Magazine Volume 10 - Number 4
Nelson Rockefeller, second son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr, had a
plan for a New World Order that would make nation-states redundant.
THE PUBLICIST: NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER (1908-1979)
In the 1940s and 1950s, the American power-elite held great
expectations for the five sons of John D. Rockefeller, Junior.
(Reflecting the prejudices of the time, Junior's daughter Abby was
excluded from these deliberations.) Books such as Alex Morris's
Those Rockefeller Brothers: An Informal Biography of Five
Extraordinary Young Men (1953), for example, openly speculated
on how Junior's progeny would advance the Rockefeller philanthropic
Some of these expectations were met. John D. III and
Laurance both seemed content to assume a patrician lifestyle steeped
in philanthropy, while attempting to influence government from
behind the scenes. David, of course, took this to a much higher
level, combining it with a banking career; while Winthrop took the
opposite route, dabbling in business and serving as Governor of
Arkansas--then a relatively obscure position on the US political
It was Nelson, Junior's second-eldest son, who decisively broke
the mould. In contrast to his more reserved brothers and at odds
with family expectations, Nelson aggressively pursued a career in
the highest levels of the US government, first as an official and
later as a politician. That he would do so was inevitable, for he
was the dominant personality in the new generation. He was an
extrovert and was seemingly immune from Junior's pious strictures
Nelson also possessed a vast appetite for power, but, in a
deviation from the family tradition of trying to dampen popular
Rockefeller power by maintaining a low public profile, he also
sought to be widely known as a powerful individual.
Thus it was Nelson who had shunted aside the eldest son, John
D. III, to take centre stage in family affairs, determined to
control the philanthropic network. And then, after an erratic and
unfulfilling career in government, he clumsily attempted to seize
the ultimate political prize: the White House. And
yet, for Nelson, the rewards would be mixed with frustration, and
ultimately the toll would be high for him and the family name. Even
David eventually came to see Nelson not as "the hero who could do no
wrong but as a man who was willing to sacrifice almost everything in
the service of his enormous ambition".
From Technocrat to Politician
Having no reservations about trading on the family name, Nelson
used the doors it opened to pursue a wide-ranging career in the US
government, in foreign policy positions in the Roosevelt,
Eisenhower administrations, although his path was hardly
Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nelson served as
Coordinator of the Office of Inter-American Affairs (1940-44),
Chairman of the Inter-American Development Commission (1940-47) and
Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America (1944-45). His
fortunes fell under Harry Truman, who dismissed Nelson from
the State Department, apparently at the insistence of new Secretary
of State Dean Acheson who resented Nelson's successful effort
to have Axis-sympathetic Argentina included in the United Nations. A
chastened Nelson retreated into philanthropy, pausing only to
accept the token appointment as Chairman of the International
Development Board (1950-51).
Under Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson's star briefly rose again. He
served as the President's Special Assistant on Foreign Policy
(1954-55) and as head of the secret "Forty Committee"
charged with overseeing the
CIA's covert operations. Nelson had been on the verge
of securing a senior position in the Department of Defense; however,
concerted opposition from other Cabinet members, who had convinced
Nelson was intent on massively expanding the Defense budget,
ensured that his career as a public official came to an abrupt end.
These experiences were salutary for the ambitious Nelson. His bruising
encounters with Establishment technocrats--who clearly resented his
intrusion into their realm--instilled in him a yearning for greater
political power. Nelson was not content to operate behind the
scenes like his brothers, nor willing to endure more humiliation as
a mere functionary.
According to author Stewart Alsop, Nelson eventually realized
that "there was only one way for a very rich man like him to achieve
what he had always wanted--real political power and authority. That
way was to run for office".
25 And for Nelson, the ultimate political office he
desired was President of the United States.
In 1958, drawing on his vast inheritance, Nelson launched his
political career, defeating W. Averell Harriman in the
"battle of the millionaires" to become Governor of New York, a
position he would hold until 1973. Expecting the New York
governorship to be a stepping-stone to the Presidency, Nelson
campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 1960, 1964
and 1968 but failed every time, losing twice to his nemesis,
Ironically, it was in the wake of Nixon's resignation in 1974
over the Watergate scandal that Nelson finally entered the
White House, but as an appointed Vice-President to an appointed
President, Gerald Ford. Ford's survival of two blundered
assassination attempts meant that Nelson remained only a famed
"heartbeat away" from the Presidency, never achieving his goal.
26 So near, yet so far, it was no
wonder that when Nelson was asked, close to the end of his life,
what he wished most to have done, his reply was curt: "Been
Internationalist or Imperialist?
There are two competing interpretations of Nelson's foreign policy
vision during his political career. The first is of a diehard
anti-Communist, dubbed by some journalists as the "Coldest Warrior
of Them All", and a militarist-imperialist who believed the US
should "act aggressively whenever events abroad threatened its own
interests" (Chapman). Proponents of this view point to Nelson's
"necrophiliac ambition" (Fitch) of providing each American family
with its own nuclear fallout shelter, his calls in 1960 for a 10 per
cent boost in Defense spending, his attacks on Eisenhower for
letting the US fall behind the Soviet Union in the famed (but
illusory) "missile gap", and his apparent eagerness to use
tactical nuclear weapons against Communist insurgents.
The second interpretation, in contrast, presents Nelson as "a leader
in the campaign to submerge American sovereignty in a World
"I think Nelson Rockefeller is definitely committed to trying
to make the United States part of a one world socialist government,"
declared John Birch Society founder Robert Welch in 1958.
30 Far from
being the ultimate Cold Warrior, Nelson is portrayed as a covert
supporter of the alleged plot by the super-rich to use Communism to
subvert the sovereignty of the US and of other "free nations"
Yet these mutually inconsistent caricatures fail to capture the true
essence of Nelson's world order strategy, which in the short
term sought to assert America's full military power to defeat Soviet
Communism, and in the long term envisaged the United States using
its superpower status to create a "new world order"
based on world federalism, regional blocs and international free
trade. The influences on Nelson's foreign policy thinking
were numerous, ranging from his father and Fosdick through to
the plethora of political and specialist foreign policy advisers he
employed. But it is important to realize the different sources for
Starting with Nelson's stridently anti-Communist short-term
outlook, we find a surprising source. Since his uninspiring
departure from the Eisenhower Administration in 1955, Nelson had
employed as his foreign policy adviser Dr Henry Kissinger,
then a leading proponent of Realpolitik and a rising star in the
Kissinger is widely regarded as a proponent of world
government, but this assumption stems primarily from the crude
analytical tool of guilt by association, in which Kissinger's
CFR membership is cited as the primary evidence of this alleged
tendency. There can be no doubt that
Kissinger is a particularly loathsome creature of the Eastern
Establishment and an egotistical, deceitful and opportunistic
character at best, 31
but a world government proponent he is not. For instance, in his
first CFR book, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy,
Kissinger explicitly rejected the option of world government as
"hardly realistic", adding that there was "no escaping from the
responsibilities of the thermonuclear age into a supranational
Despite this, Kissinger was still of value to Nelson,
providing support to his more belligerent anti-Communist fantasies.
Joseph Persico, Nelson's speechwriter of some 11 years,
"Kissinger's hard-eyed vision of a world maintained by
counter-balancing powers suited Nelson perfectly".
33 But Kissinger's influence
should not be overstated. For one, Nelson's balance-of-power
thinking stemmed from his reflexive anti-Communism, which
characterized the Soviet bloc as America's greatest threat. That was
the balance of power in the world at that time, and thus Kissinger's
unsentimental views suited Nelson.
However, in his longer-term outlook, Nelson was undeniably a
Wilsonian liberal internationalist--something he had already
demonstrated intermittently since the 1940s. For example, Nelson
was instrumental, through the controversy generated over his push to
have Argentina included in the United Nations, with ensuring that
Article 51--which allows for groups of states to form alliances to
repel aggression--was included in the final UN Charter.
34 But at the same time, not content
with the UN system that included the Soviets, and determined to
"purify" Central and South America of "alien commercial influence",
Nelson was a strong supporter of regionalism, particularly the
goal of a Western hemisphere "united under US leadership".
Eisenhower Administration, Nelson had been one of
the strongest supporters of the Atlantic Union concept, despite
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles's patronizing dismissal
of his views as "premature".
It was also during the late 1940s and early 1950s that Nelson,
in support of his goal of encouraging Western hemispheric unity--or,
more precisely, establishing US economic dominance over Latin
America--had established the American International Association
for Economic and Social Development (AIA) and the
International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC).
The AIA was ostensibly intended to promote development
in Latin America and combat "poverty, disease and illiteracy", while
IBEC was supposed to encourage capital investment. The
founding president of both institutions, Nelson naturally
AIA and IBEC as being designed to achieve
the desirable goal of development. Yet, in truth, Nelson was
driven by a baser aim of breaking down national barriers to
penetration by American companies in line with the shift in
Rockefeller wealth from oil to international banking and
Third World investment.
In describing the activities of AIA and IBEC,
Nelson employed language that is often employed by contemporary
advocates of globalization. "Today," Nelson stated in the late
1940s, "capital must go to where it can produce the most goods,
render the greatest service, meet the most pressing needs of the
people." Discussing IBEC operations in Latin America,
Nelson noted that because of the "big problems" confronting "our
way of life", it was essential that they demonstrate "that American
enterprise can ... help to solve these problems that are vital to
our everyday life and to our position in world affairs". He said the
US needed to "master such problems if our system is going to
For all his rhetoric on helping people, ultimately it was protecting
and extending "our system" that was paramount for Nelson.
Three Sources of Inspiration
For the most definitive expressions of Nelson's
liberal-internationalist vision, we must look to his
political career as presidential aspirant from the mid-1950s through
to 1973. And we can see that, just as Fosdick
influenced Junior, at least three sources of inspiration drove
Nelson's vision during that period.
- The first
main influence on
Nelson was the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
report of 1959, Prospect for America. Aided by David, Laurance,
Winthrop and the family fortune, Nelson had mobilized nearly a
hundred members of the Eastern Establishment to participate in his
project, which was specifically intended for his presidential
campaigns. The participants were divided into six panels: three
focused on the domestic issues of democracy, education and the
performing arts, while
the other three dealt with defense, US foreign policy and
international trade and economic development. Nelson drew
heavily on Prospect for America's detailed recommendations for US
leadership in establishing regional arrangements and global free
trade and strengthening international institutions.
Prospect for America's policy advice reinforced the Establishment's
Wilsonian liberal-internationalist consensus, recommending that
America's goal should be to establish "a world at peace, based on
separate political entities acting as a community", as it was now
America's "opportunity ... to shape a new world order".
This would consist of "regional institutions under an international
body of growing authority--combined so as to be able to deal with
those problems that increasingly the separate nations will not be
able to solve alone". To advance the free trade agenda, the report
argued that the US should encourage the formation of "regional
trading systems" in "all areas of the free world", including a
"Western Hemisphere Common Market" incorporating North, South and
Central America. The report had also lauded the United Nations as
"proof of our conviction that problems which are of world-wide
impact must be dealt with through institutions global in their
- The second, and less well known, influence on
Emmet John Hughes (1920-1982). He was Eisenhower's
speechwriter, a Senior Adviser on Public Affairs to the Rockefeller
Brothers Fund (1960-1963), and Nelson's campaign manager in 1968.
Although not a prominent figure,
Hughes is described in some accounts as one of Nelson's
more "trusted aides", serving as the "chief ideologue" or "campaign
theoretician" during his abortive campaigns for the Presidency.
was also a liberal-internationalist. In The Ordeal of Power (1963),
his memoir of his time as Eisenhower's speechwriter,
Hughes boasted of having inserted into Eisenhower's speeches
expressions of US support for international law, the UN, disarmament
and the redirection of arms spending towards alleviating world
poverty--a vision revealed in
Eisenhower's "The Chance for Peace" speech of April 16, 1953,
where he asked Americans to support a plan to join with "all
nations" in devoting the savings from disarmament to "a fund for
world aid and reconstruction".
- The third influence was Rockefeller's
close friend and adviser
Adolf Berle (1895-1971), who also provided much input into
Nelson's internationalism. In the late 1940s, Berle's Cold War
vision included creating a "global Good Neighbor Policy that
organized a community of liberal nations" to oppose the USSR. He
opposed NATO, arguing that the "whole language of
military alliance is out of date", and supported collective security
through the United Nations instead. Berle also believed in
the virtues of international economic integration, evident in his
1954 book The 20th Century Capitalist Revolution, which
argued that the dynamic capitalist economy was rendering the
He also provided input to the Prospect for America project, devising
the guidelines for the panels and stressing the need to develop "an
accepted political philosophy" for US foreign policy. In addition,
Berle collaborated with Kissinger in writing the final
report, and his stamp can be seen in those sections which are the
most forthright in arguing for supranational institutions and
international economic integration.
Nelson's "New World Order"
The culmination of these influences was effectively a slightly updated
version of the Wilson-Fosdick world order model that
comprised free trade, regionalism, supranational institutions,
American leadership and the defeat of Communism. Nelson
willingly and repeatedly endorsed this policy package in his
drive for the White House. Central to Nelson's platform was the
contention that global change, specifically economic
interdependence, was making the nation-state redundant. As far back
as 1951, Nelson had used the word "interdependence" to
describe the economic relationship between the Western countries and
the developing world.
43 But it was in a 1960 essay in Foreign Affairs that
Nelson asserted that,
"the central fact of our
time is the disintegration of the nineteenth-century political
system ... the great opportunity of our time is not the idea of
competition but of world cooperation".
Similarly, in his lectures
on federalism at Harvard University in 1962, Nelson claimed:
No nation today can defend
its freedom, or fulfill the needs of its own people, from within its
own borders or through its own resources alone. ...the nation-state,
standing alone, threatens, in many ways, to seem as anachronistic as
the Greek city-state eventually became in ancient times ...
Nelson argued that
as the nation-state was becoming "less and less competent to perform
its international political tasks", the prevailing structures of
international order had disintegrated, leaving "an historical
46 The old
world order based on the 19th-century balance of power was no more,
now that "international relations have become truly global"--a
factor which demanded a "new concept of relations between nations"
in the form of a "framework of order in which the aspirations of
humanity can be peacefully realized ... "
At the same time, Nelson was critical of the role of the United
Nations, arguing that it "has not been able--nor can it be able--to
shape a new world order as events now so compellingly command". He
charged that the Soviet Union and its allies had weakened the UN.
The Communist bloc, Nelson claimed, had dedicated itself to
"the manipulation of the UN's democratic processes, so astutely and
determinedly, as largely to frustrate its power and role". But the
threat posed by the Communist bloc extended beyond damaging the UN,
to attempting to realize its own "cruel design ... for world order".
The Communists had "taken our words, our forms, our very symbols of
man's hopes and aspirations and ... corrupted them to mislead and to
deceive in their quest for world domination".
During the 1968 presidential primaries, however, Nelson was
less pessimistic about the UN, maintaining that the international
organization was not a failure. "On balance," Rockefeller
stated at a Republican Party fundraising dinner in California, "the
record shows that the United Nations' strength has grown..." The
question for Americans, however, was twofold:
"How well can the United
Nations serve the United States' national interest,
and how effectively can it promote a more stable world order ... ?"
Nelson's answer was
that both were possible. Although the US could not hope to control
the UN completely, it could still act in America's "national
interest" (usually a code for business interests) by maintaining
world order using the resources of other member-states. UN
peace-keeping operations (PKOs) he said "have made a
vital contribution toward the building of a more stable world order"
and had done "multilaterally what the United States might have had
to do itself at much greater cost". Actions through the UN were
"often the best way of controlling dangerous crises", as "unilateral
actions" such as Vietnam "frequently tend to boomerang". It was
"perfectly clear", insisted Nelson, that UN PKOs "have
strengthened world order and ... also advanced United States policy
It was therefore in America's interest, according to Nelson,
to "take the initiative in strengthening the role of the UN as
mediator and peace-maker", as the UN "can and must be utilized as a
primary instrument" in the quest for a "better world". In support of
this goal, Nelson advocated that the US take the lead in
"bringing disputes to the UN before they 'go critical'" and
"encourage strong leadership" by the UN Secretary-General, including
greater emphasis on "preventive diplomacy ... quiet diplomacy, and
less reliance on voting per se for the achievement of our national
objectives". Insisting that the UN's peace-keeping functions needed
to be strengthened, Nelson advocated encouraging "small
countries" to set aside troops for UN PKOs, developing
new sources of revenue for PKOs, and a greater focus on
If Nelson's proposals seem strangely familiar now, it is
because many of them were endorsed in UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali's 1992 report, "An Agenda for Peace". In
fact, Boutros-Ghali seemed to echo Nelson with his recommendations
for "preventive diplomacy" and "peacemaking" and for countries to
have personnel and equipment on "stand-by" for peace-keeping
operations. Yet, in spite of a brief flurry of activity during the
1990s, such proposals are as far from being realized now--especially
given the Bush Administration's suspicion of UN
peace-keeping--as they were in Nelson's time.
The "better world" that Nelson had in mind to
replace the existing system of nation-states was essentially a
limited world federation that united all the non-Communist states.
In his 1968 book, Unity, Freedom & Peace, Rockefeller
argued that if the federal idea--as applied by the "Founding Fathers
... in their historic act of political creation in the eighteenth
century"--could be applied "in the larger context of the world of
free nations", it would "serve to guard freedom and promote order in
the free world".
In his Harvard lecture, Nelson revealed that he had "long felt
that the road toward the unity of free nations lay through regional
confederations in the Western Hemisphere and in the Atlantic,
perhaps eventually in Africa, Middle East, and Asia".
To achieve this goal, Nelson endorsed the extension of the
European Economic Community (EEC) to embrace
"the North Atlantic Community as a whole".
53 "European political unity would be an important first
step" in forming an "Atlantic Community", he claimed.
Furthermore, by encouraging similar developments in the Americas, the
US could take the lead in the formation of a "Pan American
Economic Union", which would result in "the creation of
the greatest free-trading area in the world".
But Nelson was equally clear that regional arrangements were a
means to an end; that because of the Communist threat and global
problems, "our advances toward unity must now extend to action
between regions as well as within them".
Thus, the new regional arrangements should be seen as steps towards
Unity in the West implies
an act of political creation--comparable to that of our Founding
Fathers--and perhaps of even greater originality, daring and
devotion. In our time, the challenge leads us, compels us, inspires
us, toward the building of our great North Atlantic alliance, our
"regional grouping" into a North Atlantic Confederation--looking
eventually to a worldwide Union of the Free.
Earlier at Harvard, he had
argued that the peril of not unifying on such lines was more
The historic choice fast
rushing upon us then, is no less than this: either the free nations
of the world will take the lead in adapting the federal concept to
their relations, or, one by one, we may be driven into the retreat
of the perilous isolationism--political, economic and
intellectual--so ardently sought by the Soviet policy of
also advocated the long-time liberal-internationalist argument that
the US should promote global free trade to strengthen the free
enterprise system and thus link together the other non-Communist
parts of the world. He said there should be a "continuation and
expansion of a liberal US trade policy" on the grounds that it not
only helped developing countries but it benefited the US economy.
59 And in an argument that continues
to be heard today as "open regionalism", Nelson argued that
the formation of regional free trade groupings could be a means to
establish global free trade:
The regional arrangements
in Europe and the Hemisphere should be used as patterns for the
economic organization of other parts of the world. For the key fact
is that no nation is capable of realizing its aspirations by its own
efforts. Regional groups pursuing ever more liberal trade policies
towards each other could thus be a step towards the goal of a free
world trading system.
Taking this argument
further, in a speech to the Executive Club in Chicago in 1964,
Nelson recommended that Washington should use its political
influence to "establish rules under GATT, assuring
that regional economic accords will move toward progressive trade
liberalization rather than further partitioning of world trade into
compartments sealed off by preferences and discrimination".
Nelson also endorsed the formation of a "world central
bank" that would "preclude crises and contribute to
world-wide economic advance", suggesting that the role of the
International Monetary Fund be "broadened in that direction".
Above all, the most consistent theme in Nelson's
internationalist ideology was the importance of US leadership. The
United States, he argued in numerous forums, should take the lead in
the building of a worldwide federation, as the US had come into
existence "for the sake of an idea" that "man should be free to
fulfill his unique and individual destiny--a belief based upon our
dedicated faith in the brotherhood of all mankind".
63 "The upheaval in the world will
subside only with the emergence of a more or less generally accepted
international system", he wrote in 1968. "The goal is order ...
though we cannot create order by ourselves, it surely cannot come
about without us."
America was too interconnected with the world to escape its
obligations, Nelson argued; in fact, "the true interests of
America are interdependent with the interests of free world
nations". The implications were obvious:
We must assume a role of
leadership worthy of the United States and commensurate with our own
best interests as well as those of the free world as a whole.
Even the demise of
Communism would not free the US of this burden:
[W]e face tasks which
would be essentially the same even if Communism had never existed.
We are required to work with the peoples of the world to develop a
real world community.
Though his hopes of
reaching the White House were fading by the 1970s,
Nelson Rockefeller still sought political relevance and did so by
embracing the latest fad of environmentalism, and again inserted an
internationalist bent. In his book, Our Environment Can Be Saved
(1970), Nelson invoked the obvious international political
implications for pre-empting environmental degradation, arguing that
preventing the impending "environmental crisis" could "become an
area of increased cooperation between nations". To that end, he
recommended that the US should "help coordinate international
planning for environmental controls".
The Accidental Vice-President
Yet, as fate would have it, the political and personal
self-destruction of his nemesis, Richard Nixon, presented
Nelson with an unexpected prize, and in December 1974, after a
lengthy and revealing confirmation process by a suspicious Congress,
68 he became
Vice-President in the short-lived Ford Administration.
being next in line for the Presidency, his foreign policy
pronouncements were few and far between in that period. With his
protégé Henry Kissinger commanding foreign policy as
Secretary of State, Nelson had anticipated exercising control
over domestic policy. However, Nelson fell foul of Ford's
Chief of Staff, Donald Rumsfeld, who was determined to keep
the Vice-President powerless.
Although eventually appointed Vice-Chairman of the Domestic Council,
Nelson found himself largely sidelined from decision-making.
When describing his actual position, Nelson would quip: "I go
to funerals. I go to earthquakes."
70 His input into US foreign and
national security policy was limited to serving on the Commission on
the Organization of Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy in
1974, and more controversially as Chairman of the Commission on
Activities within the United States in 1975.
In the final analysis, though, Nelson's somewhat marginal role
Ford Administration is in itself of no consequence, for
the Wilsonian liberal-internationalist agenda was adopted by Ford
anyway, although this is more attributable to the machinations of
David Rockefeller. Under the aegis of the Trilateral
had mobilized the Establishment against the Realpolitik of the
Nixon Administration with profound effect. Gone was Nixon's
previous talk of a "safer world" through an "even balance" of all
the great powers and disdain for the United Nations.
In its place was an uncharacteristic (especially for
Kissinger) embrace of international law, institutionalized
cooperation among the industrial powers (rather than alliances), and
notions of a "world community" and growing global "interdependence".
73 Indeed, as the head of the
Council on Foreign Relations' "1980s Project" observed in
1976, "President Ford's fulsome statements at the Western
summits of Rambouillet and San Juan and many of Kissinger's
recent speeches could have been lifted from the pages of [the
Trilateral Commission's journal] Trialogue ... "
Rockefeller Internationalism had again made its mark,
but, in a major irony,
Nelson, despite being the Vice-President, had only a peripheral
His marginal role was reinforced when, in November 1975, at Ford's
insistence, Nelson withdrew his candidacy for Vice-President
in the 1976 presidential elections. It was Rumsfeld's doing;
Rockefeller to be an electoral liability, the zealous Chief of
Staff pushed to have Nelson dumped from the Republican
presidential ticket. Instead of the Vice-Presidency being the final
stepping-stone to the Oval Office, as Nelson undoubtedly
hoped, it became a dead-end in his political career.
According to David Rockefeller, "Ford's decision
Nelson" and caused him to lose all interest in politics.
Moreover, "Thwarted when the greatest political prize seemed within
his grasp", Nelson ended his political career an "angry and deeply
bitter man". He returned to the family fold where, in one last grasp
at power, he tried--and failed--to wrest control of the RBF
from his brothers.
The end for Nelson Rockefeller was sudden and suitably
controversial, the 70-year-old ex-politician reputedly dying in the
midst of a sexual tryst with one of his female staffers.
Nevertheless, Nelson's passing in 1979 was the cause
of much pious reflection from the corporate-controlled US media and
some of his former beneficiaries. Time magazine claimed that "He was
driven by a mission to serve, improve and uplift his country", while
the New York Times lauded
Nelson's "enlightened internationalism" and "extraordinary
standard of concern and effort in service of the country".
Less restrained was Henry Kissinger, who eulogized his departed
benefactor as the "greatest American I have ever known", a
"pragmatic genius" who "would have made a great President". In fact,
it was "a tragedy for the country" that Nelson had not
achieved his goal.
Kissinger also claimed that Nelson's impact on American
domestic and foreign policy was greater than many people supposed:
... in the final
accounting it was often
Nelson who worked out the agenda which others then implemented
as national policy. The intellectual groundwork for many innovations
was frequently his ... Destiny willed it that he made his enduring
mark on our society almost anonymously in the programs he designed,
the values he upheld, and the men and women whose lives he changed.
If we put to one side
Kissinger's fawning and somewhat inaccurate eulogy, Nelson
Rockefeller's rise and demise reveals that his contribution to
the New World Order was marginal at best. There can be
no doubt that had Nelson been President of the United States,
even if only for a few years, he would have set in motion the
globalist plans he had endorsed throughout the 1960s.
Fortunately--though some Establishment figures might disagree--it
was not to be.
But Nelson's failure to get into the Oval Office effectively
reduced him to little more than a publicist of the Rockefeller
family's New World Order vision. He promoted the
policies for global government, but was never able to order their
implementation. As Nelson was unable to secure the high
office he craved and was largely detached from those philanthropic
institutions--especially the RBF and
Rockefeller Foundation--that gave the Rockefellers their
real power, the bitterness of his final years should come as no
As we shall see in the following parts, it was those Rockefeller
brothers who were the most heavily involved in philanthropic
pursuits, including the foundations, think-tanks and policy-planning
organizations supported by Rockefeller money, who have had the most
impact on formulating the NWO ideology and
implementing it. And the leading Rockefeller in that endeavor
has been, of course, David ...
to Part 1
Go to Part 3
David Rockefeller, Memoirs, Random House, 2002, p. 191. It should be
noted that, somewhat improbably, the impetus for David's moment of
clarity was Nelson's divorce of his first wife, Mary Todhunter
Clark, in 1961-and not his ruthless drive for political power or his
bullying of his siblings for control of Rockefeller finances to fund
his numerous campaigns. Moreover, David's explanation overlooks how
politically costly Nelson's divorce was to his 1964 campaign.
Stewart Alsop, Nixon & Rockefeller: A Double Portrait, Doubleday,
1960, p. 80.
As Jonathan Vankin notes, "If not for a couple of jammed pistols,
Nelson Rockefeller would have fulfilled his dream of becoming
President-without winning a single vote"; see Vankin, Conspiracies,
Cover-Ups and Crimes: From JFK to the CIA Terrorist Connection, Dell
Publishing, 1992, p. 259.
Quoted in Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to
Conquer, 1908-1958, Doubleday, New York, 1996, p. xvii.
Stephen Chapman, "Rocky as St Sebastian", The New Republic, February
10, 1979, pp. 12-14; Robert Fitch, "Nelson Rockefeller: An
Anti-Obituary", Monthly Review, June 1979, p. 13.
Gary Allen, The Rockefeller File, '76 Press, 1976, p. 50.
Robert Welch, The Blue Book of the John Birch Society,
Western Islands, 1961, p. 113.
For a scathing review of Kissinger's myriad sins, including possible
war crimes, see Christopher Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger,
Text Publishing, 2001.
Henry A. Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Council on
Foreign Relations/Harper & Brothers, 1957, pp. 219-221.
Joseph Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller: A Biography of Nelson A.
Rockefeller, Simon & Schuster, 1982, pp. 82.
Alsop, Nixon & Rockefeller: A Double Portrait, pp. 88-89.
Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American
Dynasty, Holt Reinhart & Winston, 1976, pp. 230, 236-238.
George E. G. Catlin, The Atlantic Commonwealth, Penguin, 1969, p.
Blanche W. Cook, The Declassified Eisenhower: A Divided Legacy of
Peace and Political Warfare, Penguin Books, 1981, pp. 295-296.
Ferdinand Lundberg, The Rich and the Super-Rich: A Study in the
Power of Money Today, Lyle Stuard Inc., 1968, pp. 593-594.
Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Prospect for America: The Rockefeller
Panel Reports, Doubleday, 1961, pp. 24, 26, 34, 35, 188, 228
Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers, pp. 340, 344;
Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller, p. 71.
Emmet John Hughes, The Ordeal of Power: A Political Memoir of the
Eisenhower Years, Atheneum, 1963, pp. 102-113 (including speech
Jordan A. Schwarz, Liberal: Adolf A. Berle and the Vision of an
American Era, The Free Press, 1987, pp. 304-305, 311-312.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, "Widening Boundaries of National Interest",
Foreign Affairs, July 1951, p. 527.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, "Purpose and Policy", Foreign Affairs, April
1960, p. 383.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, The Future of Federalism: The Godkin Lectures
at Harvard University 1962, Harvard University Press, 1962, pp.
ibid., pp. 67, 64.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, "Policy and the People", Foreign Affairs,
January 1968, pp. 237-238.
Rockefeller, The Future of Federalism, pp. 64-66.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, "The United Nations: A Balance Sheet", Vital
Speeches of the Day, October 15, 1968, pp. 18, 21, 20.
ibid., pp. 19, 21.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, Unity, Freedom & Peace: A Blueprint for
Tomorrow, Vintage, 1968, p. 133.
Rockefeller, The Future of Federalism, pp. 75-76.
Rockefeller, "Purpose and Policy", p. 383.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, "Our Foreign Policy: What Is It?", Vital
Speeches of the Day, April 15, 1964, p. 405 (emphasis added).
Rockefeller, "Purpose and Policy", pp. 383, 386.
Rockefeller, The Future of Federalism, p. 76 (emphasis in original).
Rockefeller, Unity, Freedom & Peace, p. 146 (emphasis added).
Rockefeller, The Future of Federalism, pp. 68-69.
Rockefeller, "Purpose and Policy", p. 384.
ibid., p. 386.
Nelson A. Rockefeller, "World Trade: The GATT Conference", Vital
Speeches of the Day, June 1, 1964, p. 495 (emphasis in original).
Rockefeller, "Purpose and Policy", pp. 386-387.
Rockefeller, The Future of Federalism, p. 82 (emphasis added).
Rockefeller, "Policy and the People", p. 240 (emphasis added).
Rockefeller, "World Trade", p. 497 (emphasis added).
Rockefeller, "Purpose and Policy", p. 390 (emphasis added).
Nelson Rockefeller, Our Environment Can Be Saved, Doubleday, 1970,
The confirmation process revealed that Nelson's personal fortune
then stood at $US179 million (an IRS audit later raised it to $218
million), which was considerably higher than the sums he had hinted
at; but Nelson was no billionaire, unlike the real super-rich of the
1970s, John Getty and Aristotle Onassis. See Collier and Horowitz,
The Rockefellers, pp. 485-486.
Michael Turner, The Vice President As Policy Maker: Rockefeller in
the Ford White House, Greenwood Press, 1982, pp. xv, 158-163.
Quoted in Persico, The Imperial Rockefeller, pp. 261-262.
Turner, The Vice President As Policy Maker, pp. 146-149.
"An Interview with the President: 'The Jury Is Out'", Time, January
3, 1972, p. 9 (emphasis added).
See, for example, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, "International
Law, World Order, and Human Progress", Department of State Bulletin,
September 8, 1975; Secretary Kissinger, "Building International
Order", Department of State Bulletin, October 13, 1975; and
Secretary Kissinger, "The Industrial Democracies and the Future",
Department of State Bulletin, December 1, 1975. It should be noted
that Kissinger quickly dropped this rhetoric once he was out of
Richard Ullman, "Trilateralism: 'Partnership' For What?", Foreign
Affairs, October 1976, p. 11.
David Rockefeller, Memoirs, p. 337.
Time and New York Times quoted in Chapman, "Rocky as St Sebastian",
Henry Kissinger, "Nelson Rockefeller: In Memoriam", in Henry
Kissinger, For The Record: Selected Statements, 1977-1980,
Weidenfeld & Nicolson & Michael Joseph, 1981, p. 171.