ex-NATO Commander and ex-Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Joseph Kennedy - and Nazi Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, who negotiated the Hitler/Vatican Concordat of 1933.

This Concordat was an agreement that meant, in effect, that a government with an ostensibly strong anti-religious bias had taken the seemingly extraordinary step of imposing a church tithe on its populace!  To understand this apparent paradox it is necessary to recall the ties that bound Germany to Rome for some eight centuries (926-1806) under the aegis of the Holy Roman Empire, with its succession of German kings. The unavoidable conclusion to be drawn here is that these ties were still alive in 1933, and the setting up of the puppet states of Slovenia and Croatia in 1941 are thus comprehensible. That these ties still exist today is attested to by the facts that 1) the Concordat is still in effect, and 2) since World War 2 the German political scene has been dominated by Christian Democratic (Catholic) parties. Indeed there can be no other rational explanation for Germany's extraordinary action on the 15th January 1992 when, contrary to the advice and warnings given them by the UN, EEC and Bosnia itself (Itzebegovic had even gone to Bonn in a vain attempt to dissuade them from taking this step) they recognised the independence of Slovenia and Croatia, thereby sanctioning the violent outbursts of nationalism that had occurred as a result of the earlier Declarations of Independence by those two autonomous members of the Yugoslav Federation. It was inevitable that the German action would lead to the Bosnian débacle - and it is difficult to believe that Germany was not aware of this.

Enter NATO

The collapse of the communist states in the East caused many in the West to query the further need for NATO. It is now evident that this query was based on two grave misconceptions: 1) the NATO had been set up solely to resist Soviet expansion, and 2) that the collapse of the latter had meant the end of the marxist ideal. Had this been so, logic would have decreed immediate redundancy for NATO! By the very nature of it’s conception in April 1949, NATO operates under American patronage and hegemony. Patronage, as attested to under its Article 3 whereby $25 billion of military aid was given to its partners by the US in the first twenty years only of its existence hegemony, as attested to by a glance at NATO's command structure which reveals that, of its three 'commands' -SAFEUR or SHAPE (covering Europe), SACLANT (the Atlantic) and CINCHAN (the Channel) - the first two named, the crucial areas, can be under only American command (Eisenhower, Haig, etc).

NATO's true role since its formation has been to act as a counter-revolutionary, counter-reformist arm of the Corporate West. This was clarified by no less a person than George Kennan (once again) when he stated that, when NATO was formed, the State department considered ".the communist danger in its most threatening form as an internal problem - that is, of western society" - and if anybody should have known it was he. This was a statement, moreover, that conformed precisely - and understandably - to the tenets of corporate America. This now calls for a closer look at NATO's Article 9, which empowered the setting up of subsidiary bodies, such as civilian institutes, military staff and other such. The fact the GLADIO is such a 'subsidiary body' is enough to cause unease. GLADIO (aka GLAIVE, aka ZWAARD) is a secret anti-Left terrorist group set up by the Clandestine Planning Committee of SHAPE in 1959. Recent judicial investigations into political corruption in Italy have unearthed evidence linking GLADIO to post-war terrorist acts in that country (such as the Bologna bombing). One such act - though an abortive one - was the attempted coup d'etat in 1970 led by Prince Valerio Borghese and his neo-fascist protégé Stephano delle Chiaie - a known terrorist. Borghese, a fascist and naval commander in the war, had been sentenced to death for war crimes by the Italian Resistance at war's end, but rescued by James Jesus Angleton, who headed the OSS-controlled American/British Special Counter-Intelligence Team, SCI-Z, then operating in Italy (Angleton later became head of CIA Counter-Intelligence, and throughout his career retained exclusive control over CIA liaison with the Vatican). Borghese, for his part, played a leading role in post-war fascist politics, and was a Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion in the SMOM.

However, GLADIO must be seen in its wider, proper context: namely, the subornation of postwar Italian political parties by the American oligarch in order to ensure that the communist party did not attain power in that county. In March 1948, Secretary of State General George Marshall told the European nations bluntly that ".benefits under ERP (Marshall Plan) will come to an abrupt end in any country that votes communism to power". Concurrently, the CIA played a pivotal, funding role in this subornation, partly with the co-operation of Catholic Action, which was led by Doctor Luigi Gedda who created a network of 18,000 'civic committees' with which to garner votes. He was a member of SMOM. There is little doubt that the $65 million that the CIA alone channeled into the coffers of the Christian Democrats and the Socialists between 1946 and 1972 fuelled the corruption now in the public eye.

Crossing the Adriatic brings us once more to the Balkan crisis. Many aspects of it appear very puzzling to the public. There are many relevant questions not asked, and many such questions not answered. In the light of the secretiveness of the 'web' so far described here, this is hardly surprising - but the questions persist: why was Lord Carrington made a peace-broker, and by whom? And Cyrus Vance? Why did Germany recognise Slovenia and Croatia, and why did the remainder of the West 'about turn' and do the same? Why was Britain prone to so many 'changes of mind' of such a crucial, contrary nature? Is there no rational explanation, no common denominator of logic here?

In the absence of answers, conjecture inevitably takes over: was Carrington chosen because he had been Secretary General of NATO? Or a Bilderberger? Or member of the powerful consultancy/lobbying firm Kissinger Associates?; was Vance chosen because he had been US Secretary of Defense? Or Secretary of State? Or on the board of the armaments manufacturer, General Dynamic? Was the German decision in any was influenced by the fact that the Vatican had already 'recognised' Slovenia and Croatia (indeed the first sovereign body so to do)? Or in any way connected to the fact that two crucial NATO posts - that of Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General of Political Affairs - were held by Germans? And was there a causal link here? As for Britain's behaviour: it can be explained in no other way than as the behaviour of one not in control of one's actions. This gives rise to one more question: who is in control?

NATO's involvement in the Balkans has been one of steady progression from its avowed readiness in June '92 to support peace-keeping under the umbrella of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) formed in 1972, through policing of the 'No-Fly Zone' over Bosnia - to its current function as UN 'hitman'. This encroachment on to the scene reveals that, behind all the well-publicised, misleading posturings of politicians, statesman and 'peace-makers', it - NATO - has ingratiated itself into a key position in the region - with the ultimate authority of military supremacy. Far from being redundant now that the Cold War is over, it is preparing to play a more active, high-profile role in the now-enlarged European theatre. This will be in the form of its new subsidiary body: the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Force - or ARRC for short. This was set up in October '92 as a result of a review undertaken in June '90. It is expected to be fully operational in 1995, and will presumably augment that other rapid reaction force of the US Army, its Central Command - or CENTCOM (of 'Stormin' Norman' fame) - which was formed in 1983 primarily to 'protect' (control) the Mid-East oilfields, replacing Carter's Rapid Deployment Force.

The future seems to grow more ominous daily, in spite of - or more likely - because for that Disneyland vision of 'The New World Order' as seen by such as George Bush and like Corporatists. here in Britain the public has been subjected over the past decade and a half to a PR exercise boosting the benefits of the 'Free Market', an exercise of such intensity and breadth that it - the public - has been rendered comatose, thus allowing the Tory representatives of corporations to side-line the Trade Unions and dismantle all the hard-worn public services. That this had been done in a duplicitous manner is attested to by the fact that businessmen, politicians and media moguls alike indulge in a plethora of double-speak: capitalism becomes 'Free Market'; cheaper labour become either 'a more competitive society' or 'a more flexible market' and so on, ad infinitum. The Corporate Spider weaves its web!


Ratlines, by Mark Aarons and John Loftus, Heinemann, 1991.

Church and State in Yugoslavia since 1945, Stella Alexander, Cambridge University Press, 1979.

The Temple and The Lodge, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, Jonathan Cape, 1989.

The Bohemian Grove, G William Domhoff, Harper, 1974.

The Fall of Yugoslavia, Misha Glenny, Penguin, 1992.

The Free World Colossus, David Horowitz, Hill and Wang, 1965.

People of God, Penny Lernoux, Viking, 1989.

Friends in High Places, Laton McCartney, Ballantine, 1988.

The Sovereign State, Anthony Sampson, Hodder and Stoughton, 1973.

The Greatest Men's Party On Earth, John Van Der Zee, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974.

Bilderberg: The Cold War Internationale, from congressional record number E9615, 1971.

Yearbook of International Organisations 1991-92, 9th edition, K.G. Sauer.

Extract from 'H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands; an authorized biography'
by Alden Hatch

The Hôtel de Bilderberg

The first meeting - looks like George Ball doesn't want to be photographed!

At a small hotel near Arnhem in the deeply wooded uplands of eastern Holland on May 29, 30, and 31, 1954, a group of eminent statesmen, financiers, and intellectuals from the principal nations of Europe and the United States met together in, perhaps, the most unusual international conference ever held until then.

There was absolutely no publicity. The hotel was ringed by security guards, so that not a single journalist got within a mile of the place. The participants were pledged not to repeat publicly what was said in the discussions. Every person present-Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, leaders of political parties, heads of great banks and industrial companies, and representatives of such international organizations as the European Coal and steel Community, as well as academicians-was magically stripped of his office as he entered the door, and became a simple citizen of his country for the duration of the conference. Thus everybody could and did say what he really thought without fear of international, political, or financial repercussions.

That meeting and the subsequent ones that stemmed from it, which have had a great if indefinite impact on the history of our times, are, perhaps, int this writer's opinion, Prince Bernhard's proudest achievement in the field of Western unity and international amity.

It was not Bernhard's original idea, but had its inception in the brilliant brain of Dr Joseph H. Retinger. Retinger was an extraordinary character who flitted through Europe talking on intimate terms with Prime Ministers, labour leaders, industrial magnates, revolutionaries, and intellectuals-in short, all the non-Communist rulers and would-be rulers of the free nations of Europe.

Kraków, in Austrian Poland, was Retinger's birthplace; his parents were landed gentry. When he went to the Sorbonne in Paris in 1906, at the age of eighteen, this boy talked his way into the heart of that city's literary and artistic life, and was called friend by such as André Gide, Giraudoux, François Mauriac, Maurice Ravel, and the raffish Marquis Boni de Castellane. When he moved on to England, Herbert Asquith, his wife, outspoken Margot, and Lord Balfour took him into their circle, and his most intimate friend was his fellow-Pole, Joseph Conrad.

Retinger had what C. D. Jackson calls "a built-in instinct for intrigue" and a passionate love for Poland. During World War I his machinations for a free Poland made him uniquely unpopular. The Central Powers put a price on his head, the Allies banned him from all their countries, and the United States threw him into jail. These experiences taught him to be a better diplomat.

In World War II Retinger was closely associated with General Sikorsky, head of the Polish Government in Exile, as liaison man with the other exiled Governments. In 1944 General Sir Colin Gubbins of The S.O.E. (the super-secret Special Operations Executive) arranged for him to be parachuted into Poland with several million dollars for the Polish Resistance. At the age of fifty-six Retinger jumped at night into a field in enemy territory, and accomplished his mission. However, his legs became paralysed, probably as a result of the jump, and he had to be spirited out of Poland on a stretcher.

From that time until his death in 1960 Dr Retinger devoted his life to his one impassioned, idealistic purpose of uniting and strengthening the Western world against the danger from the East.

Jackson says, "He was a sort of Eminence grise of Europe, a Talleyrand without portfolio." Certainly he had almost as many adventures as Ian Fleming's famous secret-service operative James Bond.

Retinger was a frail, delicate little man with a deeply seamed face and quizzical eyes behind blue-tinted spectacles. His big jaw was never still, for he talked volcanically. AFter the parachute jump he always walked with a cane. C.D. jackson, who often clashed with him, said Retinger was "a very difficult, very opinionated man who would not take no for an answer and often achieved his purpose by very devious means. But nevertheless he was fearless and determined, a tremendously gallant guy."

Though people persist in calling Retinger an eighteenth-century man functioning in the twentieth century, he was not that at all. He cam,e straight out of the Renaissance. Instead of the sceptical, précieuse attitude typical of the eighteenth century, his Jesuitical conviction that the end justified the means, and a Borgian aptitude for intrigue; but the ends he sought were never selfish. They were good.

Though his name is virtually unknown except to the initiates, he made more history in his secret way than many a man who moved to the sound of trumpets and the howl of motor-cycle sirens. According to the official publication of the European Centre of Culture, "Retinger was the key figure in most of the great European union. The League of European Economic Cooperation (from which evolved the Common Market), the European Movement, and . the European Centre of Culture would not have seen the light without him. The Congress of Europe at The Hague was his doing, and the Council of Europe grew out of that."

Being above all a realist, Retinger understood that even a united Europe could not stand by itself without America. In 1952 he became deeply concerned about the rising tide of antAmericanism in practically every country of Western Europe. It was not confined to Communist-in?influenced or left-wing circles, but was equally prevalent among conservatives and liberals. The United States was disliked, feared, and sneered at with a unanimity that was remarkable among the peoples of Europe. This feeling threatened the solidarity of the Western world's defences against Communism.

Retinger was not the type of man to sit wringing his hands. He evolved a brilliant plan for coping with this situation, but he needed powerful assistance to put it into effect. So he asked his friend Dr Paul Rijkens to get him an appointment with Prince Bernhard, who has described their meeting:

"It all stated when Retinger came to me and sat here in this room and told me about his worries concerning the rising tide of anti-Americanism in Europe. I was worried about it, too. It seemed illogical in the face of the Marshall Plan, military assistance, NATO, etc., which had done so much for all of us. I suppose it was partly the natural human instinct to bite the hand that feeds you, and partly real grievances. I said to him, 'Yes, you're quite right. It's very bad.' Retinger said, 'Well, would you like to do something about it?' And I said, 'Of course.'"

Sitting on the edge of an easy chair in Bernhard's trophy-filled study, with his cane between his spindly legs, his inevitable cigarette burning furiously, and his eyes shooting sparks behind his blue-tinted spectacles, Retinger outlined his plan for bringing about better understanding between the touchy, suspicious Europeans and Americans. It consisted of two parts. The first was to get the leaders of opinion in the most important European countries to make an appraisal of where the Americans were wrong, apart from being rich,m powerful, generous, and rather stupid, and what they could do to put things right.

The second was to present this frank critique to leaders of American opinion and give them an opportunity to answer the indictment at a completely private meeting of top-level people from both continents.

Bernhard was all for it, but an unusual instinct for caution made him say, "It sounds wonderful, but I'd like another opinion. Let's find out what van Zeeland thinks about it." (Van Zeeland was Prime Minister of Belgium.)

Van Zeeland thought something should be done, and quickly. Reinforced by his approval, Bernhard went to work with Retinger reckoned, could supply the answers. The idea was to get two people from each country who would give the conservative and liberal slant. Then Bernhard, using his personal prestige and royal leverage, induced, with the help of Retinger, who knew practically all of them, most of those selected to co-operate.

It was quite a list. Van Zeeland wrote a paper for Belgium, Hugh Gaitskell and Lord Portal spoke for Great Britain, Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi for Italy, Foreign Minister Ole Bjørn Kraft of Denmark for Scandinavia; Guy Mollet (former Socialist Prime Minister) and Conservative Prime Minister Pinay for France, and Max Brauer, Otto Wolff von Amerongen, and Dr Müller for West Germany. Prince Bernhard himself handled the complaints of Holland, with the help of leading Dutch politicians and industrialists.

When all the reports came in Bernhard and Retinger found that many people of different countries and different parties gave the same reasons for disliking Americans, although there were, of course, some people with special grouses of their own. Bernhard, Retinger, and Rijkens synthesized the answers into a single report covering the main criticisms. Then Bernhard sent it confidentially to some of his American friends with the proposal that they organize an answer.

The election of 1952 was in full swing in the United States, and political brickbats were flying. Nobody had any time for Prince Bernhard. Averell Harriman said, "I won't touch it. It's dynamite." Eisenhower said, "Great! I'd like to use it in the campaign," to which Bernhard replied, "Good God, NO!"

The matter had to go over until after the election. Then Bernhard went to the United States-and, incidentally, got the bad news from Walter Reed. He saw a number of American politicians, and after several more rebuffs he went to his friend Bedell Smith, who was then head of the C.I.A. Smith said, "Why the hell didn't you come to me in the first place?"

Even then things moved slowly. Smith became Under-Secretary of State for newly elected President Eisenhower, and was engulfed in the business of putting a new administration together. He finally turned the matter over to C. D. Jackson, a special assistant to the President, and things really got going.

Jackson got in touch with John S. Coleman, President of the Burroughs Corporation of Detroit, who was a member of the newly formed Committee for a National Trade Policy under the presidency of Senator Robert Taft's brother, Charles Taft. This committee undertook to draft an American reply, and a number of private citizens. Other famous Americans were invited. Most of the administration officials ducked nervously, so the American delegation was rather weighted towards industry, but it included such eminent Americans as Joseph E. Johnson, of the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, Dean Rusk, then head of the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as David Rockefeller and H.J. Heinz II.

All this took time, which is why the first meeting did not take place until May 1954. By then, is spite of Eisenhower's personal popularity, the United States was at an all-time nadir of popularity in Europe. As the Europeans saw it, a soldier was in the White House, even though he was the least militant of military men. The Government was in the hands of the conservative Republican Party for the first time in twenty years. And, worst of all, Senator McCarthy was roaring through the land witch-hunting for Reds. His arrogant stooges had just completed their book-burning tour of American embassies in Europe, and the whole American career image of America, erstwhile land of democracy and freedom, was covered with mud.

Under these circumstances it looked as though there would be a heated session at the Hôtel de Bilderberg. Prince Bernhard, who was chairman, said, "The meeting was most encouraging because people accepted the idea that there would be no publicity, and everybody could speak for himself, irrespective of his position, quite frankly-and fight!"

At the memory Prince Bernhard's eyes lit up, and he said, "It was a beautiful meeting because sparks were flying like crazy between Americans like C. D. Jackson and Britishers like Sir Oliver Franks and Denis Healey and Hugh Gaitskell."

Jackson himself described the meeting as follows:

"It was all very new and different. We were tucked away in a forest way back in Holland. There were no reporters. Tight security with guards all over the hotel. IN the opening hours every one was uneasy, nervous, sniffing each other like strange dogs. They were afraid to talk very much.

"Prince Bernhard was everywhere using his charming wiles. People began to thaw. Then they began to fight, which was good. The Prince kept things in hand. When feeling got too tense he was able to relax people with just the right witty crack, or assert his authority. Though he is so charming, he is made of pretty stern stuff. When he was to restore order he does so in such a way that no one can take offence. But there is no fooling. Order is restored."

Naturally the Europeans were continually needling the Americans about McCarthy. Many of them seemed genuinely fearful that the United States was heading for a Fascist dictatorship. Therefore, on the third day, Prince Bernhard announced, "Even though it is not on the agenda, there has been so much talk of McCarthyism that, if there is time, I am going to ask Mr Jackson to tell us the American view on that."

There was time, and Jackson stood up to address the meeting. He is a big man, well over six feet tall, fourteen stone of muscular weight with a big domed head and a bold, jutting profile; impressive by his stature and his slow, judicial way of speech. Almost in the manner of a university professor, Jackson told his audience a few facts of political life in the United States. He pointed out that in the American system of government and politics, "We are certain to get this kind of supercharged, emotional freak from time to time." Then he reached back into history for the same sort of demagogue, telling them of the spectacular but short-lived careers of Father Coughlin and Huey Long.

He said that he knew it was hard of Europeans to understand how a Senator of the President's own party could say things on the floor of the Senate completely at variance with the Governments's policy. But, he pointed out, there was no way to stop a United States Senator when he went on a rampage. Party discipline was non-existent in that case. Therefore, Jackson said, the Europeans were right to be interested in this peculiar phenomenon of Senator McCarthy, but wrong to be fearful that he was the first step towards Fascism.

Finally Jackson made a rash prediction: "Whether McCarthy dies by an assassin's bullet or is eliminated in the normal American way of getting rid of boils on the body politic, I prophesy that by the time we hold our next meeting he will be gone from the American scene."

The fact that within a comparatively short time McCarthy was rebuked by the Senate and lost virtually all his prestige and power made the Europeans feel that they had heard the truth about America. George McGhee of the United States Department of State says, "The really bad misunderstandings between Europeans and Americans were dissipated at the first Bilderberg. Since then there has never been such a sharp division between us and Europe."

The first Bilderberg Conference was such a success in promoting real understanding across the Atlantic that its sponsors decided to continue the meetings. A permanent Steering Committee was set up to plan the agenda for future meetings and decide whom to invite according to the subjects to be discussed. Dr Retinger became permanent secretary, until he died and was succeeded by Ernst van der Beugel, who, incidentally, said to the writer, "I am allergic to international groups. I attended my first Bilderberg meeting with great reserve, but I was impressed by it and remained impressed."

Joseph E. Johnson became the first Secretary on the American side. Otherwise the organization was kept as loose as possible to allow maximum flexibility. To insure this the Steering Committee tries to have a turnover of at least twenty percent. of new faces at each meeting. This was made clear at the outset, so that people who are not asked back every time would not consider it an affront.

Combined with this is the unwritten rule that anybody who has ever been to a Bilderberg Conference should be able to feel that he can, in a private capacity, call on any former member he has met. To this end a list of names and addresses is maintained to which all participants have access. This makes possible an expanding continuation of association for people who might not otherwise have met.

Three days at a Bilderberg Conference are not only a stimulating but also an extremely exhausting experience, especially for Bernhard and the other members of the Steering Committee. H. J. Heinz II described a typical day: "We sit from nine o'clock in the table. Right after lunch we go at it again until seven o'clock. Fifteen minutes to wash up, and then an executive session of the Steering Committee. That lasts an hour, and then we have dinner. After that we talk some more, informally. It's a fifteen-hour day, at least!"

Another member of the group said, "We meet in such beautiful places, but we never have time to look at the scenery."

Since 1954, meetings of the Bilderberg group have been held once a year, sometimes twice. The Steering Committee meets more frequently. The regular sessions are attended by from fifty to eighty people. Each meeting is held in a different country, but follows the same pattern. An entire hotel is taken over and closely guarded. The members all live together, eat and drink together, for three days. Wives are not invited. Dr Rijkens says, "More important things are done and better understandings are often arrived at in private conversations at lunch or dinner than in the regular sessions. Through the years we have achieved a sort of brotherhood of friendship and trust."

The expenses or each meeting are borne by private subscription in the host country, and Prince Bernhard always presides-though not by his own choice. At the very first meeting he tried rotating the chairmanship, putting van Zeeland in the second day and Mr Coleman the third. It did not work. The other Europeans thought that van Zeeland was too political and the American Democrats felt that Coleman was too old-guard Republican. They all begged him to become permanent chairman. Because he was royal and therefore apolitical, and, furthermore, came from a small nation with no large axes to grind, he was, in fact, the logical choice. In addition every one agreed that he handled the meetings extremely well. Mr Heinz says, "If Prince Bernhard had not existed Retinger would have had to invent him."

There was also the fact that his royalty gave him considerable leverage in inducing these very eminent men to give up their pressing affairs to attend the meetings. This rather worried Bernhard, who once said to van der Beugel, "Is it just snob-appeal that brings them?"

Van der Beugel answered forthrightly, "If you can transfer snobbism into something fine and useful that's good. The authority with which you can ask people to attend meetings is important. On the other hand, you don't get eighty outstanding people to drop everything and go off to a foreign country just for snobbism. The way you manage the thing and the importance of the enterprise are what draws them."

Meanwhile Retinger brought in many men of the non-Communist but radical left who might not have responded to an invitation from Prince Bernhard. However, even these would probably not have consented to attend a conference with the men of the conservative right had they not been reassured by having in the chair a completely non-political figure. As Dr Rijkens said "No one but Bernhard could have induced such old antagonists as Guy Mollet and Antoine Pinay to sit at the same table."

Prince Bernhard in his methodical way prepares very carefully for each meeting by an intensive study of all the subjects on the agenda. Then he takes copious notes at the meetings, and at the end of each session tries to sum up what has been said and perhaps add a few impartial words of his own to clear the air. In spite of his preliminary work, Prince Bernhard confesses, "I always go to the meetings with a feeling of great nervousness. There are so many explosive possibilities. But it is always tremendously stimulating and enormously interesting-in fact, great fun.

"One thing that worries me beforehand is suppose some key person does not show up and the discussions are a flop? We have had very little trouble with that."

One meeting Bernhard was particularly nervous about was the one at St Simons Island, Georgia. United States Senator J. William Fulbright, Senator Wiley and several American congressmen were coming for the first time. The rule of the meetings is that each man is allowed five minutes to talk, and at the end of this time the Prince is allowed five minutes to talk, and at the end of this time the Prince begins to make signals. But he generally gives them a minute more before taking action. "Once or twice I've had to be unpleasant to somebody, but that is very difficult for me," he says. "It is also difficult to keep a big boy from talking too long. I swing my wristwatch in front of his face and say, 'Ah, ah, more than five minutes!' And if somebody makes a really short speech I say, 'Now that is wonderful. The shorter the speech the more it sticks in our minds.' But that does not always help, you know. Some people are very difficult."

At St Simons some of Bernhard's American friends said, "What are you going to do with the American politicians? You just can't shut up a United States congressman or senator. They aren't used to it."

Bernhard didn't quite know himself. But before the meeting he went to the American politicians and in his most ingratiating way said, "Now, look, gentlemen, my American friends are afraid to tell you this, but we have had this rule about five-minute speeches at all our meetings. So would you be very king and do me a favour, a personal favour, and stick to the rule, because I will be finished for the future if I let you get away with a long speech."

"They said they would be delighted; no problem at all. 'It is perfectly O.K. with us.' And they never broke the rule at all. The only person I had trouble with was a European."

The only meeting, other than the first, at which Bernhard did not preside all the way through was the one in Switzerland in 1960. He arrived from one of his "selling trips" looking utterly exhausted and with a bad cold. After presiding at the opening session he developed virus pneumonia. He chose E. N. van Kleffens to take the chair. Prince Bernhard says, "This satisfied everybody, because van Kleffens had once served as President of the Assembly of the U.N."

While the meeting went on Bernhard got sicker and sicker. Meanwhile, back at the Palace, Juliana was becoming very anxious. Professor Nuboer says, "I was in the Palace that Saturday evening when the Queen called Prince Bernhard. He was in a very bad mood, and said there was really nothing wrong with him. However, the next morning the Queen telephoned me and said that she had talked to her husband again and that his temperature had gone up. I said, 'I'll go immediately and ask my colleague Professor Jordan, our specialist on internal medicine, to go with me.'"

Professor Nuboer had made their reservations on K.L.M. and borrowed some money-it was Sunday and the banks were shut-when the Queen called back. "I'm going with you," she said. "I'm too worried to stay here. We'll go in a military plane."

Professor Nuboer says, "We found the Prince in the Conference Hotel near Lucerne. The Queen, Jordan, and I kidnapped him, literally kidnapped him. We brought him back in his own plane. A car met us at the airport, and we took him straight to the hospital at Utrecht. He was there for several weeks."

The Bilderberg meetings are never dull. Even though the group has become, as McGhee says, "like belonging to a fraternity," sparks have flown at nearly every one. At St Simons in 1957 the French, British, and Americans almost came to blows over Suez. At another it was Quemoy and Matsu. The Europeans could understand the American attitude about Formosa, but defending the off-shore islands seemed to them military madness for the sake of tweaking the dragon's tail. "At least we made them understand the necessity of taking more interest in the Far East," says McGhee.

Other hot issues have been the Common Market and British and American attitudes towards it. And Cuba! There is always something to make the sparks fly; and, like lightning, these electrical discharges clear the atmosphere.

Any attempt to evaluate the effect of the Bilderberg group is made nearly impossible by the very nature and object of the conferences, which is not to act or even to convince, but rather to enlighten. As Prince Bernhard says, "You are not asked to agree, merely to listen."

At one point the inevitable lack of concrete results you could put your finger on made Prince Bernhard wonder if its was worth while continuing. He sent out a query to that effect to the members. A storm of protest, especially from the Americans, convinced him that he should go on.

Perhaps the only way of arriving at some assessment of the work is to question those participants who play an active role in international affairs. When asked for an example of a Bilderberg accomplishment George McGhee said, "I believe you could say the Treaty of Rome, which brought the Common Market into being, was nurtured at these meetings and aided by the main stream of our discussions there. Prince Bernhard is a great catalyst."

The formation of an international corporation to finance industrial development in the Near East is another concrete result.

However, the intangible results are admittedly the greatest-the bringing together in friendship, even intimacy, of the leaders from many nations and the effect of their confidential reports on the governments of their countries. An example is the case of the United States during President Eisenhower's administration. When asked if he thought Eisenhower had been influenced by the Bilderberg discussions Prince Bernhard said, "I don't know. Of course, I talked to Ike about it when I needed his help to give American officials the green light to come to the conferences. Although C. D. Jackson and Bedell Smith were in favour of it, there were a lot of people in the State Department who thought one should not go. They would not allow their people to come at first. Then after the first meeting they lifted the ban. Anybody could come. The same thing happened with de Gaulle.

"As to whether Ike paid any attention to the reports of our discussions, I could not say."

However, General Eisenhower said to this writer: "I always had one of my people go to the Bilderberg Conferences [Dr Gabriel Hauge]. I'm in favour of anything-any study of that kind which helps international understanding. The Bilderberg meetings enlightened me; I'd get viewpoints from other than official channels. Not that I always agreed with them; there were so many points of view that somebody had to be wrong; but it was still important to know them."

The present American Government is even closer to Bilderberg because President Kennedy has virtually staffed the State Department with what C.D. Jackson calls "Bilderberg alumni"-Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Under-Secretary of State George W. Ball, George McGhee, Walter Rostow, McGeorge Bundy, Arthur Dean, and Paul H. Nitse over at Defence. However, the Steering Committee tries to keep a fairly even balance between Republicans and Democrats.

Mr Ball recently said, "I think the most useful feature of the Bilderberg meetings is the opportunity for responsible people in industry, statecraft, or politics to have a frank discussion where they will not be publicly quoted and are able to give their personal views without their remarks being considered official.

"This is unique and without parallel. \the character of the meetings has been shaped by the very devoted and astute leadership of Prince Bernhard himself. Without his special position, intelligence and goodwill nothing like this could come about."

Then the Under-Secretary of State added, "I certainly hope to continue to go the meetings . So does Dean Rusk."

The Italian Ambassador in London, Signor Quaroni, said "What a pleasant change! In other places diplomats always lie to each other."

From Prince Bernhard's point of view the Bilderberg group gives him an opportunity to work in private, without violating the parliamentary taboo against royalty mixing in politics, for the unification of Europe and, indeed, of the Atlantic Community as well. He regards this as the best hope of humanity not only in Europe but in all the world. Furthermore, he is highly optimistic about its chances of success.

"It may be oversimplification," Prince Bernhard said, "but I think that with a little bit of goodwill on both sides we will find practical solutions for the British problem, the Commonwealth, and the so-called 'Outer Seven." We would apply the main lines of the Treaty of Rome in principle with certain provisos. For example, it might take certain countries twenty years to adapt to its pattern of tree movement of labour, free movement of goods and raw materials, the lowest possible customs barriers or none, co-ordination of industry, etc.

"I'd like to see us all agree on basic principles, and then let one man, like Jacques Rueff, with a few helpers, work it out. Big committees always fight. If we could all agree beforehand in principle it would result, without doubt, not in Utopia, but in an extremely strong and healthy Europe. This in turn would bring the United States into the economic community. It would encourage a great deal of free trade throughout the world.

"Now, the more free trade you have the more difficult you will make it for the new countries of Africa and Asia to set up an autarchy and live in economic isolation, to adopt trade barriers and quotas which after a hundred years or more we are finding out don't pay. From sheer necessity these people will have to join in free trade. And once you get that you can help an underdeveloped county much more easily than if there are a hundred and fifty thousand restrictions. Also it would be easier for them-their national pride-to accept help. That to my mind is the best possible guaranty against Communist influence."

Within Europe itself Prince Bernhard would like to go even further than economic union. "One thing we need for free exchange of goods is complete interchangeability of money, a common currency. I'm flat out for that," he said. "And this implies a certain political unity. Here comes our greatest difficulty. for the governments of the free nations are elected by the people, and if they do something the people don't like they are thrown out. It is difficult to re-educate people who have been brought up on nationalism to the idea of relinquishing part of their sovereignty to a supra-national body.

"Then there is, of course, national selfishness, putting internal problems first. For instance, no nation in Europe has met its full NATO quota. There is just so much money, and there are so many things needed inside each country. People don't think European enough or Atlantic enough to put the good of all before party politics or national advantage.

"This is the tragedy. Due to the freedom and democracy we cherish, we aren't able to achieve what we all basically want to do. We don't show the world clearly enough that our way is better than the Communist way, because we quibble and throw bricks at each other's heads. Real unity comes only when we are scared-when the Soviets put the pressure on and the issue is war or not war, though I should not say that because it is so old and sad and obvious. . We are moving towards unity, but we crawl like snails when we should run. ."

Even if Europe moves too slowly towards political unity Prince Bernhard optimistically believes that it will arrive if the whole place is not blown up first. He foresees a United States of Europe in which borders are reduced to an absolute minimum, and there is a common currency, a common financial policy, a common foreign policy, and a common policy of trade. The nations will give up so much of their sovereignty as is necessary to implement this.

However, the Prince thinks they will retain their national identities. "Each country has its history and traditions, and the cultural, philosophical, and ethical backgrounds of which it can be extremely proud, and which make us what we are," he said. "It would be extremely stupid to throw all that away. It would be like blowing up your old house before you get a new one built. I think the nations of the United States of Europe will want to keep their flags and their monarchs, certainly for the first fifty or one hundred years, though in that case the monarchs should be jolly good-there will be more demands on a person than ever before.

"What I say is let's abolish our borders in the sense that we are not any longer going to curse our neighbours over them, or deep them out, or try to frighten them as we used to do, but let us live across them as brothers, while maintaining our national characteristics, not only for our own advantage, but for the benefit of all."

Prince Bernhard in his higher flights of optimism even look to the day, fifty or a hundred hears from now, when the Iron Curtain may be rolled up and put away. He believes that as the old Bolsheviks die off and the young Russians, who have lost the hot crusading fervour of the Marxist Revelation, take over, there will be a return to a more democratic type of socialism and a loosening of discipline that will make it possible to bring those lost lands back into the European sphere. "Allen Dulles laughs at me," he says, "but I think that the Russians will again become friends with us, as they have been before.

"For this I know, and even Allen dulles agrees, that Communism inside Russia is not the sacred shibboleth it used to be. A lot of Russians frankly admit that they use it in other countries as propaganda in order to bring them into their sphere. But that in Russia itself it is getting a little out of date. That's a lovely thought, but when it will come, or if it comes in time, who shall say.."

Preceeding extract from:

Hatch, Alden, 'H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands; an authorized biography'. 
Subject : Bernhard Leopold, consort of Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands,
Harrap, 1962.

'Prince Bernhardt's Secret Society' by A.K. Chesterton

Chapter XXIV of his book 'The New Unhappy Lords'

Watch out for gratuitous 'anti-socialist' vitriol from this writer...... [ed.] See the rider on the links section of the main Bilderberg page

If the facts concerning the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations be accepted, it will be seen that the proper study of political mankind is the study of power elites, without which nothing that happens can be understood. These elites, preferring to work in private, are rarely found posed for photographers, and their influence upon events has therefore to be deduced from what is known of the agencies they employ. There are dozens of such agencies, and financial support received from one or other or all three big American foundations - Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford - provides an infallible means of recognizing them. One of the most blatant of these agencies, despite its adoption of a secret society technique, is the Bilderberg Group, which seems to have been inspired by an important event. In the year 1908, secret agents of the New York Money Power and their Washington fuglemen had themselves transported in the dead of night to Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. As the result of their plotting there was created, four years later, the means whereby the Money Trust was enabled to seize control of the entire American economy through the mechanism of the Federal Reserve Board. In February 1957, a similarly hush-hush conference took place at St. Simons Island in the same region. A "summary" of the proceedings was entered by Senator Wiley, champion of the Left-wing, in the appendix of the Congressional Record. It referred to "the preservation of peace" under the auspices of Nato, which revealed nothing. The composition of the gathering, however, was revealing. Nobody with Right-Wing views was permitted to attend. Wiley was accompanied by Fulbright, both of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee. Sulzberger of the New York Times was there. So was the mysterious Gabriel Hauge, said by the Wall Street Journal to be "the expert who tells Ike what to think". So was the only less mysterious George Kennan, former Ambassador to Russia. So were the representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A Supreme Court Judge was reported to have been present, although he did not register. Westbrook Pegler, the courageous American columnist, believes that he was Felix Frankfurter, the patron of Dean Acheson and Alger Hiss among other dubious proteges. There was also Lord Kilmuir, who as Sir David Maxwell Fyfe figured among that of a more improbablelooking Scot than could be imagined. What these agents of Financial Jewry were plotting was nothing to the benefit of the sovereign independence of the nations of the Western World.

The following people were also present:-

J.H. Retinger, Polish Charge d'Affaires in Russia, 1941; Joseph E. Johnson, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Hon. F.D.L. Astor, Editor, The Observer, U.K.; G.W. Ball, Attorney, Cleary, Gottlieb, Friendly and Ball, U.S.; Fritz Berg, Chairman, Federation of German Industries, Germany; M. Nuri Birgi, Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey; Eugene R. Black, President, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Robert R. Bowie, Ass. Secretary of State for Policy Planning, U.S.; McGeorge Bundy, Dean Faculty of ARts and Sciences, Harvard University; Hakon Christianson, Chairman, East Asiatic Company, Denmark; Walter Cisler, Presidedent, Atomic Industrial Forum, U.S.; Pierre Commin, Secretary, French Socialist Party; B.D. Cooke, Director, Dominion Insurance Company, U.S.; Arthur H. Dean, Law partner of John Foster Dulles, formerly of Sullivan and Cromwell, U.S.; Jean de la Garde, French Ambassador to Mexico; Thomas E. Dewey, Attorney, former Governor of New York, U.S.; Sir William Eddlitt, Air Chief Marshal, Royal Institute, U.K.; Fritz Erler, Socialist M.P., Germany; John Ferguson, Attorney, Cleary, Gottlieb, Friendly and Ball, U.S.; Lincoln Gordon, Professor, Consultant to Nato's "Three Wise Men"; Sir Colin Gubbins, Industrialist, U.K.; Lawrence R. Hafstead, Technical Adviser, Atomic Energy Commission; Jens Christian Hauge, Socialist M.P., Norway/ Brooks Hays, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Denis Healey, Labour M.P. (now Minister of Defence), U.K.; Arnold D.P. Heeney, Ambassador to U.S.A., Canada; Michael A. Heilperin, Economist, U.S.; Henry J. Heinz, President, H.J. Heinz & Company, U.S.; Leif Hoegh, Banker, Norway; Paul G. Hoffman, Former Director, E.C.A., U.N. Delegate, U.S.; C.D. Jackson, President, Time Inc., Former Special Assistant to the President, U.S.; Wm. H. Jackson, Former Special Assistant to the President U.S.; Per Jacobson, Man. Director, International Monetary Fund, Sweden; Georg Kurt Keisinger, Director of Special Studies, Rockefeller Foundation; Pieter Liefnick, Director, International Monetary Fund, Netherlands; Imbriani Longo, Director-General, Banco Nazionale del lavoro, Italy; Paul Martin, Minister Health and Welfare, Canada; David J. Mcdonald, President United Steelworkers; Geo. C. McGhee, Director, Middle East Institute; Ralph E. McGill Editor, Atlanta Constitution; Alex W. Menne, President, Association of German Chemical Industries, Germany; Rudolf Mueller, Lawyer, Germany; Robert Murphy, Deputy-Under-Secretary of State U.S.; Frank C. Nash, Attorney former Assistant Secretary of Defence, U.S.; Geo. Nebolsine, Attorney, Coudert Bros, U.S.; Paul H. Nitze, Director, Policy Planning, State Department, U.S.; Morehead Patterson, Deputy Commissioner of Disarmament, U.S.; Don K. Price, Vice-President, Russian Institute, Columbia University; David Rockefeller, Chairman of the Board, Chase National Bank; J.H. Van Joijen, Ambassador to U.S., Netherlands; Dean Rusk, President, Rockefeller Foundation; Paul Rykans, Industrialist, Netherlands; J.L.S. Steele, Chairman, British International Chamber of Commerce, U.K.; Terkel M. Terkelson, Editor, Denmark; John M. Vorys, Member, Foreign Affairs Committee/ Fraser B. Wilde, Comm. on Economic Development; Otto von Amerongen Wollf,Partner, Otto Wollf, Germany; W.T. Wren, Chairman Allied Iron Founders, U.D.; Paul van Zeeland, Financier, former Prime Minister of Belgium.

The Chairman was H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Strange, is it not, that the Prince should be the "front" for a powerful left-wing secret society?

Why were these people present: Who sent them? Who paid their fares? Who sponsored their meeting? What did they discuss? What did they decide? What orders were they given? Was there any common denominator of interest among them? Yes, they were all promoters of internationalism. Were they instructed in the next phase of the advance towards One World? The answer, beyond doubt, is Yes.

The Sunday Times reported during October 1957 that financiers and businessmen from Britain, the United States, Canada and thirteen other Western nations had begun private talks at Fiuggi, Italy, on the European free trade area and the Common Market projects. There were sixty delegates, Mr. Maudling, the Paymaster-General at the time and the Minister responsible for Britain's intended part in the proposed European free trade area, and Viscount Kilmuir, Lord Chancellor, attended. Lord Kilmuir said it was a point of honour that no immediate disclosure be made of the subjects under discussion. The whole point was that members should be able to discuss problems of interest on both sides of the Atlantic without committing their Governments. All the members were speaking as private individuals.

There is no difficulty in recognising in this secret gathering the mysterious Bilderberg Group, of which Prince Bernhard is the official sponsor. As the author surmised after the St. Simons Island meeting, the purpose was to speed up the cause of internationalism and it is interesting to have confirmed the fact that these agents of the Money Power were directly concerned with the European free trade area. Am I right in thinking that the work undertaken by the Bilderberg Group was once undertaken by such bodies as Chatham House? It may even be that the remorseless light I shed on Chatham House activities in the pages of the old Truth may have led to its manipulators seeking new facades behind which to work. As Lord Kilmuir maintained that all the Bilderberg Group's members spoke as private individuals would he also have known whether they paid their own expenses when attending these meetings in different parts of the world? If they did not, who did?

In September 1958 another meeting of the Bilderberg Group took place in Buxton, Derbyshire. With the exception of three very old residents, the Palace Hotel at Buxton was cleared of guests so as to accommodate these cloak and dagger boys, and not only that - the normal hotel staff was temporarily suspended during the invasion so that alien waiters and porters should have the exclusive duty of looking after the conspirators. It would be interesting to know how the foreign servants came to be collected for the job and just what international security tests they were called upon to pass.

The Mayor of Buxton, whose courteous function it was to welcome conferences to his town, was rudely ignored, as the Queen seems to have been, by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, whose presence on British soil one would have though necessitated a courtesy call on Her Majesty. Protocol goes by the board when esoteric international policies are to be discussed.

The security measures taken were prodigious. They made clear that if we had not the honour of entertaining the arch-conspirators in person, at least we had the doubtful distinction of being visited by their very highest agents. They came not in their official capacities but as private citizens. That fact was repeatedly stressed. Yet, according to rumour, there arrived for their use crates of official documents so secret that the crates had to be locked - together with a British officer as custodian - in a room at the Buxton police station. When asked about the authenticity of this rumour, the Conference's spokesman tried to laugh it off. However, after persistent enquiries the spokesman said: "Well, if General Schuyler (Chief of Staff of S.H.A.P.E.) brought along certain documents, that is his affair." I am not saying that General Schulyer did in fact bring along the papers; the above is merely a report of the witnesses. Whatever the truth of the matter, the entire Buxton assemblage stank of its own furtiveness and concealed aims.

At least twenty-four of those who attended the Buxton meeting also attended that on St. Simons Island. Among these were John J. McCloy and David Rockefeller (both Chase Manhattan) and Paul Rykans, a Dutch banker and member of the Anglo-Dutch Trade Council and chairman of an "industrial development" organisation called MIDEC. One hundred and twenty European and six U.S. firms were in this organisation in 1960 for the purpose of "developing" the Middle East. One of the U.S. members of MIDEC was Rockefeller Centre Inc. Both David and Nelson Rockefeller have been and may still be members of the Council on Foreign Relations. James S. Rockefeller is or was the president of the First National City Bank of New York. Anybody who likes to get a Directory of Directors and a few dozen copies of the International Monetary Fund weekly will find plenty of evidence to indicate that a good deal of so-called "economic policy", whether in Washington or Indonesia, Australia or Sweden, emanates from a relatively small circle of interested parties.

The following is a list of the names of conspirators who attended the Buxton meeting. I use the word "conspirators" deliberately. Men pursuing purposes which will bear the light of day do not hold secret meetings in different parts of the world. The whole business could be treated as schoolboy silliness were it not for the fact that there emerged from such gatherings policies hostile to the traditional order of life. To deprive the public of using the Buxton hotel cocktail bar and other amenities so as not to intrude on the privacy of the plotters has about it something of the spirit of 1984 and would be better accepted by the cowed citizens of Moscow than it was by the wholesome burgesses of Buxton.

J.H. Retinger (Hon. Secretary); Jo. E.Johnson (Hon. Secretary in the U.S.); Herman J. Abs, Germany; Dean Acheson, United States; Giovanni Agnelli, Italy; G.W. Ball, U.S.; Walworth Barbour, U.S.; Wilfred Baumgartner, France; Sir Edward Beddington-Behrens, U.K.; Berthold Beitz, Germany; Fritz Berg, Germany; Muharrem Nuri Birgi, Turkey; P.A. Blaisse, Netherlands; James C. Boden, Germany; Erik Boheman, Sweden; Max Brauer, Germany; Randolph W. Burgess, U.S.; Lewis Camu, Belgium; Guido Carli, Italy; Clifford P. CAse, U.S.; Victor Cavendish-Bentick, U.K.; Sir Ralph Cochrane, U.K.; Erich Dethleffsen, Germany; Fritz Erler, Germany; John Ferguson, U.S.; H.T.N. Gaitskell, U.K.; Walter L. Gordon, Canada; Joseph Grimond, U.K.; Sir Colin Gubbins, U.K.;Walther Hallstein (Chairman, European Common Market Commission); Joseph C. Harsch, U.S.; Gabriel Hauge, U.S.; Denis Healey, U.K.; Michael A. Heilperin, U.S.; H. J. Heinz II, U.S.; Leif Hoegh, Norway; C.D. Jackson, U.S.; Viscount Kilmuir, U.K.; E.N. van Kleffens; Viscount Knollys, U.K.; Ole B. Kraft, Denmark; Thorkil Kristensen, Denmark; Giovanni F. Malagodi, Italy; John J. McCloy, U.S.; Geo. C. McGhee, U.S.; Philip E. Mosley, U.S.; Roger Motz, Belgium; Rudolf Mueller, Germany;Alfred C. Neal, U.S.; Geo. Nebolsine, U.S.; Paul H. Nitze, U.S.; David Ormsby-Gore, U.K.; P.F.S. Otten, Netherlands; P.N. Pipinelis, Greece, Alberto Pirelli, Italy; Pietro Quaroni, Italy; Sir Alfred Roberts, U.K.; David Rockefeller, U.S.; Michael Ross, U.S.; Jacques Rueff; Paul Rykans, Netherlands; Carlo Schmid, Germany; C.V.R. Schuyler; J.L.S. Steele, U.K.; Terkel M. Terkelson, Denmark; Henry Tiarks, U.K.; Every A. Vermeer, Netherlands; Marc Wallenberg, Sweden; Otto Von Amerongen, Germany; Paul van Zeeland, Belgium; J.D. Zellerbach, U.S.

In 1961 an article in the Toronto Star Read as follows: "The Tenth Bilderberg Conference attended by seventy delegates from Europe and North America wound up yesterday after three days of discussion of common problems. Participants, whose names were not disclosed, included leaders of the political, industrial, labour and professional fields of both continents, an official statement said. Chairman of the meeting was Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who left Quebec yesterday for home after making private visits to cities in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The statement said although the conference "followed the original Bilderberg concept of not attempting to reach conclusions or to recommend policies, there was substantial agreement on the need to promote better understanding and more effective co-ordination among the Western nations. Points of particular concern included the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in world policy, the strengthening of both the nuclear and non-nuclear deterrent power of the alliance and the responsibility for control of atomic weapons inside Nato", the statement said. 'The implications for Western unity of the change in the relative economic strength of the U.S. and Western Europe also were discussed at some length.'"

To the unsuspecting all this may seem innocuous, perhaps even fatuous. For instance, there might not appear to be much danger in a body that does not attempt to reach conclusions or to recommend policies. However, there are other factors to be taken into account. Quite a lot of money is needed to fly seventy delegates from all over the world to an annual conference. Who finds that money and why? And who delegates the delegates? The author finds it hard to believe that the expense is incurred merely for the pleasure of staging discussion not aimed at any conclusion. Let there be no doubt about this business. When people like Frankfurter, Dean Acheson and Cyrus Eaton foregather it is not for the purpose of amiable chats and mutual backscratching. If the Bilderberg conferences reach no conclusions and recommend no policies, it is because the conclusions have already been reached and the policies determined, so that the delegates assemble to be told what the form is. They do not need to be given their orders. Once the form is declared they know well enough hat is expected of them, while for our part it be affirmed with assurance that the Bilderberg "power-elite" would not discuss the nuclear power deterrence of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance in any sense favourable to countries such as Great Britain retaining nuclear weapons under their own sovereign control.

Sir Edward Beddington-Behrens stated in The Times about June 1960, when writing an obituary of Joseph Retinger, that he, Retinger, "founded the Bilderberg Group, whose meetings under the chairmanship of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands brought together the leading political and industrial personalities from the U.S. and Europe, to discuss ways of removing any source of conflict between the U.S. and her allies. The meetings, held with out any kind of publicity in England, Holland, Turkey, Switzerland, or the United States, brought together leading statesmen who could discuss their problems in privacy and exchange points of view with men of equal eminence in other countries. It was Joseph Retinger who brought them together and knew them all personally."

The author finds it hard to believe that Retinger was anything other than an agent or promoter. Financiers rather than industrialists would be a more accurate description of Groups's inspirators. And no ordinary financiers. The men who find the funds are the international policy makers who seek to shape the world to their own particular specification. International financiers do not take orders for men like Joseph Retinger.

Retinger, I repeat, was an agent. The world is not run by stray idealists,m although agents, of course, may be actuated by genuine idealism. That does not make their projects necessarily wholesome. I affirm that the influences behind the European movement which made use of Retinger's idealism are, from a national and Christian point of view, thoroughly unwholesome and indeed evil, in that what they seek is a monopoly of political and financial power. Evil, too, is the method. Nations are represented - at any rate according to a polite fiction - by their Governments. Who selects the "leading political and industrial personalities" who go cavorting around the globe to attend secret discussions upon world affairs: Is the Bilderberg Group a flying circus nominated by the Royal Institute of International Affairs and its dominating partner in America, the Council on Foreign Relations? Some kind of nexus seems certain. Both Chatham House and the Council fit the description of what has been called the Power Elite - "a group of men similar in interest and outlook, shaping events from invulnerable positions behind the scenes."And what is the Bilderberg Group if not precisely that?

We may be certain that the Group was not organised by Joseph Retinger as the principal. Who would the principal have been? Baruch? Frankfurter? The Kuhn, Loeb gang? And why the cloak and dagger stuff? Is the Bilderberg Group an apparatus of Grand Orient Masonry? Whatever the answer to that question the atmosphere of plotting in the dark which pervades it has a dank and very nasty smell. Sir Edward Beddington-Behrens would perform a service to the Western Nations if he would describe in more detail the work and background of Retinger, who was a very mysterious person indeed.

There are other points worth noting. It was possible for Dean Acheson, former U.S. Secretary of State, to slip in and out of Britain for the Buxton Conference without exciting any British newspaper comment. The Bilderberg Group had affirmed its desire to strengthen the Nato alliance, which was brought into being to contain Communism. Yet when two American juries found Alger Hiss guilty of perjury in denying that he was a Communist agent, Dean Acheson publicly reaffirmed his friendship with the traitor. Another Bilderberg enthusiast was Cyrus Eaton, the American millionaire who allowed his Pugwash home to be used for Bilderberg sponsored conferences. Yet Cyrus Eaton was notorious for his pro-Communist sympathies.

If it were possible to bring members of the Bilderberg Group before a Commission of Enquiry they would have theses and many other matters to explain. They would also these and many other matters to explain. They would also have to give a more satisfactory answer than any yet offered about the need for a secret society technique so offered about the need for a secret society technique so offered about the need for a secret society technique so stringent that not even the honest British waiters and waitresses at a Buxton hotel could be allowed within earshot of the conspirators. Until Prince Bernhard and his colleagues explain themselves, which is an improbable event, I propose to designate them as the chosen lackeys of the New York Money Power charged with the task of plotting to bring into being a One World tyranny.

My friend and colleague Austen Brooks drew the attention of readers of Candour to another exceedingly curious extra-governmental body working along lines which would suggest its affiliation with the Bilderberg group. Early in 1962 a dozen "leading churchmen" ) of whom, needless to say, one was Canon John Collins) published an "appeal to the British Government and people" urging that Britain should be prepared to renounce her independent nuclear deterrent. Commenting on this, the Observer wrote: "Behind the statement lies a strange and little-known relationship between Church leaders and some of Britain's best-known military pundits. The connection started back in 1955, when Richard Goold-Adams, foreign affairs commentator, Denis Healey, the Labour politician, Professor Blackett and Rear-Admiral Sir Anthony Buzzard, former head of Naval Intelligence and an active Churchman, were worried about the lack of serious thinking about strategy in Britain and, in particular, the undue reliance on the strategic H-bomb."(Note the nuclear surrender hand in the "strategic" glove.) This quartet, according to the Observer, "raised the problem" with the then Bishop of Chichester, the late Dr. Bell, who in turn "interested" the chairman and secretary of the Churches' Commission on International Affairs, Sir Kenneth Grubb and the Rev. Alan Booth, and in January, 1957, a conference - described by the Observer as "a strange assembly, eighty-strong, hard-headed military men, journalists and politicians surrounded by clerical cloth" - was held at the Bedford Hotel in Brighton. A continuation committee was set up and the Brighton Conference Association came into being to work against "the undue reliance on the strategic Hbomb".

It was at this point of the story that the Observer opened the bag and let the cat out. "After a year or so,"it wrote, "the money they had collected was beginning to run out. But just at that moment, Denis Healey managed to interest the Ford Foundation in this enterprise. He asked for only 10,000 dollars. They offered ten times as much, and with this the Brighton Conference Association wound itself up and the Institute for Strategic Studies came into existence."

The persuasive Mr. Healey, who "managed to interest" the Ford Foundation in the "enterprise" which was working to get rid of Britain's Nuclear deterrent, was then the Labour Party's shadow Minister of Defence. He was also a leading member of the Fabian Society, a member of the Bilderberg group and, almost certainly, a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Small wonder that the policy of the Institute for Strategic Studies, which the American Ford Foundation had brought into being, was soon adopted as the official policy of the Labour Party. In October, 1964, the Fabian Bilderberger Denis Healey became Minister of Defence, an appointment which was the signal for the almost immediate abandonment of a number of British military aircraft projects. Then, early in April, 1965, came what was for all practical purposes the renunciation of the British independent nuclear deterrent - the abandonment of the magnificent British aircraft TSR2. The announcement of this abandonment was made, curiously, not by Mr. Healey but by his colleague Mr. James Callaghan, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech. What Mr. Callaghan did not announce was that only a couple of months earlier the Ford Foundation had made a further grant to Mr. Healey's Institute for 100,000 dollars look parsimonious. This was a grant of 550,000 dollars over six years.

After the announcement that TSR2 was to be scrapped, the B.B.C. brought before the television cameras a strategic "expert" to reassure viewers that the decision was "quite right". The "expert" was Mr. Alistair Buchan, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies. Strangely enough, the B.B.C. omitted to tell viewers of the part played by Mr. Healey and the Ford Foundation in providing Mr. Buchan with the job which "qualified" him to pronounce a benediction on the policy of Mr. Healey. If the Socialist Government wishes to economise, why does it not shut down the Ministry of Defence and transfer its powers outright to the headquarters of the Ford Foundation? That would seem to accord with the facts!

One final fact about the Bilderberg group. At its 1965 meeting it had a new recruit. His Royal Highness Prince Philip. In the present year of grace (1967), Prince Philip attended another secret Bilderberg meeting at St. John's College, Cambridge.

From 'The New Unhappy Lords' by AK Chesterton


Nazi industrialists escape to the USA in a giant U-Boat before Hitler's fall. Prince Bernhard, Bilderberg supremo, appears to be loitering on the coast!

1945 - U.S. elites help Gestapo boss escape trial by faking his death. As the liberating allied forces closed on Berlin, notorious head of the Gestapo Martin Boormann was smuggled out and under the Atlantic bringing essential components for Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs.  Latest research.

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