Most Powerful Groups in the World - Trilateral Commission Part 1

About the history of the organization known as the Trilateral Commission which plays a part in world politics and policy.



The Enterprise: An elite group of nearly 300 prominent business, political, and intellectual decision makers of Western Europe, North America, and Japan, the Trilateral Commission is a private agency that works to build up political and economic cooperation among the three regions. Its grand design is a new world order.

History: The Trilateral Commission was the brainchild of American banking magnate David Rockefeller, who along with others in the financial world was concerned over the weakening of the Western alliance due to policies of the Nixon administration. The devaluation of the dollar, imposition of surcharges on imports, and the opening of the door to China--all had led to deteriorating U.S. relations with Japan. Trilateral relations had been further jarred by OPEC price hikes. After putting out feelers at a Bilderberg Group meeting in 1972 about forming a private group of trilateral leaders, Rockefeller set about gathering international financiers, political figures, and a sprinkling of academics for membership in the commission. Aided in his recruiting by his intellectual cohort Zbigniew Brzezinski, Rockefeller gathered his political alter egos together for the first official meeting of the executive committee in Tokyo in October, 1973. Brzezinski became the commission's director, and under his and Rockefeller's leadership the group went full steam ahead in its ambitious promotion of an active partnership among trilateral nations. "Liberal internationalism is our creed," stated commission member C. Fred Bergsten.

Three commission headquarters with small full-time staffs were established in New York, Paris, and Tokyo, and each trilateral area was given responsibility for funding its own activities. In 1977 Rockefeller became chairman of the North American section, which was funded through contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations such as Exxon, General Motors, Bechtel, and Time, Inc., with the Rockefeller name conspicuous on the list of donors. Rotating among the three regions, the full commission meets once a year for several days in sessions that are closed to the public. A 30-member executive committee with representatives from each country manages the commission's activities. An in-house bulletin of the group's activities is published under the name Trialogue, and commission task forces issue a stream of policy recommendation reports, called "Triangle Papers," which deal with such topics as international trade, energy, monetary reform, and labor management. As it continued to draw influential members capable of swaying world decision makers, the commission's realm or power in policymaking expanded to such a point that rumors of its conspiratorial nature began to circulate. The Trilateral Commission became a recurrent issue in the 1980 presidential campaign. Independent candidate John Anderson was criticized for his membership, as was Republican candidate George Bush, while Jimmy Carter battled accusations that his three-year membership prior to taking the presidency made him an Eastern establishment pawn.

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