American Confusion, 1945-1950
The New Republic was founded by Willard and Dorothy Straight, using her money, in 1914, and continued to be supported by her financial contributions until March 23, 1953. The original purpose for establishing the paper was to provide an outlet for the progressive Left and to guide it quietly in an Anglophile direction. This latter task was entrusted to a young man, only four years out of Harvard, but already a member of the mysterious Round Table group, which has played a major role in directing England's foreign policy since its formal establishment in 1909. This new recruit, Walter Lippmann, has been, from 1914 to the present, the authentic spokesman in American journalism for the Establishments on both sides of the Atlantic in international affairs. His biweekly columns, which appear in hundreds of American papers, are copyrighted by the New York Herald Tribune which is now owned by J. H. Whittney. It was these connections, as a link between Wall Street and the Round Table Group, which gave Lippmann the opportunity in 1918, while still in his twenties, to be the official interpreter of the meaning of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points to the British government.
948 (IPR - Institute of Pacific Relations)
The true explanation of what happened is not yet completely known and, as far as it is known, is too complicated to elucidate here. It is however, clear that many persons who were born in the period 1900-1920 and came to maturity in the period 1928-1940 were so influenced by their experiences of war, depression, and insecurity that they adopted more or less unconsciously, certain aspects of the Communist ideology (such as the economic interpretation of history, the role of a dualist class struggle in human events, or the exploitative interpretation of role of capital in the productive system and of the possessing groups any society). Many of these ideas were nonsense, even in terms of own experiences, but they were facile interpretative guides for people who, whatever their expert knowledge of their special areas, were 1acking in total perspective on society as a whole or human experience as a whole. Moreover, many of these people felt an unconscious obligation to "help the underdog." This favorable attitude toward the downtrodden and the oppressed was rooted in our Western Christian heritage, especially in nineteenth-century humanitarianism, and in the older Christan idea that all persons are redeemable and will prove trustworthy if they are but trusted. This outlook was, for example, prevalent in that ubiquitous intriguer, Lionel Curtis, who was the original guide and parent of the IPR and of many similar organizations. As children of missionaries, many of the organizers and members of the IPR obtained this spirit of their family background along with their knowledge of the Far Estern languages which made them "experts."
It must be confessed that the IPR had many of the marks of a fellow traveler or Communist "captive" organizationů
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The radical Right version of these events as written up by John T. Flynn, Freda Utley, and others, was even more remote from the truth than were Budenz's or Bentley's versions, although it had a tremendous impact on American opinion and American relations with other countries in the years 1947-1955. This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements, operating from the White House itself and controlling all the chief avenues of publicity in the United States, to destroy the American way of life, based on private enterprise, laissez faire, and isolationism, in behalf of alien ideologies of Russian Socialism and British cosmopolitanism (or internationalism). This plot, if we are to believe the myth, worked through such avenues of publicity as The New York Times and the Herald Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Magazine and had at its core the wild-eyed and bushy-haired theoreticians of Socialist Harvard and the London School of Economics. It was determined to bring the United States into World War II on the side of England (Roosevelt's first love) and Soviet Russia (his second love) in order to destroy every finer element of American life and, as part of this consciously planned scheme, invited Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, and destroyed Chiang Kai-shek, all the while undermining America's real strength by excessive spending and unbalanced budgets.
This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.
The Round Table Groups have already been mentioned in this book several times, notably in connection with the formation of the British Commonwealth in chapter 4 and in the discussion of appeasement in chapter 12 ("the Cliveden Set"). At the risk of some repetition, the story will be summarized here, because the American branch of this organization (sometimes called the "Eastern Establishment") has played a very significant role in the history of the United States in the last generation.
The Round Table Groups were semi-secret discussion and lobbying groups organized by Lionel Curtis, Philip H. Kerr (Lord Lothian), and (Sir) William S. Marris in 1908-1911. This was done on behalf of Lord Milner, the dominant Trustee of the Rhodes Trust in the two decades 1905-1925. The original purpose of these groups was to seek to federate the English-speaking world along lines laid down by Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) and William T. Stead (1849-1912), and the money for the organizational work came originally from the Rhodes Trust. By 1915 Round Table groups existed in seven countries, including England, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and a rather loosely organized group in the United States (George Louis Beer, Walter Lippmann, Frank Aydelotte, Whitney Shepardson, Thomas W. Lament, Jerome D. Greene, Erwin D. Canham of the Christian Science Monitor, and others). The attitudes of the various groups were coordinated by frequent visits and discussions and by a well-informed and totally anonymous quarterly magazine, The Round Table, whose first issue, largely written by Philip Kerr, appeared in November 1910.
The leaders of this group were: Milner, until his death in 1925, followed by Curtis (1872-1955), Robert H. (Lord) Brand (brother-in-law of Lady Astor) until his death in 1963, and now Adam D. Marris, son of Sir William and Brand's successor as managing director of Lazard Brothers bank. The original intention had been to have collegial leadership, but Milner was too secretive and headstrong to share the role. He did so only in the period 1913-1919 when he held regular meetings with some of his closest friends to coordinate their activities as a pressure group in the struggle with Wilhelmine Germany. This they called their "Ginger Group." After Milner's death in 1925, the leadership was largely shared by the survivors of Milner's "Kindergarten," that is, the group of young Oxford men whom he used as civil servants in his reconstruction of South Africa in 1901-1910. Brand was the last survivor of the "Kindergarten"; since his death, the greatly reduced activities of the organization have been exercised largely through the Editorial Committee of The Round Table magazine under Adam Marris.
Money for the widely ramified activities of this organization came originally from the associates and followers of Cecil Rhodes, chiefly from the Rhodes Trust itself, and from wealthy associates such as the Beit brothers, from Sir Abe Bailey, and (after 1915) from the Astor family. Since 1925 there have been substantial contributions from wealthy individuals and from foundations and firms associated with the international banking fraternity, especially the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, and other organizations associated with J. P. Morgan, the Rockefeller and Whitney families, and the associates of Lazard Brothers and of Morgan, Grenfell, and Company.
The chief backbone of this organization grew up along the already existing financial cooperation running from the Morgan Bank in New York to a group of international financiers in London led by Lazard Brothers. Milner himself in 1901 had refused a fabulous offer, worth up to $100,000 a year, to become one of the three partners of the Morgan Bank in London, in succession to the younger J. P. Morgan who moved from London to join his father in New York (eventually the vacancy went to E. C. Grenfell, so that the London affiliate of Morgan became known as Morgan, Grenfell, and Company). Instead, Milner became director of a number of public banks, chiefly the London Joint Stock Bank, corporate precursor of the Midland Bank. He became one of the greatest political and financial powers in England, with his disciples strategically placed throughout England in significant places, such as the editorship of The Times, the editorship of The Observer, the managing directorship of Lazard Brothers, various administrative posts, and even Cabinet positions. Ramifications were established in politics, high finance, Oxford and London universities, periodicals, the civil service, and tax-exempt foundations.
At the end of the war of 1914, it became clear that the organization of this system had to be greatly extended. Once again the task was entrusted to Lionel Curtis who established, in England and each dominion, a front organization to the existing local Round Table Group. This front organization, called the Royal Institute of International Affairs, had as its nucleus in each area the existing submerged Round Table Group. In New York it was known as the Council on Foreign Relations, and was a front for J. P. Morgan and Company in association with the very small American Round Table Group. The American organizers were dominated by the large number of Morgan "experts," including Lament and Beer, who had gone to the Paris Peace Conference and there became close friends with the similar group of English "experts" which had been recruited by the Milner group. In fact, the original plans for the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations were drawn up at Paris. The Council of the RIIA (which, by Curtis's energy came to be housed in Chatham House, across St. James's Square from the Astors, and was soon known by the name of this headquarters) and the board of the Council on Foreign Relations have carried ever since the marks of their origin. Until 1960 the council at Chatham House was dominated by the dwindling group of Milner's associates, while the paid staff members were largely the agents of Lionel Curtis. The Round Table for years (until 1961) was edited from the back door of Chatham House grounds in Ormond Yard, and its telephone came through the Chatham House switchboard.
The New York branch was dominated by the associates of the Morgan Bank. For example, in 1928 the Council on Foreign Relations had John W. Davis as president, Paul Cravath as vice-president, and a council of thirteen others, which included Owen D. Young, Russell C. Leffingwell, Norman Davis, Allen Dulles, George W. Wickersham, Frank L. Polk, Whitney Shepardson, Isaiah Bowman, Stephen P. Duggan, and Otto Kahn. Throughout its history the council has been associated with the American Round Tablers, such as Beer, Lippmann, Shepardson, and Jerome Greene.
The academic figures have been those linked to Morgan, such as James T. Shotwell, Charles Seymour, Joseph P. Chamberlain, Philip Jessup, Isaiah Bowman and, more recently, Philip Moseley, Grayson L. Kirk, and Henry M. Wriston. The Wall Street contacts with these were created originally from Morgan's influence in handling large academic endowments. In the case of the largest of these endowments, that at Harvard, the influence was usually exercised indirectly through "State Street," Boston, which, for much of the twentieth century, came through the Boston banker Thomas Nelson Perkins.
Closely allied with this Morgan influence were a small group of Wall Street law firms, whose chief figures were Elihu Root, John W. Davis, Paul D. Cravath, Russell Leffingwell, the Dulles brothers and, more recently, Arthur H. Dean, Philip D. Reed, and John J. McCloy. Other nonlegal agents of Morgan included men like Owen D. Young and Norman H. Davis.
On this basis, which was originally financial and goes back to George Peabody, there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy. In England the center was the Round Table Group, while in the United States it was J. P. Morgan and Company or its local branches in Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. Some rather incidental examples of the operations of this structure are very revealing, just because they are incidental. For example, it set up in Princeton a reasonable copy of the Round Table Group's chief Oxford headquarters, All Souls College. This copy, called the Institute for Advanced Study, and best known, perhaps, as the refuge of Einstein, Oppenheimer, John von Neumann, and George F. Kennan, was organized by Abraham Flexner of the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller's General Education Board after he had experienced the delights of All Souls while serving as Rhodes Memorial Lecturer at Oxford. The plans were largely drawn by Tom Jones, one of the Round Table's most active intriguers and foundation administrators.
The American branch of this "English Establishment" exerted much of its influence through five American newspapers (The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, and the lamented Boston Evening Transcript). In fact, the editor of the Christian Science Monitor was the chief American correspondent (anonymously) of The Round Table, and Lord Lothian, the original editor of The Round Table and later secretary of the Rhodes Trust (1925-1939) and ambassador to Washington, was a frequent writer in the Monitor. It might be mentioned that the existence of this Wall Street, Anglo-American axis is quite obvious once it is pointed out. It is reflected in the fact that such Wall Street luminaries as John W. Davis, Lewis Douglas, Jock Whitney, and Douglas Dillon were appointed to be American ambassadors in London.
This double international network in which the Round Table groups formed the semisecret or secret nuclei of the Institutes of International Affairs was extended into a third network in 1925, organized by the same people for the same motives. Once again the mastermind was Lionel Curtis, and the earlier Round Table Groups and Institutes of International Affairs were used as nuclei for the new network. However, this new organization for Pacific affairs was extended to ten countries, while the Round Table Groups existed only in seven. The new additions, ultimately China, Japan, France, the Netherlands, and Soviet Russia, had Pacific councils set up from scratch. In Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, Pacific councils, interlocked and dominated by the Institutes of International Affairs, were set up. In England, Chatham House served as the English center for both nets, while in the United States the two were parallel creations (not subordinate) of the Wall Street allies of the Morgan Bank. The financing came from the same international banking groups and their subsidiary commercial and industrial firms. In England, Chatham House was financed for both networks by the contributions of Sir Abe Bailey, the Astor family, and additional funds largely acquired by the persuasive powers of Lionel Curtis. The financial difficulties of the IPR Councils in the British Dominions in the depression of 1929-1935 resulted in a very revealing effort to save money, when the local Institute of International Affairs absorbed the local Pacific Council, both of which were, in a way, expensive and needless fronts for the local Round Table groups.
The chief aims of this elaborate, semisecret organization were largely commendable: to coordinate the international activities and outlooks of all the English-speaking world into one (which would largely, it is true, be that of the London group); to work to maintain the peace; to help backward, colonial, and underdeveloped areas to advance toward stability, law and order, and prosperity along lines somewhat similar to those taught at Oxford and the University of London (especially the School of Economics and the Schools of African and Oriental Studies).
These organizations and their financial backers were in no sense reactionary or Fascistic persons, as Communist propaganda would like to depict them. Quite the contrary. They were gracious and cultured gentlemen of somewhat limited social experience who were much concerned with the freedom of expression of minorities and the rule of law for all, who constantly thought in terms of Anglo-American solidarity, of political partition and federation, and who were convinced that they could gracefully civilize the Boers of South Africa, the Irish, the Arabs, and the Hindus, and who are largely responsible for the partitions of Ireland, Palestine, and India, as well as the federations of South Africa, Central Africa, and the West Indies. Their desire to win over the opposition by cooperation worked with Smuts but failed with Hertzog, worked with Gandhi but failed with Menon, worked with Stresemann but failed with Hitler, and has shown little chance of working with any Soviet leader. If their failures now loom larger than their successes, this should not be allowed to conceal the high motives with which they attempted both.
It was this group of people, whose wealth and influence so exceeded their experience and understanding, who provided much of the framework of influence which the Communist sympathizers and fellow travelers took over in the United States in the 1930's. It must be recognized that the power that these energetic Left-wingers exercised was never their own power or Communist power but was ultimately the power of the international financial coterie, and, once the anger and suspicions of the American people were aroused, as they were by 1950, it was a fairly simple matter to get rid of the Red sympathizers. Before this could be done, however, a congressional committee, following backward to their source the threads which led from admitted Communists like Whittaker Chambers, through Alger Hiss, and the Carnegie Endowment to Thomas Lament and the Morgan Bank, fell into the whole complicated network of the interlocking tax-exempt foundations. The Eighty-third Congress in July 1953 set up a Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations with Representative B. Carroll Reece, of Tennessee, as chairman. It soon became clear that people of immense wealth would be unhappy if the investigation went too far and that the "most respected" newspapers in the country, closely allied with these men of wealth, would not get excited enough about any relevations to make the publicity worth while, in terms of votes or campaign contributions. An interesting report showing the Left-wing associations of the interlocking nexus of tax-exempt foundations was issued in 1954 rather quietly. Four years later, the Reece committee's general counsel, Rene A. Wormser, wrote a shocked, but not shocking, book on the subject called Foundations: Their Power and Influence.
One of the most interesting members of this Anglo-American power structure was Jerome D. Greene (1874-1959). Born in Japan of missionary parents, Greene graduated from Harvard's college and law school by 1899 and became secretary to Harvard's president and corporation in 1901-1910. This gave him contacts with Wall Street which made him general manager of the Rockefeller Institute (1910-1912), assistant to John D. Rockefeller in philanthropic work for two years, then trustee to the Rockefeller Institute, to the Rockefeller Foundation, and to the Rockefeller General Education Board until 1939. For fifteen years (1917-1932) he was with the Boston investment banking firm of Lee, Higginson, and Company, most of the period as its chief officer, as well as with its London branch. As executive secretary of the American section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, stationed in London in 1918, he lived in Toynbee Hall, the world's first settlement house, which had been founded by Alfred Milner and his friends in 1884. This brought him in contact with the Round Table Group in England, a contact which was strengthened in 1919 when he was secretary to the Reparations Commission at the Paris Peace Conference. Accordingly, on his return to the United States he was one of the early figures in the establishment of the Council on Foreign Relations, which served as the New York branch of Lionel Curtis's Institute of International Affairs.
As an investment banker, Greene is chiefly remembered for his sales of millions of dollars of the fraudulent securities of the Swedish match king, Ivar Kreuger. That Greene offered these to the American investing public in good faith is evident from the fact that he put a substantial part of his own fortune in the same investments. As a consequence, Kreuger's suicide in Paris in April 1932 left Greene with little money and no job. He wrote to Lionel Curtis, asking for help, and was given, for two years, a professorship of international relations at Aberystwyth, Wales. The Round Table Group controlled that professorship from its founding by David Davies in 1919, in spite of the fact that Davies, who was made a peer in 1932, had broken with the Round Table because of its subversion of the League of Nations and European collective security.
On his return to America in 1934, Greene also returned to his secretaryship of the Harvard Corporation and became, for the remainder of his life, practically a symbol of Yankee Boston, as trustee and officer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Gardner Museum in Fenway Court, the New England Conservatory of Music, the American Academy in Rome, the Brookings Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the General Education Board (only until 1939). He was also director of the Harvard Tercentenary Celebration in 1934-1937.
Greene is of much greater significance in indicating the real influences within the Institute of Pacific Relations than any Communists or fellow travelers. He wrote the constitution for the IPR in 1926, was for years the chief conduit for Wall Street funds and influence into the organization, was treasurer of the American Council for three years, and chairman for three more, as well as chairman of the International Council for four years.
Jerome Greene is a symbol of much more than the Wall Street influence in the IPR. He is also a symbol of the relationship between the financial circles of London and those of the eastern United States which reflects one of the most powerful influences in twentieth-century American and world history. The two ends of this English-speaking axis have sometimes been called, perhaps facetiously, the English and American Establishments. There is, however, a considerable degree of truth behind the joke, a truth which reflects a very real power structure. It is this power structure which the Radical Right in the United States has been attacking for years in the belief that they are attacking the Communists. This is particularly true when these attacks are directed, as they so frequently are at "Harvard Socialism," or at "Left-wing newspapers" like The New York Times and the Washington Post, or at foundations and their dependent establishments, such as the Institute of International Education.
These misdirected attacks by the Radical Right did much to confuse the American people in the period 1948-1955, and left consequences which were still significant a decade later. By the end of 1953, most of these attacks had run their course. The American people, thoroughly bewildered at widespread charges of twenty years of treason and subversion, had rejected the Democrats and put into the White House the Republican Party's traditional favorite, a war hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower. At the time, two events, one public and one secret, were still in process. The public one was the Korean War of 1950-1953; the secret one was the race for the thermonuclear bomb.