by Carroll Quigley
extracted from 'The Anglo-American Establishment'
The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA or Chatham House) is nothing but the Milner Group “writ large.”
It was founded by the Group, has been consistently controlled by the Group, and to this day is the Milner Group in its widest aspect. It is the legitimate child of the Round Table organization, just as the latter was the legitimate child of the “Closer Union” movement organized in South Africa in 1907.
All three of these organizations were formed by the same small group of persons, all three received their initial financial backing from Sir Abe Bailey, and all three used the same methods for working out and propagating their ideas (the so-called Round Table method of discussion groups plus a journal). This similarity is not an accident.
The new organization was intended to be
a wider aspect of the Milner Group, the plan being to
influence the leaders of thought through The Round Table and to
influence a wider group through the RIIA.
One example will suffice. In the Annual Report of the Institute for 1942-1943 we read the following sentence:
The Institute was organized at a joint conference of British and American experts at the Hotel Majestic on 30 May 1919.
At the suggestion of Lord Robert Cecil, the chair was given to General Tasker Bliss of the American delegation. We have already indicated that the experts of the British delegation at the Peace Conference were almost exclusively from the Milner Group and Cecil Bloc.
The American group of experts, “the Inquiry,” was manned almost as completely by persons from institutions (including universities) dominated by J.P. Morgan and Company. This was not an accident. Moreover, the Milner Group has always had very close relationships with the associates of J.P. Morgan and with the various branches of the Carnegie Trust.
These relationships, which are merely
examples of the closely knit ramifications of international
financial capitalism, were probably based on the financial holdings
controlled by the Milner Group through the Rhodes Trust. The term
“international financier” can be applied with full justice to
several members of the Milner Group inner circle, such as Brand,
Hichens, and above all, Milner himself.
It was decided to found a permanent organization for the study of international affairs and to begin by writing a history of the Peace Conference.
A committee was set up to supervise the
writing of this work. It had Lord Meston as chairman,
Lionel Curtis as secretary, and was financed by a gift of £2000
from Thomas W. Lamont of J.P. Morgan and Company. This group
picked Harold Temperley as editor of the work. It appeared in
six large volumes in the years 1920-1924, under the auspices of the
This group drew up a constitution and
made a list of prospective members. Lionel Curtis and Gathorne-Hardy
drew up the by-laws.
As a matter of fact, all of these differing accounts are correct, for the Institute was formed in such an informal fashion, as among friends, that membership on committees and lines of authority between committees were not very important. As an example, Mr. King-Hall says that he was invited to join the Institute in 1919 by Philip Kerr (Lord Lothian), although this name is not to be found on any membership committee.
At any rate, one thing is clear:
As organized, the Institute consisted of a council with a chairman and two honorary secretaries, and a small group of paid employees. Among these latter, A.J. Toynbee, nephew of Milner's old friend at Balliol, was the most important. There were about 300 members in 1920, 714 in 1922, 1707 in 1929, and 2414 in 1936.
There have been three chairmen of the council:
All of these are members of the
Milner Group, although General Malcolm is not yet familiar to
He was High Commissioner for German Refugees (a project in which the Milner Group was deeply involved) in 1936-1938 and has been associated with a number of industrial and commercial firms, including the British North Borneo Company, of which he is president and Dougal Malcolm is vice-president. It must not be assumed that General Malcolm won advancement in the world because of his connections with the Milner Group, for his older brother, Sir Ian Malcolm was an important member of the Cecil Bloc long before Sir Neill joined the Milner Group.
Sir Ian, who went to Eton and New
College, was assistant private secretary to Lord Salisbury in
1895-1900, was parliamentary private secretary to the Chief
Secretary for Ireland (George Wyndham) in 1901-1903, and was private
secretary to Balfour in the United States in 1917 and at the Peace
Conference in 1919. He wrote the sketch of Walter Long of the Cecil
Bloc (Lord Long of Wraxall) in the Dictionary of National Biography.
In 1926 the Report of the Council of the RIIA said:
The burden of work was so great on Curtis and Gathorne-Hardy by 1926 that Sir Otto Beit, of the Rhodes Trust, Milner Group, and British South Africa Company, gave £1000 for 1926 and 1927 for secretarial assistance.
F.B. Bourdillon assumed the task
of providing this assistance in March 1926. He had been secretary to
Feetham on the Irish Boundary Commission in 1924-1925 and a member
of the British delegation to the Peace Conference in 1919. He has
been in the Research Department of the Foreign Office since 1943.
Among the others were:
Others who were on the council at various times were
The chief activities of the RIIA were the holding of discussion meetings, the organization of study groups, the sponsoring of research, and the publication of information and materials based on these.
At the first meeting, Sir Maurice Hankey read a paper on “Diplomacy by Conference,” showing how the League of Nations grew out of the Imperial Conferences. This was published in The Round Table.
No complete record exists of the meetings before the fall of 1921, but, beginning then, the principal speech at each meeting and resumes of the comments from the floor were published in the Journal.
In the season of 1933-1934 the speakers included Ormsby-Gore, Oliver Lyttelton, Edward Grigg, Donald Somervell, Toynbee, Zimmern, R.W. Seton-Watson, and Lord Lothian.
In the season of 1938-1939 the list contains the names of Wilson Harris, C.A. Macartney, Toynbee, Lord Hailey, A.G.B. Fisher, Harold Butler, Curtis, Lord Lothian, Zimmern, Lionel Hichens, and Lord Halifax.
These rather scattered observations will show how the meetings were peppered by members of the Milner Group. This does not mean that the Group monopolized the meetings, or even spoke at a majority of them.
generally took place once a week from October to June of each year,
and probably members of the Group spoke or presided at no more than
a quarter of them. This, however, represents far more than their due
proportion, for when the Institute had 2500, members the Milner
Group amounted to no more than 100.
The articles, however, had the names of the speakers indicated. When it went on public sale in January 1927, the name of the Institute was added to the cover. In time it took the name International Affairs. The first editor, we learn from a later issue, was Gathorne-Hardy. In January 1932 an editorial board was placed in charge of the publication. It consisted of Meston, Gathorne-Hardy, and Zimmern.
This same board remained in control until war forced suspension of publication at the end of 1939. When publication was resumed in 1944 in Canada, the editorial board consisted of Hugh Wyndham, Geoffrey Crowther, and H.A.R. Gibb. Wyndham is still chairman of the board, but since the war the membership of the board has changed somewhat.
In 1948 it had six
members, of whom three are employees of the Institute, one is the
son-in-law of an employee, the fifth is Professor of Arabic at
Oxford, and the last is the chairman, Hugh Wyndham. In 1949 Adam Marris was added.
Until 1928 the Survey had an appendix of documents, but since that year these have been published in a separate volume, usually edited by J.W. Wheeler-Bennett. Mr. Wheeler-Bennett became a member of the Milner Group and the Institute by a process of amalgamation.
In 1924 he had founded a document service, which he called Information Service on International Affairs, and in the years following 1924 he published a number of valuable digests of documents and other information on disarmament, security, the World Court, reparations, etc., as well as a periodical called the Bulletin of International News.
In 1927 he became Honorary Information Secretary of the RIIA, and in 1930 the Institute bought out all his information services for £3500 and made them into the Information Department of the Institute, still in charge of Mr. Wheeler-Bennett. Since the annual Documents on International Affairs resumed publication in 1944, it has been in charge of Monica Curtis (who may be related to Lionel Curtis), while Mr. Wheeler-Bennett has been busy elsewhere.
In 1938-1939 he was Visiting
Professor of International Relations at the University of
Virginia: in 1939-1944 he was in the United States in various
propaganda positions with the British Library of Information and for
two years as Head of the British Political Warfare Mission in New
York. Since 1946, he has been engaged in editing, from the British
side, an edition of about twenty volumes of the captured documents
of the German Foreign Ministry. He has also lectured on
international affairs at New College, a connection obviously made
through the Milner Group.
He has also been remunerated by other grants from the Institute.
When the first major volume of the Survey, covering the years 1920-1923, was published, a round-table discussion was held at Chatham House, 17 November 1925, to criticize it.
Headlam-Morley was chairman, and the chief speakers were Curtis,
Wyndham, Gathorne-Hardy, Gilbert Murray, and Toynbee himself.
He produced three substantial volumes of the
Survey in 1940-1942, with a supplementary legal chapter in volume I
by R.T.E. Latham of All Souls and the Milner Group.
The following list of incumbents is significant:
Three of these names are familiar.
Of the others, Jiri Vranek was secretary to the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (to be discussed in a moment). Jerome Greene was an international banker close to the Milner Group. Originally Mr. Greene had been a close associate of J.D. Rockefeller, but in 1917 he shifted to the international banking firm Lee, Higginson, and Company of Boston.
In 1918 he was American secretary to the Allied Maritime Transport Council in London (of which Arthur Salter was general secretary).
He became a resident of Toynbee Hall and established a relationship with the Milner Group. In 1919 he was secretary to the Reparations Commission of the Peace Conference (a past in which his successor was Arthur Salter in 1920-1922). He was chairman of the Pacific Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations in 1929-1932. This last point will be discussed in a moment.
Mr. Greene was a trustee and secretary of the
Rockefeller Foundation in 1913-1917, and was a trustee of the
Rockefeller Institute and of the Rockefeller General
Education Board in 1912-1939.
They have been defined by Stephen King-Hall as,
These study groups are generally made up of persons who are not members of the Milner Group, and their reports are frequently published by the Institute. In 1932 the Rockefeller Foundation gave the Institute a grant of £8000 a year for five years to advance the study-group method of research.
This was extended for five years more in 1937.
The only condition of the grant was that the Institute should raise an endowment to yield at least £10,000 a year for upkeep.
Since the building had no
adequate assembly hall, Sir John Power, the honorary
treasurer, gave £10,000 to build one on the rear. The building
itself was renovated and furnished under the care of Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton, who, like her late husband but unlike her son, Oliver,
was a member of the Milner Group.
In general, the funds came from the various endowments, banks, and industrial concerns with which the Milner Group had relationships. The original money in 1919, only £200, came from Abe Bailey. In later years he added to this, and in 1928 gave £5000 a year in perpetuity on the condition that the Institute never accept members who were not British subjects.
When Sir Abe died in 1940, the annual Report of the Council said:
Sir Abe had paid various other expenses during the years. For example, when the Institute in November 1935 gave a dinner to General Smuts, Sir Abe paid the cost.
All of this
was done as a disciple of Lord Milner, for whose principles of
imperial policy Bailey always had complete devotion.
In 1929 pledges were obtained from about a score of important banks and corporations, promising annual grants to the Institute. Most of these had one or more members of the Milner Group on their boards of directors.
Included in the group were:
Since 1939 the chief benefactors of the Institute have been the Astor family and Sir Henry Price.
In 1942 the latter gave £50,000 to buy the house next door to Chatham House for an expansion of the library (of which E.L. Woodward was supervisor).
In the same year Lord Astor, who had
been giving £2000 a year since 1937, promised £3000 a year for seven
years to form a Lord Lothian Memorial Fund to promote good relations
between the United States and Britain. At the same time, each of
Lord Astor's four sons promised £1000 a year for seven years to the
general fund of the Institute.
This group was made up of the experts on the American delegation to the Peace Conference who were most closely associated with J.P. Morgan and Company. The Morgan bank has never made any real effort to conceal its position in regard to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The list of officers and board of directors are printed in every issue of Foreign Affairs and have always been loaded with partners, associates, and employees of J.P. Morgan and Company.
According to Stephen King-Hall, the RIIA agreed to regard the Council on Foreign Relations as its American branch.
The relationship between the two has
always been very close. For example, the publications of one are
available at reduced prices to the members of the other; they
frequently sent gifts of books to each other (the Council, for
example, giving the Institute a seventy-five-volume set of the
Foreign Relations of the United States in 1933); and there is
considerable personal contact between the officers of the two
(Toynbee, for example, left the manuscript of Volumes 7-9 of A Study
of History in the Council's vault during the recent war).
was established by Zimmern on a visit there the same year.
The others were set up in 1934-1936.
In Canada, for example,
Of these, the first three were close associates of the Milner Group (especially of Brand) in the period of the First World War; the last four were members of the Group itself.
When the Indian Institute was set up in 1936, it was done at the Viceroy's house at a meeting convened by Lord Willingdon (Brand's cousin).
Naturally, the Milner Group did
not monopolize the membership or the official positions in these new
institutes any more than they did in London, for this would have
weakened the chief aim of the Group in setting them up, namely to
extend their influence to wider areas.
Originally each country had its national unit, but by 1939, in the four British areas, the local Institute of Pacific Relations had merged with the local Institute of International Affairs. Even before this, the two Institutes in each country had practically interchangeable officers, dominated by the Milner Group. In the United States, the Institute of Pacific Relations never merged with the Council on Foreign Relations, but the influence of the associates of J.P. Morgan and other international bankers remained strong on both.
The chief figure in
the Institute of Pacific Relations of the United States was, for
many years, Jerome D. Greene, Boston banker close to both
Rockefeller and Morgan and for many years secretary to Harvard
These meetings met every two years at first, beginning at Honolulu in 1925 and then assembling at Honolulu again (1927), at Kyoto (1929), at Shanghai (1931), at Banff (1933), and at Yosemite Park (1936). F.W. Eggleston, of Australia and the Milner Group, presided over most of the early meetings. Between meetings, the central organization, set up in 1927, was the Pacific Council, a self-perpetuating body.
In 1930, at least five of its seven members were from the Milner Group, as can be seen from the following list:
The close relationships among all these organizations can be seen from a tour of inspection which Lionel Curtis and Ivison S. Macadam (secretary of Chatham House, in succession to F.B. Bourdillon, since 1929) made in 1938.
They not only visited the Institutes of International Affairs
of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada but attended the Princeton
meeting of the Pacific Council of the IPR. Then they separated,
Curtis going to New York to address the dinner of the Council on
Foreign Relations and visit the Carnegie Foundation,
while Macadam went to Washington to visit the Carnegie Endowment
and the Brookings Institution.
This Organization consisted of two chief parts:
The International Committee had about twenty members from various countries; Gilbert Murray was its chief founder and was chairman from 1928 to its disbandment in 1945.
The International Institute was established by the French government
and handed over to the League of Nations (1926). Its director was
always a Frenchman, but its deputy director and guiding spirit was
Alfred Zimmern from 1926 to 1930. It also had a board of
directors of six persons; Gilbert Murray was one of these from 1926.
These were called the International Studies Conferences and devoted themselves to an effort to obtain different national points of view on international problems. The members of the Studies Conferences were twenty-five organizations. Twenty of these were Coordinating Committees created for the purpose in twenty different countries.
The other five were the following international organizations:
In two of these five, the influence of the Milner Group and its close allies was preponderant.
In addition, the influence of the Group was decisive in the Coordinating Committees within the British Commonwealth, especially in the British Coordinating Committee for International Studies. The members of this committee were named by four agencies, three of which were controlled by the Milner Group.
We have already indicated that the Montague Burton Chair was largely controlled by the Milner Group, since the Group always had a preponderance on the board of electors to that chair. This was apparently not assured by the original structure of this board, and it was changed in the middle 1930s.
After the change, the board had seven electors:
Thus, at least four of this board were members of the Group. In 1947 the electoral board to the Montague Burton Professorship consisted of:
It was this board, apparently, that
named Miss Headlam-Morley to the Montague Burton Professorship when
E.L. Woodward resigned in 1947. As can be seen, the Milner Group
influence was predominant, with only one member out of five (Ensor)
clearly not of the Group.
As examples of the work which the International Studies Conferences handled, we might mention that,
In all of these conferences the Milner Group played a certain part.
They could have monopolized the British delegations at these meetings if they had wished, but, with typical Milner Group modesty they made no effort to do so. Their influence appeared most clearly at the London meeting of 1935. Thirty-nine delegates from fourteen countries assembled at Chatham House to discuss the problem of collective security.
Great Britain had ten delegates. They were:
In addition, the Geneva School of International Studies sent two delegates: J.H. Richardson and A.E. Zimmern.
The British delegation presented three memoranda to the conference.
It had an introduction by Meston and nine articles, of which one was by G.M. Gathorne-Hardy and one by H.V. Hodson. Zimmern also presented a memorandum on behalf of the Geneva School.
Opening speeches were made by Austen
Chamberlain, Allen W. Dulles (of the Council on Foreign Relations),
and Louis Eisenmann of the University of Paris. Closing speeches
were made by Lord Meston, Allen Dulles, and Gilbert Murray. Meston
acted as president of the conference, and Dulles as chairman of the
study meetings. The proceedings were edited and published by a
committee of two Frenchmen and A.J. Toynbee.
five were written by experts who were not members of the Group (A.M.
Carr-Saunders, A.B. Keith, D. Harwood, H. Lauterpacht, and R.
This resulted in a massive report, edited by Sir John Hope Simpson who was not a member of the Group and was notoriously unsympathetic to Zionism (1939). In 1938 Roger M. Makins was made secretary to the British delegation to the Evian Conference on Refugees. Mr. Makins' full career will be examined later. At this point it is merely necessary to note that he was educated at Winchester School and at Christ Church, Oxford, and was elected to a Fellowship at All Souls in 1925, when only twenty-one years old.
After the Evian Conference (where
the British, for strategic reasons, left all the responsible
positions to the Americans), Mr. Makins was made secretary to the
Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. He was British Minister in
Washington from 1945 to 1947 and is now Assistant Under Secretary in
the Foreign Office.
A special organization was established in the Institute, in charge of A.J. Toynbee, with Lionel Curtis as his chief support acting “as the permanent representative of the chairman of the Council, Lord Astor.”
The organization consisted of the press-clipping collection, the information department, and much of the library. These were moved to Oxford and set up in Balliol, All Souls, and Rhodes House. The project was financed by the Treasury, All Souls, Balliol, and Chatham House jointly. Within a brief time, the organization became known as the Foreign Research and Press Service (FRPS).
It answered all questions on
international affairs from government departments, prepared a weekly
summary of the foreign press, and prepared special research
projects. When Anthony Eden was asked a question in the House
of Commons on 23 July 1941, regarding the expense of this project,
he said that the Foreign Office had given it £,53,000 in the fiscal
The former may be
Alfred Hugh Latimer, who was an undergraduate at Merton from 1938 to
1946 and was elected to the foundation of the same college in 1946.
Clark had been a member of All
Souls since 1912 and was Chichele Professor of Economic History from
1931 to 1943. Since 1943 he has been Regius Professor of Modern
History at Cambridge. Not a member of the Milner Group, he is close
to it and was a member of the council of Chatham House during the
Once that is established, the picture changes.
The influence of Chatham House appears in its true perspective, not as the influence of an autonomous body but as merely one of many instruments in the arsenal of another power. When the influence which the Institute wields is combined with that controlled by the Milner Group in other fields - in education, in administration, in newspapers and periodicals - a really terrifying picture begins to emerge.
This picture is called terrifying not because the power of the Milner Group was used for evil ends. It was not. On the contrary, it was generally used with the best intentions in the world - even if those intentions were so idealistic as to be almost academic. The picture is terrifying because such power, whatever the goals at which it may be directed, is too much to be entrusted safely to any group.
That it was too much to be safely entrusted to the Milner Group will appear quite clearly in Chapter 12.
No country that values its safety should
allow what the Milner Group accomplished in Britain - that is, that a
small number of men should be able to wield such power in
administration and politics, should be given almost complete control
over the publication of the documents relating to their actions,
should be able to exercise such influence over the avenues of
information that create public opinion, and should be able to
monopolize so completely the writing and the teaching of the history
of their own period.