Trilateral Commission

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The Trilateral Commission
Founded1973; 48 years ago (1973)
TypeAnnual conference
HeadquartersTokyo (Asia Pacific Group)
Paris (European Group)
Washington, D.C. (North American Group)
More than 390
Akihiko Tanaka (Asia Pacific chairman)
Jean-Claude Trichet (European chairman)
Meghan O'Sullivan (North American chairman)

The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental discussion group founded by David Rockefeller in July 1973 to foster closer cooperation between Japan, Western Europe and North America.[1][2]



The Trilateral Commission was formed in 1973 by private citizens of Japan, North American nations (the U.S. and Canada), and Western European nations[2] to foster substantive political and economic dialogue across the world. The idea of the Commission was developed in the early 1970s, a time of considerable discord among the United States and its allies in Western Europe, Japan, and Canada.[3] To quote its founding declaration:

  • "Growing interdependence is a fact of life of the contemporary world. It transcends and influences national systems... While it is important to develop greater cooperation among all the countries of the world, Japan, Western Europe, and North America, in view of their great weight in the world economy and their massive relations with one another, bear a special responsibility for developing effective cooperation, both in their own interests and in those of the rest of the world."
  • "To be effective in meeting common problems, Japan, Western Europe, and North America will have to consult and cooperate more closely, on the basis of equality, to develop and carry out coordinated policies on matters affecting their common interests... refrain from unilateral actions incompatible with their interdependence and from actions detrimental to other regions... [and] take advantage of existing international and regional organizations and further enhance their role."
  • "The Commission hopes to play a creative role as a channel of free exchange of opinions with other countries and regions. Further progress of the developing countries and greater improvement of East-West relations will be a major concern."[4]

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Rockefeller advisor who was a specialist on international affairs (and later President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981), left Columbia University to organize the group, along with:[5]

Other founding members included Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, both later heads of the Federal Reserve System.

The organization's records are stored at the Rockefeller Archive Center in North Tarrytown, NY.[10]


The Trilateral Commission initiated its biannual meetings in October 1973 in Tokyo, Japan. In May 1976 the first plenary meeting of all of the Commission's regional groups took place in Kyoto, Japan. Since the ninth meeting in 1978, plenary meetings have taken place annually. Besides annual plenary meetings, regional meetings have also taken place in each of the Asia Pacific Group, the European Group and the North American Group.[11] Since its founding, the discussion group has produced an official journal, Trialogue.


Membership is divided into numbers proportionate to each of the think tank's three regional areas. North America is represented by 120 members (20 Canadian, 13 Mexican and 87 U.S. citizens). The European group has reached its limit of 170 members from almost every country on the continent; the ceilings for individual countries are 20 for Germany, 18 for France, Italy and the United Kingdom, 12 for Spain and 1–6 for the rest. At first Asia and Oceania were represented only by Japan, but in 2000 the Japanese group of 85 members became the Pacific Asia group, comprising 117 members: 75 Japanese, 11 South Koreans, 7 Australian and New Zealand citizens, and 15 members from the ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). The Pacific Asia group also included 9 members from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The commission now claims "more than 100" Pacific Asian members.[4]

The Trilateral Commission's bylaws apparently deny membership to public officials. (Despite this, Keir Starmer, the leader of the U.K. opposition, one of the most important public officials in the nation, is a member.[12]) It draws its members from politics, business, and academia, and has three chairpersons, one from each region. The current chairs are former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Joseph S. Nye, Jr., former head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, and Yasuchika Hasegawa, chair of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.[13]


As of September 2021[14]

Name Position
Jean-Claude Trichet European Chairman
Meghan O'Sullivan North American Chairman
Akihiko Tanaka Asia Pacific Chairman
Alexandra Papalexopoulou European Deputy Chairman
Herminio Blanco Mendoza North American Deputy Chairman
Barry Desker Asia Pacific Deputy Chairman
Carl Bildt European Deputy Chairman
Jeffrey Simpson North American Deputy Chairman
Jin Roy Ryu Asia Pacific Deputy Chairman
David Rockefeller (deceased) Founder
Peter Sutherland (deceased) Honorary European Chairman
Georges Berthoin European Honorary Chairman
Paul Volcker (deceased) North American Honorary Chairman
Yasuchika Hasegawa Asia Pacific Honorary Chairman
Paolo Magri European Director
Richard Fontaine North American Director
Hideko Katsumata Asia Pacific Director

Notable members[edit]

  • Raymond Chrétien, strategic adviser at Fasken, former chair of the Montréal Council on Foreign Relations, former Associate Under Secretary of State of External Affairs, former Canadian Ambassador to the Congo, Belgium, Mexico, the United States, and France, nephew of Jean Chrétien[15]


Social critic and academic Noam Chomsky has criticized the commission as undemocratic, pointing to its publication The Crisis of Democracy, which describes the strong popular interest in politics during the 1970s as an "excess of democracy".[58] He described it as one of the most interesting and insightful books showing the modern democratic system not to really be a democracy at all, but controlled by elites. Chomsky says that as it was an internal discussion, they "let their hair down" and talked about how the public needs to be reduced to its proper state of apathy and obedience.[59]

Critics accuse the Commission of promoting a global consensus among the international ruling classes in order to manage international affairs in the interest of the financial and industrial elites under the Trilateral umbrella.[60][61]

In his 1980 book With No Apologies, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater suggested that the discussion group was "a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power: political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical... [in] the creation of a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved."[62] Right-wing groups such as the John Birch Society and conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones have also promulgated this idea.[63]

Conspiracy theories

Some conspiracy theorists believe the organization to be a central plotter of a world government or synarchy. As documented by journalist Jonathan Kay, Luke Rudkowski interrupted a lecture by former Trilateral Commission director Zbigniew Brzezinski in April 2007 and accused the organization and a few others of having orchestrated the 9/11 attacks to initiate a new world order.[64]

Neo-conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer sardonically alluded to the conspiracy theories when he was asked in 2012 who makes up the "Republican establishment", saying, "Karl Rove is the president. We meet every month on the full moon... [at] the Masonic Temple. We have the ritual: Karl brings the incense, I bring the live lamb and the long knife, and we began... with a pledge of allegiance to the Trilateral Commission."[65]



  • Crozier, Michel; Huntington, Samuel; Watanuki, Joji (1975). The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-1365-3.
  • The Global Economic Crisis. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. 2011. ISBN 978-0-930503-93-2.
  • Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. 2011. ISBN 978-0-930503-94-9.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "David Rockefeller". Trilateral Commission. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "ABOUT THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION". Retrieved Jul 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS". The Trilateral Commission. Retrieved Jul 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "The Trilateral Commission FAQ". The Trilateral Commission. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h “The Trilateral Commission (North America) Records“. Rockefeller Archives.
  6. ^ Historical Roster of Directors and Officers, Council on Foreign Relations
  7. ^ David Stout (March 7, 1996), "George S. Franklin Jr., 82, Foreign Policy Expert" obit, The New York Times: "From 1945 to 1971, he worked for the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, serving as executive director from 1953 to 1971. He served on the group's board for another decade."
  8. ^ a b George S. Franklin Jr., 82, Foreign Policy Expert David Stout. New York Times. March 7, 1996. Retrieved May 12, 2016
  9. ^ a b "Tadashi Yamamoto, pioneer of international exchange, dies at 76". Asahi Shimbun. 2012-04-16. Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
  10. ^ "Treasures Within a Treasure: The Rockefeller Archives Center". 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2019-01-04.
  11. ^ "Meetings". The Trilateral Commission. Retrieved Jul 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "Answer to a written question - Incompatibility between the holding of a Community decision-making office and membership of the Bilderberg Club and the Trilateral Commission - E-1846/2003". European Parliament. August 6, 2003. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  13. ^ "Trilateral Commission Membership" (PDF). October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  14. ^ Membership September 2021. Trilateral Commission.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac (September 2021), Membership List, Trilateral Commission
  16. ^ Adam Shaw (July 14, 2021), "Nikki Haley blasts Blinken's invite to UN experts on racism, minority issues: 'This is insane' ", Fox News
  17. ^ Aaron Feis (July 14, 2021), "Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomes UN probe of ‘racism’ in US", New York Post: "The United Nations — whose World Health Organization arm was just panned for its probe of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins confined to guidelines set by the Chinese Communist Party — has been formally invited by the Biden administration to investigate “the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia” in the US, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken."
  18. ^ (Oct. 6, 2014), "Former NYC mayor bestowed honor by Queen", CBS News: "Bloombеrg was made 'an Honorary Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire' . . . Previous recipients of honorary knighthoods include . . . Bill Gatеs and actress-activist Angelina Jolie."
  19. ^ Robert Frank, (May 26, 2009), "Billionaires Try to Shrink World's Population, Report Says", The Wall Street Journal: "The New York meeting of billionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Eli Broad, George Soros, Ted Turner, Oprah, Michael Bloombеrg and others was . . . a friendly chat . . . . 'Taking their cue from Gates they agreed that overpopulation was a priority' . . . "
  20. ^ Intelligencer Dossier (July 22, 2019), "Jeffrey Epstein's High Society Contacts", New York magazine: "Michael Bloombеrg . . . found in Epstein's black book."
  21. ^ Reuters (Sep 08, 2014) "Harvard receives record $350M gift for public health school", New York Daily News: "The largest cumulative donation to any U.S. university . . . is $1.1 billion . . . from former New York City Mayor Michaеl Bloomberg . . . to his alma mater Johns Hopkins University, including its now-eponymous [Bloomberg] School of Public Health."
  22. ^ Dana Vigue (Sep 8, 2020), "Experts predicted a coronavirus pandemic years ago. Now it's playing out before our eyes", CNN: "In 2017, a team of experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security published a scenario as part of a training exercise that they believed could happen in the not-so-distant future. The SPARS Pandemic Scenario"
  23. ^ a b c “Who's Who on the Trilateral Commission”. Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1980. ISBN 0896081036 ISBN 0896081044 OCLC 6958001 (pp. 90-122).
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Antony C. Sutton and Patrick M. Wood (1978), Trilaterals Over Washington, Vol. 1 (pp. 155–165), Appendix A: Trilateral Commission Membership List, as of Oct. 15, 1978. The August Corporation ISBN 0933482019 LCCN 78-78277.
  25. ^ "Board of Directors". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  26. ^ "Nicholas Burns" bio, The Aspen Institute
  27. ^ Evita Duffy (March 24, 2021), "Aspen Institute Hires Prince Harry To Fight Media 'Misinformation' ", The Federalist: "Their climate crisis warnings have fallen on deaf ears as the public has pointed out how hypocritical it is for the couple to preach about carbon emissions while they paraded around the world in private jets."
  28. ^ a b c d e "Board of Directors", Council on Foreign Relations
  29. ^ Landon Thomas Jr. (Oct. 28, 2002), "Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery", New York magazine: "He is an enthusiastic member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations."
  30. ^ "Jeffrey Epstein Was A Member Of The Trilateral Commission - Technocracy News & Trends | Podcast Search Engine by Vocalmatic". Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  31. ^ Tore Gjerstad & Gard Oterholm (2 Oct. 2020), "Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein met with Nobel Committee chair", Dagens Næringsliv Magasinet: "Not only did [Thorbjørn] Jagland meet Epstein, he hosted him at his lavish residence in Strasbourg, France. At the time, Jagland was the sitting chair of the committee, which awards the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Also present: a philanthropist [Gates] touted as a possible Prize recipient."
  32. ^ (2013), "Jeffrey Epstein, Education Activist, Applauds Bloomberg's Plan for New York City Charter Schools", CBS MoneyWatch: " . . . Bloomberg's funding will come through his foundation, the Young Men's Initiative, which is also funded by Georgе Soros Open Society Foundations. . . . Jeffrey Epstein also founded the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvаrd University in 2003 with a $30 million grant. He is a former member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Rockefeller University, New York Academy of Science and sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard University."
  33. ^ "Leadership and Governance | Board of Trustees", World Economic Forum
  34. ^ Charles Creitz (June 12, 2021), "BlackRock, other investment firms 'killing the dream' of home ownership, journalist says", Fox News
  35. ^ Historical Roster of Directors and Officers, Council on Foreign Relations
  36. ^ David Stout (March 7, 1996), "George S. Franklin Jr., 82, Foreign Policy Expert" obit, The New York Times: "From 1945 to 1971, he worked for the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, serving as executive director from 1953 to 1971. He served on the group's board for another decade."
  37. ^ "David R. Gergen" bio, World Economic Forum
  38. ^ David Gergen (2001), Eyewitness To Power Simon & Schuster
  39. ^ "David Gergen" faculty profile, Harvard Kennedy School
  40. ^ (17 Dec 2020), Amazon Board of Directors Compensation and Salary ~ Jamie Gorelick $952,741
  41. ^ (2008) "Pulitzer Prize Board 2007-2008", The Pulitzer Prizes: "Graham served as a Pulitzer Prize board member from 1999-2008."
  42. ^ The Globalist (Nov. 23, 2019), "Fiona Hill, Author at The Globalist", The Globalist: " . . . Fiona Hill recently testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings of Donald J. Trump. . . . An expert on Russia, she was the last witness to be called and took Congress to school."
  43. ^ Zack Budryk (Nov. 21, 2019), "Hill says Soros conspiracy theories are 'new Protocols of the Elders of Zion'", The Hill
  44. ^ Intelligencer Dossier (July 22, 2019), "Jeffrey Epstein's High Society Contacts", New York magazine: "Henry Кissinger . . . found in Epstein's black book. One of the century's most notorious practitioners of cutthroat realpolitik, Kissinger served on the Council on Foreign Relations with Epstein."
  45. ^ (April 22, 2002), "UK bid to arrest Kissinger fails", "Kissinger's direction of the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s amounted to a breach of British laws requiring people of all nationalities to observe the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war. It is the latest legal bid made against Kissinger."
  46. ^ Klaus Schwab (Jan. 20, 2017), "A Conversation with Henry Kissinger on the World in 2017", World Economic Forum: ". . . I met Dr. Kissinger the first time exactly 50 years ago at Harvаrd. . . . I would like to thank you personally also for the 50-year-long mentorship, and all the advice you have given me."
  47. ^ The World Economic Forum | A Partner in Shaping History | The First 40 Years | 1971 – 2010, p. 35: "Klaus Schwab with two important mentors, Henry Kissinger, . . . his former professor at Hаrvard, and Edward Heath . . ."
  48. ^ Eric Lichtblau (Aug 9, 2008), "Scientist Officially Exonerated in Anthrax Attacks", The New York Times
  49. ^ Jerry Markon (July 14, 2004) "Former Army Scientist Sues New York Times, Columnist", The Washington Post
  50. ^ (Aug. 28, 2008), "Kristof apologizes to Hatfill over NYT 'Mr. Z' columns", Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  51. ^ "Nicholas D. Kristof | Aspen Strategy Group member" The Aspen Institute
  52. ^ "Leadership and Governance | Board of Trustees", World Economic Forum
  53. ^ "HKS Campus Map & Directory", Harvаrd Kennedy School (David Rubenstein building is just west of the Leslie Wexner building — other namesakes on the map include Alfred Taubman, Lucius Nathan Littauer, Robert A. Belfer, Batia & Idan Ofer, Malcolm H. Wiener, Joan Shorenstein, etc.)
  54. ^ "David E. Sanger", The Aspen Institute
  55. ^ "8 of the world's most exclusive clubs — can you join?".
  56. ^ April 2018 European Membership List. Trilateral Commission. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  57. ^ Jane Martinson (June 16, 2006), "Jacob Wallenberg £11bn prince in Sweden's royal family of finance", The Guardian
  58. ^ Noam., Chomsky (1999). Profit over people : neoliberalism and global order (Seven Stories Press 1st ed.). New York: Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1888363827. OCLC 39505718.
  59. ^ Chomsky's Philosophy (2017-04-18), Noam Chomsky - The Crisis of Democracy, retrieved 2018-09-03
  60. ^ Cold Warriors: The Trilateral Commission (Documentary). 1984.
  61. ^ “The Commission's Purpose, Structure, and Programs: In Its Own Words”. Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management. Boston: South End Press, 1980. ISBN 0-89608-103-6, ISBN 0-89608-104-4, OCLC 6958001. pp. 83-89.
  62. ^ Goldwater, Barry. With No Apologies. Co-authored with Stephen Shadegg. Berkley, 1980. ISBN 0-425-04663-X p. 299.
  63. ^ Barry, Dan (June 25, 2009). "Holding Firm Against Plots by Evildoers". The New York Times.
  64. ^ Kay, Jonathan. Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground. New York: Harpers, 2011. ISBN 978-1-55468-630-8. pp. 200–201
  65. ^ "Krauthammer's Take". Special Report with Bret Baier. Retrieved January 26, 2012.

Further reading[edit]



External links[edit]