Bilderberg: the major NATO summit that no one is talking about

“We all agree that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance” said Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a forum in Brussels on Wednesday, after emerging from three days of geopolitical strategizing at the Bilderberg conference in Lisbon.“The war ensures that Ukraine is becoming even closer to NATO” he said, and talked fondly of “the transatlantic bond” that NATO members enjoy.

Also in Lisbon was the Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, who said recently that “Russian aggression against Ukraine has reinvigorated the alliance”. And Bilderberg is where that new enthusiasm for the transatlantic alliance will have been knocked into strategic shape.

If NATO is the military arm of the atlantic alliance, then Bilderberg is its brain. Stoltenberg spent three-nights at the elite geopolitical lock-in, making it probably the biggest date in his official diary, dwarfing the official NATO summit, which is taking place this summer in Vilnius. Stoltenberg has only missed one Bilderberg since taking office in 2014, and this year took along a heavyweight date for the conference: the Allied Supreme Commander Europe, US General Christopher Cavoli. They were arriving in Portugal fresh from a meeting of NATO commanders in Belgium the day before.

Cleary NATO takes Bilderberg a lot more seriously than the mainstream press, which let this major diplomatic summit drift past with barely a glance in its direction. And no wonder Stoltenberg values his time at Bilderberg: this year around 27 senior policymakers were packed into the Pestana Palace, including three prime ministers, the Ukrainian foreign minister and the president of the european parliament. The only downside for Stoltenberg would have been the fierce competition for the four ‘royal suites’, especially since two would have been occupied by Henry Kissinger — one for himself; the other for his medical equipment, defibrillation crew and organ refrigeration units.

Just shy of his 100th birthday, Kissinger is still busily sticking his creaky oar into geopolitics. The former Secretary of State gave an interview to the Economist (Bilderberg’s in-house magazine) which was published on the eve of the conference. In it he growls: “for the safety of Europe, it is better to have Ukraine in NATO”, rather than just “arm the hell out of them”.

Any talk of NATO enlargement would be music to Stoltenberg’s ears. At the Munich Security Conference in February, he talked about how an important marker of “success” at the forthcoming Vilnius summit will be “that we will enlarge the alliance”, welcoming “Finland and Sweden as the two new members”.

Interestingly, at this year’s Bilderberg, ‘NATO’ wasn’t only an item on the agenda, the topic had a practical diplomatic twist: the process of Sweden joining NATO was also being discussed on the fringes of the event. An American journalist, Josh Friedman (@FreeManReporter on Twitter), happened to be filming Swedish participant, Magdalena Andersson, when he realised she was deep in conversation with Sweden’s chief negotiator for accession to NATO, Oscar Stenström.

Stenström was not an official participant at the conference, but the diplomatic process of getting Sweden into NATO can happily grind on between sessions — after all, Stoltenberg is often promising “to work hard” to finalize this process. The current Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, would have been another useful member of these side-talks.

‘Ukraine’ and ‘Russia’ were also, inevitably, on this year’s conference schedule. As for arming the hell out of Ukraine, this has been excellent business for some of the arms companies in Lisbon. Swedish defence contractor Saab, which has seen profits rise in recent quarterly reports, was represented at the conference by its chairman Marcus Wallenberg. The enormously wealthy Wallenberg family is the largest shareholder, and Marcus is a Bilderberg board member. And then there’s Palantir, the controversial software company, whose equally controversial CEO, Alex Karp, said recently that Palantir is “responsible for most of the targeting in Ukraine”. Karp was in Lisbon with his mentor and boss, the founder of Palantir. Peter Thiel, who recently backed a German start-up delivering drones to Ukrainian forces.

“Bad times are very good for Palantir” admits Karp, who last year was the first western CEO to visit Zelenskyy in Ukraine. With such a hands-on commercial interest in the war with Russia it’s hardly surprising that Karp took two mountainous bodyguards to Bilderberg. But hefty as they were, they were vastly outnumbered by Stoltenberg’s security contingent. When the NATO boss went out jogging in the morning it looked like the start of a charity marathon.

Karp has been waxing lyrical of late about the weaponization of artificial intelligence, and “the power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems”. He declared theatrically that AI will allow militaries to “create software that is so obviously dominant that adversaries quiver and scurry away instead of attacking us or our allies.”

According to Demis Hassabis, the CEO of DeepMind (another billionaire tech expert at this year’s Bilderberg), when you build an AI system “there’ll be a residue in the system of the culture and values of the creators of that system.” God help us all if Karp’s psychopathic AI gets off the leash. Worringly, Palantir doesn’t just want to dominate on the battlefield. On a call with Wall Street analysts earlier this month Karp was in an expansive mood: “Our strategy on AI is to just take the whole market”. Which means we can look forward to a time in about 18 months when our smart fridges are being run by military-grade AI. God help you if you run out of eggs.

Stoltenberg’s take on AI is a bit less silicon-rattling than Karp’s, saying last month that NATO is seeking “to engage with China” on the military use of artificial intelligence and “to perhaps agree on some rules of the road for responsible use”. AI and China were both on the Bilderberg agenda this year, which would have made the AI arms race a key theme of the talks. According to Bilderberg board member Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, in the tech race against China, “a hybrid approach that more tightly aligns government and private sector efforts is needed to win”.

This blurring of the lines between public and private is Bilderberg’s bread and butter. At the Lisbon conference you had senior figures from the military, political and intelligence communities locked away for days with a ravenous galaxy of CEOs and private equity investors. For Eric Schmidt, this is the perfect brew for world domination in AI. For many outsiders, it’s a calamitous recipe for corporate lobbying. Perhaps it’s just a happy hybrid of both.

As for NATO, Bilderberg is a vital political and economic opportunity: a chance to sharpen their military strategy on the steely minds of the academics, and to see what investment deals can be done: war isn’t cheap, and some of the world’s deepest pockets have a seat at the table. But, perhaps most importantly of all, it’s a chance to get some serious off-the-books diplomacy done, in the cosy nooks and luxurious crannies that surround this conference — without the press or public poking their pesky noses into their vital geopolitical affairs.

Kissinger at 100: the arch-strategist of Bilderberg ponders the digital future of humanity

In 2015, Henry Kissinger was at the Bilderberg conference in Austria, listening to the head of Google DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, give a presentation on artificial intelligence, when he suffered what can only be described as a midlife crisis. As the giddying power of “self-learning machines” were laid out before him, the febrile mind of the former Secretary of State quivered with questions: “will AI’s decision making surpass the explanatory powers of human language and reason?” and if AI “makes strategic judgments about the future”, where does that leave human strategists like Kissinger?

His 92-year-old knuckles tightened on the edge of his desk as he felt himself teetering “at the edge of a new phase of human history”, one which promised nothing less than “the transformation of the human condition”. As a historian, he was determined to peer into this terrifying silicon future and make sense of it; to give the emerging technology the “guiding philosophy” it lacks. Today, as he turns 100, he’s still trying.

Just a week shy of his centenary, Kissinger found himself back at Bilderberg: this time in Lisbon, but once again with AI on the schedule and Demis Hassabis in the room. Other tech CEOs jostled for Kissinger’s attention: besides the DeepMind boss there were the heads of OpenAI, Palantir and Microsoft. And as ever, hovering at Kissinger’s right hand, his geopolitical acolyte and longtime AI collaborator, the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt and Kissinger have traveled through the revolving door between government and the private sector in opposite directions. After leaving Google, Schmidt chaired the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and has quietly eased himself into the role of an influential government advisor with deep links to the military and intelligence communities. This is the world of politics and policy that Kissinger conquered in the 1970s and then left, picking up a slew of directorships and cushy advisory jobs on the way.

But when Kissinger left government in 1977, the first position he accepted, just a few weeks later, didn’t come with a salary: it was a seat on Bilderberg’s steering committee. He has remained at the strategic heart of Bilderberg ever since. The workaholic schemer still works 15-hour days, although presumably half of that time is spent staring at a globe with his one good eye, rubbing his hands and murmuring “yes, yes, everything is falling into place”.

Kissinger has been strategizing at Bilderberg since 1957, when the ambitious academic was invited along as a guest of the billionaire banker David Rockefeller. This was the year in which Kissinger’s first great grapple with strategy was published: his sprawling doctoral dissertation at Harvard brushed-up into book form. In it Kissinger muses on the fundamental task of the statesman: “to have the strength to contemplate chaos, there to find material for fresh creation.”

At Kissinger’s first Bilderberg, the chaos being contemplated included “the problems of Eastern Europe”, which the conference is still contemplating today. In many ways, Bilderberg is largely unchanged since the 1950s: the governing structure and the schoolroom format of the meetings are more or less identical. Even the participants aren’t that different. In 1954 you’ve got the Director General of Esso. In 2023 it’s the CEO of BP. In 1954 you’ve got the ex-head of SOE (the Special Operations Executive, a secret British military intelligence unit in WW2). In 2023 it’s the ex-head of MI6.

This determined sameness seems an odd fit with Kissinger: in his writings about diplomacy he cherishes “spontaneity” and “inspiration”, and has a special hatred of “pedants” and “bureaucratic minds”. History, for Kissinger, is “the conflict between inspiration and organisation”, in which the “genius” of greatness is inevitably crushed by arthritic political institutions.

But the creaky monotony of Bilderberg as an institution has never bothered him — perhaps because the rigidity of its format belies a willingness to embrace new thinking. The conference began a bold pivot towards high tech years ago, with Craig Mundie of Microsoft the first Silicon Valley luminary to enter the discussions in 2003. Mundie joined the group’s steering committee in 2011, and has just now, after the Lisbon meeting, given up his seat to the current CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.

These days Bilderberg has gone all-in on AI, with “artificial intelligence” first creeping onto the conference agenda in 2015 and exploding in Kissinger’s cortex. There’s a curious continuity between Kissinger’s ideas about statesmanship and his musings on artificial intelligence. He sees a curtain falling on age of Enlightenment, as human reason is usurped by the lightning-fast logic of machines. He worries about the inscrutability of computers — the eerie opacity of their decision-making processes — and yet this is precisely what for Kissinger characterizes the decision-making of the human actor on the world stage. “The statesman”, he says, “must act on assessments that cannot be proved at the time that he is making them.” Grand political actions represent a kind of black box thinking: the statesman “must inevitably act on the basis of an intuition that is inherently unprovable.”

Likewise, despite his global fame (and infamy), Kissinger is every bit as inscrutable as an AI. He’s published millions of words about geopolitics but not one of those words is “Bilderberg” — even when alluding to the conference he refuses to speak its name. And his main private sector interest is notoriously mysterious: a shadowy consulting company called Kissinger Associates, which he founded in 1982. The business is intimately connected to US intelligence. Its first president was Brent Scowcroft, two time National Security Advisor, who replaced Kissinger in the role in 1975. Until recently, and for more than a decade, the business was run by Jami Miscik, former Deputy Director for Intelligence at the CIA — the agency’s most senior analyst. And when John Brennan left the top job at Langley, who headhunted him as an advisor? Henry, of course.

You can see Kissinger Associates as a mirror of Kissinger himself: with one foot in the intelligence community, and the other planted firmly in Bilderberg. One of his consulting company’s first directors was Lord Carrington, the former UK Foreign Secretary, who went on to become the secretary general of NATO and, rather more importantly, the chairman of the Bilderberg group. Kissinger tapped two other Bilderberg heads for his boardroom: Etienne Davignon and Lord Eric Roll of Ipsden.

Bilderberg’s own history is woven through with transatlantic intelligence interests. At its outset, the annual conference was conceived as a joint-venture between British and American intelligence, and the list of former “honorary secretaries general” is packed with state department heavyweights. It’s no wonder Henry fitted right in. He began his career in military intelligence, rising to become the National Security Advisor in 1969. The current National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, attended last year’s conference in Washington, alongside the director of the CIA, William Burns — a Bilderberg insider who was briefly a member of the steering committee before resigning just prior to taking the post.

This year in Lisbon the usual slew of US intelligence officials included the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, and Jen Easterly, who runs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. They were joined from France by the head of their foreign intelligence service, and from the UK by the outgoing chief of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, who was presumably sniffing round the bank bosses and fatcat industrialists in search of a plum private sector directorship. If he ends up the new vice-chair of Kissinger Associates it won’t be the biggest surprise in the world.

What then is the future for Kissinger and Bilderberg? As he turns 100, the arch-machinator must surely be making plans for his retirement, in the next couple of decades or so. He can’t possibly be keeping up this pace when he’s 130. As for Bilderberg, what place is there in the age of AI for a conference which prides itself on letting participants “take time to listen, reflect and gather insights”? Time is a thing of the past. As Eric Schmidt says, reflecting on Kissinger’s career: “let’s think about how much time he had to do his work 50 years ago, in terms of conceptual time, the ability to think, to communicate and so forth. In 50 years, what is the big narrative? The compression of time.” As Schmidt says, the question now is: “what about when everything happens too fast for humans?”

Why nurture links with intelligence when human intelligence is being so thoroughly surpassed. Why invite experts and academics to a real-world conference when you can simply feed all their works into the latest incarnation of ChatGPT and ask it their opinion on anything under the sun? It’ll take eight seconds and you don’t have to buy it a hotel room. Why even ask along the head of OpenAI, Sam Altman, whose company developed this all-conquering chatbot? He’s every bit as defunct as everyone else round the table. Or should they carry on pretending to strategize when strategy is no longer a human concern?

In Lisbon, poor old Kissinger would have been listening to the head of Palantir, Alex Karp, talk about the militarization of AI. Karp said recently: “If you wheel these technologies correctly, safely and securely, you have a weapon that will allow you to win, that will scare your competitors and adversaries.” In other words, every diplomatic concern that Kissinger has ever pondered has been reduced to: my AI is smarter than yours. Why carry on thinking about war when — as Kissinger admits — there “no limitations” to the potential destructiveness of AI? Why try to comprehend the incomprehensible? This isn’t a task for theorists or historians, it’s become a job for mystics.

All those books and all those Bilderbergs, and for what? History is dead, thinking is dead, strategy is dead, reason is over, geopolitical theory is pointless, and elite transatlantic conferences are a waste of everybody’s time, money and luggage. Happy birthday Henry, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

K 100! pt2 — Happy Birthday Henry!

Today marks Henry Kissinger’s centenary, which means that he only has to cling on for less than two more years to have outlasted his friend and mentor, the banker David Rockefeller. David’s final appearance at a Bilderberg Meeting was in 2011, when he was a mere stripling of 95, turning 96 on the final day of the conference. Henry attended this month’s conference in Lisbon at the age of 99, and is still happily lecturing the world about China, Russia, AI and the future of humanity. And he is still doing his best to keep a hand on the tiller of history.

Back in 1971, when he was well established as the US National Security Advisor, Henry was more directly involved in shaping world events…


General Franco of Spain had chosen Prince Juan Carlos of Bourbon as his heir-apparent, and in 1971 the prince made a trip to the United States, where he was received with the honours reserved for a head of state. The American leaders gave him a warm welcome, including Henry Kissinger, who showered him with attention.

For the well-known Spanish journalist and essayist Pilar Urbano, the fact that Don Juan Carlos de Bourbon acceded to the Spanish throne following the death of Francisco Franco in 1975 was due to the good offices of the Bilderberg Group. In her book ‘El precio del trono’, published in 2011, she repeatedly highlights the influence of both the CIA and Bilderberg in this historic event.

On the basis of original documents that she was able to consult (reproduced in the appendix of the book), the author noted that the Group had openly interceded in favour of this institutional solution with the Caudillo, as early as 1968. There is much to be said for her assertions and for the authenticity of certain documents.

During that 1971 visit to America, flattered by the attention of Kissinger and Co., the son of the Count of Barcelona openly distanced himself from Francoism and proclaimed that he had come to seek Washington’s support for his plan to see Spain join NATO and the EEC one day. From that moment on, the American propaganda machine was set in motion on both sides of the Atlantic, with the aim of promoting a positive image of the Prince in public opinion. That of a strong, dynamic, brilliant man, prepared and appreciated both in Spain and abroad.

Two years later, the two American Bilderberg pundits, Henry Kissinger and George Ball, were in the midst of political action to follow up this project, as the second document reproduced by Pilar Urbano attests. It is an undated letter, probably dating from February 1973, sent by the National Security Advisor to the members of the National Security Council, concerning ‘policy towards post-Franco Spain’. Among the recipients of the missive are the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Deputy Secretary of State, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
Its contents are as follows:

“The President has directed the preparation of a paper on the impact of General Francisco Franco’s death on U.S. Security and overseas interests. The study should look forward at least until the year 1982. The paper should consider alternative strategies for overall US policy in Spain and include analysis of Prince Juan Carlos of Borbon’s future role as the nation’s King. To prepare the paper, the President has directed the creation of an Ad Hoc Working Group chaired by the former Undersecretary of State and to include the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, a member of the NSC staff, appropriate representatives from the Bureau of the Budget and Export-Import Bank, and/or their alternates. The report of the Group shall be forwarded to the NSC Review Group by March 28, 1973 and be available to the Bilderberger Steering Committee by April 14, 1973.”

This text illustrates how the Bilderberg Group was integrated into the process of shaping US foreign and security policy during Henry Kissinger’s time in office. More specifically, it shows how the Steering Committee acted as a relay between the highest Western authorities regarding the future of post-Franco Spain. All in the best interests of the Atlantic Alliance.


On 13 May 2001, the”House of Freedom”, the centre-right coalition led by the leader of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi (who had already been Prime Minister between 1994 and 1995) won the Italian general election. Immediately, the main European chancelleries were in an uproar. Indeed, the launch of the euro in its monetary form was scheduled for 1 January 2002. Italy, co-sponsor of the new single European currency, founding member of the EEC and member of the G8, was not allowed to slip up. It had to set an example and respect its international commitments, particularly in terms of economic policy and public debt. It therefore had six months to finish putting its accounts in order.

From London to Berlin, via Brussels and Paris, many wondered what line the new Italian government would take on European issues. For years, Berlusconi’s own personality had been a source of doubt and perplexity. Now, the expected presence in the future executive of Eurosceptic parties, such as the Northern League and the National Alliance, raised fears of the worst. The pressure on the Prime Minister in pectore began to grow daily. They came from all sectors of Italian society, but also from abroad. Berlusconi had to commit himself to all international agreements if he wanted to avoid being marginalised.

To understand his situation, it is worth noting that many of his institutional interlocutors at European level were linked to each other through Bilderberg. At the time, the Group was chaired by the Belgian Etienne Davignon, who had been a European Commissioner and Vice-President of the Commission in the 1970s and 1980s. The European Central Bank (ECB) was chaired by a former Bilderberg treasurer, the Dutchman Willem Frederick Duisenberg. The Italian representative on the ECB’s Executive Board, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, was an active member of the Steering Committee at the time. Romano Prodi, who sat on the Steering Committee at the same time as Duisenberg, was President of the European Commission. Prodi’s Italian successor in the Group, Mario Monti, was European Commissioner for Competition. Finally, Bilderberg friend Mario Draghi was then Director General of the Italian Treasury and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Council.

All of these figures intervened, in one way or another, to remind Silvio Berlusconi of his obligations. Berlusconi finally capitulated by agreeing to open his government to ministers from outside the House of Liberty, despite the contrary opinion of several members of his coalition. Perhaps because of their inexperience, they did not understand that winning elections was a necessary but not sufficient condition for governing. In order to appease his European partners and thus keep himself in power, Berlusconi will agree to provide the necessary guarantees for Italy to switch to the euro and for it to land quietly in the pockets of the citizens, with the blessing of the financial markets.

The days go by and the Cavaliere is racking his brains to compose his government, and he seeks some advice from an elder statesman of Italian politics and industry: on 23 May, he goes to Turin to meet the honorary member of Bilderberg, Umberto Agnelli. That day, an interesting article appeared in La Repubblica. Signed by Gianluca Luzi, it is entitled ‘Ruggiero and Kissinger will consult Berlusconi’. On reading it, one discovers that the day before this meeting, the two Bilderbergers, Renato Ruggiero and Henry Kissinger, met with Berlusconi in Rome to discuss Ruggiero’s appointment as Foreign Minister, to the great displeasure of his Northern League ally, Umberto Bossi, for whom Ruggiero embodied the ‘system’ that he and his friends wanted to change. Ruggiero had been a career ambassador, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Trade, President of the energy company ENI, Director of FIAT (run by the Agnellis) and Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Ruggiero attended his first Bilderberg in 1986, when he was listed as “General Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs”. He was a regular visitor until 2000, also earning election onto the Group’s governing body, its steering committee.

On May 22, 2001, according to the Luzi article, Ambassador Ruggiero “arrived at Berlusconi’s residence shortly before five o’clock, accompanied by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an old friend of the lawyer Agnelli and a member of the Trilateral Commission with Ruggiero. The eventual Foreign Minister of the Berlusconi government left the premises after about forty minutes, while Kissinger continued to converse with Berlusconi until 6.40 pm. Of course, on the way out, none of the three protagonists of the summit said a single word, but the theme of the discussion could not have been more obvious.” Similarly, you don’t have to be clairvoyant to guess what Umberto Agnelli and Silvio Berlusconi said to each other during their tête-à-tête the next day.

Once this mission was accomplished, Henry Kissinger left Italy for Stenungsund, Sweden, where the annual Bilderberg conference was to take place from 24 to 27 May 2001. During this meeting, he participated in a session entitled ‘Consequences of the Italian elections’, which reflects the Group’s interest in the subject. What did the former US Secretary of State say on this occasion? Did he share with the participants the details of his trip to Rome? What was the position of the Italians present (Franco Bernabè, Mario Draghi, Gian-Maria Gros-Pietro, Mario Monti and Gianni Riotta)? What was the content of the discussions as a whole? We will only know in 2052, when the archives of that year are finally made public.

Berlusconi, for his part, did not have to wait long to find out. On 1 June, he received ‘unexpected’ visits to his office from European Commissioner Mario Monti and NATO Secretary General George Robertson, among others. What did they discuss? With Monti, the upcoming Italian Presidency of the European Union, among other things. With Robertson, the NATO summit that was to take place in Brussels on 13 June. The Briton described the meeting as “interesting” and “reassuring” and added: “I’m sure there will be continuity in Italy’s relationship with NATO”. The fact is that both Monti and Robertson had just returned from the Stenungsund Conference and it is conceivable that they acted as ambassadors of the mood of the “international community” to the new Prime Minister.

As foreseen by Luzi, Ambassador Renato Ruggiero was appointed Foreign Minister. He was presented to the public as a politically independent and super partes technician, a champion of a united Europe.
Immediately the Italian press began to speak of a honeymoon between Silvio Berlusconi and the Agnelli clan. If true, this will be short-lived.
In addition to the turbulence linked to the arrival of the euro, Renato Ruggiero will soon have to deal with other, more serious ones. The first clouds appeared a few days after the government took office, when the question of parliamentary ratification of the Treaty of Nice came up. For Umberto Bossi and Giulio Tremonti, it was not necessary because it was the result of an agreement made by the previous government, headed by Giuliano Amato. Ruggiero immediately had to raise his voice and remind the public that the continuity of the country’s foreign policy was not an opinion but a duty. He succeeded in convincing Prime Minister Berlusconi of the validity of his position, but the quarrel with his ministers had only just begun…

K 100!

by Giorgio Bombassei

Henry A. Kissinger KCMG is the oldest member of Bilderberg. The former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor will celebrate his 100th birthday on 27 May 2023. But the celebrations will kick off the week before, when he’ll have his centenary toasted at the Bilderberg Conference in Lisbon. This is a great opportunity to look back on some aspects of his long and star-spangled life, in connection with his beloved Bilderberg Group.

Despite having attended the Group’s annual conference, on and off, since 1957, Kissinger has been surprisingly careful never to mention Bilderberg in his books. The first volume of his biography by the historian Niall Ferguson also remains silent on his involvement with the Group. We are confident, however, that this gap will be filled in future volumes as the author has himself has attended several Bilderberg Conferences and knows the role played by ‘Henry’ in the organisation. Just as he knows the role played by the organisation on the international scene.


After World War II, Henry Kissinger was responsible for the denazification of the Bergstrasse district in Hesse before becoming a lecturer at the European Command Intelligence School at Camp King, Germany. In 1951, while a graduate student at Harvard, he cut his geopolitical teeth as director of the Harvard International Seminar, which led to him founding the foreign affairs magazine Confluence. This, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson, allowed him “to build a network of influential acquaintances”, a network that he is still nurturing today.

In 1952 Kissinger was recruited as an advisor to the Director of the Psychological Strategy Board, a government agency responsible for planning and coordinating psychological operations, which included the Director of the CIA and the No. 2 officers of the State and Defense Departments. His ascension of the Intelligence ladder continued in 1955, when he was appointed as a consultant to the Operations Coordinating Board of the National Security Council, which was responsible for the implementation of national security policies and their integration by all government agencies.

His duties and interpersonal skills enabled him to quickly build up an enviable address book. They also opened the doors to exclusive circles, such as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).


It was through the CFR that Henry Kissinger first met David Rockefeller in 1955. At the time, he was teaching at Harvard, where he was also a research director. He was chairing a working group on nuclear weapons and foreign affairs, of which David was a member. David was immediately struck by the young German-born strategist’s quick thinking and sharp analysis. The two men got to know and appreciate each other. They discovered that they had a similar mindset, the result of a common background in military intelligence.

The following year, David introduced Kissinger to his brothers who were, like him, seduced by his steely brilliance. They put him in charge of the Special Studies Project of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. And then, in 1957, the door to Bilderberg was opened for Henry, when David invited him to the conference on St. Simons Island, in Georgia. This marked the birth of a pairing that would rule American foreign policy for almost half a century. The St. Simons summit was the fifth Bilderberg conference, and took place three months before the signing of the Treaties of Rome, which gave life to the European Economic Community (EEC) and Euratom – the European Atomic Energy Community. Incidentally, we wonder what Joseph Retinger thought of young Mr. Kissinger? Did he even notice him?

David Rockefeller’s older brother Nelson took Henry Kissinger on as an adviser in his campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination in 1960, 1964 and 1968. This experience allowed the academic to enter the world of politics through the front door and to become known to the whole of Washington. From that moment on, his rise was meteoric. Once elected President of the United States, Richard Nixon chose him as Secretary of State. As soon as he took office, Kissinger championed a policy of détente with the USSR and promoted a rapprochement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. In this context, he was the architect of Nixon’s famous visit to Beijing in February 1972, which greatly contributed to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

As the journalist François Honti wrote in Le Monde diplomatique at the time, “The rapprochement between Washington and Beijing can only be recorded as a positive development in international relations; it marks the end of an absurdity. The stubbornness of American governments since 1950 to prevent the world’s most populous country – which is also one of the oldest – from taking its place in the United Nations and to obstruct its recognition was an insult to common sense and an obstacle to the development of peaceful cooperation between nations.”


Kissinger was back at Bilderberg again in 1964, at the Williamsburg meeting, and then at the Woodstock meeting in 1971, before being finally co-opted by the Group in 1977, just weeks after he left office as Secretary of State. He arrived at a critical moment in Bilderberg’s history, which David Rockefeller wrote about in his Memoirs:

“In 1976, the Bilderberg Group was confronted with a scandal that almost led to its demise. Early that year, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it was alleged that Prince Bernhard had offered Lockheed the opportunity to use his official position to influence Dutch defence procurement policy in return for a substantial fee. As time went on, the evidence against the Prince accumulated, including information about his meetings with intermediaries during the Bilderberg Group meetings”.

As a result, Prince Bernhard resigned as Chairman of Bilderberg and the 1976 meeting was cancelled. The very existence of the Group was then questioned among its members. An American diplomatic telegram of 14 October 1976 bears witness to this. It is a report sent by the Department’s spokesman, Robert J. McCloskey, to the Secretary of State, Henry A. Kissinger, concerning a meeting he’d just had with the Bilderberg’s European Secretary General:

“In the course of a pleasant lunch yesterday, your longtime friend Ernst van der Beugel, among other things, expressed concern about the future of Bilderberg. The departure of Prince Bernhard , van der Beugel feels, leaves a vacuum which will very likely contribute to a slackening of interest among those who always felt that the Prince brought a certain elan to the meetings in addition to serving as a highly efficient chairman. Van der Beugel is even concerned whether under the circumstances Bilderberg can be kept going. Inasmuch as I have never attended a Bilderberg Conference I take van der Beugel’s word for all this. As with so many things, you will be better able to judge the significance of this than I. Additionally, van der Beugel said that Joe Johnson is resigning from his position with the Group and is to be replaced by Bill Bundy. Van der Beugel will be discussing all of this further with other Bilderberg hands, among them George Ball, in London at the end of the month. I don’t presume to know what value you personally attach to Bilderberg, less whether you have any feeling about who should replace the Prince. My only tentative thought is that it should probably be a European, if there is one such and if he is available. In any case, I did assume you would be interested.”

Others thought that the discredit was so great that it was better to stop. In their view, no one serious would come to the conferences any more. After analysing the pros and cons, the Steering Committee decided that it was important to continue the experiment. It had to urgently select a new chairman who could take over the task in such circumstances. Apparently, this proved to be a rather complex task. It was necessary to find someone of comparable standing to the Prince, with the same talent for mediation, experience in managing assemblies, knowledge of international political issues, particularly transatlantic relations, and who was available and ready to take on such a delicate role.

The choice finally fell on the former British Prime Minister, Lord Home of the Hirsel, who accepted the post. Thus the UK was asked to organise the first of the ‘new’ Bilderberg Conferences, in Torquay, 22-24 April 1977, which Henry attended, now free of all restraint and reserve. Since then he has hardly missed a meeting and the last one he attended was at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington in 2022.

For 65 years (45 at the ‘helm’) he has been a diligent and committed member. It is difficult, for example, to put a figure on the number of contributions, written and oral, that he has provided to Group members and their guests over the years. He was for a long time a member of the Steering Committee before being co-opted into the Group’s Advisory Board, a sort of Bilderberg Hall of Fame. This body (which no longer exists) guaranteed the coherence and strategic continuity of the organisation. It was composed of several former glories of the Steering Committee, including David Rockefeller, the Italian Giovanni Agnelli (president of the FIAT group), Henry J. Heinz II (CEO of the H.J. Heinz Company) and William Bundy (senior CIA official, former presidential advisor, Under Secretary of State and editor of the magazine Foreign Affairs).


If Kissinger’s intellectual contribution to Bilderberg activities is invaluable, his financial contribution can be quantified by the accounting data of the American Friends of Bilderberg Inc. foundation, which represents the interests of the American branch of the Group.

David Rockefeller was one of the main promoters of the creation of the American Friends of Bilderberg Inc. which aims to organise and sponsor conferences that study and discuss important issues relating to the Western alliance. It contributes to the Bilderberg Conferences, which are held in Europe and North America. This structure, which serves as a legal cover for the North American members of Bilderberg, was registered on September 1, 1975, in New York as an educational organisation. “The Foundation”, as it is called by its members, is managed by a Steering Committee composed of a variable number of members. Most of them are or have been members of the international Steering Committee of the Stichting Bilderberg Meetings. Until 2004, the Steering Committee consisted of five people: a Chairman, a Treasurer, a Secretary, plus Bilderberg Life Members David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger. Since then, this number has doubled to ten, due to a significant increase in the workload of the foundation over the past decade.

Each year, as required by law, the Foundation is obliged to make public a certain amount of data relating to its accounting management. These include the identity of its trustees, the size of its financial reserves, the amounts received and the identity of donors, the size of the contribution due to the Steering Committee International, etc.

Donations are irregularly distributed over time, as the foundation generally raises funds only as needed. Most of the donors turn out to be the members of American Friends of Bilderberg. Other patrons are regular participants in the Bilderberg Conferences. There are few cases where the donor has no direct connection with the organisation.

Each year, its trustees are required to make an active contribution to the smooth running of the organisation, including financial contributions. They give between $1,000 and $300,000 each, either personally, through their companies or through family trusts. Other donors are regular participants in the Bilderberg Conferences, companies or foundations. Among them, we should mention two that have a direct link with Henry Kissinger: the William S. Paley Foundation, of which he is still a board member, and the Freeport McMoran Copper&Gold Foundation. He was a director of the latter’s parent company, Freeport McMoran Copper&Gold, from 1988 to 1995. A company that has also been a client of his consulting firm Kissinger Associates for many years.

Finally, the available data shows that between 2001 and 2020, Henry Kissinger personally gave the association between $5,000 and $20,000 per year, for a total amount of $183,500.


Henry Kissinger founded his own consulting firm in New York in 1982, which he named Kissinger & Associates. In 1999, he joined forces with former White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty to expand the firm’s scope. The firm was renamed Kissinger McLarty Associates. The two divorced in 2008 and the firm reverted to the name Kissinger Associates.

Among the personalities Kissinger has co-opted over the years as partners in Kissinger Associates are the three former chairmen of the Bilderberg Group: Baron Carrington, Baron Roll de Ipsden and Count Etienne Davignon. Among the personalities on the staff of the company who have collaborated with the Group in the past are Timothy Geithner (2004-2008), Bill Richardson (1999-2000), Brent Scowcroft (1985-88-94) and John O. Brennan (2017).

Scowcroft caused a blip on the mainstream media’s radar when he was George H. Bush’s national security adviser, because of his links with Kissinger Associates. In 1989, for example, the Washington Post questioned the $300,000 he had received from this company while in the White House. In a memo to White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, Scowcroft stated that he would place his many shares in a blind trust and authorise the trustee(s) to sell shares in companies whose activities might conflict with his duties.

From its inception, Henry was keen to keep his company as discreet as possible. Kissinger Associates has never disclosed its client list, under US lobbying law. The company has already threatened to sue Congress in the Supreme Court to oppose a subpoena for its client list – this was in 1991, when it had to answer for its links with the notorious BCCI bank.

In another example, on 14 December 2002, Kissinger resigned as chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (commonly known as the ‘9/11 Commission’), informing President Bush that he could not serve if it meant revealing the clients of his consulting firm. In his letter, Kissinger said he was prepared to submit all relevant financial information to the White House and an independent review, as well as to other members of the joint commission. But he added that “although specific potential conflicts can be resolved in this manner, the controversy would quickly move to the consulting firm I have built and own.” And he resigned from the post, saying that “to liquidate Kissinger Associates cannot be accomplished without significantly delaying the beginning of the joint commission’s work”.

According to lawyer Anthony J. Sebok: “On the morning of the day of his resignation, Kissinger offered a compromise: He would reveal the clients’ names, but only to members of the families of the victims of 9/11, and only if they signed an agreement never to reveal those names. Whether the families would have agreed to public secrecy and private access is not clear, and is now a moot point: Kissinger resigned before it could be resolved.”

There is, however, a list of companies known to be (or have been) clients of Kissinger Associates. Many of them are linked, directly or indirectly, to the interests of Bilderberg members. Chase-Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), Fiat, H. J. Heinz & Co, Hollinger Inc, Rio Tinto and Warburg, to name but a few.


It is well known that Kissinger was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Le Duc Tho in 1973 for jointly negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam. As the Nobel Prize website recalls, this nomination caused a stir both in Western public opinion and within the Nobel Committee itself.

“Christmas 1972 saw heavy bombing raids carried out over the North Vietnamese capital Hanoi by American B-52 bombers. All over the world, thousands of people took to the streets in protest. The man who ordered the bombing was at the same time spearheading cease-fire negotiations. The armistice took effect in January 1973, and the same autumn Henry Kissinger was awarded the Peace Prize together with his counterpart Le Duc Tho. The latter refused to accept the Prize, and for the first time in the history of the Peace Prize two members left the Nobel Committee in protest.”

Less well known is that Henry was also the recipient of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen in 1987, which is awarded since 1950 to outstanding personalities who have committed themselves to European unification: “a true link between the past and the future, this prize highlights a continuity from the foundation of medieval Europe to the architecture of our modern Europe”.

The organisers commissioned the former chairman of the Bilderberg Group and recipient of the award in 1977, Walter Scheel, to deliver the eulogy in Kissinger’s honour at the award ceremony. On this occasion, he said, among other things:

“Henry Kissinger has also sharpened our consciousness of European integration. He has given impulses for a process of reflecting and reassessing European components in the power games of world politics. […] I think back with great satisfaction that the American participation in the highly complicated and laborious Berlin negotiations was executed with complete and precise adjustment to the federal government of Germany. In postwar history there has never been more accurate proof that coordinated western policy of détente is possible and that the Soviet Union can be moved to make substantial concessions.”

For his part, Kissinger said:

“… it is a source of spezial pride that America, the daughter of Europe, in part repaid its heritage by contributing idealism and resources in Europe’s darkest hour, thereby making possible European initiatives to reassert its historic role. […] In terms of that tradition, European unity and Atlantic partnership are not antithetical, but complimentary; they are not simply practical necessities—though that undoubtedly plays an important part. […] The West is now suffering from the consequences of past successes. A generation of peace has produced on the European side of the Atlantic the temptations of emancipation from superpower relationships; on the American Side there are signs of the re-emerge of historic isolationism—especially as the country’s centre of gravity shifts westward. But America, the daughter of Europe, can no more turn its back on its heritage than Europe can seek salvation in an illusory equidistance from the so-called superpowers, of which in fact Europe should be one.”

Kissinger was the second American to receive the Charlemagne Prize, after General George C. Marshall in 1959. A third would follow: Bill Clinton, in 2000. Kissinger’s win provoked many protests as well. The most important reaction was the creation of another prize in 1988: the Aachen Peace Prize, which was intended to be more independent and less subject to political pressure than the Charlemagne Committee.


Through his words, writings and actions, Henry Kissinger has inspired generations of young diplomats, politicians and strategists of all kinds. As a university professor, he was fortunate to be able to influence the minds of countless students, including Klaus Schwab of Germany. Schwab founded the European Management Symposium in 1971, which became the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in 1987. He was a member of the Steering Committee in the mid-1990s. In a book published by the WEF in 2010 to celebrate its 40 years of existence, it is written that Henry Kissinger was Schwab’s mentor when he was his professor at Harvard and that it was Kissinger who gave him his foot in the door.

Schwab himself confirmed this when he participated in an event organised in his honour by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2021. During this ‘conversation’ about ‘improving the state of the world’, the moderator asked him if there was any course or professor during his tenure at Cambridge (MA) that had particularly impressed him. He replied:

“Yes. There was one seminar of Henry Kissinger which really opened my eyes. I wasn’t accepted to the seminar but I sat in. I think he let me in because I was German and it was relatively shortly after the War. At that time, there was no many Germans here. This created a friendship which has endured until today. And as you know, Henry has been several times in Davos. I think it was mainly participating in his seminar so I developed my interest for geopolical affairs.”

In Davos in 2008, Schwab also admitted that he regularly consulted his friend and mentor, who he said was “the embodiment of someone who believed not just the art of the possible in diplomacy but in expanding what the art of the possible could be.”

Kissinger, Bilderberg and Le Cercle

The history of the mysterious organization known as “Le Cercle” is in some ways linked to that of the Bilderberg Group. To sketch out some details of this particular relationship one needs to consult the memoirs of American banker David Rockefeller, who was a member of both organisations at the same time. He writes: “The Bilderberg Group meetings more or less coincided for a time with my participation in a relatively obscure but potentially even more controversial organisation called the Pesent Group.”

The “Groupe Pesenti” or “Cercle Pesenti” is also known as the “Cercle Pinay”. Insiders simply call it “Le Cercle”. It is a secret transnational, Atlanticist and conservative forum, which was created at the beginning of the Cold War by the former President of the French Council of Ministers, Antoine Pinay. Its aim: to help forge a united Europe on Christian, conservative and anti-communist lines. As a co-founder and member of the Bilderberg Group, Pinay drew inspiration from the latter’s workings to give life to the Cercle, while giving it a structure with its own characteristics. While Bilderberg operated on a bi-partisan basis (representatives of the main democratic political parties, from both the right and the left, whether socialist, social-democrat, liberal, Christian-democrat or conservative), the Cercle was conceived on a rather partisan basis. With a few exceptions, its members were all from conservative backgrounds. The second feature of the Cercle was that it was intended to add action to reflection.

While Pinay assumed the presidency of the Cercle, he delegated the management of the organisation to one of his close friends, the lawyer Jean-Paul Léon Violet, known as Jean Violet. He was a man of the shadows, with a troubled past. Both shared the feeling that a united, stable and prosperous Europe could only be established on the basis of a solid Paris-Bonn axis. The key to success lay, in their view, in Franco-German reconciliation. Among the first people they involved were Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Otto de Hasbourg and Carlo Pesenti. Initially, the members of the Cercle were recruited mainly from among politicians and diplomats who were dedicated to the political and economic integration of the Old Continent. They were also joined by bankers, industrialists, academics, journalists and heads of intelligence services.

In the 1960s, when protest took hold of Western student circles, the Circle began to deal with internal security issues as well, such as counter-subversive and counter-insurgency policies. Experts in psychological and unconventional warfare, both civilian and military, began to be co-opted. These cold warriors fought the scarlet enemy by all means, including the most devious. All in absolute secrecy. This explains why Rockefeller considered that ‘The Circle’, compared to Bilderberg, “would be even more controversial”.

David Rockefeller was approached by Carlo Pesenti at a forum organised by the Chase in Paris in October 1967. The Italian offered to join a “very closed circle” that discussed the “major contemporary trends in European and world politics”. Because Pesenti was a good client of the bank and because the group was chaired by Pinay, his colleague in Bilderberg, Rockefeller accepted. When he entered, he could see that it was indeed made up of eminent personalities, including “Giulio Andreotti and Franz-Josef Strauss”.

What struck him at first was that Le Cercle was composed mainly of Europeans and that he was the only American invited, “although on rare occasions, when the group met in Washington, Henry Kissinger, then President Nixon’s National Security Adviser, came to dine with us”.
This is not surprising given the symbiotic relationship between the two men. The question is more likely to be asked: why did members of the Circle meet in Washington if it was essentially composed of Europeans, interested in discussing only European issues? Part of the answer was given in 1997 by the former British Conservative MP Alan Clark, when he revealed that Le Cercle was in fact supervised and funded by the CIA.

If this was the case, it is hard to imagine that David Rockefeller did not know about it. If, as he claims, he was indeed the first American member of the group, he was certainly not the last. From the few lists of participants that have leaked throughout the years, it would seem that in addition to Henry Kissinger, several of his compatriots also attended the Circle’s meetings later on. These included Richard Nixon, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Margo Carlisle, William Casey, Miles Costick, Jeffrey B. Gyner, Admiral Robert J. Hanks, William Schneider, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Arnold M. Silver, General Richard G. Stilwell, Paul A. Volcker, Paul M. Weyrich and William A. Wilson. Over time, delegations from Canada, Colombia and South Africa were invited to join the discussions. Then, as the international political situation evolved, the Circle began to invite senior figures from the Middle East as well.

A footnote on this: an article in the Observer from April 2003 mentions the Sultan of Oman and King Hussein of Jordan as guests. In 2003, the chairman of Le Cercle was the former UK Chancellor, Norman Lamont, who attended the 1995 Bilderberg meeting in Zurich. According to the Observer: “It is perhaps his links with Le Cercle which reinforce Lamont’s most controversial business relationship, that with Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, who was arrested in Britain last Monday. Auchi, who is known to have attended a number of Le Cercle meetings, made millions selling Italian warships to the Iraqi regime in 1980. Lamont is a director of one of Auchi’s biggest companies, Compagnie Internationale de Participations Bancaires et Financieres, the financial arm of General Mediterranean Holdings, which holds a stake in BNP Paribas and Jordan’s Union Bank for Savings and Investment.”


The 68th Bilderberg Conference took place in Washington D.C. from 2 to 5 June 2022. This meeting will go down in the annals of the Group for the level of secrecy that surrounded its organisation. However, one of the participants, the Italian journalist Stefano Feltri, published an article after the meeting in which he summarised his impressions of the discussions in a few lines. A valuable testimony, like the one he offered in 2019, which revealed two things: that the war in Ukraine was the leitmotif of all the discussions. And that the opinions on this subject were many and varied.

In fact, the cream of Western security pomp and circumstance was gathered at the Mandarin Oriental hotel to talk about the war in Ukraine, together with the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarowa, and the CEO of Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko. But also to discuss a possible future confrontation with China, as British journalist Gideon Rachman suggested in an article entitled ‘Ukraine and the start of a second cold war’ , which appeared in the Financial Times the day after the meeting.

In this context, the announced presence of the former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, was likely to agitate people. Indeed, during the Davos forum, which had taken place a few weeks earlier, Kissinger had made appeasing remarks about Russia that had provoked strong reactions in Ukraine and internationally. Outraged by his proposal to concede Ukrainian territories to Moscow in order to obtain peace, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was keen to send him this reply: “It seems that Mr Kissinger’s calendar is not 2022 but 1938, and he thought he was speaking to an audience not in Davos but in Munich at that time.

Kissinger was in a contradictory situation: his Cold War experience made him one of the ‘wise men’ to be listened to, but his ties to Putin must have placed him among the suspects of Russophilia. In a 2012 article, the New York Times revealed that Putin and Kissinger were “old friends” and had met a dozen times over the years. In 2017, for example, they met at the Kremlin.

As Gideon Rachman explains in the article mentioned above, Kissinger continues to be a source of inspiration for some nostalgic people:
“While there is some glib talk in the west about attempting to ‘do a Kissinger’ — and once again engineer a split between Russia and China, as happened in the 1970s — few in Washington believe that is a plausible near-term prospect. On the contrary, US officials see China as very firmly in Russia’s corner. Dissuading Beijing from translating its pro-Russian sentiments into direct military or economic support for Moscow remains a top American priority.”

Since the Washington meeting, much has happened and Kissinger has come to reconsider his position on Russia, the war and Ukraine’s future. In July 2022, for example, he admitted that the Ukrainian territories seized during the Russian invasion should not be ceded in any negotiations with Moscow. At the Davos Forum in January 2023, he went further and said that he now supported Ukraine’s membership of NATO.

At the meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed this development: “I am glad that Mr Kissinger has changed his mind. For us today, the priority, our political task is for famous people, various political figures – who are relevant today or used to be relevant – to recognise the huge mistake that Putin himself has made, and recognise that this is Russian aggression, recognise these important points, so that they also put political pressure on Russia to end this bloody aggression”.


The Washingberg 2022


The White House turned orange for a night on Friday, June 3, 2022, “to raise awareness about gun violence”. The question is whether, by any chance, some of the residents of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, less than a mile away, took this as a thoughtful gesture towards them? If so, then President Joe Robinet Biden will have succeeded in killing two birds with one stone, without even realising it.

We are talking about the descendant of William of Orange, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, his Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, all three of whom were attending the 68th Bilderberg Conference, which took place from 2 to 5 June 2022, at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC (and when you consider that the “mandarin” is orange, the circle is complete). Interestingly, this hotel is part of the Mandarin Oriental International Limited group, whose main shareholder is the British company Jardine Matheson, which became famous in the 19th century for its crucial role in the opium trade in China.


Joking aside, this American edition of the Bilderberg Conferences will go down in the annals of the Group for its secrecy. For the past twenty years, Bilderberg has been in the habit of informing the public of the meetings a few days before they take place. This allowed those interested in the summit to make arrangements in time to attend. This time, the Group only announced the event once the meeting was underway. This contradicts what the spokesperson for the organisation wrote to us two months ago: “Information about our next meeting will be made available as in all other years, i.e. a few days in advance we will publish the location, agenda and list of participants.”

It’s noteworthy that this year a quarter of the members of the group’s Steering Committee did not attend, which might suggest that the meeting was organised in haste: not enough time for everyone to organise their busy schedules around it.

This delay in the dissemination of information prevented, de facto, any European journalist from being able to arrive in Washington in time. This leads to a second observation: on the American side, astonishingly there were only two independent journalists with their cameras trained on the Mandarin Oriental: Josh Friedman and Luke Rudkowski. And that’s all. For four days, they were literally the only ones covering the event on site. Can you imagine? With the tens of thousands of journalists in the US, and the many thousands in Washington itself. It’s a sad fact that there were five times as many media representatives inside the hotel as outside. Inside the conference walls there were managers, owners, editors and journalists from groups such as Prisa, Axel Springer, The Economist, Financial Times, The Atlantic, Domani, Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper, Habertürk News Network, Weekendavisen and YetkinReport.

On the outside, Josh Friedman first had to scour the city to find out where the meeting was taking place, since the Bilderberg press release did not mention the name of the hotel where the meeting was taking place. It simply said that the meeting was taking place in Washington D.C. Once he arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, it took him some time to be sure he was in the right place, as there was nothing to confirm or deny this, except for the tarpaulin fence that hermetically enclosed the hotel. His experience (he had covered several Bilderberg meetings in the past) and his instinct told him it was there, but his professional conscience demanded that he be certain. Fortunately, some well-known faces appeared, such as Mark Carney and Mark Rutte, which reassured him, and at the same time electrified him. Imagine his emotion at being the only journalist in the world (Luke Rudkowski only joined him in the evening from New York) to report on this exclusive transatlantic summit.

The footage Friedman and Rudkowski shot around the Mandarin Oriental is remarkable. It is hardly conceivable that 130 of the most influential figures in the Atlantic Alliance could meet like that, in the heart of Washington, for four days, during a war, with literally only two good souls to witness it.

To grasp the general mood of the discussions, one would do well to read the article ‘Ukraine and the start of a second cold war’ written by one of the journalists allowed inside the charmed circle, Gideon Rachman, and published on the Financial Times website on 6.6.2022, the day after the end of the conference. It was Rachman’s fifth attendance in twenty years. In his article Rachman prefers not mention the ‘B Word’, as his colleague Martin Wolf usually does when reporting on his participations, but its content is too close to the agenda not to reflect it.


Let’s get to the heart of the matter with the agenda of the meeting, which was the following:

  1. Geopolitical Realignments
  2. NATO Challenges
  3. China
  4. Indo-Pacific Realignment
  5. Sino-US Tech Competition
  6. Russia
  7. Continuity of Government and the Economy
  8. Disruption of the Global Financial System
  9. Disinformation
  10. Energy Security and Sustainability
  11. Post Pandemic Health
  12. Fragmentation of Democratic Societies
  13. Trade and Deglobalisation
  14. Ukraine

Two sessions are particularly noteworthy because of their titles: sessions 7 and 8, ‘Continuity of Government and the Economy’ and ‘Disruption of the Global Financial System’. These serious issues are characteristic of times of war (inter-state or civil). The agenda is creaking under the weight of war and “geopolitical realignments”, and this is reflected in the list of participants.


Gathered in Washington for this Bilderberg conference was the top brass of the military-industrial complex, as President Dwight Eisenhower defined it in his farewell address on 17 January 1961. They were there to talk about the war in Ukraine, of course, in the company of the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarowa, and the CEO of the Ukrainian energy company, Naftagaz, Yuriy Vitrenko. But also to discuss a possible future confrontation with China.

Conference regular, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, had the opportunity in Washington to discuss international affairs with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, as he himself reported on Twitter : “I was pleased to meet with Prime Minister @MarinSanna of our close partner Finland in Washington. We discussed the need to address #Turkey’s concerns and to advance Finland and Sweden’s application for NATO membership.”

It is a pity that he did not specify in what context their meeting took place and where the photo he published as an attachment was taken.
Nevertheless, as journalist Charlie Skelton wrote on his twitter account, “It’s a mad irony that the head of NATO is doing more actual reporting on #bilderberg2022 than almost every news outlet in the world.”

In addition to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US National Security Council Director Jake Sullivan and leaders of the CIA, CISA, GCHQ and DGSE, Kurt Campbell, the White House Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific at the National Security Council, was also present. The Senior Director for Technology and National Security at the National Security Council, Tarun Chhabra. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Celeste Wallander. And the Director of the Office of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, James H. Baker.

For Europe, the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas, and the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders were present, as already mentioned, accompanied by the President of the Eurogroup and Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Other politicians and public present included:
• US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo.
• US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Adewale Adeyemo.
• Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares.
• Swiss Secretary of State of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Livia Leu.
• Greek Minister for Digital Governance, Kyriakos Pierrakakis.
• Belgian Minister for Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten.
• Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren.
• Irish Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne.
• UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove.
• The Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and former military intelligence officer, the Franco-British Tom Tugendhat.

Some political figures indicated their participation in the meeting in their official schedule. This is the case of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel; the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas; the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders; the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin; and the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland.

Mr Reynders also made it clear that he would participate in the panel on ‘disinformation’ at the meeting. Given his responsibilities, this suggests that a judicial solution to the problem at European level is in the offing. This means that we can expect tougher legislation against the spreaders of fake news in the coming months.

Looking now at the private sector, the conference boasted CEOs and directors from some of the world’s biggest companies. Big oil and big pharma were represented by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, BP, Shell and TotalEnergies. Joining them were the heads of Brookfield Asset Management, CDPQ, Evercore, Goldman Sachs International, Enel, AXA, SwissRe, UBS, SEB, Volvo, Heineken, KKR, Ryanair, Microsoft, Palantir, Facebook, DeepMind, OpenAI, and InflectionAI, to name just a few.

Academics and senior members from some of the West’s most influential NGOs were present: the Center for European Policy Analysis sent the former head of the US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges and a member of its International Leadership Council, Anne Applebaum. From the Hudson Institute came senior fellow, Nadia Schadlow, a former member of the National Security Council, and a current member of Bilderberg’s Steering Committee. The Institut Montaigne was represented by its chairman, Henri de Castries, who is also a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment (and the former chair of Bilderberg’s Steering Committee). Also from Carnegie: the American diplomat and academic Ashley J. Tellis, who is an advisor to the US Chief of Naval Operations.

Perhaps the best example of the crossover between NGO advisors, international diplomacy and the military is conference attendee William J. Burns. The former deputy Secretary of State was President of the Carnegie Endowment and was briefly on the Steering Committee of Bilderberg before resigning from both to become Director of the CIA in March 2021.

Besides Burns, four other active intelligence chiefs attended the 2022 conference: the head of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters; the director of France’s external intelligence agency, DGSE; the leader of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. Former spy chiefs at the talks include David Petraeus (CIA) and Sir John Sawers (MI6), now a board member of Bilderberg and BP.

The list of participants also includes the doyen of US intelligence and diplomacy, former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. At 99 years of age, he is still professionally active as President of Kissinger Associates Inc. A former member of the Steering Committee, he has participated in the Bilderberg Conferences since 1957. 65 years of loyalty to the Club is something to celebrate! At the same time, he confirmed his record of seniority within the Group. This record was previously held in Montreux in 2019 by his friend and mentor, the late David Rockefeller, who had been linked to the Group for a mere 61 years, from 1954 until his death in 2015.

Given the war in Ukraine and the tense situation with Russia, Kissinger must have found himself in a contradictory situation. If, on the one hand, his Cold War experience was to propel him among the ‘wise’, his ties with Putin were to place him among the suspects of Russophilia.

In an article published in 2012, the New York Times revealed that Putin and Kissinger were “old friends” and that they had met a dozen times over the years. Thereafter, they met several more times, as in 2017, in the Kremlin. As Gideon Rachman explained in the above-mentioned article, Kissinger continues to be a source of inspiration for some nostalgics: “While there is some glib talk in the West about attempting to “do a Kissinger” — and once again engineer a split between Russia and China, as happened in the 1970s — few in Washington believe that is a plausible near-term prospect. On the contrary, US officials see China as very firmly in Russia’s corner. Dissuading Beijing from translating its pro-Russian sentiments into direct military or economic support for Moscow remains a top American priority. “


To sum up — the list of participants, the agenda of the meeting and the level of secrecy surrounding it, suggest that we are about to enter a rather turbulent period, where anything can happen, be it military, political, economic or social. “Deglobalisation” is unlikely to be a joyous and happy process, especially in a context of societal ‘fragmentation’ and economic stagflation. Moreover, as Gideon Rachman reminded us in the article cited above, the Biden administration’s policymakers are already defining the war in Ukraine in global terms. They see Russia and China as partners in a challenge to the “world order”.

These policymakers “see Russia and China as partners in a challenge to the ‘rules-based order’, upheld by the US and its allies. The battles in Ukraine are currently the central theatre of that wider struggle.
Viewed from Washington, security threats in Europe and Asia are now so deeply connected that the two continents are seen by officials as a ‘single operating system’.”

As the Bilderberg agenda suggests, we are currently witnessing many ‘geopolitical realignments’, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. As Vaimiti Goin wrote in an article entitled: ‘The Indopacific Space, a geopolitical concept with variable geometry in the face of power rivalries” (« L’espace Indopacifique, un concept géopolitique à géométrie variable face aux rivalités des puissances ») published in 2021: “The use of the Indo-Pacific concept in international relations is not neutral: it underpins an ideological vision. There are two main visions: a first vision based on rivalry with China and a second one defending a free and open space including China. The main point of confrontation between the two visions, however, is China’s refusal to recognise the geographical and ideological existence of such a space, which it perceives as a strategy of containment against it.”

So what Martin Wolf predicted when he returned from the Montreux Conference in 2019 seems to be taking shape: “The disappearance of the Soviet Union left a big hole. The ‘war on terror’ was an inadequate replacement. But China ticks all boxes. For the US, it can be the ideological, military and economic enemy many need (…). Across-the-board rivalry with China is becoming an organising principle of US economic, foreign and security policies.”

William J. Burns: The CIA’s new Bilderberg boss

Hurrah Hurrah, a ‘Bilderberger’ in the CIA!

On January 11, 2021, the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, designated the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Meetings, William J. Burns, as the new director of the CIA. This appointment is significant because it marks the return of diplomacy to the forefront of the American political scene, dear to the defenders of the ‘Bi-partisan center’ and of the ‘Trans-Atlantic dialogue’.

Indeed, Mr. Burns, who grew up in the shadow of the Pentagon, is a pure product of the State Department, those seasoned with English sauce. In his 33-year career in the service of American diplomacy, he has witnessed the main events that marked the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, from the epilogue of the Cold War to the Arab Spring.

Three decades of diplomacy

Son of Major General William F. Burns (former Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan), William Junior studied History at La Salle University in Philadelphia, before obtaining a doctorate in International Relations from St. John’s College, Oxford, thanks to a Marshall scholarship, funded by the British taxpayer. He entered the State Department in 1982, where he rose through the ranks, until becoming Deputy Secretary of State, from 2011 to 2014. To be exact, he was even acting Secretary of State, from January 20 to 21, 2009.

Elegant and polite, a diplomat to the tips of his nails, Mr. Burns is a great state clerk who has always been keen to defend the country’s superior interests, beyond all partisan quarrels. He served in positions of responsibility both under the Republicans and under the Democrats, making himself, at every stage, ever more indispensable. After having been Deputy Director of Policy Planning Staff and Executive Secretary of the State Department, after advising Secretaries of State Warren Cristopher and Madeleine Albright, Mr. Burns was appointed, in 1998, as United States Ambassador to Jordan, by President Clinton. When George W. Bush arrived at the White House, he first confirmed him in office and later appointed him Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in June 2001.

Burns held this post until 2005, when he was appointed Ambassador to Russia (a springboard in the career of any diplomat. Among his predecessors are William Averell Harriman, Walter Bedell Smith, George F. Kennan and Charles E. Bohlen). When Barack Obama arrived at the White House, he first confirmed him in office and later appointed him Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. This was in 2008. In 2011, Burns was propelled to the post of Under-Secretary of State, which he would occupy until his retirement in 2014. On this occasion, he saw himself awarded the US intelligence Community Medallion, for his discreet but decisive role in several sensitive issues involving national security (such as those of Israel-Palestine, Libya and Iran).

Mr. Burns forged a real bond of trust with Hillary Clinton, who saw in him a potential heavyweight in her future government, once she had defeated Donald Trump. However, history would have it otherwise, and Mr. Burns was then offered the post of President of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. This is a position as prestigious as it is strategic, given the key role played by this organization in the implementation of American foreign policies. The official role and the unofficial one.

Carnegie and Bilderberg

The Carnegie Foundation’s involvement in the creation of the American branch of Bilderberg in the 1950s is proof of this. It provided strategic, financial and logistical support to the Group during the early years of its existence, which proved to be vital. Its then president, Joseph E. Johnson (1950-1971) became Secretary General for the Bilderberg group in the United States in 1957 and remained so until 1975.

In this role, he invited his successor to the Carnegie Foundation, Thomas L. Hugues (1971-1991), to participate in the 1971 and 1972 Conferences. Jessica T. Mathews, who was President of the Carnegie Foundation from 1997 to 2015, attended virtually all of the Bilderberg Meetings between 1999 and 2017, and served for a long time on the Steering Committee. Mr. Burns participated in the Bilderberg Meetings of 2015 (Telfs, Austria), 2016 (Dresden, Germany), 2017 (Chantilly, Virginia) and 2018 (Turin, Italian), before being co-opted, quite naturally, within the ranks of the Steering Committee.

Burns’ appointment as head of the CIA was greeted with delight by his predecessor, retired General David Petraeus, who told Politico that it was “a truly inspired choice”, and that Burns would “bring vast international experience, global relationships, and impressive, steady leadership.” Petraeus himself has participated in 7 Bilderberg Conferences, from 2013 to 2019, in his role as President of the KKR Global Institute (since May 2013) and partner of the KKR Investment Fund (since December 2014). He was invited along by his employer, the spry billionaire Henry Kravis, who is none other than the husband of Marie-Josée Drouin Kravis, current co-Chairman of Bilderberg and historic president of its American branch. So Petraeus knows what he’s talking about when he speaks of the importance of Mr. Burns’ “global relationships”.

Bilderberg and the CIA

The appointment of Mr. Burns is very moving when one also knows the ‘family ties’ between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Bilderberg association based in the Netherlands. Indeed, the former Director of the CIA (1950-53), General Walter Bedell Smith, was the group’s first supporter in the United States and the main architect of the American branch, with the support of President Dwight Eisenhower and the help from his Psychological Warfare Advisor, General Charles Douglas Jackson.

The majority of the founding members of the Bilderberg had a direct connection to the intelligence community. From their experience during the war, in particular, they had kept both a forma mentis and a modus operandi that is reflected in the group’s natural inclination for secrecy.

Relations between Bilderberg and the international community of secret services have occupied an increasingly important place behind the scenes of power since September 11, 2001. Since then, and even more since the financial crisis of 2007-2011, a growing number of representatives of Western secret services (MI6, GCHQ, NSA, DGSE, DDIS) have been invited to participate in the annual conferences. Former MI6 Director Sir John Sawers also sits on the Steering Committee along with Mr Burns. An unprecedented situation, which never happened even in the darkest hours of the Cold War.

The CIA-Bilderberg relationship has always been special, but now with with Mr. Burns at the helm of ‘The Company’ we can be assured that it will grow even stronger in the years to come.

Endnote: Now that he is in charge, we urge Mr. Burns to reconsider the new CIA fractal logo. We of course understand the desire to encourage more diversity but the old logo is a mythical brand of the 20th century. It is full of color, it features the noble eagle, it symbolizes life, strength and action, while this new look manages to be both clumsy and sinster, lacking any ounce of the style of Mr. Burns. And as they say in Paris… moche is moche.

In Memoriam : Bertrand Collomb (1942 – 2019)

The honorary president of Lafarge (now LafargeHolcim), Bertrand Collomb, passed away on May 24, 2019, at the age of 76. As soon as the news was known, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, paid tribute to the memory of this “great captain of French industry”, who was also a “citizen engaged in the challenges of his time”. 

His career 

Born in Lyon (Rhone) in 1942, after studying at the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines, Bertrand Collomb obtained a PhD in the United States, at the University of Texas. He began his career in administration, in the Ministry of Industry. He passed through the Ministries of Administrative Reforms and National Education, before joining Lafarge, the world leader in building materials. He spent the rest of his career there, becoming Chairman and CEO and Chairman of the Board.

During his time at Lafarge, Bertrand Collomb turned the company into a global economic player. Following the acquisition of Lafarge by Swiss cement company Holcim in 2015, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the new LafargeHolcim Group. He left office in 2018, when he reached 75, the age limit to sit as a director.

His involvement in the Bilderberg Group

Betrand Collomb was one of 13 French who have represented their country in the Bilderberg since 1954. Antoine Pinay and Guy Mollet were the first French members of the Group. Succeeded, besides Collomb, by the Governor of the Bank of France Wilfrid S. Baumgartner, the banker Edmond de Rothschild, the financier Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, the banker André Lévy-Lang, the industrialist Ernest-Antoine Seillière, the thinker Thierry de Montbrial, the insurer Henri de Castries, the Honorary Governor of the Bank of France Jean-Claude Trichet, the lawyer Nicolas Baverez, as well as the businesswoman Patricia Barbizet.

Bertrand Collomb was a member of the Steering Committee at the turn of the millennium, at the same time as André Lévy-Lang. He participated in 14 Conferences of Bilderberg. The first was in 1991 in Baden-Baden, Germany. He was reinvited the following year, in Evian-les-Bains, France. Subsequently, it took him four years to receive the precious invitation again. From that moment and for almost twelve years, he took an active part in the management of the Group. The last meeting he attended was that of 2008, in Chantilly, United States.

The meeting of Evian-les-Bains in 1992 represented a pivotal moment in Bilderberg’s history. This was the first meeting of the Group after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (7 February 1992), which gave life to the European Union and, at the same time, it was the first meeting after the dissolution of the Soviet Union (December 26, 1991). It represented a real revival of the Bilderberg Group in France and France in Bilderberg. Eighteen French were invited to take part in the meeting. Among them,  besides Collomb, Prime Minister Pierre Bérégovoy, who was accompanied by the Minister of Economy and Finance Michel Sapin, the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic Hubert Védrine, the diplomatic advisor of President François Mitterand, Pierre Morel and of Parliamentarian Jacques Toubon. In addition to the members and former members of the Steering Committee, Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière (FIMALAC), André Lévy-Lang (Paribas), Thierry de Montbrial (IFRI) and Ernest-Antoine Seillière (Compagnie Générale d’Industrie et de Participations), it is possible to mention also the presence of Bernard Arnault (LVMH), Loïk Le Floch-Prigent (ELF), Philippe Jaffre (Credit Agricole), Claude de Kemoularia (Paribas), Antoine Riboud (Danone), Philippe Villin (Le Figaro) Philippe Lagayette (Banque de France ) and Alexandre Lamfalussy (BIS).

The agenda of the meeting was as follows : (I) Prospects for the former Soviet Republics – (II) What Should be done for Eastern Europe ? – (III) Whither the United States ? – (IV) The World Economy. – (V) Whither Europe ? – (VI) Remarks of Pierre Bérégovoy, Prime Minister of France. – (VII) Soviet Union : the View from Moscow. – (VIII) Current events : Yugoslavia. – (IX) The Migration issue. – (X) The evolving West/West Relationship.

The voice of France

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, few French people have been invited to participate in the Bilderberg Conferences as keynote speakers. Bertrand Collomb was one of them. He was asked to co-host a session at the 1997 meeting in Atlanta, USA entitled “The Return of the European Left: Sign of Innovation or Reaction?”. He shared the stage with Thierry de Montbrial, British academic Will Hutton and House Leader of the Opposition Robert M.J.C. Cranborne (also known as Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquis of Salisbury). All this, under the watchful eye of moderator of the discussion, Henry A. Kissinger.

Les “Amis français du Bilderberg”

The French branch of the Bilderberg Group is organized into a non-profit organization called “Les amis français du Bilderberg” (which means “The Bilderberg’s French Friends”). Bertrand Collomb will be the administrator and treasurer when he is called to represent France in the Steering Committee. Founded in 1990, its founders gave it the mission “to ensure the promotion and development of the image, fame and influence of the Bilderberg in France“. 

These were: Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, who became the first president. Thierry de Montbrial, who assumed the duties of Secretary General. And finally, Véronique Morali, who became the treasurer. The two men then sat on the International Steering Committee. The first was then the Vice President and General Manager of L’Oréal. The second was the founder and Managing Director of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). Ms. Morali, meanwhile, was at the time the right arm of Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière. Together, they had set up Financière Marc de Lacharrière (FIMALAC), a holding company that was to allow its owner to become a billionaire in a few years, by putting his hand on such nuggets as the Fitch Group (owner of the company Fitch Ratings, one of the world’s largest rating agencies, with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s).

The legal seat of the association “Les amis français du Bilderberg” was initially established at 10 Place du Général-Catroux, in Paris, in the offices of the journal Valeurs actuelles, owned by Marc de Lacharrière. When, two years later, he and Veronique Morali left their positions at the Bilderberg, it was necessary to find them substitutes but also a new legal seat. A formality that the association will have to fulfill three times, in less than twenty years, given the limited number of its members (three maximum) and their frequent renewal (the mandates last on average four years). From the 17th arrondissement he migrated first in the 2nd, 41 avenue de l’Opera, hosted by a major agency Bank Paribas. Then, on February 12, 2002, he was moved to 61, rue de Belles-Feuilles (16th), at the headquarters of Lafarge.

This corresponds to the moment when Bertrand Collomb was co-opted within the Group and became treasurer of his French branch.

Strange as it may seem, it seems that before 1990, the French branch of the Bilderberg was devoid of legal form. It continued to cultivate the informal spirit desired by the founders of the Group, while other national branches – American, British and Dutch in particular – had long since made the choice to appear in the open and to transform themselves into a set of associations and national foundations, coordinated by a central office in the Netherlands. All this, following the disappointments of Prince Bernhard, in 1976.

The first question that comes to mind is why having waited almost fifteen years before following the example set by the Anglo-Saxon countries? The second is what was the reason that pushed the members to embark on the path of transformation?

A semblance of response is given by a statement: the creation of the association coincides with the obtaining by France of the mandate to organize the Bilderberg Conference of 1992. The laws and morals had changed since the last meeting which took place in France, in Megève, in 1974. It was no longer conceivable to organize such an event, draining large amounts of money and requiring considerable logistics, without resorting to a legal structure that assumes the legal responsibility. And it is therefore probably out of necessity that the French members of the Steering Committee opted for the legal form of a non-profit law association of 1901.

Other functions

As we have said, Bertrand Collomb spent his entire career at Lafarge. Beyond these functions, he will cumulate others, in the private as in the associative sector.

Collomb was appointed President of the French Association of Private Enterprises (Afep), in 2001. Subsequently, he will assume the functions of Chairman of the Board of Directors of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) from 2004 to 2011. His successor will be Thierry de Montbrial, one of the founders of IFRI and his predecessor in the Bilderberg Group. His French team-mate on the Steering Committee, André Lévy-Lang, is also a member of the IFRI Board of Directors.

For the record, all three will participate together in the Bilderberg Conference of 1997, which will take place in Atlanta, USA. With them, two other compatriots: the academic Olivier Roy and the vice-president for strategic coordination of MatraHachette, Jean-Louis Gergorin, who was also one of the co-founders of IFRI, in 1979.

At the time of his death, Bertrand Collomb was President of the Institut des hautes études pour la science et la technologie (IHEST, Institute of Advanced Studies for Science and Technology). He was also a member of the Trilateral Commission Europe (the most famous Bilderberg’s” offshoot”) as well as the Club “Le Siècle”, an exclusive French circle of reflection of which several leaders or former leaders participated in the Bilderberg Meetings. To name just a few: Claude Bébéar, Jerome Monod, Jean François-Poncet, Simon Nora, Rigaud Jacques, Denis Olivennes and Jean-Pierre Jouyet. Other members played a role in the smooth functioning of the Steering Committee, like André Lévy-Lang and Jean-Claude Trichet.

Bertrand Collomb has been a director of multinational companies like Total, DuPont, Unilever and Vivendi Universal, but also a member of the European Round Table (ERT), President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Director of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation (IASCF).

Member of the Institut de France, Bertrand Collomb was President of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences for 2013. He was Commander of the Legion of Honor and Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit.

Henri de Castries, a True Friend of Turkey

The current Chairman of the Bilderberg Meetings, the French financier Henri de Castries, is a great friend of Turkey. This friendship is reflected in his involvement in the Institut du Bosphore — a French-Turkish think-tank created in 2009 at the initiative of TÜSIAD (the Turkish Industry & Business Association) and advertising giant Euro RSCG (now part of Havas Worldwide).

In fact, De Castries was part of the select group who announced the launch of the Institute, on September 8th, 2009. And over the years he’s been a speaker at a number of conferences and events held by the Institute.

The aim of the Institute, according to its website, is to provide “a space for exchange and debate” in order “to strengthen ties between France and Turkey” and “to contribute and shape public policies both in France and Turkey.” The mission statement continues:

It debates topics such as global politics, economy, social and cultural issues with a view to highlighting Turkey’s involvement in global society and in particular its close ties with the European Union and France. The Institut du Bosphore is an independent organization bringing together high-level Turkish and French personalities from various backgrounds including politicians, businessmen, economists, experts and intellectuals.

At the heart of the Institute is its Scientific Committee, which meets up to twice a year in Paris to discuss current issues concerning France-Turkey-EU relations. Henri de Castries was the founding president of the Scientific Committee — as the Institute website explains:

 Since the Scientific Committee’s establishment in 2009, the co-presidency had been held by Henri de Castries, Chairman and CEO of AXA Management Board, until the end of 2013 and four-time Bilderberg attendee Kemal Derviş*, Vice-President of Brookings Institution and Advisor to the Sabancı University, until the end of 2015.

At a ceremony in Istanbul in 2014, Henri de Castries was awarded TÜSIAD’s “Bosphorus Prize” for the year 2012, in recognition of his contribution to “the consolidation of the links between Turkey and France”.

Amongst other things, De Castries was praised for being President of the Organizing Committee of “La Saison de la Turquie en France”, a cultural event  that was celebrated in France between July 2009 and March 2010.

According to the official brochure for La Saison de la Turquie en France:

A delegation of French entrepreneurs, conducted by Henri de Castries, Chairman of the AXA Group Executive Board and President of the Season of Turkey in France, visited Ankara and Istanbul in July 2009, in order to study the means of increase cooperation between companies in both countries. This visit was an opportunity for high level meetings with Turkish politicians.

To this day, Castries and Dervis remain members of the Institut du Bosphore’s Scientific Committee, alongside the former French representative in the Bilderberg Group, Thierry de Montbrial, and several former participants in the Bilderberg Conferences. Among them: Alexandre Adler, Ümit Nazli Boyner, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Alain Juppé, Anne Lauvergeon, Pierre Lellouche, Gérard Mestrallet et Soli Özel.

The institute’s Scientific Committee also included former Bilderberg insider, the late Mustafa Koç, during the last years of his life. His brother, Ömer M. Koç, who replaced him on Bilderberg’s Steering Committee, is a Vice President of TÜSIAD’s High Advisory Council.


* Kemal Dervis attended Bilderberg Meetings in 2002, 04, 06 and ’07. In 2005, he was expected to lead Turkey’s EU membership negotiations, before being elected UNDP Administrator. He was then be replaced by another regular at the Bilderberg Conferences, Ali Babacan.

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