Le Cercle

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Le Cercle is a foreign policy think-tank specialising in international security. Set up after World War II, the group has members from twenty-five countries and meets at least bi-annually, in Washington, D.C., United States.


At some point in the 1950s, Le Cercle was established by former French prime minister Antoine Pinay and French intelligence agent Jean Violet under the name Cercle Pinay.

In later years, the British took over the chairmanship of Le Cercle. Leading members included the ex-MI6 officer Anthony Cavendish, the British Tory MP Julian Amery,[1] and Brian Crozier.[2]

Alan Clark, the British Conservative MP and historian stated in his diaries that Le Cercle was funded by the CIA. [3]

Le Cercle was mentioned in the early 1980s by Der Spiegel in Germany as a result of the controversy surrounding Franz Josef Strauß, one of the regular attendants of the Cercle.[2] In the late 1990s, the Cercle received some attention after a scandal had broken out involving Jonathan Aitken, at the time chairman of Le Cercle.[4] Members that were contacted by newspapers refused to answer any questions.



  1. ^ Anthony Cavendish, obituary in The Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2013
  2. ^ a b Der Spiegel: Victory for Strauß. 37/1982 (PDF)
  3. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/aitken-dropped-by-the-rights-secret-club-1258522.html
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2008-06-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • Adrian Hänni: A Global Crusade against Communism. The Cercle in the Second Cold War. In: Transnational Dimensions of Cold War Anticommunism. Actions, Networks, Transfers. Eds. Giles Scott-Smith, Luc van Dongen, Stephanie Roulin. Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series, New York 2014, pp. 161-174.
  • Johannes Großmann: Die Internationale der Konservativen. Transnationale Elitenzirkel und private Außenpolitik in Westeuropa seit 1945, Munich 2014 (especially pages 437-496).

External links[edit]