Rogue Agents - 1945-1963 - Post-War Paneuropeans
Rogue Agents: The Cercle and the 6I in the Private Cold War 1951 - 1991 is a book by David Teacher. It is reproduced here by permission of the author.
1945-1963 - Post-War Paneuropeans
The Paneuropean Revival: The PEU, Hapsburg and CEDI
In the immediate post-war period, several political figures jostled for position in setting up movements for European unity. The oldest movement was the Paneuropean Union (PEU), a movement for European Union that had been founded in 1923 by Comte Richard Coudenhove Kalergi, the PEU's Life President. Coudenhove Kalergi had also set up the Interparliamentary Union, a debating forum for members of parliament from many countries, which still exists today. Serving as Vice-President of the PEU under Coudenhove Kalergi was Archduke Otto von Habsburg, born in 1912 as eldest son of Karl, the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor, and heir to his throne as well as Opus Dei's candidate as monarch to rule over a united Catholic Europe (2)*. As well as his imperial pretensions, Habsburg was a prominent advocate of European Union and the regal mentor of the Bavarian Christian Social Union party (CSU), the future fief of Franz Josef Strauß (3)*.
In 1948, Habsburg founded the Centre Européen de Documentation Internationale (CEDI), an international grouping of Catholic conservatives which aimed to break the diplomatic isolation of Franco's Spain following the UN's rejection of Spanish membership in June 1945, the UN General Assembly's condemnation of the regime in February 1946 and its resolution calling for the withdrawal of ambassadors from Spain in December 1946. CEDI would organise frequent congresses in Madrid from 1952 onwards but only be formally incorporated in 1957 with headquarters in the Bavarian capital of Munich, a reflection of Habsburg's influence as CEDI Life President. CEDI would grow rapidly; by the early 1960s, it had sections in eleven European countries. As one might expect, Habsburg's political protégé Strauß was a regular participant at CEDI's annual congresses from at least 1963 on (4)*.
One of the co-founders of CEDI with Habsburg would later become a central figure in the Cercle Pinay complex: the future Spanish diplomat and politician Alfredo Sánchez Bella, at the time of CEDI's foundation working as Director of the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica (5)*. He also was a high-ranking member of Opus Dei, as were his two brothers Florencio and Ismael (6)*. In 1957, Alfredo Sánchez Bella was appointed Spanish Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, then to Colombia in 1959, and finally to Italy from 1962 on until he was recalled to serve as Franco's Minister for Information and Tourism from October 1969 to June 1973, a period during which he would dramatically intensify censorship of the Press, notably closing down the daily newspaper Madrid in November 1971.
The European Movement, the CCF and the Bilderberg Group
One of the hidden architects of post-war European politics was Polish exile Dr. Joseph Retinger. Retinger's campaigning, always clouded in secrecy, would give rise to the creation of open political bodies such as the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe (CoE) as well as CIA-funded rivals to the PEU - the European Movement and the European Youth Campaign - and more clandestine bodies like the powerbrokers' covert forum, the Bilderberg Group.
Retinger's European Movement was the main component in the CIA's campaign to infiltrate and control the wave of political sentiment favourable to European union in the immediate post-war period. The European Movement was financed from the outset by the CIA, receiving some £380,000 between 1949 and 1953. The CIA also supported another Retinger creation, the European Youth Campaign, which received £1,340,000 from the CIA between 1951 and 1959. The conduit for CIA funding of the EM and EYC was the American Committee on a United Europe, launched in 1949 specifically to support the creation of the EM.
ACUE's list of officers included four top figures from the American intelligence community. The post of ACUE Chairman was filled by Bill Donovan, former Director of the CIA's wartime predecessor, the OSS; another prominent ACUE post was held by Major-General Walter Bedell Smith, US Ambassador in Moscow from 1946 to 1948 and CIA Director from 1950 to 1953. ACUE's Vice-Chairman was Allen Dulles, Bedell Smith's successor as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961; its Executive Director was Thomas Braden, head of the CIA's International Organisations Division, responsible for setting up CIA front groups throughout the world (7)*.
Despite early post-war collaboration between Coudenhove Kalergi and Retinger, represented by EM co-founder Duncan Sandys, conflicts soon emerged (8)*. Coudenhove Kalergi's authoritarian leadership style was only one of the bones of contention; it was also felt that he did not take a robust enough position in relation to the Cold War. Indeed, in his later book entitled From War to Peace written in 1959, Coudenhove Kalergi called for the public recognition of the division of Germany - anathema to conservatives and to many PEU members. In his book, Coudenhove Kalergi also criticised the position of Retinger's European Movement: "this new European Movement felt that its first task was not the strengthening of world peace but the defence of Europe against the imperialism of the Soviet Union and the liberation of the oppressed nations of Eastern Europe. It received considerable support from the United States via the Marshall Plan and therefore was an integral component of the anti-Bolchevik alliance set up by the Americans in both the East and the West" (9).
In the light of his conciliatory – or rather, inflammatory – position, the CIA preferred not to count on Coudenhove Kalergi's Paneuropean Union but rather to set up a new organisation for European unity over which it could have greater control. Led by Retinger and Sandys, the cold warriors decided to go their own way, founding the European Movement as a rival to the PEU. The two complexes - Retinger's and Coudenhove Kalergi's - would co-exist in competition until Coudenhove Kalergi's death in 1972. Under his successor Habsburg, the PEU was relaunched both materially and ideologically; after some internal controversy, Habsburg brought the PEU over to a Cold War philosophy, opening up the possibility of collaboration between the PEU and the EM.
Besides the 1949 foundation of the European Movement, the CIA's International Organisations Division headed by Thomas Braden also created another front organisation, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which aimed to bring together Western intellectuals in the cause of anti-Communism. The CCF would see the light of day in dramatic circumstances; on the day of the CCF's foundation at a West Berlin conference on 24th-25th June 1950, North Korea invaded its southern neighbour.
The CCF would run several news features services spanning the globe: Forum Information Services in English, Preuves-Informations in French and El Mundo en Español in Spanish. The CCF also published a range of literary magazines such as Encounter and Survey in London, Quadrant in Australia, Cuadernos in Buenos Aires and Cadernos Brasileiros in Rio de Janeiro. The CCF has been the subject of extensive research (10); at this stage, it is sufficient to note that the CCF would hire Brian Crozier in 1964 and would launch him as an international media asset for the Western intelligence services by creating the CIA-funded news agency Forum World Features in 1965. His activities from that time on will be a major focus for this book.
Alongside the European Movement and the Congress for Cultural Freedom which functioned as mass political and cultural fronts, Joseph Retinger and the CIA created a third forum which was to be far more secretive and more influential than the EM or the CCF – the Bilderberg Group. On the 25th September 1952, a small group of eminent statesmen and dignitaries met with the aim of creating the new forum; the distinguished - and discreet - guests included from the Netherlands Prince Bernhard, from France the new Prime Minister (11)* Antoine Pinay accompanied by politician Guy Mollet, from Belgium the Foreign Minister Paul Van Zeeland, from Italy Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi and from the US Major-General Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA Director from 1950 to 1953 and Board member of the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), the funding conduit for the European Movement. Named after the venue for their first formal meeting in May 1954 in the De Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek near the Dutch town of Arnhem, this international group of decision-makers still meets at least once a year for confidential discussions of world affairs (12)*.
Pinay, Violet and Strauss
One of the most prominent members of the new Bilderberg Group was the French politician Antoine Pinay who served as Minister of Public Works, Transport and Tourism from July 1950 to March 1952 before becoming President of the Council (Prime Minister) and Minister of Finance until January 1953. In December 1953, Pinay stood unsuccessfully as the candidate for the Centre National des Indépendants et Paysans (CNIP) in the eighth round of voting of the last presidential elections of the Fourth Republic; the thirteenth round would finally see the victory of René Coty, also of the CNIP. Pinay would later serve under President Coty as Minister for Foreign Affairs from February 1955 until February 1956, and Minister of Finance again under Prime Minister and then President Charles de Gaulle from June 1958 to January 1960 when he introduced the new French franc (13). Apart from his distinguished career in public office, Antoine Pinay had other less obvious attributes – and not just within the select club of Bilderbergers. In 1952-53, at the same time as the Bilderberg Group was being set up, French Prime Minister Pinay and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer created the Cercle Pinay as a confidential forum for Franco-German policy coordination via personal contacts between Pinay, Adenauer and other Christian Democrat Heads of State.
These less public political consultations owed much to Pinay's confidant, right-hand man and eventual successor at the helm of the Cercle Pinay, Jean Violet. It was in 1951 that Antoine Pinay first met Violet, a Parisian lawyer close to the CNPF, the French employers' federation. Pinay sought out Violet for legal advice about war reparations payments for a Geneva-based firm whose German factory had been seized during the war. Pinay was evidently satisfied with Violet's work as he recommended the lawyer to Pierre Boursicot, head of the French secret service, the Service de Documentation Extérieure et Contre-Espionnage (SDECE). Violet helped the SDECE where he could; as he has said: "Aware of the fact that I could be of some use to my country thanks to my professional situation on the international chessboard, I chose to fight for France within the ranks of the SDECE" (14).
After the arrival of General Grossin as head of the SDECE in 1957, Violet was taken on as an agent and given missions of increasing political importance. Violet would rise to become perhaps the SDECE's most valued 'Honourable Correspondent' with the title of Special Advocate to the service. One indication of Violet’s significance as a veteran covert operator is the fact that throughout his fifteen years of service with the SDECE, his case officer was the head of the service - first Grossin from 1957 to 1962, then Jacquier from 1962 to 1966, and then finally Guibaud until 1970. Reporting directly to General Grossin, "Violet was masterminding a Service Spécial to promote the General's [de Gaulle's] objectives in defence and foreign policy" (15), a rather ironic fact bearing in mind that Brian Crozier, Violet's future associate in the Cercle, was monitoring de Gaulle’s defence and foreign initiatives with some suspicion from the other side of the Channel.
An early associate of Violet's in his work for the SDECE was former Chaplain to the French Far East Expeditionary Force in Indochina Reverend Father Yves-Marc Dubois, 'foreign policy spokesman' for the Dominican order and an unofficial member of the Pontifical Delegation to the UN, who was believed by the SDECE to be the head of the Vatican secret service. Violet and Dubois were active in the United Nations from the mid-1950s on when Violet was attached to the French delegation headed by Pinay, at that time Minister of Foreign Affairs. Violet's tasks at the UN included ensuring the Lebanon did not break off relations with France after its involvement in the 1956 Suez fiasco and winning over Latin American republics to block UN condemnation of France's Algerian policy in 1959. Violet's lobbying in the UN would also pave the way for de Gaulle's tour of Latin America in 1964. Another major focus for Violet and Dubois' activities for the SDECE was Eastern Europe: they received half a million francs a month from General Grossin to run the "Church of Silence", Catholic networks behind the Iron Curtain. These activities focused on the countries in what was sometimes referred to as the "Catholic Curtain": Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania (16)*.
Besides these operations for SDECE, Violet also acted as the homme de confiance of Antoine Pinay in assisting the process of Franco-German reconciliation. Pinay had already played a considerable part in the conclusion of prior agreements on the construction of Europe, notably the Paris Treaty and Bonn Agreement of 1952 whose ratification in May 1955 allowed Germany to attain full sovereignty and created the Western European Union, the first successful post-war European defence pact. Following this, the signature in March 1957 of the Euratom and European Common Market Treaties would lead to the creation of the European Economic Community as of 1st January 1958.
"Violet played an historically key role between 1957 and 1961 in bringing about this [Franco-German] rapprochement, which is the real core of the European Community. He had developed a close friendship with Antoine Pinay, who had served as French Premier in 1951 under the unstable Fourth Republic. At a lower level, a complementary role was played by his SDECE colleague Antoine Bonnemaison [described in the next chapter]. Violet was the go-between in secret meetings between Pinay and the West German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, and his coalition partner, Franz Josef Strauss. These paved the way for Charles de Gaulle's own encounters with Adenauer, which culminated in the Franco-German [Elysée] Treaty of January 1963 [...] The Pinay Cercle was a natural offshoot of Jean Violet's Franco-German activities" (17)*.
Franz Josef Strauß, the "Lion of Bavaria", would be a key figure in the Cercle complex from the early days of the post-war Federal Republic until his death in the late 1980s. Born in 1915, Strauß was first elected to the Bundestag (German Federal Parliament) in 1949 as an MP for the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) party, coalition partner of Adenauer's CDU; that year, he was also appointed CSU General Secretary. In 1953, four years after his election to the Bundestag, Strauß gained ministerial rank as Minister without Portfolio; he would again serve in Adenauer's CDU/CSU Cabinet as Nuclear Power Minister from 1955 to 1956 and as Defence Minister from 1956 to 1962.
Meanwhile, on the regional level, the CSU Party Chairman and former Bavarian Prime Minister Hanns Seidel had died in 1961; Strauß replaced him as Party Chairman, a post he would hold until his death twenty-seven years later. Within a year of his elevation to Chairman, the CSU won a landslide victory in the 1962 regional elections, gaining an absolute majority in the Bavarian Parliament that it would not lose for another forty-six years until its electoral rout in September 2008; after five years of coalition with the FDP, the CSU would regain its absolute majority in September 2013.
As the German constitution forbids regional premiers serving as federal ministers, and as Strauß was the rising CSU star in national government as former Defence Minister, he stayed on the federal level and served as Finance Minister during the Grand Coalition with the SPD in 1966-69. In 1978, he resigned from the Bundestag to return to regional politics, being elected Prime Minister of Bavaria as a springboard for a 1980 bid for the Federal Chancellorship. Despite substantial Cercle support, his bid would fail; Strauß would nonetheless remain Prime Minister of Bavaria for a decade until his death in 1988.
Besides his public career in German government office, Strauß had had other more private connections; he was an early ally of Pinay's in the mid 1950s when both Strauß and Pinay were at the height of their political careers, as Strauß described in his memoirs:
- "Since 1953 [having first been appointed minister], I had had close ties to Antoine Pinay; these later changed into a kind of paternal friendship for me from a man who was 25 years my senior [..., in 1955] I met Pinay in the office of one of his confidants [Maître Violet?] on the avenue Foch. I was well acquainted with this circle of opponents of Pierre Mendès-France, ousted in early February; one could trust them; with a little imagination we could have considered ourselves to be coconspirators" (18).
Strauß also met Pinay during the closeted discussions of the Bilderberg Group, a forum which Strauß had frequented since the September 1955 Bilderberg conference held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, close to Munich. Strauß and Pinay met, for example, at the Bilderberg conference in Cannes in May 1963 (19)*; the same year, Strauß also attended the CEDI Congress in Madrid with Habsburg (20). One early example of cooperation between Strauß, Pinay and Violet came in 1964, when Violet, acting for Pinay and recommended by former Defence Minister Strauß, presented enormous claims for reparations to the German Finance Ministry, allegedly for deliveries of metals to the Germans during the occupation of France. Strauß advised that the Ministry pay up in the interests of Franco-German friendship, but it transpired that the delivery notes were fake, and the swindle was exposed (21).
The Bonnemaison Forum and Interdoc
THE BONNEMAISON FORUM AND INTERDOC In March 1955, the Bilderberg Group met in Barbizon near Paris to discuss "Communist influence in the West, European Communist parties and political, ideological and economic ripostes to the Red Menace" (22). This CIA-linked powerbrokers' forum was not the only group of covert decision-makers to debate the issue; the European intelligence services were also sponsoring attempts at Franco-German-Dutch rapprochement with an aim to strengthen anti-communism. One key early figure was the French SDECE's Colonel Antoine Bonnemaison, who under the cover of a SDECE front group called the Centre de Recherches du Bien Politique, was responsible for coordinating all psy-ops work carried out by the Cinquième Bureau (23). From 1955 on, Bonnemaison began acting as organising secretary for a series of informal meetings, held alternately in France and in Germany, which brought together top intelligence veterans from three countries: France, Germany and Holland.
- "The blend of 'delegates' [in 1959] was basically the same in all three [national] groups: intelligence, both civil and military; leading academics; non-academic political or economic specialists; one or two trusted politicians; leaders of industry; trade union leaders; and clerics of various denominations [...] these meetings [...] were very productive in terms of facts, background, analysis and intelligent discussion" (24).
The idea of a covert European alliance to fight communism was discussed in 1957, when a Franco-German group met in the South of France to discuss what steps could be taken to combat Communism. Their first decision was to reinforce their network; by the following year, the circle had widened to include representatives from Holland, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. A further expansion to include the UK came in 1959 following Bonnemaison's chance encounter the previous year with the then Editor of the Economist Foreign Report, a man who would later become undoubtedly the most prominent propagandist for several Western intelligence services and the key character in the UK counter-subversion complex - Brian Crozier (25).
Born in 1918, Brian Rossiter Crozier started his career in journalism in 1936. Having worked in aeronautical inspection in 1941, he was hired by the news agency Reuters, which had links to MI6, in 1943. After a spell at the News Chronicle in 1944 and the Sydney Morning Herald in 1948, he returned to Reuters in 1951. From 1952 to 1954, Crozier toured the South-East Asian conflicts in Vietnam and Malaya for Reuters and the New Straits Times, which was used during the Malayan emergency as a channel for British disinformation prepared by the Foreign Office's Information Research Department (IRD). It was in Saigon that Crozier started his long partnership with MI6 by meeting "Ronald Lincoln", a friendship renewed back in London when both men had returned home in 1954. Crozier would then also meet a second MI6 officer "Ronald Franks" who would act as his link for several years. Thanks to the fruitful exchange of information with his MI6 contacts, "Lincoln" and "Franks", Crozier joined the staff of the Economist in September 1954 as Editor of their prestigious Economist Foreign Report, a post he filled until 1964 (26)*.
Having met Crozier in 1958, Antoine Bonnemaison invited Crozier as the first ever British visitor to attend one of his colloques, held this time near Frankfurt. There were three delegations present from France, Germany and the Netherlands, and each included senior intelligence officers. The French delegation was led by General Jean Olié, de Gaulle's Chief of General Staff, seconded by SDECE's Colonel Bonnemaison.
The German delegation was led by Lieutenant-General Hermann Foertsch, "who had served as a senior deputy to the better-known General Reinhard Gehlen, creator of the post-war West German Federal Intelligence Service, the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst)". The delegation also included two university academics close to the BND, "Professor Lades and Kernig, both specialists on Communism in general and East Germany in particular. There was a German equivalent of Bonnemaison's Centre: the Deutsche Vereinigung für Ost-West Beziehungen [German Association for East-West Relations]. The Vereinigung was based in Munich, appropriately close to the headquarters of the BND at Pullach" (27)*. Professor Hans Lades and [[C.D> Kernig|Dr. C. D. Kernig]] also belonged to another BND front group to support Interdoc, the Verein zur Erforschung sozial-politischer Verhältnisse im Ausland [Association for the Study of Foreign Socio-political Relations], a registered charity also conveniently based in Munich. Amongst the Verein's members, Professor Lades, Chairman of the Verein Board, and Dr. Kernig regularly attended Bonnemaison's meetings whilst Dr. Norman von Grote, who ran the Verein, would join them as the third German founding member of Interdoc in 1963. Grote had been a propaganda officer in Wehrmacht FHO (Fremde Heere Ost - Eastern Front intelligence) with special responsibility for liaison with Russian General Vlassov and his army of Nazi collaborators, the NTS (28)*. FHO was commanded from 1st April 1942 onwards by General Gehlen; it was Gehlen himself who had adopted Vlassov and defended the idea of an anti-communist army under Vlassov against strong pressure from Himmler (29).
The Dutch delegation was represented by two top veterans from the Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst (BVD), the Dutch internal security service, Louis Einthoven and Cornelis Christiaan 'Cees' Van den Heuvel. Einthoven had been Chief Commissioner for Police in Rotterdam in the 1930s. After the war, he was appointed by General H. J. Kruls to head the Bureau Nationale Veiligheid, renamed the BVD in 1946; Einthoven would then serve as the BVD's first director, retiring only in 1961. He played a key role in the Dutch Gladio component, Operaties & Inlichtingen [O&I - Operations and Intelligence], also founded in 1946 by General Kruls. Einthoven commanded the Operations Division of O&I which was in charge of preparing for armed resistance but was also crucially tasked with "sensitizing people to the danger of communism during times of peace" (30)*. Van den Heuvel was the head of the Training Department of the BVD, in which capacity he liaised closely with O&I - having played "a heroic role in the Dutch Resistance during the Nazi occupation", Van den Heuvel was already well acquainted with the principles of staybehind networks (31).
In February 1959, Van den Heuvel led a study group to America to visit the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, a CIA front group founded in 1955 which changed name in 1961 to become the Human Ecology Fund, "human ecology" being at the time the official euphemism for psychological warfare and deprogramming. Both American organisations were funding conduits for the CIA's MK-ULTRA programme of research into mind control and brainwashing (32). After returning to Holland, Van den Heuvel wrote a planning paper in November 1959 entitled Hoofdlijnen van een Internationaal Instituut ter Bestrijding van de Psychologische Oorlogvoering van het Communisme [An Outline of an International Institute to Combat Communist sychological Warfare], and in 1960 founded the Stichting voor Onderzoek van Ecologische Vraagstukken, [SOEV, Foundation for the Investigation of Ecological Problems] with Van den Heuvel, still in the BVD, as the Director – he would resign in 1962 to go full-time for SOEV, joining Einthoven who retired from the BVD in 1961. After obtaining funding from Dutch industry thanks to contacts with Prince Bernhard, the SOEV was formally launched in February 1962 with the twin aims of briefing industry and political parties about Communist subversion and developing propaganda to counter Soviet influence. Later that year, the SOEV would be strengthened by the creation of the Stichting ter Voorlichting over de Oost-West Verhouding [Institute for Information on East-West Relations]; the two would merge in 1965 as the Oost-West Instituut [East-West Institute] which would continue operations until 1978.
According to an Italian secret service (SIFAR) report dated October 1963, the BVD had funded a meeting in Barbizon near Paris on 5th - 8th October 1961 where "the participants decided to unite all efforts and initiatives of the struggle against Communism within a new organisation and place these on a serious and expert footing" (33). An international documentation centre to pool efforts against Communism became particularly necessary after Charles de Gaulle's decision in early 1963 to close down France's psychological warfare unit, the Cinquième Bureau, too full of ex-Algeria hands for de Gaulle's comfort.
The demise of the Cinquième Bureau also meant the withdrawal of SDECE's support for the Bonnemaison group, and the breaking up of the Franco-German-Dutch triangle for the colloques. Bonnemaison himself resigned from the SDECE in late 1962 and set up a private-sector structure, the Centre d'Observation du Mouvement des Idées, receiving funds from Péchiney and Air Liquide. This could provide for continuing the colloques, which became dominated by the French, but such a structure would clearly be insufficient to support the scale of operations planned for the documentation centre, and so the Dutch BVD took over where the SDECE had left off.
The new organisation was formally incorporated in the Hague in February 1963 under the name Interdoc - the International Documentation and Information Centre - with Van den Heuvel as its Director. Alongside Einthoven and Van den Heuvel, two other Dutch founding members of Interdoc, both from the SOEV, were Herman Jan Rijks, a senior executive at Royal Dutch Shell, and Dr. J. M. Hornix, a sociology lecturer for the Dutch airforce and longstanding student of psychological warfare. The news was announced at the meeting of Bonnemaison's forum held in Bad Godesberg near Bonn in late March 1963 (34)*.
According to the registration papers deposited in the Hague, Interdoc's task was "documentation in the field of Western values and world communism and the informing of the public on these matters. This aim is to be pursued through the establishment of an international documentation centre, which will cooperate with national centres in different countries". An internal Interdoc report indicates that swift progress was made in setting up "an index system, a library, a collection of newspapers and a collection of special reports, documents, etc" which were made available "to official departments responsible for the East-West question, international companies and employers' organisations" (35).
Initial funds for Interdoc were provided by Royal Dutch Shell, which would later be a benefactor to the ISC and to other MI6 front groups like the Ariel Foundation (36). The most eminent administrator of Royal Dutch Shell was Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, President of the Bilderberg Group from its formal creation in 1954 until his resignation in 1976 as a result of the Lockheed bribes scandal (37)*. In the early days of Interdoc, Einthoven was active as a fundraiser; in his 1974 autobiography published in Holland (38), Einthoven states that he was lobbying for support for Interdoc from France, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Israel and Indonesia, and the Interdoc files show that Einthoven visited Munich, Zürich, Bern and Geneva in January 1962 on Interdoc business. During the 1960s, Interdoc also seems to have received funding from the US, Germany and Britain. Crozier reports that Interdoc "depended largely on West German subsidies" (39).
The British intelligence community also offered considerable high-level support for Interdoc even before its creation. Crozier reports that he "was involved from the start" with Interdoc; amongst the other founding members in 1963 were two senior British intelligence officials: Charles H. "Dick" Ellis of MI6 and later of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation ASIO, and "an ex-MI5 man" whom Crozier declines to identify. As for Ellis, he had first encountered Interdoc at one of the last of Bonnemaison's colloques held in Mont Saint Michel in March 1962 (40). The following year, when Interdoc was founded, Ellis wrote to Sir William Stevenson, Ellis's former boss within the wartime US/UK liaison group in New York, the British Security Coordination, to tell him that he had been recommended to a new organisation by Sir Stuart Menzies, the MI6 Chief who had founded several of the European Gladio components:
- "I am kept busy with this Interdoc organisation. And, together with other
chaps, I have formed a working committee which is organizing an international conference at Oxford in September [Ellis was at this time attached to St. Antony's College, Oxford, close to MI6]. We have raised money from [deleted] and some professional groups, much to the astonishment of the Foreign Office who said that it couldn't be done. They are now wondering if it was a good thing to kick me out [of MI6] [...] as several of us are now doing privately what they have never succeeded in doing - getting an "action group" going. We are keeping it "private and confidential", as publicity could kill it" (41). Interdoc's other link to British Intelligence, the "ex-MI5 man" not named by Crozier, was Walter Bell. During the war, Bell like Ellis had served under Stevenson at BSC in New York before moving back to Britain in 1942 to act as the London liaison officer between MI6 and the OSS. After the war, Bell joined MI5 in 1949 and worked as an advisor to various Commonwealth governments and as personal assistant to MI5 chief Roger Hollis. Following his retirement from MI5 in 1967, Bell raised funds for Interdoc from British sources (42). British help for Interdoc came from, amongst others, the anti-union outfits Common Cause and the Economic League; by 1969, Neil Elles of Common Cause and John Dettmer of the Economic League would sit with Crozier, then Director of Forum World Features, on the Consultative Council of Interdoc (43).
Interdoc's Italian founding member in 1963 also had intelligence connections. Professor Luigi Gedda was a well-known figure of the Catholic Right in Italy and one of the CIA's main agents in their massive intervention in the 1948 elections which banished the spectre of a Communist victory and installed the Christian Democrats in power. Part of Gedda's role was to set up a national network of 20,000 anticommunist groups, the Comitati Civici. Funded by the CIA and supported by the Vatican, the Comitati each had their own intelligence department and a radio transmitter, and played a key part in ensuring a Christian Democrat victory: "according to the American Embassy and the CIA representative in Rome, they undertook 'psychological warfare' and were considered by the Embassy to be the most important anti-communist group, which the Embassy felt justified a subsidy of $500,000 from the State Department to the CIA" (44).
After 1948, as head of Azione Cattolica, Gedda had powerful political connections within the ruling Christian Democratic Party. His leadership of Azione Cattolica and his intimate friendship with Pope Pius XII, to whom he was medical advisor, gave him high-level access to the Vatican, access which he used to help Joseph Retinger of the CIA-funded European Movement and the Bilderberg Group. In May 1950, Gedda arranged an audience with Pope Pius XII for Retinger, who hoped to win Vatican support for the cause of European Union. The meeting was also attended by the Vatican's Substitute Secretary of State, Monsignor Montini, the future Pope Paul VI. Despite a very positive meeting, objections from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Fisher, caused the plan to fail. Nonetheless, Gedda later gave Retinger "a good deal of help in Italy" (45).
Albertini, Grau and Sager
A number of front groups referring to East-West relations were set up by the European intelligence services in the late 1950s. Of these, the German BND front group the Deutsche Vereinigung für Ost-West Beziehungen and the Dutch BVD front group the Oost-West Instituut were certainly involved in the SDECE Bonnemaison forum and its reincarnation as Interdoc in 1963. However, three individual propagandists active in the late fifties and early sixties in France, Germany and Switzerland also need some mention at this stage. Whilst their connections remain unclear, each would later be a major actor in the counter-subversion operations organised by the Cercle complex throughout the 1970s.
Georges Albertini, one of the mainstays of post-war French anti-communism, had had a controversial war-time past: a former right-hand man of the pro-Nazi collaborator Marcel Déat during the Occupation, Albertini had been a member of the Vichy administration working in the Secretariat of the Vichy Prime Minister Pierre Laval. After being jailed for two years for collaboration, during which time he shared a cell with banker Hippolyte Worms, Albertini became an ardent Gaullist, helped by his schooltime days with Georges Pompidou. Through his contacts in politics and his work as a political advisor to the Worms banking and business consortium, Albertini set up "a huge network of informants and helpers", working as an 'Honourable Correspondent' of the SDECE and as an unofficial advisor to both Pompidou and later Jacques Chirac. Albertini was a longstanding associate of Antoine Pinay: both men had attended a series of conferences on Soviet political warfare organised in 1960-61 by Suzanne Labin, future mainstay of WACL's French section (46). Albertini's Centre d'Archives et de Documentation politique et sociale also produced the fortnightly magazine Est et Ouest, "the most authoritative publication in the French language on the problems of Communism" in Crozier's view, a publication which may well have been part of the Interdoc network (47). As well as serving as one of the major channels for anti-Socialist propaganda in France in the mid-1970s, Albertini would also become closely involved in the Cercle complex, publishing the ISC's output in French, attending Cercle meetings and playing a significant part in Crozier's private intelligence service, the 6I.
Karl Friedrich Grau was the Federal Secretary of the German PEU section Europa-Union Deutschland from at least 1967 until 1975, and in 1966 had been one of the founding Board Members and later Vice-President of the Deutschland-Stiftung [Germany Foundation], a political trust based in Munich which brought together many prominent German right-wing politicians. The Foundation published the journal Deutschland-Magazin and awarded the Konrad Adenauer Prize, an event given Oscar-like coverage by the German conservative Press. Despite the prestige of its honorary President, former Chancellor Adenauer, and that of its frequent guest, Otto von Habsburg, the Deutschland-Stiftung soon aroused considerable controversy due to the far-right opinions of several of its members. One notable case was the aristocrat, former NSDAP member and wartime officer in Gehlen's FHO Professor Freiherr Bolko von Richthofen, a member of the Foundation's Board from 1968 on; he would eventually be excluded from the Deutschland-Stiftung in 1972 for his overt support for the neo-nazi NPD party.
Alongside Grau's more overt positions within the PEU and the Deutschland Stiftung, the aptly named Mr Gray was the most significant covert operator within the CDU, acting as a bag-man for illegal election fund contributions from industry and various foundations for both the CDU and for its Bavarian sister party, Strauß's CSU. Grau soon became notorious for the ruthless tactics he used to support the conservative cause; he ran several smear and disinformation campaigns for the CDU/CSU through a network of anti-communist propaganda groups which he controlled. The earliest known group in Grau's network was created in 1958, the Studiengesellschaft für staatspolitische Öffentlichkeitsarbeit [Study Group on Political Communication], founded in Frankfurt by Grau, CSU MP from 1957 to 1969 Karl-Heinz Vogt and CDU member Dr. Walter Hoeres, a fellow member of the Deutschland-Stiftung. Vogt served as the Frankfurt Study Group's President, Grau as Executive Director. As "the largest and most influential of the political front groups within the Federal Republic", the Frankfurt Study Group's stated goal was to give "reliable and effective information and revelations about powers and their plans to destroy the fundaments of our Christian, free, democratic social organisation" and to "strengthen and reinforce the free, democratic State and social form, and to coordinate all efforts and measures to defend it against all kinds of totalitarianism".
A later political front group reportedly co-founded by Grau is the Hamburg-based Staats- und Wirtschaftspolitische Gesellschaft [Political and Economic Society, SWG], created in Cologne on 9th April 1962, which still exists today. Many of the SWG's early speakers belonged to CEDI and later groups in the Cercle complex, notably a third front group of Grau's, the Swiss-based ISP, detailed below. The Frankfurt Study Group, the Hamburg SWG, the Swiss ISP and various other groups controlled by Grau would be major German disinformation outlets throughout the 1960s and 1970s and would act as German relays for the Cercle complex's countersubversion operations (48)*.
Dr. Peter Sager was a well-known Swiss "éminence grise of anti-communist propaganda" and later member of the Swiss Parliament. Born in 1925, Sager had been educated in Switzerland, the Soviet Union (as part of Harvard University's study programme) and the UK. In 1948, Sager created the Schweizerische Osteuropa-Bibliothek [Swiss Library on Eastern Europe], now part of the University of Bern. In 1959, one year after Swiss representatives had joined the debate on Communism in Europe, Sager founded the Schweizerisches Ost-Institut [SOI, Swiss Institute for the East] in Bern whose journal was published in both German and French. SOI's publications – which included German translations of Interdoc conferences - would be widely circulated throughout the German-speaking world, as well as being distributed in the UK. Major support for the SOI was provided from its inception by Karl Friedrich Grau. In 1961 Grau and Sager founded a Frankfurt-based SOI support group, the Schweizerisch-Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ostforschung [Swiss-German Society for Research on the East]. Sager was President, Vogt of the Frankfurt Study Group was Vice-President and Grau Secretary-General, whilst the Board of the new group included Sager's partner Heinz Luginbühl and Grau's future associate from the Deutschland-Stiftung Board, Professor Freiherr Bolko von Richthofen. Grau also ensured the distribution of the SOI magazine in Germany throughout the 1960s.