The Bilderberg Group
- The Invisible Power House -
With its membership selected from the power élite
of Europe and North America, many wonder if the Bilderbergers
are conspiring to establish a 'new world order'.
Extracted from Nexus Magazine, (Dec '95-Jan '96).
PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia.
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From our web page at: http://www.peg.apc.org/~nexus/
© 1994 by Armen Victorian,
PO Box 99, West PDO,
Nottingham, NG8 3NT UK
The conspiracy theory writers have
repeatedly linked one powerful global elite, the Bilderberg Group,
with the ultimate take-over of the world. Members of the Bilderberg
together with their 'sister' organisations-the Trilateral Commission
(known also as the "Child of Bilderberg")(1) and the
Council on Foreign Relations(2)-are charged with the post-war
take-over of the democratic process. The measures implemented
by this group so far prove the control of the world economy through
indirect political means.
The constitution of several democratic monarchies of the Western
Europe bans members of their royal families from playing an active
role in the political process. However, the Bilderberg meetings
provide this exact forum and platform for them.
"This unprecedented period of European cooperation is
more than a product of simple nation-state diplomacy. One of
the key institutions that has fostered unity and cooperation
with the Atlantic Community beyond the old concepts has been
the Bilderberg Group."(3)
"I tell you frankly that I am deeply alarmed today over
the possibility that a right-wing reaction may draw some sections
of capital so far away from our traditions as to imperil the
entire structure of American life as we know it."(4)
These comments by Pasymowski and Gilbert(3) two decades ago
may seem out of phase with the current events in former Yugoslavia,
but, in terms of the continued stability of the "European
State", they have proven to be largely accurate. Warfare
has been removed from the intra-European systems as a means of
controlling and directing nationalistic goals and ideas. Even
in the case of former Yugoslavia, one observes that the current
state of war has resulted from Tito's and the Soviet Union's
demise. Consequently, the lid has been lifted on rivals and racial
memories which had been artificially kept in place for previous
decades. The several proto-states which make up the former Yugoslavia
were not part of the economic and social development programs
which evolved in Western Europe. As we would see, the way in
which the rest of Europe evolved and developed was very different,
and for very particular reasons.
Whether co-incidence or not, it is equally ironic that the
current Chairman of the Bilderberg, Lord Carrington, was the
first UN-appointed representative to bring peace to the war-torn
The single most important personality connected with the
birth and creation of the Bilderberg Group is Joseph H. Retinger
(also known as L'Eminence-His Grey Eminence). Retinger had a
colourful, lifelong career that raised him to the top of the
world power élites. At his funeral in 1960, Sir Edward
"I remember Retinger in the United States picking up
the telephone and immediately making an appointment with the
President, and in Europe he had complete entrée in every
political circle as a kind of right acquired through trust, devotion
and loyalty he inspired."
Retinger, as a Catholic, was viewed by many as an agent of
the Vatican, acting in liaison between the Pope and the Father-General
of the Jesuit order.
One of Retinger's renowned achievements in European politics
was the founding of the European Movement, leading to the establishment
of the Council of Europe on 5th May 1949. With its headquarters
in Strasbourg, the Council Executive Committee provided Retinger
his first major platform for his expansive ideology. From his
earlier days at the Sorbonne, Retinger believed in greater European
unity, both in military and economic terms. It was also at the
same time when his interest in the guidance of the Jesuit order
manifested itself. He spent a great deal of his time fulfilling
these ambitions. He suggested to Premier Georges Clemenceau a
plan to unite Eastern Europe-involving the merging of Austria,
Hungary and Poland as a tripartite monarchy under the guidance
of the Jesuit order. Clemenceau, doubtful of the Vatican-inspired
plan, rejected Retinger's proposal outright. This plan labelled
Retinger, thereafter, as a Vatican agent.
Retinger's activities were not limited to uniting Europe.
Through his several trips to Mexico he played a key role in the
creation of a trade union movement in the 1920s. Due to his unprecedented
success, and by gaining the Mexican Government's trust, Retinger
convinced them to nationalise the US oil interest in Mexico.
In the process, Retinger conducted the secret negotiations with
Washington for the Mexican Government.
Retinger also had an active war career. He was the political
aide to General Sikorski, and served for the London-based Polish
Government-in-exile. In addition, at the age of 58, he parachuted
into German-occupied territory outside Warsaw for some sabotage
Due to his high-profile career, in the 1950s he was able to
create contacts with numerous high-ranking military officials
and political leaders. His main aim was to unite the world in
peace. His peace dividend was to be under the control of supernational,
powerful organisations. He believed that such organisations would
be immune from short-term ideological conflicts erupting between
governments. To Retinger, it was insignificant what dominated
the economic ideology of a country. He believed these differences
could be brought into line by powerful multinational organisations
dictating and applying powerful economic and military policies,
thereby creating a union and a bond between the nations.
Retinger's personal 'left-wing' views from his heady days
convinced him that many leaders of newly born socialist and communist
nations would be prepared to talk to him. Additionally, his Church
background gave him an arena for dialogue with people from the
middle-ground connections in international relations.
Nevertheless, Retinger knew that control of the world affairs
cannot be achieved without US participation. In pursuit of this
ideology, he began a campaign for the creation of an Atlantic
Community. This would make the development of Europe an important
political aim for the American politicians, thereby preventing
their retreat into political isolation.
Retinger, with this in mind, set out his carefully calculated
move by involving one of his close and powerful friends, Prince
Bernhard of the Netherlands. Prince Bernhard, at the time, was
an important figure in the oil industry and held a major position
in Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell Oil), as well as Société
Générale de Belgique-a powerful global corporation.
In 1952 Retinger approached Bernhard with a proposal for a
secret conference to involve the NATO leaders in an open and
frank discussion on international affairs behind closed doors.
The meeting would allow each participant to speak his mind freely
because no media representative would be permitted inside; nor
would there be any news bulletin about the meeting or the topics
discussed. Furthermore, if any leaks occurred, the journalists
would be discouraged from writing about it.
Prince Bernhard fully supported Retinger's proposal for an
international meeting. Consequently, they formed a committee
to organise a plan. In 1952, Bernhard approached the Truman administration
and briefed them about the meeting. Despite a positive reception,
it was not until the Eisenhower administration when the first
American counterpart group was formed. The two key role-players
in the US group were General Walter Bedell Smith (Director of
the CIA) and C. D. Jackson. Both (European-American) groups working
interactively set out to fulfil Retinger's initial plan. From
the outset, the American group was heavily influenced by the
Rockefeller family, the owners of Standard Oil-competitors of
Bernhard's Royal Dutch Petroleum. From then on, the Bilderberg
business reflected the concerns of the oil industry in its meetings.
According to Bilderberg's draft document of 1989:
"Bilderberg takes its name from the Bilderberg Hotel
in Oosterbeek, Holland, where the first meeting took place in
May 1954. That pioneering meeting grew out of the concern expressed
by many leading citizens on both sides of the Atlantic that Western
Europe and North America were not working together as closely
as they should on matters of critical importance. It was felt
that regular, off-the-record discussions would help create a
better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting
Western nations in the difficult post-war period."(5)
Retinger's main aim in creating Bilderberg had other more
important, inherent aspects than an informal gathering of a group
of the world's élite. It has been suggested that Bilderberg
meetings ultimately would have implemented group dynamics techniques
in the shape of a low- key international thinking group with
the purpose of sensitising the less enlightened of its membership
towards the new transitional diplomacy of the Cold War.
The first meeting witnessed the gathering of ideologies, poles
apart. The issue of McCarthyism was reaching its peak in the
United States. European participants, exasperated with the McCarthy
propaganda, saw in their American counterparts a clear political
shift towards an ultra-right-wing fascist state. Memories of
World War II still fresh in their minds, the Europeans found
the concept rather repulsive.
C. D. Jackson (a member of the CFR), in an attempt to regain
the international delegates' confidence, stated:
"Whether McCarthy dies by an assassin's bullet or is
eliminated in the normal American way of getting rid of boils
on body politics, I prophesy that by the time we hold our next
meeting he will be gone from the American scene."(6)
Nevertheless, McCarthyism proved to be a source of embarrassment
for the US delegate.
The concept of Bilderberg was not new. Although similar groups
were already in existence at the time, none attracted and provoked
global myths the way Bilderberg has.
Groups such as Bohemian Grove, established in 1872 by San
Franciscans, played an equally significant role in shaping post-war
politics in the US.
"It was at the Grove, it is said, that the Manhattan
Project was set up and that Eisenhower was selected as the Republicans'
candidate for 1952."(7)
The Ditchley Park Foundation was established in 1953 in Britain
with the same aim.(8)
Two years earlier, in 1952, Britain's Field Marshal Bernard
Montgomery had suggested the idea of a NATO command-post exercise
(a paper drill; no movement of forces) to train army divisional
commanders. General Eisenhower, who was then NATO's European
Commander, accepted it. As a result, the Supreme Headquarters
Allied Powers in Europe Exercise-SHAPEX-was created. Ever since,
an annual meeting has been held in SHAPE headquarters near Mons,
Belgium, and the subject has been broadened to incorporate a
wide array of topics.
The historical review of these groups reflects a sudden flourishing
trend, and the realisation by the world's leaders of the need
for creation of, at times, such overt concepts. The idea of establishing
such élite groups did not die with the birth of Bilderberg.
In 1957, the first of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and
World Affairs took place.9 Pandit Nehru offered to host the first
meeting. The founder members were personalities such as Bertrand
Russell and Albert Einstein. Scientists from the United States
and Soviet Union were regular participants in this East-West
gathering of élites. Britain is known for its active participation
and role in this group.
"The best feature of Pugwash is that it brings together
people from East, West and non-aligned countries."(9)
Pugwash proved particularly valuable at the time when the
relation between East and West was at a stalemate. Many significant
topics were discussed in this forum. Ways of monitoring arms
control agreements, nuclear disarmament, and reduction of East-West
tensions were always on the top of the agenda. In the 1970s Pugwash
embraced a range of issues including biological, chemical and
conventional arms control, environment and development problems
as well as conflicts around the world.
One of the latest groups is the Williamsburg, better known
as the Asian Window. Its first meeting was financed by the late
John D. Rockefeller in 1971, and continues to date. It brings
together the Asian leaders and the Americans. Williamsburg has
been particularly effective for discussing Vietnam, or the Indonesian
corruption, or supposedly non-existent Japanese exchange controls.
Different experiences of trade with China and Russia, or how
Singapore has a lower infant mortality than America, have been
some of the topics in the Williamsburg forum.
Nonetheless, none of these groups-including the Council on
Foreign Relations and the Trilaterals-commands the influence
the Bilderberg has obtained in shaping and dictating global policies.
"The first [Bilderberg] meeting was convened under
the chairmanship of H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands,
who served as chairman for twenty-two years. He was succeeded
by Lord Home of the Hirsel, former Prime Minister for the United
Kingdom, who chaired the meetings for four years. At the 1980
meeting, Lord Home turned over the chairmanship to Walter Scheel,
former President of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1985,
Mr Scheel resigned, and was succeeded by Lord Roll of Ipsden,
President of S. G. Warburg Group plc. At 1989 meeting, Lord Roll
turned over the chairmanship to Lord Carrington,"(10)
who still chairs the meetings.
CHARACTER OF BILDERBERG MEETINGS
"What is unique about Bilderberg as a forum is (1)
the broad cross-section of leading citizens, in and out of government,
that are assembled for nearly three days of informal discussion
about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign
affairs and the international economy; (2) the strong feeling
among participants that, in view of the differing attitudes and
experiences of the Western nations, there is a clear need to
develop an understanding in which these concerns can be accommodated;
and (3) the privacy of these meetings, which has no purpose other
than to allow leading citizens to speak their minds openly and
"In short, Bilderberg is a recognised, flexible and
informal international leadership forum in which different viewpoints
can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced."(11)
In further recognition of this aspect, Paddy Ashdown, the
Leader of the Liberal Party and a participant in the 1989 Bilderberg
meeting, wrote to me:
"In view of the recent events right across Europe,
this has turned out to have been an exceptionally useful opportunity
to meet and discuss with many of the most expert people in the
world on international relations. I found it a very stimulating
and informative gathering."(12)
But others, such as Prince Charles, Lord Callaghan and Sir
Edward Heath, were rather shy in their responses.(13)
There are usually 115 participants in each annual meeting.
Eighty are from Western Europe and the remainder from North America.
From this mixture, one-third are from government and politics,
and the remaining two-thirds from industry, finance, education
and communications. All the participants claim to attend the
meeting in their private capacity and not as officials-though
this claim, in the wake of the outcome of subsequent meetings,
has proven to be highly questionable.
Participants are invited to the Bilderberg meeting by the
Chairman, following his consultations and recommendations by
the Steering Committee membership, the Advisory Group and the
Honorary Secretaries-General. This approach ensures a full, informed
and balanced discussion of the agenda items. The individuals
are chosen based on their knowledge, standing and experience.
The previous participants maintain that, at the meetings, no
resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken and no policy statements
The costs of the annual meetings are usually the responsibility
of the Steering Committee members of the host country. But, the
expenses of maintaining the Bilderberg meetings are covered entirely
by private subscriptions. Although the meeting reports are published,
nevertheless they are strictly for the participating members
only. No reports are made available to the media.
Members' Steering Committee:
- Chairman: Peter, Lord Carrington-Chairman of the Board,
Christie's International plc; Former Secretary-General NATO.
- Secretary-General for Europe and Canada: Victor Halberstadt-Professor
of Public Economics, Leiden University, the Netherlands.
- Secretary General for USA: Theodore L. Elliot, Jr-Dean
Emeritus, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy; Former
- Treasurer: Pieter Korteweg-President and Chief Executive
Officer, Robeco Group.
- Austria: Peter Jankowitsch-Member of Parliament, Former
- Belgium: Etienne Davignon-Chairman, Société
Générale de Belgique; Former Vice Chairman of the
Commission of the European Communities.
- Finland: Jaakko Iloniemi-Managing Director, Centre
for Finnish Business and Policy Studies; Former Ambassador to
- France: Marc Lardreit de Lacharrère-Chairman,
Fimalac. Thierry de Montbrial-Director, French Institute of International
Relations; Professor of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique.
- Germany: Christoph Bertram- Diplomatic Correspondent,
- Hilmar Kopper-Spokesman of the Board of Managing Directors,
Deutsche Bank AG.
- Greece: Costa Carras-Director of companies.
- Ireland: Peter D. Sutherland-Chairman, Allied Irish
Bank plc; Former Member, Commission of the European Communities.
- Italy: Mario Monti-Rector and Professor of Economics,
Bocconi University, Milan.
- Renato Ruggiero-Member of the Board, Fiat SpA; Former Minister
of Foreign Trade.
- Norway: Westye Hoegh, Ship Owner, Leif Hoegh &
- Portugal: Francisco Pinto Balsemao-Professor of Mass
Communication, New University of Lisbon; Chairman, Sojornal sarl;
Former Prime Minister.
- Spain: Jamie Carvajal Urquijo-Chairman and General
- Sweden: Percy Barnevik-President and CEO, ABB Asea
Brown Boveri Ltd.
- Switzerland: David de Pury-Chairman, BBC Brown Boveri
Ltd; Co-Chairman, ABB Asea Brown Boveri Group.
- Turkey: Selahattin Beyazit-Director of companies.
- United Kingdom: Andrew Knight-Executive Chairman,
News International plc.
- United States of America: Kenneth W. Dam-Max Pam Professor
of American and Foreign Law, University of Chicago Law School;
Former Deputy Secretary of State.
- Vernon E. Jordan, Jr-Partner, Akin, Gump, Hauer & Field,
Attorneys-at-Law; Former President, National Urban League.
- Henry A. Kissinger-Former Secretary of State; Chairman, Kissinger
- Charles McC. Mathias-Partner, Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue;
Former US Senator (Republican, Maryland).
- Rozanne C. Whitehead-Former Deputy Secretary of State.
- Lynn R. Williams-International President, United Steel- Workers
- Cassimir A. Yost-Executive Director, The Asia Foundation's
Center for Asian-Pacific Affairs.
- United States of America/International: James D. Wolfensohn-President,
World Bank; President, James D. Wolfensohn, Inc.
Members of Advisory Group:
- Canada: Anthony G. S. Griffin-Director of companies.
- Germany: Otto Wolff von Amerongen-Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer, Otto Wolff Industrieberatung und Beteiligungen
- International: Max Kohnstamm-Former Secretary-General,
Action Committee for Europe; Former President, European University
- Italy: Giovanni Agnelli-Chairman, Fiat SpA.
- Netherlands: Ernst H. van der Beugel-Emeritus Professor
of International Relations, Leiden University; Former Honorary
Secretary-General of Bilderberg Meetings for Europe and Canada.
- United Kingdom: Lord Roll of Ipsden-President, S.
G. Warburg Group plc.
- United States of America: George W. Ball-Former Under-Secretary
- William P. Bundy-Former Editor, Foreign Affairs.
- David Rockefeller-Chairman, Chase Manhattan Bank International
29-31 May 1954: Oosterbeek, Netherlands.
18-20 March 1955: Barbizon, France.
23-25 September 1955: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, W. Germany.
11-13 May 1956: Fredensborg, Denmark.
15-17 February 1957: St Simons Island, Georgia, USA.
4-6 October 1957: Fiuggi, Italy.
13-15 September 1958: Buxton, England.
18-20 September 1959: Yesilköy, Turkey.
28-29 May 1960: Bürgenstock, Switzerland.
21-23 April 1961: St Castin, Canada.
18-20 May 1962: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden.
29-31 May 1963: Cannes, France.
20-22 March 1964: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.
2-4 April 1965: Villa d'Este, Italy.
25-27 March 1966: Wiesbaden, W. Germany.
31 March 2 April 1967: Cambridge, England.
26-28 April 1968: Mont Tremblant, Canada.
9-11 May 1969: Marienlyst, Denmark.
17-19 April 1970: Bad Ragaz, Switzerland.
23-25 April 1971: Woodstock, Vermont, USA.
21-23 April 1972: Knokke, Belgium.
11-13 May 1973: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden.
19-21 April 1974: Megìve, France.
25-27 April 1975: Çesme, Turkey.
1976: No conference was held.
22-24 April 1977: Torquay, England.
21-23 April 1978: Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
27-29 April 1979: Baden, Austria.
18-20 April 1980: Aachen, W. Germany.
15-17 May 1981: Bürgenstock, Switzerland.
14-16 May 1982: Sandefjord, Norway.
13-15 May 1983: Montebello, Canada.
11-13 May 1984: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden.
10-12 May 1985: Rye Brook, New York USA.
25-27 April 1986: Gleneagles, Scotland.
24-26 April 1987: Villa d'Este, Italy.
3-5 June 1988: Telfs-Buchen, Austria.
12-14 May 1989: La Toja, Spain.
11-13 May 1990: Glen Cove, New York, USA.
6-9 June 1991: Baden-Baden, Germany.
21-24 May 1992: Evian-les-Bains, France.
Though the entire topics of the Bilderberg meetings since
its establishment are known to me, listing these topics would
occupy several pages, which is not within the scope of this writing.
However, I should perhaps include herewith the topics of the
first meeting (1954) and the 1992 meeting which, in themselves,
provide an insight into the evolution of this group, the Bilderberg.
29-31 May 1954: Oosterbeek, Netherlands A. The
attitude towards communism and the Soviet Union.
B. The attitude towards dependent areas and people overseas.
C. The attitude towards economic policies and problems.
D. The attitude towards European integration and the European
21-24 May 1992: Evian-les-Bains, France A. Prospects
for the former Soviet republics.
B. What should be done for Eastern Europe?
C. Whither the United States?
D. The world economy.
E. Whither Europe?
F. Soviet Union: the view from Moscow.
G. The migration issue.
H. The evolving west/west relationship.
1. The issue concerning the history and the activities of
the Trilateral Commission is a separate one to be dealt with
in another paper.
2. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) requires separate attention
which I would discuss in another paper. However, I should add
that the CFR does not accept non-US members.
3. Pasymowski, Eugene and Carl Gilbert, Bilderberg: The Cold
War Internationale, 1971.
4. Charles E. Wilson, addressing the National Association of
Manufacturers in 1946.
5. Extract from a Bilderberg document. This document was given
to the author, prior to its official publication, by one of the
members of the Bilderberg Group. Later on, an official format
was also provided to the author by another member, which proved
the authenticity of the record in point.
6. Hatch, Alden, H. R. H. Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands,
7. "Our Good Conference Guide", The Economist,
8. The issue concerning the Ditchley Foundation requires a separate
paper. For many years I have been studying this Foundation and
have had the opportunity of discussing its achievements, goals
and missions with several of its members and invited participants.
9. Op. cit., 7.
10. Bilderberg Meetings, 1989, p. 1 (Bilderberg record).
11. Op. cit. 5, p. 1.
12. Letter from Paddy Ashdown, Leader of the Liberal Party, dated
3 January 1990, to the author.
13. Former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan's letter of 19 October
1989, to the author. Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath's
letter of 1 November 1989, to the author. Letter of 30 October
1989 from St James's Palace, to the author. Prince Charles participated
in the 1986 Bilderberg annual meeting held in Scotland.