Council on Foreign Relations

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Group.png Council on Foreign Relations  
(Deep state milieuCampfire Wiki NNDB Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Council on Foreign Relations.logo.jpg
HeadquartersHarold Pratt House, New York City, USA
LeaderCouncil on Foreign Relations/Director
Typethink tank
InterestsUnited States/Foreign policy
Interest ofJames Perloff
Founder ofMaking Intelligence Smarter
Sponsored byCarnegie Corporation, Hewlett Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation
SubpageCouncil on Foreign Relations/Corporate Members
Council on Foreign Relations/Experts
Council on Foreign Relations/Global Board of Advisors
Council on Foreign Relations/Historical Members
Council on Foreign Relations/Members
Council on Foreign Relations/Members 2
Council on Foreign Relations/Members 3
A long established and relatively public organ of the US deep state.

Not to be confused with Committee on Foreign Relations, the European Council on Foreign Relations or the UK/Council on Foreign Relations which was registered to the same address as the Integrity Initiative.

The Council on Foreign Relations is a long established deep state milieu. Although perhaps the most public of all such groups, it is nevertheless highly influential within the US deep state, and is often mentioned in conjunction with the Bilderberg and the Trilateral Commission. Its influence may extend to de facto control of the US State Department.[1]

Official Narrative

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an American foreign policy think tank based in New York City. It describes itself as being "dedicated to increasing America's understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy," and accomplishes this mainly by promoting closed debates and discussions, clarifying world issues through research and analysis, and publishing the noted journal Foreign Affairs and related content online.


The Council on Foreign Relations, as well as the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, came about as a result of a meeting on May 30 1919, at the Hotel Majestic in Paris. Some of the fifty participants were Edward M. House, Harold Temperley, Lionel Curtis, Lord Eustace Percy, Herbert Hoover, Christian Herter, Paul Warburg, and American historians James Thomson Shotwell of Columbia University, Archibald Coolidge of Harvard and Charles Seymour of Yale.

Formally established in 1921, it is one of the most powerful private organizations with influence on U.S. foreign policy.[1] It has about 4,000 members, including former national security officers, professors, former CIA members, elected politicians, and media figures. The CFR is not a formal institution within U.S. policy making.

In 1944, Harold I. Pratt's widow donated the family's four-storey mansion on the corner of 68th Street and Park Avenue and this became the CFR's new headquarters, Harold Pratt House, where it has remained to the present.

Elite foreign policy think tank

Fostering elite consent for the invasion of Iraq

Based on official membership rosters, the following illustration depicts the extensive media network of the CFR and its two major international affiliate organizations: the Bilderberg Group (mainly covering the US and Europe) and the Trilateral Commission (covering North America, Europe and East Asia), both established by Council leaders to foster elite cooperation at the global level.[2]

Laurence Shoup identified connections between the Council on Foreign relations and arguments supporting the invasion of Iraq:

"The "Next Stop Baghdad?" article by Kenneth M. Pollack appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of Foreign Affairs. At the time of writing the article Pollack was the Council on Foreign Relations' Olin Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies. An expanded version of the "Next Stop Baghdad?" article was published in October 2002 by Random House as a Council on Foreign Relations book entitled "The Threatening Storm". A review of the book in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs called it "...exceptionally thoughtful. If any book can shape the current thinking on Iraq, this one will assuredly be it." Pollack's blunt conclusion in both the article and book is, "The United States should invade Iraq, eliminate the present regime, and pave the way for a successor..."[3].

In a December 2002 interview, Council member Rachel Bronson, who is the CFR's Director of Middle East Studies and an Olin Senior Fellow, made the following pro-war comments:

" my mind, in a war of our choosing, we should choose the most advantageous period for fighting and the summer is not that. I am more optimistic now than I was earlier because the inspectors got in early. That completely changes the calculus.... The chances for a military action are probably about 75 percent. There's about a ten percent chance of a coup, and a fifteen percent chance that Washington still doesn't get the diplomacy right and an attack gets pushed off to the fall".
"Q. That's been your view all along? Not only that war is inevitable, but that we should launch it?"
"A. Yes. It is strategically sound and morally just. The Middle East is a strategic region for us. It is where oil does play into all this.... It is about stability in the region. Saddam has been very destabilizing.... Strategically trying to get rid of one of the most destabilizing forces in the Middle East is a good idea. But the moral aspect doesn't get as much play as it should.... When Secretary Albright said it was not us causing the suffering of the Iraqi people, but Saddam, technically she was right. And everyone in the region agreed; but what they couldn't understand was why we pursued a policy knowing that Saddam would use it to his advantage to torture his people. We were complicit. We have to get rid of this monster. He is our Frankenstein."[4].

Another prominent CFR member who spoke out in favour of the war was Lawrence J. Korb. Korb made the following comments in an interview.

"Q. Everyone remembers the allied land invasion in 1991 to liberate Kuwait that lasted three days. What kind of military action will we have this time? Will it also be a quick one?
"A. I think if there is a military action and it occurs during the winter and you get support from countries in the region it will be over in less than a month. What you will have this time is simultaneous air and ground operations....
"Q. Can the United States afford this? How much will this cost?
"A. If you talk about cost, you have the incremental cost of the operation. We have a $400 billion annual defense budget. You won't have to buy much new equipment. For a one month war, counting the buildup underway, you are talking about an incremental cost of about $50 billion.... The Persian Gulf campaign in today's dollars cost $80 billion.
"Q. That was essentially paid by the Saudis, right?
"A. The last war was actually paid for by the Saudis, the Germans, and the Japanese. We actually made a profit on that war.... What we did after the war was over was make the books come out even... we actually collected more than we actually spent"[5].

2002 Planning for Iraq's Oil

According to Laurence H. Shoup:

"In mid-2002 the CFR, together with the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University, established a 23 member planning group to formulate the U.S. war aims and the political and economic rules for a post-war Iraq. One of the project directors was Rachel Bronson and members included Kenneth Pollack, as well as corporate leaders (Boeing, PFC Energy), university professors (Princeton, Yale, Vermont) a Naval War College professor, a Senate on Foreign Relations staffer, and representatives from the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the Brookings Institution, the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and nine staffers from the CFR. A report, Guiding Principles for U.S. Post -Conflict Policy in Iraq, was produced by the Council in late 2002"[6].
"The body of the report has a section called "The Lure of Oil: Realities and Constraints," as well as an addendum called "Oil and Iraq: Opportunities and Challenges," which is almost as long as all of the rest of the report text. In the sections focusing on oil, lip service is given to Iraq's control of its own oil, while, in fact, the report argues that national control of Iraqi oil must be scrapped and an "economy based on free market principles" and a "level playing field for all international players to participate" be created. The report goes on to point out: "Paragraph 30 of UNSCR 1284 already authorizes the UN secretary-general to investigate ways that oil companies could be allowed to invest in Iraq. Thus, the legal basis for the UN to authorize and oversee foreign investment...already exists."
"The report also makes clear that the Iraqi oil contracts that French and Russian companies now have will be challenged: "Finally, the legality of post- sanctions contracts awarded in recent years will have to be evaluated. Prolonged legal conflicts over contracts could delay the development of important fields in Iraq.... It may be advisable to pre-establish a legitimate (preferably UN mandated) legal framework for vetting pre-hostility exploration agreements."[7]

CFR and the US 'ruling class'

JFK Assassination

Mark Gorton gives special mention to the CFR in the effectiveness with which the JFK Assassination was covered up, noting that "elite members of the CFR such as Allen Dulles, Nelson Rockefeller, George H. W. Bush and McGeorge Bundy were sponsors of the JFK assassination. CFR members, Allen Dulles, John McCloy and Gerald Ford played dominant roles in the Warren Commission cover up of the Coup d’état. A remarkable fraction of the publishers, editors and senior reporters of the most important media outlets in the country were also members of the Council of Foreign Relations including: Henry Luce (Publisher Time/Life), Clair Boothe Luce, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (Publisher NY Times), William Paley (Owner CBS), Walter Cronkite (CBS), Dan Rather (CBS), Bob Schieffer (CBS), Peter Jennings (ABC), James Reston (NY Times), Anthony Lewis (NY Times), Harrison Salisbury (NY Times), Jack Valenti, Daniel Schorr and in later days Rupert Murdock, Michael Eisner, Bill Clinton, George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams..."[8]

Failed Call for Investigation

In 1980, congressman Larry McDonald introduced American Legion National Convention Resolution 773 to the House of Representatives calling for a comprehensive congressional investigation into the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission, but nothing came of it.[9] EIR interviewed James Lee Clingan in 1986;[10] he introduced a similar resolution in the Indiana House and acknowledged the resolution from the American Legion, which by his account was decided upon in 1981.[11]

CFR and US Neoconservatives

The CFR is closely connected to the US neoconservative movement. According to Laurence Bloom "One of the key neo-con groups, Project for the New American Century, established in 1997 and identified by many as being the central organization behind the Bush administration, is heavily connected to the CFR. Fully 17 of the 25 founders of the Project for the New American Century are Council members"[12].

War of Neccesity or War of Choice?

According to IPS:

"In August 2009 Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass, who served in the administrations of both George H.W. and George W. Bush, suggested in the New York Times that Afghanistan is a "war of choice" rather than a war of necessity. Haass suggested that the Obama administration consider alternate policies up to and including full withdrawal from Afghanistan, although he stopped short of endorsing them outright".[13]

Haas introduced the concept of a distinction between the two types of war in a book published in May 2009. His book entitled War of Necessity, War of choice argues that:

"The first Iraq war, following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of neighboring Kuwait, was a war of necessity. It was limited in ambition, well executed, and carried out with unprecedented international support".
"By contrast, the second Iraq war was one of choice, the most significant discretionary war undertaken by the United States since Vietnam. Haass argues that it was unwarranted, as the United States had other viable policy options. Making matters worse was the fact that this ambitious undertaking was poorly implemented and fought with considerably more international opposition than backing"[14].


Board of Directors and Membership

The Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations is composed of thirty-six members.

There are two types of membership - term membership (which lasts for 5 years and is available to those between 30 and 36) and regular membership. Only US citizens (native born or naturalised) and permanent residents who have applied for U.S. citizenship are eligible for membership. Proposed members must be nominated by current members. A candidate for life membership must be nominated in writing by one Council member and seconded by a minimum of three others.[15]

Corporate membership (250 in total) is divided into "Basic", "Premium" ($25,000+) and "President's Circle" ($50,000+). All corporate executive members have opportunities to hear distinguished speakers, such as overseas presidents and prime ministers, chairmen and CEOs of multinational corporations, and U.S. officials and Congressmen. President and premium members are also entitled to other benefits, including attendance at small, private dinners or receptions with senior American officials and world leaders.[16]

Peter G. Peterson and David Rockefeller are Directors Emeriti (Chairman Emeritus and Honorary Chairman, respectively). It also has an International Advisory Board consisting of thirty-five distinguished individuals from across the world.[17]

Notable council members

Full article: Council on Foreign Relations/Members
Full article: Council on Foreign Relations/Members 2
Full article: Council on Foreign Relations/Members 3
Full article: Council on Foreign Relations/Historical Members
Full article: Council on Foreign Relations/Global Board of Advisors
Full article: Council on Foreign Relations/Corporate Members

List of chairmen and chairwomen

List of presidents

Source: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996: Historical Roster of Directors and Officers[18]



Employees on Wikispooks

Scott BorgersonFellow20072010
George H. W. BushCFR/President19771979
Elizabeth EconomySenior Fellow and Director Asia Studies2003Attended 2022 Bilderberg
Morton HalperinDirector of Center for Democracy and Free Markets20012002
Bassma KodmaniExecutive director of Arab Reform Initiative2005
Lawrence KorbDirector of national security studiesJuly 1998October 2002
David MacEachronUS/Vice President19621974
Kenneth M. PollackSenior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies20012002Propagandist for the 2003 Iraq war; suspected Israeli operative
Lewis Thompson PrestonCFR/Treasurer19871988
Lewis Thompson PrestonCFR/Director19811988



Carnegie CorporationEstablished by Andrew Carnegie in 1911, with large grants especially to form the education sector. Lots of grants to "security" think tanks too.
Hewlett FoundationHuge foundation setting the agenda by funding lots of deep state projects.
Rockefeller Brothers FundRockefeller family "philanthropic" fund. One of the CIA's favorite cut-outs during the Cold War.
Rockefeller Foundation
Smith Richardson FoundationCIA front organization that funds select projects with $$$


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:CFR Membership 1993membership list4 November 2008FREE
Document:The Secret Society That Rules The WorldArticle7 November 2018Bas SplietIn his 1999 campaign autobiography, President George W. Bush mentioned his membership in passing: "My senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can’t say anything more."
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  1. a b Council on Foreign Relations/Influence
  3. Laurence H. Shoup, Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Z Magazine, March 2003, Accessed 10-September-2009
  4. Cited in Laurence H. Shoup, Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Z Magazine, March 2003, Accessed 10-September-2009
  5. Cited in Laurence H. Shoup, Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Z Magazine, March 2003, Accessed 10-September-2009
  6. Laurence H. Shoup, [ Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq], Z Magazine, March 2003, Accessed 10-September-2009
  7. Laurence H. Shoup, Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Z Magazine, March 2003, Accessed 10-September-2009
  8. Document:Fifty Years of the Deep State
  10. saved at saved at
  12. Laurence H. Shoup, Bush, Kerry, and The Council on Foreign Relations, Third World Traveller, October 2004, Accessed 09-September-2009
  13. Daniel Luban, Prominent Conservative Calls for Afghanistan Pullout, IPS, 01-September-2009
  14. Richard N. Haass, War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars, Council on Foreign Relations, Accessed 10-September-2009
  15. "Membership".
  16. "Corporate Program".
  17. "Leadership and Staff". Accessed February 24, 2007.
  18. CFR Continuing the Inquiry: Historical Roster of Directors and Officers, accessed 9 September 2009