Council on Foreign Relations, extract from Who Rules America

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Extracted from Who Rules America?, by G. William Domhoff:

The story begins with the oldest and perhaps most influential of the groups, the Council on Foreign Relations, which was founded in 1921 but was of little consequence until the late 1920's, when it began to receive considerable financial support from various Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation. Members of the council were deeply involved in State Department affairs during World War II, and such upper-class members of the CFR as Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, John Foster Dulles, John J. McCloy, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Adlai Stevenson, and Thomas Finletter were members of the United States delegation to the organizational meeting of the United Nations. For our purposes, the important points concerning the CFR are its membership, its financing, and its activities. The membership is restricted to 700 resident members � citizens whose residences or places of business are within 50 miles of the New York city hall � and 700 nonresident members. As Smoot points out, most members occupy im¬portant positions in business, finance, communications, and education. Our study of a sample of 210 resident members of the CFR shows that 82 were listed in the Social Register, which is 39 per cent upper-class membership by this one criterion alone. However, even more significant is our study of the 51 men who have been directors since the council's inception. Ten of the 51 are currently trustees of one of the foundations studied in the previous section. Of the 22 recently or currently directors, 14 are in the Social Register. Among the better-known upper-class directors, past and present, are Paul Cravath, Norman Davis, Arthur H. Dean, Allen Dulles, Lewis Douglas, Averell Harriman, Devereux Josephs, Walter Lippmann, Adlai Stevenson, Myron Taylor, Paul Warburg, and Owen D. Young. Perhaps it is enough to say that John J. McCloy and David Rockefeller have been high officers in the association in recent years.

If the membership and leadership of the council do not belie its upper-class base, perhaps its financing does. Of its $925,000 income in a recent year, $231,700 came from foundation grants and $112,000 from its 'corporation service,' which entails a minimum fee of $1000.(Smoot, 1962, pp. 14-16) The contributing corporations are among the biggest in the country, including several of those studied in Chapter 2. The CFR also receives a considerable sum, $210,300, from the publication of one of its major activities, the very influential magazine Foreign Affairs. Other important activities of the council include the presentation of speakers and seminars to subscribers to the corporation service and to the Committees on Foreign Relations which the council has created in 30 cities. The committees are composed of 40 to 80 men who are leaders in their city. The groups usually include professors, public relations executives, lawyers, and corporate vice-presidents as well as several of the leading members of the American business aristocracy in the given city:

About once a month, from October through May, members come together for dinner and an evening of discussion with a guest speaker of special competence. Since the beginning in 1938, the Carnegie Corporation of New York has continued to make annual grants in support of the committee program.(Smoot, 1962, p. 21; Smoot is quoting from a booklet entitled "Committees on Foreign Relations: Directory of Members" January 1961).

In the light of the upper-class status of 12 of the 14 trustees of the Carnegie Corporation, there can be little doubt that these committees are a key link between the more liberal members of the Eastern branch of the upper class and people of high status and a similar viewpoint in other areas of the country.

The relationship between the major foundations and the CFR has been documented by Smoot. For example, 10 of the 14 trustees of the Carnegie Corporation were members of the CFR in 1961. The overlap of the CFR with other major foundations is as follows: 10 of the Ford Foundation's 15 trustees are also members of the CFR; 12 of the 20 from the Rockefeller Foundation; 18 of the 26 from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; 15 of the 26 from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; 12 of the 16 from the Sloan Foundation; 6 of the 10 from the Commonwealth Fund; 13 of the 20 from the Twentieth Century Fund; and 7 of the 18 from the Fund for the Republic.'(Smoot, 1962, pp.168-171)