“…In the original analysis of the Trilateral Commission in the 1970’s, the only persons to actually interview and debate members of that elite group were Antony C. Sutton and myself, Patrick Wood. From 1978 through 1981, we together or individually engaged at least seven different Commission members in public debate…”
In the original analysis of the Trilateral Commission in the 1970’s, the only persons to actually interview and debate members of that elite group were Antony C. Sutton and myself, Patrick Wood. From 1978 through 1981, we together or individually engaged at least seven different Commission members in public debate.
On July 27, 1979, Radio Station KLMG, Council Bluffs, Iowa aired a highly informative interview with George S. Franklin, Jr., Coordinator of the Trilateral Commission and long-time associate of David Rockefeller.
Joe Martin, the commentator on the program, invited authors Antony Sutton and Patrick Wood to participate in the questioning. The program was probably the most penetrating view of Trilateralism yet uncovered.
Only one complete transcript remains intact from those interviews, and it is reproduced below. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into the inner workings, attitude and mindset of Commission members.
Lest anyone make accusation that this transcript was selectively edited to show a “bad light” on the Commission, it is reprinted in full, without edit. Editor’s comments are added in certain places to clarify the facts, when appropriate and are clearly identified to the reader as such. Members of the Trilateral Commission are noted in bold type. The entire interview was first and only published in the Trilateral Observer in 1979, which was published by Patrick Wood and The August Corporation.
Commentator: Is this Mr. Wood?
Wood: Yes, it is.
Commentator: Patrick Wood, we have Antony Sutton on the other line. You two are there now, right?
Commentator: Are you there too, Mr. Sutton?
Commentator: All right. Before we get Mr. Franklin on the phone, tell us, what is your concise opinion of the Trilateral Commission?
Sutton: It would seem that this is David Rockefeller’s concept, his creation, he financed it. The Trilateral Commission has only 77 or so American members. It’s a closed elitist group. I do not believe that they in any way represent general thinking in the United States. For example, they want to restrict the rights of the media in violation of the Constitution.
[Ed: Compare this initial statement to Franklin’s admissions during the interview.]
Commentator: They want to restrict the rights of the media?
Commentator: All right, we have Mr. George Franklin on the phone right now, okay? Hang on, gentlemen. Hello, am I talking to Mr. George S. Franklin?
Franklin: That is right.
Commentator: You are coordinator of the Trilateral Commission?
Franklin: That is right.
Commentator: Mr. Franklin, my name is Joe Martin. I have two other gentlemen on the line and I have listeners on the line too, who would like to ask a few questions regarding the Trilateral Commission. Are you prepared to answer some questions, sir?
Franklin: I hope so.
Commentator: Is the Trilateral commission presently involved in any effort to make a one-world?
Franklin: Definitely not. We have not. We have no one-world doctrine. Our only belief that is shared by most of the members of the Commission itself, is that this world will somehow do better, if the advanced industrial democracy that serves Japan and the United States can cooperate and talk things out together and try to work on programs rather than at cross purposes, but definitely not any idea of a world government or a government of these areas.
[Ed: “Definitely not,” says Franklin. Numerous statements in Trilateral writings show Franklin is in error. For example: “The economic officials of at least the largest countries must begin to think in terms of managing a single world economy in addition to managing international economic relations among countries,” (Emphasis in original.) Trilateral Commission Task Force Reports: 9-14, page 268.]
Commentator: Why is it, in the Trilateral Commission that the name David Rockefeller shows up so persistently or [the name of] one of his organizations?
Franklin: Well, this is very reasonable. David Rockefeller is the Chairman of the North American group. There are three chairmen: one is [with] the North American group, one is [with] the Japanese group, and one is [with] the European group. Also, the Commission was really David Rockefeller’s original idea.
[Ed: Note that Franklin does not say (at this point) that the Trilateral Commission was financed and established by David Rockefeller.]
Commentator: On President Carter’s staff, how many Trilateral Commission members do you have?
Commentator: Don’t you think that is rather heavy?
Franklin: It is quite a lot, yes.
Commentator: Don’t you think it is rather unusual? How many members are there actually in the Trilateral Commission?
Franklin: We have 77 in the United States.
Commentator: Don’t you think it is rather unusual to have 18 members on the Carter staff?
Franklin: Yes, I think we chose some very able people when we started the Commission. The President happens to think well of quite a number of them.
Commentator: All right, we would like to bring in our two other guests – men who have written a book on the Trilateral Commission. You may be familiar with Mr. Antony Sutton and Mr. Patrick Wood?
Franklin: I have not met them, but I do know their names, yes.
Commentator: Mr. Sutton and Mr. Wood, would you care to ask Mr. Franklin a question?
Sutton: Well, I certainly would. This is Tony Sutton. You have 77 members of which 18 are in the Carter Administration. Do you believe that the only able people in the United States are Trilateralists?
Franklin: Of course not, and incidentally, the 18 are no longer members of the Commission because this is supposed to be a private organization and as soon as anybody joins the government they no longer are members of the Commission.
Sutton: Yes, but they are members of the Commission when they join.
Franklin: That is correct.
Sutton: Do you believe that the only able people in the United States are Trilateralists?
Franklin: Of course not.
Sutton: Well, how come the heavy percentage?
Franklin: Well, when we started to choose members, we did try to pick out the ablest people we could and I think many of those that are in the Carter Administration would have been chosen by any group that was interested in the foreign policy question.
Sutton: Would you say that you have an undue influence on policy in the United States?
Franklin: I would not, no.
Sutton: I think any reasonable man would say that if you have 18 Trilateralists out of 77 in the Carter Administration you have a preponderant influence.
Franklin: These men are not responsive to anything that the Trilateral Commission might advocate. We do have about two reports we put out each year and we do hope they have some influence or we would not put them out.
[Ed: The Trilateral Commission puts out considerably more than two reports each year. In 1974 and 1976, it was four in each year plus four issues of “Trialogue”]
Sutton: May I ask another question?
Sutton: Who financed the Trilateral Commission originally?
Franklin: Uhh…The first supporter of all was a foundation called the Kettering Foundation. I can tell you who is financing it at the present time, which might be of more interest to you.
[Ed: This is what Franklin said in another interview: “In the meantime, David Rockefeller and the Kettering Foundation had provided transitional funding.”]
Sutton: Is it not the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund?
Franklin: The Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund? The North American end of the Commission needs $1.5 million over the next 3 years. Of this amount, $180,000 will be contributed by the Rockefeller Brother’s fund and $150,000 by David Rockefeller.
Commentator: Does that mean that most of it is being financed by the Rockefellers?
Franklin: No, it means that about one fifth of the North American end is being financed by the Rockefellers and none of the European and Japanese end.
Commentator: Do you have any further questions, Mr. Sutton?
Sutton: No, I do not.
Commentator: Do you have a question, Mr. Wood?
Wood: Yes, I have one question. In reading your literature and reports, there is a great deal of mention of the term “Interdependence”.
Wood: While we can see that there is some need for the world to cooperate in many areas, this system of interdependence seems to have some very profound effect on the United States structure as it is today. For instance, our national structure versus the interdependent structure in the world. Now, do you feel that this interdependent structure has been properly presented to the American public for approval or disapproval?
Franklin: Well, I don’t think that it is a question of approval or disapproval altogether. For example, we get a great deal of our natural resources from abroad. Everybody knows that we get a great deal of oil from abroad. So, whether we like it or not, we are much more dependent on other nations that we used to be. Now, this does not mean that they make our decisions for us on what our policies are going to be and our energy policies are made here by the President and Congress. Now, they do consult others about them because they have to, because unfortunately we are forced to become interdependent.
[Ed: The term “interdependent” is a key word in Trilateralism. Think for a moment: The known world has always been more or less interdependent. Trilateralists use “interdependence” in a manner analogous to the propaganda methods of Goebbels: if you repeat a phrase often enough people will begin to accept it automatically in the required context. The required context for Trilaterals is to get across the idea that “one-world” is inevitable.”]
Commentator: Does that answer your question, Mr. Wood?
Wood: Well, perhaps not completely, let me phrase that another way. Do you feel that your policy – that is, those who represent the Trilateral policy as well as interdependence – do you feel that that philosophy is in accord with the typical American philosophy of nationalism and democracy and so on?
Franklin: Well, I think I would answer that this way. First, we are in fact interdependent. I say, unfortunately, we depend on much more that we used to. Therefore, we have to cooperate far more than we used to. But, that does not mean that we are giving other people the right to determine our policy and we do not advocate that. You will not find that in any of our reports.
[Ed: Notice how Franklin ducks around the key issue presented by Wood, i.e., whether the concept as used by Trilaterals is inconsistent with generally accepted American ideals. Wood said nothing about “…giving other people the right to determine our policy.” This is a straw man erected by Franklin to duck the issue.]
Wood: Do you feel that the Trilateral Commission position has been publicized really at all around the country?
Franklin: We try to publicize it, we do not altogether succeed because there are so many other people who also want publicity, but we do try. Anything we do is open to public scrutiny.
[Ed: The August Corporation had recently commissioned a thorough search of the massive New York Times computerized data base. We came up with a very meager list of references to Trilateralism. Only 71 references in the past six years in all major U.S. and foreign publications. Many of these were no more than short paragraphs. We know that the Trilateral Commission mailing list has only 4,000 names including all its 250 members, 600 or so Congressmen and elitists. In brief, media coverage has been – and is – extremely small. The 71 citations by the way include mostly critical articles from independent authors. It also includes such efforts as the Time front-page promotion of Jimmy Carter for President – probably the key effort on Carter‘s behalf. Hedley Donovan was then Editor-in-Chief of Time.]
Commentator: Mr. Sutton?
Sutton: Paul Volcker was a member of the Trilateral Commission and has just been appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Does Paul Volcker have any connection with Chase Manhattan which is dominated by Rockefellers?
Franklin: He was, quite a long time ago, on the staff of [Chase] Manhattan.
[Ed: Paul Volcker has twice worked for Chase Manhattan Bank. In the 1950’s as an economist and again in the 1960’s as Vice President for Planning. We cannot deny that Volcker “knows about (Trilateral) financial policies” as stated by Franklin.]
Sutton: Don’t you think that this is quite an unhealthy situation, where you have a man connected with Chase who is now Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board? Doesn’t this give some credence to the criticism of elitism?
Franklin: Conflict of interest?
Franklin: It does give some credence to it. On the other hand, it is very important that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank know about our financial policies and, therefore, will certainly have been connected to some financial institution. This has not always been the case. I think that anyone who knows Paul Volcker, knows that he is an extraordinarily objective person. I think if you would notice, that the editorial comments on his appointments were almost uniformly favorable, there must have been some that were unfavorable, but I have not seen them.
Sutton: May I ask another question?
Commentator: Go Ahead.
Sutton: Mr. Donovan, of Time-Life, has just been appointed Special Assistant to President Carter. Mr. Donovan is a member of your Commission.
Franklin: That is correct.
Sutton: Does this not emphasize the fact that the Carter Administration is choosing its administration from an extremely a narrow range. In other words, the Trilateral Commission?
Franklin: I do not think that that needs any confirmation. That is a matter of fact that he has chosen most of his main foreign policy people, I would have to say, from the people he got to know while he was on the Trilateral Commission.
[Ed: Franklin admits that the ” Carter Administration is choosing its administration from an extremely narrow range.”]
Sutton: Well, I can only make the statement that this leaves any reasonable man with the impression that the Carter Administration is dominated by the Trilateral Commission with your specific ideas which many people do not agree with.
Franklin: Well, I would certainly agree that people who were members of the Commission have predominant places in the foreign policy aspects of the Carter Administration. They are not, because they are members of the Commission, controlled in any sense by us. I do think that they do share a common belief that is very important that we work particularly with Europe and Japan or we are all going to be in trouble.
Sutton: But this common belief may not reflect the beliefs of the American people. How do you know that it does?
Franklin: I do not know that it does. I am no man to interpret what the people think about.
Sutton: In other words, you are quite willing to go ahead [and] establish a Commission which you say does not necessarily reflect the views of the people in the United States? It appears to me that you have taken over political power.
Franklin: I do not think this is true at all. Anybody who forms a group for certain purposes obviously tries to achieve these purposes. We do believe that it is important that Europe, Japan, and the United States get along together. That much we do believe. We also chose the best people we could get as members of the Commission. Fortunately, nearly all accepted. The President was one of them and he happened to have thought that these were very able people indeed, and he asked them to be in his government, it is as simple as that. If you are going to ask me if I am very unhappy about that, the answer is no. I think that these are good people.
Wood: May I ask a little bit more pointedly, if Carter got his education from the Trilateral Commission, was not his dean of students, so to speak, Mr. Brzezinski?
Franklin: I cannot tell you exactly what role Brzezinski had, but certainly he did have considerable effect on the education Carter received on foreign policy.
Wood: Mr. Brzezinski is on record in more than one of his books as being a proponent of rejuvenating or redesigning the U.S. Constitution, is this correct?
Franklin: I have not read all his books, I have not seen that statement, and I have worked with him very closely for three years and he has not said anything of that sort to me.
Wood: As a matter of fact, he is on record and in one of his books as indicating that the U.S. Constitution as it is today is not able to lead us into an interdependent world and that it should be redesigned to reflect the interdependence that we must move ahead towards.
Franklin: As I say, if you tell me that, I must believe it, and I have not read that book and I have never got any inkling of that between 1973 and 1976.
[Ed: Here is what Brzezinski writes in one of his books “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era”: “Tension is unavoidable as man strives to assimilate the new into the framework of the old. For a time the established framework resiliently integrates the new by adapting it in a more familiar shape. But at some point the old framework becomes overloaded. The new input can no longer be redefined into traditional forms, and eventually it asserts itself with compelling force. Today, though, the old framework of international politics – with their spheres of influence, military alliances between nation-states, the fiction of sovereignty, doctrinal conflicts arising from nineteenth century crises – is clearly no longer compatible with reality.” (Emphasis added) and specifically on changing the U.S. Constitution: “The approaching two-hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence could justify the call for a national constitutional convention to re-examine the nation’s formal institutional framework. Either 1976 or 1989 – the two-hundredth anniversary of the Constitution – could serve as a suitable target date culminating a national dialogue on the relevance of existing arrangements… Realism, however, forces us to recognize that the necessary political innovation will not come from direct constitutional reform, desirable as that would be. The needed change is more likely to develop incrementally and less overtly … in keeping with the American tradition of blurring distinctions between public and private institution.” (Emphasis added)
Obviously Franklin is either unaware of the writing of his “close” associate Brzezinski or is evading the question.
Commentator: I would like to interject a question if I could. Mr. Franklin, within the Trilateral Commission, are there any Trilateralists who have control of the energy resources in this world?
Franklin: No. We have no major oil companies represented on the Commission.
Commentator: I mean stockholders in oil companies.
Franklin: I am sure that David Rockefeller must have some stock in an oil company. I do not know.
Commentator: Doesn’t David Rockefeller have stock in Chase National Bank?
Commentator: Doesn’t Chase National Bank have stock in Exxon?
Franklin: Honestly, I do not know.
Commentator: Standard Oil? Mobil?
Sutton: Well, I do.
Franklin: I would be certain that some of their pension trusts and some of the trusts that they hold for individuals, undoubtedly do.
Commentator: So, the Trilateral Commission has no effect at all in the energy field at all?
Franklin: Yes, the Trilateral Commission has written a report on energy. There were three authors, there were always three authors. The American author was John Sawhill, who was formerly head of the Energy Administration and is now presently of New York University.
Commentator: I have read where the oil and gas world is dominated by seven major firms, do you agree with that?
Franklin: I do not have expertise in this field, but I think it sounds reasonable.
Commentator: Well, a listing of controlling ownership in these major oil and gas companies by banks – by Trilateral Commissioners – is listed as Manufacturer’s Hanover, Chase Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, First National Bank of Chicago, and First Continental of Illinois. And these all supposedly are of Trilateral representation. Is that true, sir?
Franklin: No, sir, it is not true. Give me the list again. I think I can tell you which are and which are not.
Commentator: Manufacturer’s Hanover
Franklin: No, sir, it is not.
Commentator: There are no stockholders in that, who are members of the Trilateral Commission?
Franklin: Wait a minute. I cannot tell you whether there are no stockholders in Manufacturer’s Hanover. I might even be a stockholder in Manufacturer’s Hanover. I am not.
Commentator: Chase Manhattan figures prominently.
>Franklin: Chase Manhattan certainly.
Commentator: ..which is David Rockefeller‘s Bank!
Franklin: There is no question about that.
Commentator: So there is some connection with the energy field.
Franklin: Well, yes.
Commentator: So, if Chase Manhattan has stock in Exxon, Mobil, and Standard Oil, then there is a direct connection there?
Franklin: Well, yes.
Commentator: So, if Chase Manhattan has stock in Exxon, Mobil, and Standard Oil, then there is a direct connection there?
Franklin: I am sure that is true. Every bank runs pension trusts, so it must have some of its trust money in some of those companies.
Commentator: I have read, and I do not know if it is true, you may answer this, that Chase Manhattan is a number one stockholder in Exxon, number three in Mobil, and number two in Standard Oil.
Franklin: I just would not know.
Commentator: Do you have any questions, Mr. Sutton?
Sutton: Yes, the figures you have just quoted about Chase Manhattan stock ownership in the oil companies: these were published by the U.S. Senate some years ago. There is a series of these volumes. One, for example, is entitled “Disclosure of Corporate Ownership.”
[Ed: Any reader investigating further should note that the ownership is heavily disguised by use of nominee companies. For example ” Cudd & Co.” is a ficticious nominee name for Chase Manhattan Bank.
A partial list of nominees which have been used by Chase Manhattan Bank includes the following:
Andrews & Co.
Elzay & Co.
Reeves & Co.
Franklin: I am sure that these banks could run billions of dollars through trusts and some of the trusts must be invested in some of these major oil companies.
Commentator: Then the Trilateral Commission member who has stock in the bank and who is also a high-ranking Trilateral Commission member, would have some jurisdiction over energy?
Franklin: No, not really. I know some of the management of these companies. They are not controlled by the stockholders the way they used to be.
Wood: Let’s put that question another way if we might. It perhaps would be erroneous to say Chase Manhattan Bank controlled Exxon, because in fact, they do not. However, Chase Manhattan Bank is the largest single shareholder that Exxon has. Considering the discussion going on about the major oil companies, and their part in this energy crisis, don’t you think that it would be possible to exercise control from Chase Manhattan Bank to put pressure on Exxon to help alleviate the energy crisis?
Franklin: Well, I think you could answer that kind of question just as well, as I can. Everybody has their own views on these things.
Commentator: You must be familiar with the members of your Commission, especially with Mr. Rockefeller and his various holdings?
Franklin: I am extremely familiar with Mr. Rockefeller, I have known him for nearly 50 years.
Commentator: … and his holdings?
Franklin: I am not at all familiar with his holdings.
Commentator: I think everybody is familiar with his holdings. I thought everybody was familiar with his holdings, I know he owns Chase Manhattan Bank.
Franklin: No, that is not true.
Commentator: I mean he is the largest stockholder.
Franklin: That, I would agree to. I would say that he has about five percent, I am not sure.
Commentator: Five percent? Would you agree with that, Mr. Sutton?
Sutton: Yes, plus he is chairman of the board.
Franklin: Yes, that is correct. I have no doubt that he does control Chase Manhattan Bank.
Commentator: You have no doubt about that?
Franklin: No, basically, no. Directors are important.
Commentator: Do you have any doubt that as chairman, he controls the bank and Chase Manhattan also controls or at least partly controls the American Electric Power [the utility company]?
Franklin: I do not know anything about it.
Commentator: You are not sure about that?
Franklin: I just don’t know. These things do not ever really enter into consideration. If you look at our energy report that will tell you whether you think this is an objective or effective document or not.
[Ed: Chase Manhattan Bank owns 1,646,706 shares of American Electric Power Company through two nominees, Cudd & Co. (586,739 shares)>. This gives it a direct 2.8 percent of the total. However numerous other holding in American Electric Power are maintained by banks and firms where Chase has some degree of control. For example, Morgan Guaranty has almost 500,000 shares and is dominated by J.P. Morgan; the second largest stockholder in J.P. Morgan is Chase Manhattan Bank.]
Commentator: Mr. Sutton?
Sutton: Can we go off energy for a while?
Sutton: I have a question for Mr. Franklin. Who chooses the members of the Trilateral commission?
Franklin: The Trilateral Commission’s Executive Committee.
Sutton: Who comprises the committee?
Franklin: Who is on that committee?
Franklin: Okay. William Coleman, former Secretary of Transportation, who is a lawyer; Lane Kirkland, who is Secretary-General of the American Federation of Labor; Henry Kissinger, who does not need too much identification; Bruce McLaury, who is president of the Brookings Institution; David Rockefeller; Robert Ingersoll, who was formerly Deputy Secretary of State and Ambassador to Japan; I. W. Able, who was formerly head of United Steelworkers; and William Roth, who is a San Francisco businessman and was chief trade negotiator in the previous Kennedy trade round.
Sutton: May I ask a question? How many of these have a rather intimate business relationship with Mr. Rockefeller?
Franklin: Henry Kissinger is chairman of Mr. Rockefeller‘s Chase Advisory Committee.
Franklin: Coleman, I don’t think has any business relationship with him, he is a lawyer.
[Ed: In fact William Coleman is a Director of Chase Manhattan Bank which Franklin has already admitted to be controlled by David Rockefeller.]
Sutton: Mr. Ingersoll?
Franklin: Mr. Ingersoll, I don’t think has any business relationship.
Sutton: Isn’t he connected with First Chicago?
Franklin: He is vice chairman of the University of Chicago.
Sutton: No, what about the First Bank of Chicago? [First Chicago Corp.]
Franklin: I don’t believe that Ingersoll has any relationship with banks in Chicago, but I don’t know for certain on that.
[Ed: Robert Stephen Ingersoll before joining the Washington “revolving door” was a director of the First National Bank of Chicago, a subsidiary of First Chicago Corp. The largest single shareholder in First Chicago is David Rockefeller‘s Chase Manhattan Bank. Ingersoll has also been a director of Atlantic Richfield and Burlington Northern. Chase Manhattan is also the largest single stockholder in these two companies. Thus, Ingersoll has a long standing relationship with Rockefeller interests.]
Commentator: We are adding another man to the interview, his name is Mr. John Rees, a very fine writer from the Review of the News, Washington, D.C., who is in the area right at this time to make some speeches.
Sutton: Mr. Franklin, do you believe in freedom of the press in the United States?
Franklin: Definitely, of course.
Sutton: Let me quote you from a book “Crisis In Democracy,” written by Michel Crozier, who is a Trilateral member.
Sutton: I am quoting from page 35 of his book: “The media has thus become an autonomous power. We are now witnessing a crucial change with the profession. That is, media tends to regulate itself in such a way as to resist the pressure from financial or government interests.” Does that not mean that you want to restrict the press in some way?
Franklin: I can’t quite hear you.
Sutton: Let me paraphrase this for you. I think I will be clear in my paraphrasing. The Trilateral Commission is unhappy with the press because it resists the pressure from financial or government interests. That is one of your statements.
Franklin: Now, let me say something about our book. The book that we put out, the report, is the responsibility of the authors and not of the Commission itself. You will find that in the back of a number of them, and that book is one of them, that other members of the Commission will hear dissenting views, and you will find dissenting views in the back of that book on the press question.
Sutton: I would like to quote a further statement from the same book and leave the questions at that point: “The media deprives government and to some extent other responsible authorities of the time lag and tolerance that make it possible to innovate and to experiment responsibly.” What the book recommends is something like the Interstate Commerce Commission to control the press. This seems to me to be a violation of the Constitution.
Franklin: I would agree with you that we do not want something like the Interstate Commerce Commission to control the press.
[Ed: Michel Crozier, et al, in Crisis In Democracy make the following statements with reference to the “Interstate Commerce Act and the Sherman Anti-trust Act”:
“Something comparable appears to be now needed with respect to the media…. there is also the need to assure to the government the right and the ability to withhold information at the source” (page 182).
The authors go on to argue that if journalists do not conform to these new restrictive standards then “The alternative could well be regulation by the government.”]
Sutton: I fail to understand why the Trilateral Commission would associate itself with such a viewpoint.
Franklin: As I just mentioned to you. We hired three authors for each report. The authors are allowed to say what they think is correct. What the Trilateral Commission does is this: It says we think this report is worthwhile for the public to see. This does not mean that all the members of the Commission agree with all the statements in the report and, in fact, a majority of them might disagree with certain things. Now, where a statement is one that many Commissioners seem to disagree with we then do put in the back a summary of the discussion. That book does have a summary of the discussion of our meeting which questions various things in the book, in the back of it.
Sutton: Would you say Mr. Franklin that the members of the Commission do have a common philosophy?
Franklin: Yes. I think a common philosophy. I think that all of them believe that this world will work better if the principal industrial powers consult each other on their policies and try to work them out together. This does not mean that they will agree on everything. Of course, they won’t. But, at least they will know what the other countries feel, and why they feel it.
Sutton: The Financial Times in London — the editor is Ferdy Fisher, a Trilateralist. He fired a long time editorial writer, Gordon Tether, because Tether wanted to write articles criticizing the Trilateral Commission. Do you have any comments?
Franklin: I didn’t know that at all. It sounds terribly unlikely, but if you say that it is so, probably it is.
[Ed: See Chapter Seven “Trilateral Censorship: the case of C. Gordon Tether” in Trilaterals Over Washington. Trilaterals see the media as the “gatekeeper” and comment as follows: “Their main impact is visibility. The only real event is the event that is reported and seen. Thus, journalists possess a crucial role as gatekeepers of one of the central dimensions of public life.”]
Rees: Frankly, Mr. Martin, with Antony Sutton on the line, I feel absolutely a novice, because Antony is a real expert on the Trilateral.
Sutton: Well, I am looking for information.
Commentator: Are you getting information?
Sutton: Yes, I am very definitely getting information.
Commentator: Do you have any other questions?
Sutton: Not at the moment. I’d rather hear someone else.
Wood: I do have one question, if I might. You mentioned earlier that as you decided to issue a report, whether it reflected Trilateral policy or not, you felt that it was worthy to be shared with the public. Is that correct?
Franklin: We do not have a Trilateral policy, except for the very broad policy [which] is that each of these major areas ought to know what the other countries are doing and why and try to work things out as much as possible. That is our only Trilateral policy, I would say. We don’t have a policy on energy and a policy on monetary reform and a policy on, etc.
[Ed: The latest issue of Trialogue (Summer 1979) has an opening paragraph as follows:
“The draft report presented in Tokyo by the Trilateral Task Force on Payments Imbalances analyzes the extreme payments imbalances which have marked the world economy throughout the 1970’s and offers a series of broad policy recommendations…”
Part II of the same issue has the following opening paragraph:
“The draft report presented in Tokyo by the Trilateral Task Force on Industrial Policy… reviews the desirable aims and criteria of trilateral industrial policies and their international implications.”
Yet Franklin asserts “We don’t have a policy on energy and a policy on monetary reform, etc.”]
Wood: Okay, let me ask a question. Based on that then, what efforts have you made, if any, to publish these articles or these studies so they might be reviewed by the general American public? For instance, I have never seen one study published in any major popular magazine, whether it be Time Magazine, a newspaper — in fact, there have been very few references. Over a period of six years now, there have been few mentions of the name “Trilateral Commission” in the nations press. This is backed up by the New York Times data base, which is one of the most extensive in the world. Now if these are made public, can you tell me how these are made public?
Franklin: Yes. What we do is, that we have a list of about 4,000 people, some of whom request them and some of whom we thought would be interested if we sent them — and we send them free — and we would be glad to send them to you, for example, if you would like to have them. Now we also, when we publish, when we send them out to a considerable list of press correspondents. We also have press lunches and things. Because of the nature of this thing, it can’t be printed in full, because they are just too long. No newspaper wants to print a 40- or 50-page study. But, there have been mentions of one or two of the studies in Newsweek. We would like to get more published, frankly, very much more than we have been getting. Now in Japan, for example, we have done much better. At our last plenary session in Tokyo, members of the Commission who were there, gave over 90 separate interviews to members of the Japanese press who were present. In fact, there were many more requests than that which we could not honor because there was not time. We have not done anything like as well in this country.
Wood: Allow me to ask you this. This takes specifically one case, the case of Time Magazine. Hedley Donovan is the former editor-in-chief of that magazine. I understand he is recently retired, and also you have as a member of your Commission, Sol Linowitz, also a director of Time. Now, Time-Life books, of course, you have Time Magazine, Fortune, Money and People. Now I would ask you — considering the special advantage you have by having such a giant as Hedley Donovan and Sol Linowitz as well, both connected to Time — don’t you feel that if you really wanted to publicize these “position papers” that it would only take a scratch of the pen by Mr. Donovan?
Franklin: No, I don’t, and I will tell you why. Hedley Donovan is not only a member of the Commission, but he is one of my close personal friends. Hedley Donovan is also a person of great integrity. He will not publish anything we do because he is connected with it. He looks out for the interest of Time, and he does not feel we were worth Time publicity, and I am sure he will be exactly the same way in the White House. He is going to be loyal to his President and to his job.
Wood: But Time Magazine is the largest news magazine in the country?
Franklin: Right. We only had a little publicity, but we had only what Hedley would have given, whether or not he was a member of the Commission.
Wood: So, he basically thinks that the Commission really does not matter.
Franklin: No. He does not, or he would not be a member of the Commission at all. Time Magazine does give us some money, not very much, but $2,500 a year to be exact. But, his editorial judgment is not biased by the fact that he is a member of the Commission.
Commentator: Mr. Rees, would you like to ask a question?
Rees: Yes, Mr. Franklin, I noticed that you were saying that the Trilateral Commission takes no responsibility for the use of the publisher’s imprimatur, but I would be interested to know about how you go about selecting your writers to put out the various positions.
Franklin: Well that is a very interesting question. We have a meeting with the chairmen. The way the situation is organized is this. There are three chairmen, one from each of the three areas. Three secretaries, one from each of the three areas, and I, have got an intermediate staff job called “coordinator.” Now, the chairmen and secretaries meet with what they have jointly, will discuss not only topics they think will be useful to have, but also authors for these topics. The topics are then discussed by the whole Commission and approved or changed slightly. The authors are chosen by members of the staff and consultation with the chairmen.
Rees: So, although you do not take responsibility for the finished product you are responsible for the selection of the writers.
Franklin: Very much. No question about that.
Rees: So it does have your imprimatur stamp of approval each time?
Franklin: In that sense. We certainly choose the writers, and we choose them because we think they are very good, obviously. So far, every single report that has been written by the authors has, in fact, been accepted for publication by the Commission.
Rees: Then the report on the news media was accepted?
Franklin: It was accepted, but there was a lot of disagreement with that. It was felt that it was an important statement, with quite a lot of interesting new ideas in it. It was also a very strong opposition which was reflected in the back of the report in a section, I think it is entitled, “Summary of Discussion.”
Commentator: Mr. Sutton, do you have any other questions?
Sutton: I have one more question, that goes to a new field entirely: taxation. We have established that David Rockefeller is chairman and single most powerful influence in Chase Manhattan Bank. Now, do you happen to know the tax rate that Chase Manhattan pays in the United States?
Franklin: I don’t know . . . happen to know — it is about 50% [fifty percent].
Sutton: I will give you some figures. In 1976, Chase Manhattan Bank’s tax rate was precisely zero. I am wondering why, if you are so influential politically, why at least you cannot pay a tax rate more equivalent to that of the average American Taxpayer, which is 15% or 20% or 30%.
Franklin: I have nothing to do with Chase Manhattan Bank. But if the tax rate was zero, it must have been because it had very large real estate losses in that year, I think.
Sutton: In 1975, it was 3.4%. It is always way under 10%.
Franklin: Well, that is extremely interesting. It is a new fact for me.
Sutton: Well, my point is this, that you are willing to guide the United States into the future, but apparently you are not willing to pay your fair share of the costs.
Commentator: You are talking about the Commission members as a whole?
Franklin: I think you will find that the Commission members pay whatever the laws says they are supposed to pay under the circumstances. I do not know what the particular reason was on Chase. They did have heavy losses, I am not familiar enough with their situation to be able to tell it to you.
Wood: May I ask another question along that same line, please?
Commentator: Go ahead.
Wood: In that same year, 1976, it is recorded that some 78% of Chase Manhattan’s earnings came from International operations. That leaves 22% from the U.S… Don’t you think perhaps this might be a conflict of interest, between choosing their international policy versus their domestic policy in the United States?
Franklin: Well, I think that is true of most of the major banks. Now, that does not answer your question, I recognize.
Wood: Where would their loyalty lie? If on one hand they are trying to look out for America, yet on the other hand they are trying to look out for their bread and butter, which is not America.
Franklin: First, in the long run, I think any of our major corporations must recognize, that unless the United States does well, they are going to be in the soup. Secondly, some of these people, you may or may not believe it, have enough integrity, they can divorce their interest, like Hedley Donovan could, on the question of publicity on the Trilateral Commission.
Commentator: Gentlemen, I think we are running out of time here. I think we have reached the end of the interview. We would like to thank you, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Wood, and Mr. Sutton. Thank you for being guests on our show.
Copyright © 2007 The August Review