The Trilateral Commission is a private organization, established to foster closer cooperation among the United States, Europe and Japan. It was founded in July 1973 at the initiative of David Rockefeller, who was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations at that time. The Trilateral Commission is widely seen as a counterpart to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Speaking at the Chase Manhattan International Financial Forums in London, Brussels, Montreal, and Paris, Rockefeller proposed the creation of an International Commission of Peace and Prosperity in early 1972 (which would later become the Trilateral Commission). At the 1972 Bilderberg meeting, the idea was widely accepted, but elsewhere, it got a cool reception. According to Rockefeller, the organization could "be of help to government by providing measured judgment."
In July 1972, Rockefeller called his first meeting, which was held at Rockefeller's Pocantico compound in New York's Hudson Valley. It was attended by about 250 individuals who were carefully selected and screened by Rockefeller and represented the very elite of finance and industry.
Its first executive committee meeting was held in Tokyo in October 1973. The Trilateral Commission was officially initiated, holding biannual meetings.
A Trilateral Commission Task Force Report, presented at the 1975 meeting in Kyoto, Japan, called An Outline for Remaking World Trade and Finance, said: "Close Trilateral cooperation in keeping the peace, in managing the world economy, and in fostering economic development and in alleviating world poverty, will improve the chances of a smooth and peaceful evolution of the global system." Another Commission document read:
"The overriding goal is to make the world safe for interdependence by protecting the benefits which it provides for each country against external and internal threats which will constantly emerge from those willing to pay a price for more national autonomy. This may sometimes require slowing the pace at which interdependence proceeds, and checking some aspects of it. More frequently however, it will call for checking the intrusion of national government into the international exchange of both economic and non-economic goods."
In May 1976, the first plenary meeting of all of the Commission's regional groups took place in Kyoto, attended by Jimmy Carter. Today it consists of approximately 300–350 private citizens from Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and North America, and exists to promote closer political and economic cooperation between these areas, which are the primary industrial regions in the world. Its official journal from its founding is a magazine called Trialogue.
Membership is divided into numbers proportionate to each of its three regional areas. These members include corporate CEOs, politicians of all major parties, distinguished academics, university presidents, labor union leaders and not-for-profits involved in overseas philanthropy. Members who gain a position in their respective country's government must resign from the Commission. The North American continent is represented by 107 members (15 Canadian, seven Mexican and 85 U.S. citizens). The European group has reached its limit of 150 members, including citizens from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
At first, Asia and Oceania were represented only by Japan. However, in 2000 the Japanese group of 85 members expanded itself, becoming the Pacific Asia group, composed of 117 members: 75 Japanese, 11 South Koreans, seven Australian and New Zealand citizens, and 15 members from the ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). The Pacific Asia group also includes nine members from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The governments of the present day have to deal not merely with other governments, with emperors, kings and ministers, but also with the secret societies which have everywhere their unscrupulous agents, and can at the last moment upset all the governments’ plans.
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