Council on Foreign Relations

Council on Foreign Relations

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Encyclopedia
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 specializing in U.S. foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 and international affairs
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

. Founded in 1921 and headquartered at 58 East 68th Street in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, with an additional office in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, the CFR is considered to be the nation's 'most influential foreign-policy think tank.' It publishes a bi-monthly journal Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

.

Mission


As stated on its website, the CFR's mission is to be "a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and other countries."

The CFR aims to maintain a diverse membership, including special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders. It convenes meetings at which government officials, global leaders and prominent members of the foreign policy community discuss major international issues. Its think tank, the David Rockefeller Studies Program, is composed of about fifty adjunct and full-time scholars, as well as ten in-resident recipients of year-long fellowships, who cover the major regions and significant issues shaping today's international agenda. These scholars contribute to the foreign policy debate by making recommendations to the presidential administration, testifying before Congress, serving as a resource to the diplomatic community, interacting with the media, authoring books, reports, articles, and op-eds on foreign policy issues.

The council publishes Foreign Affairs, "the preeminent journal of international affairs and U.S. foreign policy." It also publishes Independent Task Forces which bring together experts with diverse backgrounds and expertise to work together to produce reports offering both findings and policy prescriptions on important foreign policy topics. To date, the CFR has sponsored more than fifty reports.

The CFR aims to provide up-to-date information and analysis about world events and U.S. foreign policy. In 2008, CFR.org's "Crisis Guide: Darfur" was awarded an Emmy Award by the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, in the category of "New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Current News Coverage." In 2009, the Crisis Guide franchise won another Emmy for its "Crisis Guide: The Global Economy," in the category of business and financial reporting.

Early history


The earliest origin of the Council stemmed from a working fellowship of about 150 scholars, called "The Inquiry
The Inquiry
The Inquiry was a study group established in September 1917 by Woodrow Wilson to prepare materials for the peace negotiations following World War I. The group, composed of around 150 academics, was directed by presidential adviser Edward House and supervised directly by philosopher Sidney Mezes...

", tasked to brief President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 about options for the postwar world when Germany was defeated. Through 1917–1918, this academic band, including Wilson's closest adviser and long-time friend "Colonel" Edward M. House
Edward M. House
Edward Mandell House was an American diplomat, politician, and presidential advisor. Commonly known by the title of Colonel House, although he had no military experience, he had enormous personal influence with U.S...

, as well as Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War...

, gathered at 155th Street and Broadway at the Harold Pratt House in New York City, to assemble the strategy for the postwar world. The team produced more than 2,000 documents detailing and analyzing the political, economic, and social facts globally that would be helpful for Wilson in the peace talks. Their reports formed the basis for the Fourteen Points
Fourteen Points
The Fourteen Points was a speech given by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe...

, which outlined Wilson's strategy for peace after war's end.

These scholars then traveled to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 that would end the war; it was at one of the meetings of a small group of British and American diplomats and scholars, on May 30, 1919, at the Hotel Majestic, that both the Council and its British counterpart, the Chatham House
Chatham House
Chatham House, formally known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in London whose mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. It is regarded as one of the world's leading...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, were born.

Some of the participants at that meeting, apart from Edward House, were Paul Warburg
Paul Warburg
Paul Moritz Warburg was a German-born American banker and early advocate of the U.S. Federal Reserve system.- Early life :...

, Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

, Harold Temperley
Harold Temperley
Harold William Vazeille Temperley was a British historian, Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge from 1931, and Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.- Overview :...

, Lionel Curtis
Lionel Curtis
Lionel George Curtis was a British official and author. He advocated British Empire Federalism and, late in life, a world state...

, Lord Eustace Percy
Eustace Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Newcastle
Eustace Sutherland Campbell Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Newcastle PC , styled Lord Eustace Percy between 1899 and 1953, was a British diplomat, Conservative politician and public servant...

, Christian Herter
Christian Herter
Christian Archibald Herter was an American politician and statesman; 59th governor of Massachusetts from 1953 to 1957, and United States Secretary of State from 1959 to 1961.-Early life:...

, and American academic historians James Thomson Shotwell
James T. Shotwell
James Thomson Shotwell was a Canada-born American history professor. He played an instrumental role in the creation of the International Labor Organization in 1919, as well as for his influence in promoting inclusion of a declaration of human rights in the UN Charter.Born in Strathroy, Ontario, he...

 of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, Archibald Cary Coolidge
Archibald Cary Coolidge
Archibald Cary Coolidge was an American educator. He was a Professor of History at Harvard College from 1908 and the first Director of the Harvard University Library from 1910 until his death...

 of Harvard
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, and Charles Seymour
Charles Seymour
Charles Seymour was an American academic, historian and President of Yale University from 1937 to 1951.-Early life:...

 of Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

.

In 1938 they created various Committees on Foreign Relations throughout the country. These later became governed by the American Committees on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....


The Council on Foreign Relations, a sister organization to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London (now known as Chatham House
Chatham House
Chatham House, formally known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in London whose mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. It is regarded as one of the world's leading...

), was formed in 1922 as a noncommercial, nonpolitical organization supporting American foreign relations. From its inception the Council was bipartisan, welcoming members of both Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 and Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 parties. It also welcomed Jews and African Americans, although women were initially barred from membership. Its proceedings were almost universally private and confidential. A critical study found that of 502 government officials surveyed from 1945 to 1972, more than half were members of the Council.

Today it has about 5,000 members (including five-year term members between the ages of 30-41), which over its history have included senior serving politicians, more than a dozen Secretaries of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, former national security officers, bankers, lawyers, professors, former CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 members and senior media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 figures.

In 1962, the group began a program of bringing select Air Force officers to the Harold Pratt House to study alongside its scholars. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps requested they start similar programs for their own officers.

Vietnam created a rift within the organization. When Hamilton Fish Armstrong
Hamilton Fish Armstrong
Hamilton Fish Armstrong was a United States diplomat and editor.-Biography:He attended Princeton University, and started his journalistic activity at the New Republic. During the First World War, he was a military attaché in Serbia...

 announced in 1970 that he would be leaving the helm of Foreign Affairs after 45 years, new chairman David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller, Sr. is the current patriarch of the Rockefeller family. He is the youngest and only surviving child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and the only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His five siblings were...

 approached a family friend, William Bundy
William Bundy
William Putnam "Bill" Bundy was a member of the CIA and foreign affairs advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He had a key role in planning the Vietnam War. After leaving government service he became a historian.-Early years:Raised in Boston, Massachusetts he came from a...

, to take over the position. Anti-war advocates within the Council rose in protest against this appointment, claiming that Bundy's hawkish record in the State and Defense Departments and the CIA precluded him from taking over an independent journal. Some considered Bundy a war criminal for his prior actions.

Seven American presidents have addressed the Council, two while still in office – Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

.

The Council says that it has never sought to serve as a receptacle for government policy papers that cannot be shared with the public and does not encourage its members serving in government to do so. The Council says that discussions at its headquarters remain confidential, not because they share or discuss secret information, but because the system allows members to test new ideas with other members.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., in his book on the Kennedy presidency, A Thousand Days, wrote that Kennedy was not part of what he called the "New York establishment":

"In particular, he was little acquainted with the New York financial and legal community-- that arsenal of talent which had so long furnished a steady supply of always orthodox and often able people to Democratic as well as Republican administrations. This community was the heart of the American Establishment. Its household deities were Henry Stimson and Elihu Root; its present leaders, Robert Lovett and John J. McCloy; its front organizations, the Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie foundations and the Council on Foreign Relations; its organs, the New York Times and Foreign Affairs."

Website


It has an extensive website, www.cfr.org, featuring links to its history, fellows' biographical information, think tank, the David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller, Sr. is the current patriarch of the Rockefeller family. He is the youngest and only surviving child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and the only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His five siblings were...

 Studies Program, Independent Task Force reports and other reports, CFR books, expert interviews, meeting transcripts, audio, and videos, Emmy award-winning multimedia Crisis Guides and timelines, Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

, and many other publications, biographies of notable directors and other board members, corporate members, and press releases.

Influence on foreign policy


Beginning in 1939 and lasting for five years, the Council achieved much greater prominence within the government and the State Department when it established the strictly confidential War and Peace Studies
War and Peace Studies
War and Peace Studies was a project carried out by the Council on Foreign Relations between 1939 and 1945 before and during American involvement in World War II. It was intended to advise the U.S. Government on conduct in the war and the subsequent peace....

, funded entirely by the Rockefeller Foundation. The secrecy surrounding this group was such that the Council members who were not involved in its deliberations were completely unaware of the study group's existence.

It was divided into four functional topic groups: economic and financial, security and armaments, territorial, and political. The security and armaments group was headed by Allen Welsh Dulles
Allen Welsh Dulles
Allen Welsh Dulles was an American diplomat, lawyer, banker, and public official who became the first civilian and the longest-serving Director of Central Intelligence and a member of the Warren Commission...

 who later became a pivotal figure in the CIA's predecessor, the OSS
Office of Strategic Services
The Office of Strategic Services was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency...

. It ultimately produced 682 memoranda for the State Department, marked classified and circulated among the appropriate government departments. As a historical judgment, its overall influence on actual government planning at the time is still said to remain unclear.

In an anonymous piece called "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" that appeared in Foreign Affairs in 1947, CFR study group member George Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

 coined the term "containment." The essay would prove to be highly influential in US foreign policy for seven upcoming presidential administrations. 40 years later, Kennan explained that he had never suspected the Russians of any desire to launch an attack on America; he thought that was obvious enough he didn't need to explain it in his essay. William Bundy
William Bundy
William Putnam "Bill" Bundy was a member of the CIA and foreign affairs advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He had a key role in planning the Vietnam War. After leaving government service he became a historian.-Early years:Raised in Boston, Massachusetts he came from a...

 credited the CFR's study groups with helping to lay the framework of thinking that led to the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

 and NATO. Due to new interest in the group, membership grew towards 1,000.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 chaired a CFR study group while he served as President of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. One member later said, "whatever General Eisenhower knows about economics, he has learned at the study group meetings." The CFR study group devised an expanded study group called "Americans for Eisenhower" to increase his chances for the presidency. Eisenhower would later draw many Cabinet members from CFR ranks and become a CFR member himself. His primary CFR appointment was Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

. Dulles gave a public address at the Harold Pratt House in which he announced a new direction for Eisenhower's foreign policy: "There is no local defense which alone will contain the mighty land power of the communist world. Local defenses must be reinforced by the further deterrent of massive retaliatory power." After this speech, the council convened a session on "Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy" and chose Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 to head it. Kissinger spent the following academic year working on the project at Council headquarters. The book of the same name that he published from his research in 1957 gave him national recognition, topping the national bestseller lists.

On 24 November 1953, a study group heard a report from political scientist William Henderson regarding the ongoing conflict between France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

's Viet Minh
Viet Minh
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

 forces, a struggle that would later become known as the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

. Henderson argued that Ho's cause was primarily nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 in nature and that Marxism had "little to do with the current revolution." Further, the report said, the United States could work with Ho to guide his movement away from Communism. State Department officials, however, expressed skepticism about direct American intervention in Vietnam and the idea was tabled. Over the next twenty years, the United States would find itself allied with anti-Communist South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 and against Ho and his supporters in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

.

The Council served as a "breeding ground" for important American policies such as mutual deterrence, arms control, and nuclear non-proliferation.

A four-year long study of relations between America and China was conducted by the Council between 1964 and 1968. One study published in 1966 concluded that American citizens were more open to talks with China than their elected leaders. Kissinger had continued to publish in Foreign Affairs and was appointed by President Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 to serve as National Security Adviser in 1969. In 1971, he embarked on a secret trip to Beijing to broach talks with Chinese leaders. Nixon went to China in 1972, and diplomatic relations were completely normalized by President Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

's Secretary of State, another Council member, Cyrus Vance
Cyrus Vance
Cyrus Roberts Vance was an American lawyer and United States Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1980...

.

In November 1979, while chairman of the CFR, David Rockefeller became embroiled in an international incident when he and Henry Kissinger, along with John J. McCloy
John J. McCloy
John Jay McCloy was a lawyer and banker who served as Assistant Secretary of War during World War II, president of the World Bank and U.S. High Commissioner for Germany...

 and Rockefeller aides, persuaded President Jimmy Carter through the State Department to admit the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, into the US for hospital treatment for lymphoma
Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer in the lymphatic cells of the immune system. Typically, lymphomas present as a solid tumor of lymphoid cells. Treatment might involve chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation, and can be curable depending on the histology, type, and stage...

. This action directly precipitated what is known as the Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

 and placed Rockefeller under intense media scrutiny (particularly from The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

) for the first time in his public life.

Current policy initiatives


The CFR started a program in 2008 to last for 5 years and funded by a grant from the Robina Foundation called "International Institutions and Global Governance" which aims to identify the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the 21st century.

The CFR's Maurice C. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, directed by scholar and author Sebastian Mallaby works to promote a better understanding among policymakers, academic specialists, and the interested public of how economic and political forces interact to influence world affairs.

The CFR's Center for Preventive Action (CPA) seeks to help prevent, defuse, or resolve deadly conflicts around the world and to expand the body of knowledge on conflict prevention. It does so by creating a forum in which representatives of governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and civil society can gather to develop operational and timely strategies for promoting peace in specific conflict situations.

Membership



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

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

Controversy


The Council has been the subject of debate, as shown in the 1969 film The Capitalist Conspiracy
The Capitalist Conspiracy
The Capitalist Conspiracy is a 1969 film by G. Edward Griffin. It is inspired by Cleon Skousen's book The Naked Capitalist.- Plot :The film theorizes a conspiracy upheld by big government through money control by citing books as Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley, Philip Dru: Administrator by...

by G. Edward Griffin
G. Edward Griffin
G. Edward Griffin is an American film producer, author, and political lecturer. He is perhaps best known as the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island , a critique of much modern economic theory and practice, specifically the Federal Reserve System.Starting as a child actor, he became a radio...

, the 2006 film by Aaron Russo
Aaron Russo
Aaron Russo was an American entertainment businessman, movie producer and director, and political activist. He was best-known for producing such blockbuster movies as Trading Places, Wise Guys, and The Rose...

, America: Freedom to Fascism and a 2007 documentary Zeitgeist: The Movie, as well as the book The Naked Capitalist which reviewed Carroll Quigley
Carroll Quigley
Carroll Quigley was an American historian and theorist of the evolution of civilizations. He is noted for his teaching work as a professor at Georgetown University, for his academic publications, and for his research on secret societies.- Biography :Quigley was born in Boston, and attended...

's book Tragedy and Hope from a less supportive standpoint.

This is partly due to the number of high-ranking government officials (along with world business leaders and prominent media figures) in its membership, its secrecy clauses, and the large number of aspects of American foreign policy that its members have been involved with, beginning with Wilson's Fourteen Points
Fourteen Points
The Fourteen Points was a speech given by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe...

. Wilson's Fourteen Points speech was the first in which he suggested a worldwide security organization to prevent future world wars.

The John Birch Society
John Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a Constitutional Republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing....

 believes that the CFR is "Guilty of conspiring with others to build a one world government...". Conservative Democratic congressman from Georgia Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald
Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. was an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the seventh congressional district of Georgia as a Democrat...

, the second head of the John Birch Society, introduced American Legion National Convention Resolution 773 to the House of Representatives calling for a congressional investigation into the Council on Foreign Relations, but nothing came from it.

Carroll Quigley claimed it "became well known among those who believe that there is an international conspiracy to bring about a one-world government
World government
World government is the notion of a single common political authority for all of humanity. Its modern conception is rooted in European history, particularly in the philosophy of ancient Greece, in the political formation of the Roman Empire, and in the subsequent struggle between secular authority,...

." In Tragedy and Hope, he based his analysis on his unsourced research in the papers of an Anglo-American elite organization that, he held, secretly controlled the U.S. and UK governments through a series of Round Table Groups. Critics assailed Quigley for his approval of the goals (not the tactics) of the Anglo-American elite while selectively using his information and analysis as evidence for their views. Speaking of Carroll Quigley, Rep. Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald
Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. was an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the seventh congressional district of Georgia as a Democrat...

 said, "He says, sure we've been working it, sure we've been collaborating with communism, yes we're working with global accommodation, yes, we're working for world government. But the only thing I object to is that we've kept it a secret.". CFR publications discuss multilateralism and global governance as well.

In response to the allegations, the CFR's website contains a FAQ
FAQ
Frequently asked questions are listed questions and answers, all supposed to be commonly asked in some context, and pertaining to a particular topic. "FAQ" is usually pronounced as an initialism rather than an acronym, but an acronym form does exist. Since the acronym FAQ originated in textual...

 section about its affairs.

Books

  • Grose, Peter. Continuing the Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996. New York: Council on Foreign Relations: 1996. ISBN 0-87609-192-3.
  • Schulzinger, Robert D. The Wise Men of Foreign Affairs. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-231-05528-5.
  • Wala, Michael. The Council on Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War. Providence, RI: Berghann Books, 1994. ISBN 1-57181-003-X

Miscellaneous articles

  • Kassenaar, Lisa. "Wall Street's New Prize: Park Avenue Club House With World View".http://www.namebase.org/xadd/Robert-F-Agostinelli.html Bloomberg
    Bloomberg L.P.
    Bloomberg L.P. is an American privately held financial software, media, and data company. Bloomberg makes up one third of the $16 billion global financial data market with estimated revenue of $6.9 billion. Bloomberg L.P...

    December 15, 2005. [Profile of the Council and its new members.]
  • Sanger, David E. "Iran's Leader Relishes 2nd Chance to Make Waves". The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    September 21, 2006, Foreign Desk: A1, col. 2 (Late ed.-Final). Accessed February 23, 2007. (TimesSelect subscription access). ("Over the objections of the administration and Jewish groups that boycotted the event, Mr. Ahmadinejad, the man who has become the defiant face of Iran, squared off with the nation’s foreign policy establishment, parrying questions for an hour and three-quarters with two dozen members of the Council on Foreign Relations, then ending the evening by asking whether they were simply shills for the Bush administration.")

External links

  • Council on Foreign Relations – Organization website
  • Council on Foreign Relations Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
    • "Multimedia Crisis Guides"
    • "For Educators" – "Academic Outreach Initiative": Resources for educators and students; links to selected CFR publications
    • "For the Media" – Resources for the media, concerning requests for press materials, transcripts of meetings, and annual reports; contact information
    • Informational CFR video, featuring Fareed Zakaria
      Fareed Zakaria
      Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist and author. From 2000 to 2010, he was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International. In 2010 he became Editor-At-Large of Time magazine...

      , Brent Scowcroft
      Brent Scowcroft
      Brent Scowcroft, KBE was the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National...

      , Angelina Jolie
      Angelina Jolie
      Angelina Jolie is an American actress. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and was named Hollywood's highest-paid actress by Forbes in 2009 and 2011. Jolie is noted for promoting humanitarian causes as a Goodwill Ambassador for the...

      , Brian Williams
      Brian Williams
      Brian Douglas Williams is the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, the evening news program of the NBC television network, a position he assumed in 2004...

      , and Erin Burnett
      Erin Burnett
      Erin Isabelle Burnett is the anchor of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront. She was the co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk on the Street program and the host of CNBC's Street Signs program...

      .
  • Council on Foreign Relations, Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

    (FBI) Freedom of Information Act(FOIA
    Freedom of Information Act (United States)
    The Freedom of Information Act is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure...

    )