The Bilderberg Group… the Trilateral Commission… covert power groups of the West by Robert Eringer, Pentacle Books, 1980. Extract: Chapter 1
In Search of Answers
It is indeed intriguing when a prestigious collection of internationally powerful men lock themselves away for a weekend in some remote town far away from the Press to talk about world problems.
Since the late 1950s, the Bilderberg Group has been the subject of a variety of conspiracy theories. For the most part, conspiracy theories emanate from political extremist organizations, 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 Milners 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…………….