by William Norman Grigg
Writing in the July 17, 1926 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, author Arthur D. Howden Smith presented a profile of an enigmatic man named "Colonel" Edward Mandell House. Although few Americans beyond the rarefied realms of the political elite knew much of House, the austere Texan had played a decisive role in many of the most important policy decisions made by President Woodrow Wilson. On more than one occasion, Wilson described House as his "silent partner," his "second personality," his "independent self." Although this friendship would later disintegrate under the stress of political disappointment, during the eight years of the Wilson Administration, the President maintained of House that "his thoughts and mine are one."
Smith recounted that during and after World War I, House and Wilson had "dreamed ... great dreams of modeling civilization anew" -- dreams that would collide abruptly with reality when the Senate refused to approve U.S. enrollment in the League of Nations. Following this defeat, Smith records, House "returned [from Paris] to New York, heartbroken, disappointed, in despair over the failure of his ambition to make his country the balance wheel of a new world order."
His Heart's Desire
House had long entertained notions of remolding America -- and the world -- nearer to his heart's desire. According to Smith's admiring biography, House believed that "the Constitution, product of eighteenth century minds and a quasi-classical, medieval conception of republics, was thoroughly outdated; that the country would be better off if the Constitution could be scrapped and rewritten." This ambition inspired House's 1912 novel Philip Dru: Administrator, in which an "idealistic" Marxist conducts a coup and installs socialist reforms by dictatorial decree.
House described the novel as an expression of "my ethical and political faith"; thus it is of some moment that the book's hero seeks to establish "Socialism as dreamed of by Karl Marx," embellished with "a spiritual leavening." Among the most cherished reforms envisioned in Philip Dru is the creation of a "League of Nations" (the term specifically used by House in his novel) and the submergence of the United States into a world government.
When, in real life, the League of Nations was thwarted by the U.S. Senate, House and his colleagues found it necessary to continue their struggle by other means. House was part of a cabal called "The Inquiry," a group of 100 "forward-looking" social engineers who created the Versailles Peace Treaty at the close of World War I. This group formed the nucleus of the Institute of International Affairs, which was to have branches in New York and London -- the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, respectively. This is the basis of the "Anglophile network" described by historian Carroll Quigley in his 1966 book Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.
Although Quigley offered in Tragedy and Hope the de rigueur dismissals of "conspiracy theories," he did offer some significant admissions:
There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret records.The Round Table Groups, which were "semi-secret discussion and lobbying groups," were created to help "federate the English-speaking world along lines laid down by Cecil Rhodes...." The American affiliate of this network, wrote Quigley, "was known as the Council on Foreign Relations...." Although he did not endorse all of that network's designs or decisions, Quigley was generally supportive of its ends, stating that "my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known."
It was this network, according to Quigley, that "provided much of the framework of influence which the Communist sympathizers and fellow travellers took over in the United States in the 1930s. It must be recognized that the power that these energetic Left-wingers exercised was never their own power or Communist power but was ultimately the power of the international financial coterie...."
Quigley noted that the workings of this elite were partially revealed by congressional investigators in the 1950s who, "following backward to their source the threads which led from admitted Communists like Whittaker Chambers, through Alger Hiss and the Carnegie Endowment to Thomas Lamont and the Morgan Bank, fell into the whole complicated network of the interlocking tax-exempt foundations."
The subversive "network of interlocking tax-exempt foundations," through which the moneyed elite has funded the efforts of "energetic left-wingers," is a fulfillment of one of House's Philip Dru prophecies: "[I]t will be the educated and rich, in fact the ones that are now the most selfish, that will be in the vanguard of the procession. They will be the first to realize the joy of it all [i.e., constructing world socialism], and in this way they will redeem the sins of their ancestors." Of course, that "redemption" is to be accomplished by seizing total power in the name of "social justice," "world stability," or some other grand abstraction -- and that seizure will be paid for by the money, liberty, and lives of the less fortunate.
The Power Elite
Although Quigley enjoyed unique access to the formal records of the "Anglophile network," he is not the only academic who has documented its existence and methods. In a study entitled The Power Elite, published 40 years ago, Columbia University sociologist C. Wright Mills sought to dismiss the "conspiracy theory" of modern political history -- even as he vindicated the essential claims of the conspiratorial perspective. Although Mills claimed to find no conspirators in high places, he nonetheless admitted, "There is ... little doubt that the American power elite -- which contains, we are told, some of 'the greatest organizers in the world' -- has ... planned and plotted." He recognized the existence of a definable network joining elites in politics, academia, the military, the media, and foundations, and admitted, "Certain types of men from each of the dominant institutional areas, more far-sighted than others, have actively promoted the liaison before it took its truly modern shape."
While many elements of this network are visible and identifiable, according to Mills, "the power elite is not altogether 'surfaced.'... Many higher events that would reveal the working of the power elite can be withheld from public knowledge under the guise of secrecy. With the wide secrecy covering their operations and decisions, the power elite can mask their intentions, operations, and further consolidation."
Furthermore, Mills noted, the power elite provides for its own continuity, and "new men come readily into it and assume its existence without question." The continuity of this elite was examined by historian Michael H. Hunt in his 1987 study Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy. Hunt described the typical member of the Eastern Seaboard "anglophile" elite into whose hands American foreign policy has been trusted for more than seven decades: "His formal education [comes from] private schools and Ivy League colleges and law schools.... He practiced corporate law until gaining public office, usually by appointment. His soundness on foreign-policy questions was insured by the values inculcated in elite social circles, in exclusive schools and in establishment clubs and organizations of which the Council on Foreign Relations ... was the most important."
More Than a Club
But the CFR is more than a mere "establishment club"; it is, in the words of Washington Post ombudsman Richard Harwood, "the nearest thing we have to a ruling establishment in the United States." Writing in the October 30, 1993 issue of the Post, Harwood observed:
The president is a member. So is his secretary of state, the deputy secretary of state, all five of the undersecretaries, several of the assistant secretaries and the department's legal adviser. The president's national security adviser and his deputy are members. The director of Central Intelligence (like all previous directors) and the chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board are members. The secretary of defense, three undersecretaries and at least four assistant secretaries are members. The secretaries of the departments of housing and urban development, interior, health and human services and the chief White House public relations man ... along with the speaker of the House [are members]....Were the CFR an organization numbering in the millions, the state of affairs described by Harwood might not be so peculiar. However, the dominance exercised by an organization whose membership numbers approximately 3,000 cannot be mere coincidence, and, as the chart on pages 20-21 illustrates, the present dominance of the CFR in government has been consistent for more than half a century. In addition, CFR members hold important positions in the tax-exempt foundations, the media, etc. (see pages 16-19).
This is not a retinue of people who "look like America," as the President once put it, but they very definitely look like the people who, for more than half a century, have managed our international affairs and our military-industrial complex.
Goal: Global Government
The CFR's representatives and spokesmen insist that the group is a scrupulously nonpartisan "discussion group." Former CFR President Winston Lord once stated that "the charter of the Council on Foreign Relations is ultimately to help check 'momentary passion' and shape a 'mature design' for America's place in the world." However, commentator Joseph Kraft (CFR), who referred to the CFR as a "school for statesmen," pointed out that the organization "has been the seat of some basic government decisions, [and] has set the context for many more...." In 1953, the congressional Reece Committee (which was created to investigate tax-exempt foundations) concluded that the CFR is "in essence an agency of the United States government" and that its influence is "not objective but [rather] directed overwhelmingly at promoting the globalist concept."
Admiral Chester Ward, who served as Judge Advocate General for the Navy and was a member of the CFR for 16 years, offered a more emphatic denunciation of the group, testifying that the CFR was created for the "purpose of promoting disarmament and submergence of U.S. sovereignty and national independence into an all-powerful one-world government." He noted that "this lust to surrender the sovereignty and independence of the United States is pervasive throughout most of the membership.... The majority visualize the utopian submergence of the United States as a subsidiary administrative unit of a global government...."
Shaping a Consensus
Admiral Ward, like Carroll Quigley and C. Wright Mills, was careful to point out that the CFR is not the Conspiracy: "[The] CFR, as such, does not write the platforms of both political parties or select their respective presidential candidates, or control U.S. defense and foreign policies. But CFR members, as individuals, acting in concert with other individual CFR members, do."
This process has been described by Harvard Business School Professor George C. Lodge, who is himself a member of the CFR and a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Lodge writes that there are "energetic and creative individuals in government, interest groups, and corporations [who] are quietly assembling global arrangements to deal with crises and tensions. For the most part, they work outside of legislatures and parliaments and are screened from the glare of the media in order to find common interests, shape a consensus, and persuade those with power to change."
It is in this role of shaping a "consensus" that the CFR exercises its power. As James Perloff noted in The Shadows of Power, the definitive survey of the history and purposes of the Council on Foreign Relations, the CFR "is not the Establishment, but a surface component of it. Nor is it a theater of illegitimate activities; it publishes an annual report in which it makes a good account of its finances, and generally it maintains the trappings of a public-spirited institution. Behind all of this, however, is a movement to effect a new world order."