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This article copyright Lobster and Mike Peters
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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.
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 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).
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 Treaty of Rome , 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.
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.
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 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.
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)
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.
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'?
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
Contact: Robin Ramsay (Dept. W)
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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 http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/2807/wwcfrsos.html
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.
In 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.
So... Mostly harmless then? [transcriber]
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................
Why not ask your library to order this book so other people in your area can read it.
[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.
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:
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):
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.."
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.
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! http://mallofmaine.com/ca35/
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. http://u234.com/hydrick/noname.html
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