On December 3, 1918, the S.S. George Washington set sail on a historic and uniquely ironic voyage, one that would cap a history of ironies for the ship that had briefly served as a German luxury liner. Noted for ferrying the rich and the famous across the Atlantic, this steamer was the third-largest ship in the world when it was launched 10 years earlier, in 1908. It was built in Germany by the German shipping line Nord-deutscher Lloyd, but, with the outbreak of World War I, the S.S. George Washington was seized by the United States, and for the duration of the war was used as a troop ship to carry U.S. soldiers to Europe to fight Germany and the Central Powers.
The famed passenger on this particular voyage was not a titan of industry, a crowned head of Europe, or an opera star, but the president of the United States. President Woodrow Wilson was leading an American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference at the Palace of Versailles. What was supremely ironic about this venture was that President Wilson was sailing on a ship named in honor of our nation’s first president, George Washington, who, in his Farewell Address, had famously counseled his countrymen, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.” Thomas Jefferson, in his Inaugural Address, paid homage to Washington’s political wisdom, pledging: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” Yet, President Wilson, who sprinkled his speeches with reverential references to Washington, Jefferson, and other American Founding Fathers, was headed to Europe on a gambit to establish the most far-reaching entangling alliance the world had ever seen: the League of Nations.
Indeed, the proposed League, which was a major feature of the Treaty of Versailles, was far more than a mere “alliance.” As envisioned by its authors, the League of Nations was to be the seed of a nascent world government that would eventually wield global judicial, legislative, and executive powers. A most immediate concern of the designers was to invest the League with military power by potentially obligating all members of the League to go to war not only whenever any member suffered military aggression by another member, but also “in case of any threat or danger of such aggression.” (Emphasis added.) As we will see, it was this first modern stab at “collective security,” as embodied in Articles 10 and 11 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, that doomed both the League and the Versailles Treaty to defeat in the U.S. Senate.
Following a nine-day trans-Atlantic crossing, President Wilson disembarked from the S.S. George Washington in France on December 13 to a rapturous hero’s welcome. “Wilson’s reception in Paris was tumultuous,” write historians Norman A. Graebner and Edward M. Bennett in The Versailles Treaty and Its Legacy. “The throngs that lined the streets cheered and wept, hailing him as the savior of France. His reception in London was scarcely less rapturous. The King lauded the American contribution to victory.” This popular acclaim clashed sharply with Wilson’s status in America, where he faced not only rising Republican opposition, but declining support among alienated Democrats within his own party as well.
Only weeks before his departure for Europe, the president’s Democratic Party suffered serious losses in the November 1918 midterm congressional elections. The Republicans picked up 25 seats to take control of the House, and in the Senate gained six seats, giving them a narrow 49 to 47 majority in the upper chamber. This change in the legislative balance of power would make it next to impossible for the president to obtain the two-thirds vote in the Senate needed to ratify the Versailles Treaty and secure U.S. membership in the League of Nations.
Inquiring Minds or Conspiring Minds?
Long before President Wilson departed these shores on his historic journey, a small, secretive group of well-connected academics, financiers, and lawyers had been working on the two internationalist projects — the League and the Versailles Treaty — that would come to be signature failures associated with his presidency. Referring to themselves as “The Inquiry,” the group was comprised of some 150 individuals who would later form the “ruling establishment” of the United States. Assembled in September of 1917, The Inquiry was the genesis of the globalist brain trust now known as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
The person responsible for organizing The Inquiry was Wilson’s mysterious advisor “Colonel” Edward Mandell House. The military title was an honorific bestowed on House by Texas Governor James Hogg, as patronage for House’s aid in his gubernatorial campaign; House had never served in the military. One of the most intriguing characters in American history, he exercised a Svengalian control over Wilson, who referred to House as “my second personality,” “my independent self,” and “my alter ego.” Wilson went so far as to assert: “His thoughts and mine are one.” This “alter ego” of the president wielded incredible power on the world stage, as was to become very clear from his authoritative interactions with world leaders at the Paris conference — and beyond.
In 1996, the Council published a book entitled Continuing The Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996. Written by Peter Grose, a longtime CFR member and former managing editor and executive editor of the organization’s journal, Foreign Affairs, it says of The Inquiry: “Through the winter of 1917-18, this academic band gathered discreetly in a hideaway at 155th Street and Broadway in New York City, to assemble the data they thought necessary to make the world safe for democracy.” According to Grose, only a “select few” knew about this “working fellowship.” Indeed, for 75 years, until the publication of the Grose book, the Council and its very influential members had taken great pains to hide the existence of The Inquiry and the network of power that grew out of the group’s efforts to form a new “world order” with the League of Nations. Although the Wall Street financial elites who backed Wilson and his internationalist projects had been operating as powers behind the throne prior to formation of The Inquiry, it is not an exaggeration to say this “study group” was the spawn that would grow into what is now referred to as the Deep State. This is the “permanent government” that has — through both Democratic and Republican administrations — operated to build ever bigger and bigger government at home, while simultaneously diminishing our national sovereignty and subjecting us to ever-growing international controls. This unelected and unaccountable Deep State network currently is doing everything within its vast powers to undo the 2016 elections and overthrow the first U.S. president who genuinely seems determined to undermine and reverse their subversive, globalist agenda.
The real story of the League of Nations, then, is the story of The Inquiry, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Deep State cabal that has seized control not only of our government, but of our educational, financial, philanthropic, and media institutions as well. You will not read about any of this, of course, in standard textbooks and media accounts about the League. Over the past century, the censors and “court historians” of the Deep State have operated like the Orwellian Ministry of Truth to rewrite history and send inconvenient facts down the memory hole. However, as the United Nations and globalists the world over use the 2020 centenary of the League of Nations as an opportunity to promote their latest multilateralist projects, it is more important than ever for freedom-minded peoples the world over to understand, expose, and oppose this globalist agenda.
When President Wilson sailed for Versailles, some two dozen members of The Inquiry sailed with him and his entourage. Edward House and other members of The Inquiry were already in Paris ahead of him. In the years and decades that followed, as any listing of The Inquiry members will show, these individuals were raised to top positions in our government and other crucial institutions in a proportion that defies facile explanations attributing this dominance to either meritocracy or sheer chance.
It was Wilson’s brain trust, The Inquiry, that produced much of the internationalist agenda attributed to Wilson, including the texts for the Versailles Treaty, the Covenant of the League of Nations, and Wilson’s famous Fourteen Points speech to Congress on January 8, 1918 outlining the diplomatic aims of his peace plan. Credit for the actual authorship of these documents goes to Inquiry members Edward House, John Foster Dulles, Walter Lippmann, Sidney Mezes, Christian Herter, and Isaiah Bowman.
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This article appears in the January 20, 2020, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.
Rhodes’ Anglo-American Network
A glaring omission in the CFR’s sanitized “history” of The Inquiry by Grose is the essential role of the group’s British counterparts in World War I, the Paris Peace Conference, and after. Chief among these central players were Alfred (Lord) Balfour, Reginald Baliol Brett (Lord Esher), Alfred (Lord) Milner, Philip Henry Kerr (Lord Lothian), Robert Cecil (Lord Salisbury), Maurice (Lord) Hankey, and Eric (Lord) Drummond. What distinguished these individuals from other high-born peers of the realm was their commitment to internationalism and their memberships in both the secret and semi-secret societies founded by Cecil Rhodes, the late 19th-century titan who had amassed fabled wealth from his gold and diamond mines in Africa.
According to Rhodes biographer Sarah Millin, “The government of the world was Rhodes’ simple desire.” To accomplish this “simple desire,” Rhodes established, in 1891, a “secret society” (his words) that he called the “Society of the Elect.” In his first will, written in 1877, he explained that his plan for world dominion envisioned “the foundation of so great a power as to hereafter render wars impossible.” In establishing this “power,” Rhodes wrote to his associate William Stead, “The only feasible [way] to carry this idea out is a secret [society] gradually absorbing the wealth of the world to be devoted to such an object.”
Rhodes frankly described his plan as “a scheme to take the government of the whole world.” To help advance this scheme, he also established an outer circle of exclusive, semi-secret sister organizations in Britain and the British Commonwealth known as the Round Table groups. And following World War I, we will see, this system of sister organizations was expanded with a further outer concentric circle composed principally of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) in England and the CFR in the United States — with 29 corresponding organizations that are now functioning in 25 countries.
Where did Cecil Rhodes get his inspiration for his megalomaniacal plan? As with so many other utopians afflicted with a god complex and a desire to remake the world according to their own desires, he appears to have picked up this disorder during his college days and never shook it. Rhodes professed to have been smitten by the ideals of John Ruskin, a radical social critic and professor of fine art at Oxford University. Ruskin wrote that “indeed, I am myself a communist of the old school — reddest also of the red.” Plenty of students of Rhodes’ generation were likewise bitten with the same bug and became lifelong Ruskinites, or socialists of one stripe or another. What made them different from many of the other British college kids who had imbibed from the same utopian well is that the Rhodes network of collaborators had the political connections, social prestige, and family fortunes that could facilitate putting the Ruskin-Rhodes schemes into effect.
For much of the 20th century, the existence of the Rhodes network — other than the eponymous scholarship program — and its enormous role in global political and economic events remained virtually unknown. However, in 1966, the publication of Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, a massive tome by renowned Georgetown University professor Carroll Quigley, changed all of that. His book The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden (published posthumously in 1981) further exposed the globalist schemers. Dr. Quigley, who was an internationalist himself and had been allowed access to the secret records of the Rhodes network, professed to be sympathetic to their aims; he simply thought that it was time for them to come into the open and for their story to be told. As he put it, “In general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”
Quigley’s books provided the first inside glimpse of this secret society and its inner workings. The professor’s revelations provided a much-needed window into operations of the network and stimulated the growth of an entire cottage industry of researchers that began putting together the pieces of the globalist puzzle that had mystified onlookers for much of the past century.
Deception: Lie and Deny
Quigley, for instance, traced the development of the various branches of the Rhodes network and its takeover of the British political parties and the major British newspapers in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He revealed the political theater employed by leaders of the “opposing” parties to maintain the fiction that voters had a choice in British elections. A good example is the relationship between Conservative Party Prime Minister Alfred Balfour and Liberal Party Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, both leaders in the Rhodes network. Quigley notes that “Balfour was the closest friend of the Asquiths even when they were leaders of two opposing parties. Balfour frequently joked of the fact that he had dinner, with champagne, at Asquith’s house before going to the House of Commons to attack his host’s policies. On Thursday evenings when Asquith dined at his club, Balfour had dinner with Mrs. Asquith, and the prime minister would stop by to pick her up on his way home.”
It was (and is) much the same in the United States, where the “Eastern Establishment,” Quigley’s term for the Deep State elites, rotated compliant Democratic and Republican candidates in and out of the Oval Office. “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is [to the Eastern Establishment] a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers,” he wrote. “Instead, the two parties should be almost identical,” so that elections can take place “without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.” Then it should be possible to replace the party in power, “every four years if necessary, by the other party, which … will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”
So that, as the saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same. Naturally, in order to pull off this deception over and over again, the politicians and their media shills must be accomplished liars, capable of straight-facedly telling the public one thing while doing exactly the opposite. It does appear that we have (and have had for some time) no shortage of political and media operatives with that capability. Far too many of them are exceptionally endowed with those characteristics that Cecil Rhodes said he was looking for in his internationalist scholar candidates: “smugness, brutality, unctuous rectitude, and tact.”
The Versailles “peace” conference was packed cheek to jowl with smug, brutal internationalists who excelled in the fine art of lying, while exuding unctuous rectitude and tact. One such was the famed British author and historian Arnold J. Toynbee, who would later become director of studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA). (Also known as Chatham House, the British RIIA, together with the American CFR, would become the most important visible cog in the Rhodes network of semi-secret societies that were advancing the aims of his main secret society.) Years later (1931), in a speech to the Conference of Institutions for the Scientific Study of International Affairs in Copenhagen, Toynbee admitted — nay, boasted — “I will merely repeat that we are at present working, discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands.”
“Peace” and Power
The organized internationalists at Versailles were indeed working with all their might “to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states” — and to deposit this force in a global instrument that they intended to control: the proposed League of Nations. To accomplish this they talked a great deal about peace, brotherhood, and averting future wars. They knew that people the world over, but especially in Europe and the United States, were sick of war, and millions of Europeans were living with the very real physical and psychological devastation of the “Great War.” According to various studies, there were somewhere between 30 million and 40 million casualties from the war, with 8.5 million military deaths, 8 to 13 million civilian deaths, as well as more than 20 million combatants and non-combatant wounded.
The internationalists succeeded — halfway. They got their League of Nations, though it was fatally neutered by the fact that they failed to beguile the American public into supporting U.S. membership in the new organization. When the League set up shop at its new headquarters at the Palais Wilson (named for President Wilson) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1920, it was not obvious to most observers that the Rhodes network had achieved a strategic coup. But that is precisely what it was. The first secretary-general of the League was Eric Lord Drummond, 7th Earl of Perth, an initiate in the Rhodes secret society. Drummond had been groomed as private secretary to Lords Grey, Asquith, and Balfour, and at the Peace Conference assisted Lords Cecil and Balfour, Colonel House, and John Foster Dulles in drafting the Covenant of the League. He was selected for the secretary-general post by Lord Cecil and Edward M. House, according to A History of the League of Nations, published in 1952 by Oxford University Press under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Drummond would hold that post for 13 years (1919-1933), where, among his other duties, he selected like-minded internationalists to staff the League’s burgeoning Secretariat.
Assisting Drummond in this effort was Frenchman Jean Monnet, who had been appointed deputy secretary-general of the League on the recommendation of Lord Balfour and France’s Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. Like Colonel House, Monnet was a mysterious grey eminence who flitted about the world with seemingly magical entre to royalty, prime ministers, presidents, and the titans of industry and finance. He is best known as “the father of the Common Market” and the “father of the European Union,” for his key role in the “European Project” that has destroyed the sovereignty of the EU member nations. Every step of the way Monnet and his fellow globalists followed the path advised by Toynbee of denying with their lips what they were doing with their hands.
Among the other notables aiding Drummond was his personal assistant, Francis Paul Walters, who would go on to become under secretary-general, then deputy secretary-general of the League, as well as to write the above-cited A History of the League of Nations for the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
An additional note on Drummond: Following his secretary-general stint, he went on to become British ambassador to Rome, and later, chief advisor in the Ministry of Information (the propaganda bureau for British intelligence), then deputy leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords. His admiration for Mussolini parallels that of many of his fellow British and American globalists. According to Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, Ambassador Drummond had developed into a “sincere convert” who “understood and even loved Fascism.”
Frenchman Joseph Avenol, Drummond’s successor as secretary-general, went even further, praising Hitler and Mussolini and throwing in his lot with them. As late as 1940, Avenol declared, “It is the end of the world of the 19th century. We are at the beginning of a great revolution.” He went on to proclaim that “except for the Germans and Italians who have a program, a doctrine, and a method, no one seems to have one…. They contain things which one can no longer reject.”
Another Try at World Order
President Wilson’s reception on his return to America was decidedly less rapturous than those he had received in Europe. Americans were in no mood for further entanglements in the affairs of Europe, let alone the entire world. In the face of an intense campaign by President Wilson and the media/academia choir, the U.S. Senate twice voted to reject the Versailles treaty (along with the Covenant of the League of Nations).
The internationalists have branded this defeat as a tragic loss for idealism and peace, and a triumph for backward American “isolationism.” However, American opposition to the League, led in the Senate by “Irreconcilables” such as William Borah of Idaho, Hiram Johnson of California, and Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, was not “isolationist” in the pejorative sense indicated by their attackers. Most Americans supported trade, commerce, cooperation, and friendship with the peoples of other nations, but had a healthy distrust of government-to-government entanglements. There were many things in the treaty and the League Covenant that alarmed the Irreconcilables, but the most hated feature was Article 10 of the Covenant that could commit the United States to war at the League’s beck and call.
The failure to secure approval for the League from the United States, then the most powerful country in the world, doomed the League to irrelevance. Undeterred, members of The Inquiry and their internationalist backers launched a long-term effort to reshape the American mind, to rid it of the “isolationist” obsession with independence and national sovereignty. The central piece of this project was the building of the Council on Foreign Relations into a dominant force, penetrating and influencing (if not outright controlling) all of America’s major institutional centers of power so that their next try at “world order” — establishing the United Nations, with the United States as a member — would not fail.
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