Secret Elite

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Group.png The Secret Elite
(Deep state faction)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
FounderAlfred Milner
Purpose/focusCovert influence and control of UK foreign policy
TypeSecret Society
An early 20th century UK deep state. The pseudonym was coined by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty for their 2013 book Hidden History to describe the people who effectively controlled UK foreign policy from about 1890 into the decade following World War I

The pseudonym Secret Elite was coined by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty for their 2013 book Hidden History to describe the people who controlled UK foreign policy in the period leading to and beyond World War I and whose influence was planned and conducted in carefully guarded secrecy. The group called themselves "the group". Founded by Alfred Milner, it was the effective UK Deep State for decades in the early 20th century.


These lists are sourced from the book Hidden History which in turn sourced much of the lists content from Caroll Quigley's seminal and posthumously published 1981 book The Anglo American Establishment. The Milner Group or Milner Round Table or Milner Kindergarten is closely related, with most of its senior member included here.


Members and associates of the Secret Elite up to 1914

Those given by Professor Quigley as members of the Rhodes secret society are marked *. Final honours given to them by the Crown are underlined

Name * Notes Crown Honours
Albert Edward Saxe-Coburg (Edward VII)   King/Emperor of United Kingdom and dominions 1901–10, responsible for entente with France and Russia, much-travelled diplomat and schemer for Empire
Amery, Rt Hon. Leo * Balliol, All Souls, Kindergarten, Round Table, lifelong friend of Alfred Milner, Conservative MP Companion of Honour
Asquith, Herbert &nbsp Liberal imperialist, Relugas Three member, British prime minister 1908–16 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith
Astor, Waldorf * American-born, Eton and Oxford, newspaper owner 2nd Viscount Astor
Balfour, Rt Hon. Arthur * British prime minister 1902–05, leader of Conservative Party, foreign secretary 1916–19, 1st Earl of Balfour
Bailey, Abe * Tied to Rhodes and South African goldbugs, heavily fined for Jameson Raid involvement, financially supported Round Table and imperialist causes KCMG
Beit, Alfred * Millionaire colleague of Cecil Rhodes, involved in supporting Jameson Raid, founder of De Beers and British South Africa Company, imperialist, Round Table financier, gifted chair of Commonwealth history to Oxford University, baronetcy
Bertie, Francis nbsp; Ambassador at Paris 1905–18, played a major role in the Entente Cordiale, privy counsellor several knighthoods, including Grand Cross Order of the Bath, Viscount Bertie of Thame
Buchanan, George British ambassador at St Petersburg 1910–17, played major role from 1910 in reassuring Russian foreign minister Sazonov, privy counsellor Knighthood
Carson, Edward Barrister and Conservative MP, Ulster Unionist leader Knighthood, 1st Baron Carson
Cassel, Ernest German-born banker, financier and businessman, close to King Edward VII and Lord Esher, friend of Alfred Milner, sent to Berlin before Haldane’s ‘Mission’ Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Cecil, Lord Robert * Conservative politician, son of Lord Salisbury Viscount Cecil of Chelswood
Chamberlain, Joseph Conservative, secretary of state for colonies during the Boer War
Childers, Erskine Influential author, friend of Lord Roberts and Churchill, cousin to Chancellor Hugh Childers, apparent ‘gun-runner’ for Irish Nationalists but immediately recruited to Admiralty duties at start of war
Churchill, Winston Aristocrat who moved naturally in Secret Elite circles, self-publicist, and opportunist, maverick Conservative who crossed to Liberals in 1904, home secretary 1910–11, First Lord of Admiralty 1911–15 Knight Companion Order of the Garter
Crawford, Fred Director of ordnance for the UVF, responsible for the successful importation of German guns to Larne Commander of the British Empire
Crowe, Eyre German-born diplomat, Foreign Office mentor to Sir Edward Grey, wrote key memoranda about the need for war with Germany Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Curtis, Lionel * Milner’s Kindergarten, All Souls, Round Table, Beit lecturer in colonial history, Oxford 1912
Curzon, George Eton and Balliol, All Souls, Grillion’s, viceroy of India 1899–1905, chancellor of Oxford University 1st Marquis Curzon of Kedleston
Dawson, Geoffrey * Eton, Oxford, All Souls, Milner protégé, Kindergarten, Milner had him appointed editor of the Johannesburg Star, editor of The Times 1912–19, prominent imperialist
de Bunsen, Sir Maurice British ambassador at Madrid 1906–13, Vienna 1913–14, Knighthood and 1st Baronet de Bunsen of Abbey Lodge
Esher, Reginald * Co-founder of Rhodes’ secret society, South African War Commission, permanent member of Committee of Imperial Defence, personal friend and representative of King Edward Viscount Esher
Fisher, John (Jacky) Admiral, first sea lord 1904–10, 1914–15, close to Milner and British royal family, advised ‘Copenhagening’ German fleet 1st Baron Fisher
French, John Roberts’ Academy, Anglo-Irish Cavalry officer in Boer War, chief of imperial general staff 1912, commander in chief of British Expeditionary Force 1914 Viscount Fisher, 1st Earl Ypres
Goschen, Edward Ambassador at Berlin, 1908–14, Knight Grand Cross Royal Victorian Order, privy counsellor 1st Baronet of Beacon Lodge
Grey, Albert * Governor General of Canada 1904–11, Rhodes trustee, British South Africa Company Grand Cross Order of the Bath
Grey, Sir Edward Balliol, Grillion’s and The Club, Liberal imperialist, member of Relugas Three, British foreign secretary 1905–16 Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Haldane, Richard B. Liberal imperialist, member of Relugas Three, secretary of state for war 1905–12, lord chancellor 1912–15, favourite of King Edward Viscount Haldane of Cloan
Hankey, Maurice * Background in naval intelligence, assistant secretary to Committee of Imperial Defence in 1908, secretary from 1912, ensured that every government department, save the Treasury, had a war book prepared in advance of August 1914 1st Baron Hankey
Hardinge, Sir Charles Diplomat, ambassador at St Petersburg 1904–06, permanent under-secretary at Foreign Office 1906–10 and 1916–20, personal friend and advisor to King Edward VII, accompanied him on all foreign diplomatic tours 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst
Jameson, Leander Starr * Scottish doctor, close personal friend and colleague of Rhodes and Milner, took the blame for the botched Jameson Raid in the Transvaal, imprisoned in Holloway, rewarded by Secret Elite, prime minister of Cape Colony 1904–08, freedom of cities of Edinburgh, London and Manchester Knighthood, KCMG and 1st Baron Jameson
Kipling, Rudyard British author, poet and imperialist, personal friend of Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Milner, Kipling wrote jingoistic poems in praise of militarism, connected to Lord Roberts, Ulster and the Empire, awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907
Kitchener, Herbert British soldier and national hero, commander-in-chief 1914–16, secretary of state for war 1914–16 1st Earl Kitchener
Lansdowne, Henry Governor General of Canada 1883–88, viceroy of India 1888–94, secretary of state for war 1895–1900, foreign secretary 1900–05, senior and influential Conservative, close confidant of A.J. Balfour Marquis of Lansdowne
Long, Walter Conservative politician, backed by Lord Salisbury, chief secretary for Ireland 1905, member of the Ulster Defence League 1st Viscount Long
Lloyd George, David Liberal MP, anti-war, chancellor of Exchequer 1908–16, involved in many scandals 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor
Milner, Alfred * Balliol and fellow of New College, intimate of Rhodes, acknowledged leader of the Secret Elite from around 1900, created the Boer War, governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner for Southern Africa 1897–1901, mentor for the Round Table, Conservative politician 1st Viscount Milner of St James
Nicolson, Arthur Senior diplomat, ambassador at Madrid 1904–05 and St Petersburg 1906–10, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office 1910–16, controlled the Foreign Office and guided Edward Grey, attended Committee of Imperial Defence, close to Alfred Milner, member of Grillion’s Knight Grand Cross Order of the Bath, 1st Baron Carnock
Ottley, Charles Director of Naval Intelligence 1905–07, secretary to Committee of Imperial Defence 1908–12, director of Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Knighthood, KCMG
Paget, Arthur Commander-in-chief in Ireland 1912–14, deeply involved with the Curragh incident Knight Grand Cross Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross, Royal Victorian Order
Repington, Charles Ex-army officer, war correspondent and journalist, had his own office in the War Office, wrote for The Times, linked to the joint discussions with French military
Rhodes, Cecil John * Founder member of secret society, Oxford scholar, British race patriot, used his fortune to promote the British Empire to control civilised world, millionaire South African gold and diamond magnate, British South Africa Company, prime minister of Cape Colony 1890–96, Rhodesia named after him, owed much to Rothschild funding, donated his estate to Rhodes Scholarships and the trustees had great power in using his fortune, complete faith in Alfred Milner – his chosen successor and trustee, privy counsellor
Roberts, Frederick Sleigh Most senior British Army officer of his time, last commander-in-chief before post abolished in 1904, founder of the Roberts ‘Academy’ – trusted officers schooled in his own image – advocated conscription and increased spending on army, close friend of Milner and Esher 1st Earl Roberts, Viscount St Pierre
Rosebery, Lord * (Also known as Archibald Primrose, Lord Dalmeny) Eton and Oxford, British prime minister 1894–95, leading Liberal, patron and friend of Milner and the Relugas Three 5th Earl Rosebery
Rothschild, Nathaniel * International banker and financier, head of British branch of Rothschild dynasty, close Cambridge friend of Prince Albert Edward, later Edward VII, whose gambling debts he covered generously, trustee of Rhodes’ early wills, friend of Milner, used J.P. Morgan as front to cover family involvement in America/Wall Street, massive investor in gold, diamonds, oil, steel, railways and armaments 1st Baron Rothschild
Selborne, Earl (W.W. Palmer) * Lifelong Oxford friend of Milner, worked on his behalf as under-secretary at the Colonial Office, privy counsellor KCMG
Shaw, Flora * Pro-Boer War Times columnist, friend of Milner and corresponded with him to promote the war in South Africa, belittled the alarmists on concentration camps and rewrote the ‘History of the South African War’ for Encyclopaedia Britannica Dame Flora Shaw, Lady Lugard
Stead, William T. * Co-founder of Rhodes’ secret society, campaigning journalist, imperialist, pro-naval spending, fell out with Secret Elite over the Boer War and removed as trustee of Rhodes’ last will
Williams, Basil Milner’s Kindergarten, close friend of Erskine Childers, professor of history at Edinburgh University 1925–37, contributor to the Oxford History of England OBE
Wilson, Henry Protégé of Lord Roberts, brigadier general of Camberley Staff College, director of military operations at the War Office, pro Ulster Unionist and UVF admirer, prepared plans for BEF, member of Committee of Imperial Defence, secretly briefed Milner and Conservatives against his own government 1st Baron Wilson of Currygrane


British politicians and writers NOT associated with the Secret Elite

Name Notes
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry Liberal leader and prime minister 1905–08
Durham, Edith British traveller and writer who wrote extensively about the Balkans and the ethnic massacres, highly critical of British Foreign Office, which ignored her work
Morel, Edmund Journalist, author and socially aware MP, imprisoned for his pacifism, wrote extensively about the warmongers, outspoken critic of Grey and Asquith, one of the most important pre-war commentators
Morley, John Prominent Liberal, secretary of state for India, resigned as lord president of the council in 1914 because Grey and Asquith declared war, Viscount Morley of Blackburn
Ponsonby, Arthur Eton and Balliol, Liberal MP, outspoken critic of Sir Edward Grey, went to the House of Lords in 1930


Foreign personnel

Those considered agents of the Secret Elite are identified with *.

Caillaux, Joseph || || French prime minister 1911–12, socialist, anti-war, resolved the conflict with Germany over Morocco Cambon, Jules || || French ambassador at Berlin 1907–14, head of French Foreign Ministry 1914–18 Cambon, Paul || * || French ambassador at London 1898–1920, played important role in entente and in diplomatic exchanges that helped cement Anglo-French relations
Name * Notes
Aehrenthal, Count Alois Austrian minister of foreign affairs 1906–12
Artamanov, Viktor Russian military attaché in Belgrade, key link between Hartwig and the Sarajevo assassins
Ciganovic, Milan Conspired with Serbian military and secret service to help the Young Bosnians, informant for Prime Minister Pasic, who shielded him after the assassination
Delcassé, Theophile * French foreign minister 1898–1905, Revanchist, anti-German, friend of King Edward VII, played major role in entente, dismissed from government in 1905, reinstated in 1911 as minister of marine, ambassador at St Petersburg 1913–14, supported by Secret Elite
Dimitrijevic, Dragutin – (Apis) Serbian nationalist leader, head of Masonic-like secret order the Black Hand, commanded large military following, complicit in regicide of King Alexander in 1903, initially supported Prime Minister Pasic
Greindl, Baron Jules Belgian ambassador at Berlin 1888–1912, very astute, his observations were highly accurate
Guillaume, Baron Belgian minister at Berlin
Hartwig, Nicholas Russian minister at Tehran 1906–08, minister at Belgrade 1909–14, controlled Pasic government in Serbia, Isvolsky’s alter ego, died 1914 under suspicious circumstances
Isvolsky, Alexander * Russian ambassador at Copenhagen 1903, friend of King Edward VII, Russian foreign minister 1906–10, ambassador to Paris 1910–16, bribed French press and deputies, close to Poincaré and Delcassé, stirred trouble in Balkans, died suddenly while writing memoirs
Jaurès, Jean French Socialist leader, strongly anti-war, assassinated 31 July 1914, his assailant was acquitted
Lichnowsky, Prince German ambassador at London 1912–14, said to be very pro-English and had been sucked into ‘society’ in London
Louis, George French ambassador at St Petersburg, disliked and dismissed by Poincaré, distrusted the Revanchists, was kept away from the real business when French government visited Russia in 1912
Malobabić, Rade Chief undercover operative for Serbian military intelligence, helped plan assassination in Sarajevo
Morgan, John Pierpont * Pilgrim, New York banker and financier, closely associated with the Rothschild dynasty, anglophile, worked to achieve Federal Reserve
Nicholas II – Czar weak-willed and vacillating hereditary leader of Russia, his government struggled against popular labour unrest and demands for democracy, responding with disgraceful attacks on strikers and vicious anti-Jewish pogroms
Pasic, Nikola (Paschitsch) Prime minister of Serbia (five terms 1891–1918), directed by the Russian ambassador, Hartwig
Princip, Gavrilo Student assassin, shot Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, alleged to have started the First World War
Poincaré, Raymond * Revanchist prime minister (five terms), president of France 1913–20, indebted to Isvolsky and Secret Elite funding for winning office, anti-German, pro-war politician and colleague of Delcassé
Sazonov, Sergei * Russian foreign minister 1910–16, served in London embassy before being appointed successor to Alexander Isvolsky, who remained his trusted mentor and advisor
Schiff, Jacob * Pilgrim, New York banker and financier, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., friend of Sir Ernest Cassel and Rothschilds, played a leading role in raising funds for Japan during war with Russia
Shelking, Eugenii Russian diplomat, journalist, St Petersburg correspondent for Le Temps, travelled widely in the Balkans
Smuts, Jan * Rhodes’ protégé in South Africa before the Boer War, changed sides to Kruger in dubious circumstances, post-Boer War he held high office in South Africa, remained firm friend of Alfred Milner, Order of Merit, privy counsellor, Companion of Honour
Tankosić, Major Vojislav Major in Serbian army, trained Young Bosnian assassins in run up to Sarajevo
von Bethmann-Hollweg, Theobald German chancellor 1909–17
von Benckendorff, Count Russian ambassador at London 1903–17, close to Sir Edward Grey, popular in London society
von Jagow, Gottlieb German foreign minister 1913–16
Warburg, Paul * German-born US banker, linked to Rothschilds, instrumental in setting up Federal Reserve System
Wilson, Woodrow * President of United States of America 1912–20, funded and controlled by Secret Elite associates
Young Bosnians Revolutionary student group who imagined that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand would lead to socialism in the Balkan States, included Danilo Ilić, Gavrilo Princip


Related Quotations

South Africa/Deep stateAlfred Milner organized and developed a talented coterie of Oxford graduates inside his South African administration, men who by 1914 held critical positions of power in the City, the Conservative Party, the Civil Service, major newspapers and academia. Carroll Quigley specifically dedicated a chapter of his seminal Anglo-American Establishment to this "Milner's Kindergarten", the men who rose to high office in government, industry and politics. He appointed, trained and developed his chosen men to drive forward the Secret Elite agenda with conviction.”Gerry Docherty
Jim Macgregor
UK/Deep state“One wintry afternoon in February 1891, three men were engaged in earnest conversation in London. From that conversation were to flow consequences of the greatest importance to the British Empire and to the world as a whole. For these men were organizing a secret society that was for more than fifty years to be one of the most important forces in the formulation and execution of British imperial and foreign policy.”Carroll Quigley
UK/Deep state“Five principal players, Cecil Rhodes, William Stead, Lord Reginald Esher, Lord Nathaniel Rothschild and Alfred Milner were the founding fathers, but the secret society developed rapidly in numbers, power and presence in the years before 1914. Influential old aristocratic families that had long dominated Westminster were more deeply involved, as was King Edward VII, who operated within the inner core of the Secret Elite. Cecil Rhodes, a mining magnate who made millions in South Africa, had long talked about setting up a Jesuit-like secret society, pledged to take any action necessary to protect and promote the power of the British Empire. He sought to "bring the whole uncivilized world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making of the Anglo-Saxon race but one empire." * In essence the plan was as simple as that.”Gerry Docherty
Jim Macgregor
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