The Heritage Foundation

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Group.png The Heritage Foundation   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
MottoLeadership for America
FormationFebruary 16, 1973
Founder• Edwin J. Feulner
• Paul Weyrich
• Joseph Coors
Headquarters214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Typethink tank
SubgroupsMargaret Thatcher Center for Freedom
Sponsored byHewlett Foundation, Koch family foundations, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
MembershipMark Esper
A major "right wing think tank", started by a set of visitors to Le Cercle

The Heritage Foundation is one of the most important of the US right wing think tanks.[citation needed] At least two of its three so-founders attended Le Cercle.

Its stated mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of 'free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.'[1] It is considered one of the world's most influential public policy research institutes[citation needed]. Heritage has long played a key role in supporting conservative and anti-left initiatives in Europe, particularly in the UK, where is was central to the creation of the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies a key element in the history of the Neoconservative movement in the UK.

Heritage's heritage in the UK

Shortly after Ronald Reagan was elected US President in 1980, Edwin Fuelner Jr of the Heritage Foundation delivered a 3,000-page "Mandate for Leadership" to Edwin Meese III, then heading the transition team. The study urged the President to recognise "the reality of subversion" within America. Its central recommendation stressed that "individual liberties are secondary to the requirement of national security and internal civil order." When Reagan planned to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Heritage Foundation stated that any arms control accord with the Russians would be regarded as a betrayal, equivalent morally to Munich-style appeasement.[2]

With a quarter of a million dollars in 1974, Heritage's annual budget rose to more than a million in 1976. Its budget in the mid-80s of nearly $12 million was funded from three main sources: (a) tax-deductable gifts from about 130,000 supporters who respond to direct mail appeals that make up nearly half the total income, (b) donations from about 100 of America's 500 beggest corporations. These include the Chase Manhattan Bank, the Mobil Oil Corporation, The Fluor Corporation of California, the Gulf Oil (now Chevron) Corporation, the Reader's Digest Association, the Smith Kline Corporation, the Amway Corporation and (c) contributions from the country's major right wing foundations.

Heritage was working with the Right and neo-Conservatives in Britain well before Mrs Thatcher's first election victory in 1979. Two years earlier it had sponsored a trip to Washington by Sir Keith Joseph, one of her closest advisers and the director of the Centre for Policy Studies in London. Heritage helped to set up the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies in 1979, that was soon to attract a number of leading Social Democrats as well as Conservatives.

The Institute initially shared premises in Golden Square with the US-funded organisation, the Institute for the Study of Conflict run by Brian Crozier. The IEDSS then moved to its own premises two doors away.[3]

Chaired by Edwin Feulner, President of Heritage, IEDSS was run by Gerald Frost, formerly of the Centre for Policy Studies. Frost hoped to rival the reports published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

"Frost eschews traditional Left-Right political labels. The Institute is registered as a charity and as an educational trust, describing its aims as assessing 'the impact of political change in Europe and North America upon defence and strategic issues. 'Put another way, its aim is to protect the Atlantic Alliance which, according to Frost, is under strain from neo-Gaullism, European neutralism and 'democratic parties.' Detente is a dirty word."[4]

Richard Norton-Taylor argued that although the Institute had charitable status, its message and purpose was political. Its targets were evident from the titles and authors of its publications:

  • British Churches and the Peace Movement, by TE Utley (a Daily Telegraph leader writer) and Edward Norman; the Dean of Peterhouse, Cambridge, described as Mrs Thatcher's favourite cleric;
  • Peace Studies: A Critical Survey, by Caroline Cox and Roger Scruton;
  • Idealism, Realism and the Myth of Appeasement, by Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan's former ambassador to the UN;
  • Protest and Perish: A Critique of Unilateralism;

CND and other groups were the subject of attack; the Labour Party as a whole was also a prime target. According to Richard Norton-Taylor, writing in The Guardian:

"In an article entitled 'Thatcherissima,' in Heritage's Policy Review - the co-editors of which have included Kingsley Amis and the former spokesman of the Freedom Association, Robert Moss - the Times writer, Ronald Butt, wrote: 'At least there is hope now that both the Conservatives and Social Democrats (with Mrs Thatcher setting the pace) can move toward a society in which both parties can function with a measure of agreement, as the Republicans and Democrats do in the United States, pushing the socialist Labour party - and its ideas for a wholly different kind of state - to the outer fringes of politics.'"[5]

In May 2000 a report by the Arms Trade Resource Center described Heritage as part of "a highly disciplined and effective coalition of conservative organizations" supporting missile defence, centered around Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy. The report noted that Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner is on the Center's board of advisors.[6]

The EU and missile defence

In March 2001, Iain Duncan Smith, then shadow defence secretary, delivered a lecture to the Heritage Foundation on the European case for missile defence. He criticised the emerging EU defence and security policy:

this new European force does not extend Western Europe's collective defense capability one iota. It doesn't provide for a single new soldier, a single new bullet. All it does is transfer the chain of command from national capitals to the EU and armed forces from NATO to the EU. All of this is restated in the Nice Treaty.[7]

In 2004, a Heritage Foundation paper by John C. Hulsman and Nile Gardiner concluded that a Europe of nation states was in American interests:

It is frightening to imagine what would happen to American interests if the supranational imperative extended further into the foreign and security policy realm. For example, if a Common European Foreign and Security Policy had genuinely functioned in 2003, however badly, then Belgium, France, or Greece (all states with strongly anti-American publics) could have vetoed the U.K., Poland, and Italy from aiding America in Iraq.[8]

In February 2005, Hulsman and Gardiner called on President Bush to "avoid making statements that could be perceived as a U.S. endorsement of the EU Constitution and Franco-German plans for a unified foreign policy".[9]


Between April 29th and 30th 2004 the Heritage Foundation held a 2004 resource bank event in Chicago.[10]Attendees included:

Institute of Economic Affairs | Cato Institute | Instituto Libertad y Democracia | Free Market Foundation | Atlas Economic Research Foundation | European Parliament | Center for Public Policy | Competitive Enterprise Institute | Stockholm Network | Americans for Tax Reform | Competitive Enterprise Institute | The Buckeye Institute | John Locke Foundation | Mackinac Center for Public Policy | Pacific Research Institute | The Buckeye Institute | Philanthropy Roundtable | The Blackwell Corporation | Charles G. Koch Foundation | Commonwealth Foundation | Institute for Justice | Hoover Institution | Illinois Freedom Project | Montgomery & Company | Financial Times | Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson | The Manhattan Institute | Think Detroit | E.G. West Centre | Agencia Interamericana de Prensa Economica | Galen Institute | US State Department[11]

External links


Employees on Wikispooks

Leon AronSenior Policy Analyst19871992
Scott BennettResearch Fellow
Charles Viar



Hewlett FoundationHuge foundation setting the agenda by funding lots of deep state projects.
Koch family foundationsControlled by the billionaire Koch brothers, who finance the 'right' in US politics when they say the right things.
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Heritage Foundation, extract from The "Terrorism" Industrybook extract1990Edward S. Herman
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  1. Heritage Foundation About Us, accessed 8 april 2009
  2. Arthur Gavshon (1985) The power and influence behind America's right, Guardian, December 1.
  3. Richard Norton-Taylor (1985) Where detente is a dirty word / The Heritage Foundation in Britain, The Guardian, November 26.
  4. Richard Norton-Taylor (1985) Where detente is a dirty word / The Heritage Foundation in Britain, The Guardian, November 26.
  5. Richard Norton-Taylor (1985) Where detente is a dirty word / The Heritage Foundation in Britain, The Guardian, November 26.
  6. Tangled Web: The Marketing of Missile Defense 1994-2000, by William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, Arms Trade Resource Center, May 2000.
  7. The European Case for Missile Defense, by Iain Duncan Smith, Heritage Foundation Reports, 2 March 2001.
  8. A Conservative Vision for U.S. Policy Toward Europe, by John C. Hulsman and Nile Gardiner, Heritage Foundation Reports, 4 October 2004.
  9. President Bush Should Advance a New U.S. Vision for Europe, by John C. Hulsman and Nile Gardiner, Heritage Foundation Reports, 18 February 2005.
  10. James Tooley, 27TH ANNUAL RESOURCE BANK MEETING APRIL 29-30, 2004 - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, Heritage Foundation, 29-April-2004, Accessed 08-May-2010
  11. James Tooley, 27TH ANNUAL RESOURCE BANK MEETING APRIL 29-30, 2004 - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, Heritage Foundation, 29-April-2004, Accessed 08-May-2010