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Authors: Jacob Nordangård

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  1. Panel I – International Objectives and Strategies
  1. Panel II – International Security Objectives and Strategy
  1. Panel III – International Economic and Social Objectives and Strategy
  1. Panel IV – U.S. Economic and Social Policy
  1. Panel V – U.S. Utilization of Human Resources
  1. Panel VI – U.S. Democratic Process
  1. Panel VII – The Moral Framework of National Purpose

An impressive list of experts were brought onboard for the panels, including
Dean Rusk (Secretary of State 1961–69),
Detlev Bronk (NAS), Edward Teller (father of the hydrogen bomb), with family protégé Henry Kissinger as project leader and organiser.

Several of the experts were part of Nelson’s personal “portable brain trust” – which had irked President Eisenhower to remark that Nelson was “too used to borrowing brains instead of using his own.”

Kissinger, a professor at Harvard University, became one of the family's most valuable assets as National Security Advisor and later U.S. Secretary of State.

Kissinger felt that modern governments were ill equipped to handle complex problems, tending to become victims to circumstances instead of actively shaping the world of tomorrow.
A new political architecture would be required, better able to offer long-term governance.

Special Studies Project became a part of this long-term leadership and would be followed by the founding of new institutions for global cooperation. The conclusions in the project reports would serve both party platforms before the presidential election 1960.

Conservation, overpopulation, and the overtaxing of the planet's resources were areas identified as requiring special measures. These ideas would have a major impact on the political agenda in the coming decades. Nelson, too, mentioned environment as an area that could motivate international cooperation.

his concern would later be merged with the
threat of climate change. The Special Studies Project gave a hint of the future of the climate agenda. Several panel members would be involved in its implementation.

The panel

International Security Objectives and Strategy” included both Edward Teller, Detlev Bronk, and publicist Henry Luce (Time–Life). Teller became one of the first to warn the polar icecaps would melt due to increased levels of carbon dioxide (40 years later, however, he would change his opinion on this).

The panel chairman, Laurance Rockefeller, and Carroll L. Wilson, Professor of Management at MIT, would in the 1960s and 70s introduce the climate issue both to the U.S. Presidential Administrations and to the United Nations, while Henry Luce gave it media coverage.

Global Issues

The panel

International Economic and Social Objectives and Strategy”
included David Rockefeller. According to its 1958 analysis, the current world order lacked both a central purpose and international coordination. The scientific community was, however, seen as an example to the contrary, as transnational cooperation was essential for scientific progress.

The United States should therefore, as it had during the International Geophysical Year, continue its efforts to initiate international agreements for the benefit of both international exchange and scientific progress. These efforts could then be expanded to include other areas. Oceanography, meteorology, and global health, were seen as particularly suitable as these problems transcended national borders (see the chapters opening quote).

Echoing John von Neumann, it was concluded that human impact on the atmosphere would lead to problems which could only be solved by international cooperation. The forces of weather needed to be controlled.

Three decades later these ideas would lead to the founding of the United Nations Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Under the leadership of David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger, RBF would be deeply involved in this process. As a philanthropy with nearly unlimited resources it was possible to work patiently over a long timeframe.





Man is now degrading his environment at a terrifying rate. The cumulative effects of advancing technology, massive industrialization, urban concentration, and population growth have all combined… not only to create imminent danger to the quality of human life, but even to pose threats to life itself. (Rockefeller Foundation, Annual Report 1969)


While Nelson Rockefeller tried, unsuccessfully, to get himself nominated as the presidential candidate before the 1960, 1964, 1968 elections, the environmental concerns had an international breakthrough. Nelson’s brothers Laurance and John worked hard to get the
of conservation and population on the political agenda.

World Wildlife Fund

In 1961, Julian Huxley founded the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise funds for International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, founder of the Bilderberg group, was elected chairman.

Godfrey A. Rockefeller (1924–2010), great grandson of John D. Rockefeller’s brother William, became president and
turned it
into a leading organisation in international conservation.

Royal Dutch Shell became one of WWF’s first funders. Shell's president John Loudon in 1966 became a board member of WWF and in 1977 succeeded Prins Bernhard as chairman.

Loudon also helped David Rockefeller lead and recruit for the International Advisory Committee of Chase Manhattan.

The champions for conservation were thus some of the most prominent oil magnates, industrialists, and bankers. They would eventually also come to have a significant influence on the climate change

The First Conference on Carbon Dioxide

March 12, 1963, Conservation Foundation (which in 1985 would become part of WWF) organised the first international conference specifically focused on the effects of carbon dioxide on the climate. Chairman and observer of the conference were Fraser Darling and Samuel Ordway from Conservation Foundation. Attending the conference were three of the scientists who, during the previous decade had helped develop the theory; Gilbert Plass, Charles Keeling (from Scripps), and Erik Eriksson (Bert Bolin’s colleague from IMI, Stockholm University).

The results from Keeling’s CO
measurements at Mauna Loa could now confirm a rising trend. It was discussed how this could result in a temperature increase that could have negative consequences. A scientific committee to investigate the consequences was proposed, under National Academy of Sciences. The close collaboration between Scripps Institution and the Department of Meteorology of Stockholm University was considered appropriate for the research that had been done so far. However, the Conservation Foundation proposed that a more formal international organisation would be required if more nations were to participate in the measurements.

This in turn required a much wider acceptance of the theory. For this purpose the World Meteorological Organization founded World Weather Watch (WWW) in April 1963, based on an idea by Harry Wexler (1911–1962).

That same year, RBF donated $50,000 to Conservation Foundation. Laurance Rockefeller, chairman of RBF, was at this time also the vice-president of Conservation Foundation.

Conservation in the White House

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Vice-president Lyndon B. Johnson became U.S. President. Exactly six months later, Johnson declared protection of the environment and its beauty to be one of the three pillars in his reform package “The Great Society.”
This was good news for leading conservationist Laurance Rockefeller, who had worked for this behind the scenes for a long time.

In August 1964, work on the report,
Restoring the Quality of Our Environment
, was initiated. It was produced under the direction of John W. Tukey from Bell Laboratories, with members of the President's Science Advisory Committee. Around fifty scientists, in eleven different sub-panels, were to look into various forms of environmental pollution and their possible consequences.

Roger Revelle, who had been advisor to Secretary of the Interior in the Kennedy Administration, Stewart Udall, became chairman of the subpanel “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
The Revelle panel also included Charles Keeling and Wallace Broecker (who would coin the phrase “global warming” in 1975). The report, published November 5, 1965, concluded that,

By the year 2000 the increase in CO
will be close to 25%. This may be sufficient to produce measurable and perhaps marked changes in climate.

The recently reelected President Johnson had earlier that year held a speech about CO
impact on the climate:

This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. (Lyndon B. Johnson, February 1964)

This was the first time a President or head of state discussed the climate issue. Johnsons speech writer, Richard Goodwin, with the help of Stewart Udall and Laurance Rockefeller, had carefully prepared the speech.

As one of the most influential men in the country in the area of conservation, Laurance became deeply involved in U.S. politics and the close contacts with the White House would remain, almost regardless of who was in power. Both Laurance and his brothers had a revolving door to the very center of political power.

In 1958, the same year that Laurance became president of the RBF, Laurance was appointed by President Eisenhover to lead The Outdoor Recreation Resource Review Commission.
He then went on as advisor to John F. Kennedy. After Lyndon B. Johnson became U.S. President, the amiable relationship was reinforced, especially through Laurance’s close friendship with the First Lady, ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson, who shared Rockefeller’s passion for conservation.

His brother, Nelson Rockefeller, however, in 1964 lost the nomination as the Republican presidential candidate to Barry Goldwater, but managed, through his faithful squire Laurance, to still hold some influence over Democrat environmental policy.

Nelson’s failure can partly be explained by the divorce from his wife Mary Clark, to marry a member of his office staff, ‘Happy’ Fitler Murphy. This did not go down well with the general public, particularly not with his female voters. An honourable man did not leave his wife and children – especially not when aspiring to become President of the United States.

The charming Nelson was a womaniser and would throughout his career be involved in a number of extramarital affairs, thus not living up to the high moral standards set by his paternal grandfather. His brothers were painfully reminded of the legacy of Devil Bill and all except Laurence boycotted his wedding.

Nelson tried once more to get nominated before the next election, but his divorce was the last straw for his presidential ambitions.

There were, however, other means of reaching this goal…

Growing Environmental Awareness

In 1966 Laurance was again appointed to now head the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Recreation and Natural Beauty. This project would be developed further under President Nixon, when Laurance became chairman of The Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality.
After successfully having influenced several Presidential Administrations, it was now time to bring conservation and population awareness to a general public.

Already, Rachel Carson’s book
Silent Spring
(1962) had sparked a public debate on DDT and environmental pollution around the world. In the 1950s, Conservation Foundation had, with support from Rockefeller Foundation, researched pesticides such as DDT and its effects on animals. Carson, who died of a heart attack just two years after the book was published, used the results in her book.

Center for Population Studies

In 1964, the Center for Population Studies at Harvard University was founded, made possible by a donation of US$ 600,000 from Rockefeller Foundation. (Harvard had close ties to the Rockefeller Family. Laurance’s brother David was member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers 1954–1966 and chairman 1966–1968. Henry Kissinger was also involved with the Harvard Center for International Affairs.)

The Center for Population Studies was headed by Roger Revelle, possibly as a reward for his accomplishments.
Here, he would educate the later Vice-President, Al Core, about climate and population issues.

Besides tuition, the Center for Population Studies was to focus on projects on how to solve the population problem through various forms of population control.
The climate issue was slowly being merged with the fear of an unchecked population growth, in relation to the planet’s resources. A smaller world population meant lower CO

World Future Society

In October 1966, World Future Society (WFS) was founded by Edward Cornish, a Washington journalist driven by a strong fear of thermonuclear war and a passionate interest in predicting the future. Cornish himself became its (reluctant) president.

From a modest start as a simple newsletter in February 1966, the World Future Society soon became the largest and most influential community of futurists in the world, including luminaries such as Barbara Marx Hubbard, Maurice Strong, and Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defence 1961–68, President of the World Bank 1968–1981) on the board of directors.

Other notable members and contributors have included Buckminster Fuller, Herman Kahn (founder of the Hudson Institute), Gene Roddenberry (originator of Star Trek), Ray Kurzweil (Chief Engineer at Google), Carl Sagan (science fiction author), and Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist).

Through its conferences, writings, and extensive network of influential people in science, culture, media, business, and politics, World Future Society would become a major player in setting the global agenda for the decades to come, offering technocratic solutions to environmental problems (see chapters 8, 11, and 12).

In 1967, inspired by the French futurist Bertrand de Jouvenel’s journal
, Cornish also launched and became editor of
The Futurist

Major General Social Trends

The October 1968 issue of
The Futurist
featured a list of 31 coming social trends based on
The Next 500 Years
(1967) by Burnham Putnam Beckwith. Some of the major points:

  1. (1) Population growth
    “will increasingly be offset by rational individual and social control over reproduction.”
    (7) Social control.
    “The steady growth of scientific knowledge, especially in the social sciences, makes government control over social trends ever more feasible.”
  1. (8) Rationalization of all social policies.
    “This trend will be reinforced by eugenic reform that will increase innate human intelligence. This trend… justifies predicting that men will eventually adopt any social policy or reform which can now be shown to be rational or scientific under probable future social conditions.”
  1. (9) Spread of birth control.
  1. (10) Eugenic progress
    “will soon begin to appear in the most advanced countries and will spread and improve steadily during the remainder of the next five centuries.”
  1. (13) Urbanization
    “will transform most backward states and continue in most advanced states until their population is over 95% urban.”
  1. (14)
  1. (15) Automation.
  1. (16) Specialization.
  1. (17) Professionalization.
  1. (18) Increase in scale of production.
  1. (19) Growth of monopoly.
  1. (20) Centralisation of control.
    “The invention of nuclear weapons has recently made world conquest and rule possible and a world government inevitable.”
  1. (21) Collectivisation, economic specialization and inter-dependence.
    “Rapid increase in the efficiency of large-scale management and government.”
  1. (22) Meritocracy –
    “rule and management by the most able.”
  1. (23) Feminism, due to
    “industrialization, urbanization, birth control, the growth of international peace and order, education, and the invention of new household machines.”
  1. (27) Paternalism.
    “There will be an increase in legislation which protects relatively incompetent minorities against exploitation or their own poor judgement.” “The inevitable progress of applied science will enable experts to give more and more valuable advice concerning many personal decisions now left to individuals.”
BOOK: Rockefeller – Controlling the Game
3.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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