1990, Xan Fielding, 'One Man in His Time - The life of Lieutenant-Colonel NLD ('Billy') McLean, DSO'
There was another institution which gave Billy particular pleasure. It was called Le Cercle, and outside the circle nothing was known about it but the name. Its origins and membership were (and still are) as deeply cocooned in mystery as those of the most exclusive Masonic lodge. It appears to have been founded by the French statesman, Antoine Pinay, and when he retired Julian Amery took over the chairmanship. It seems to have been a small assembly of European and American Conservatives meeting on an ad hoc basis once or twice a year, for two or three days at a time, to exchange views on world affairs. Because of his knowledge and understanding of the Middle East and North Africa, Billy was a most acceptable candidate for membership, which, in due course he acquired. He had already attended several meetings -- in Bonn, Munich, Washington and elsewhere -- and looked forward to attending more.
[McLean] felt well enough at the end of October to attend a meeting of Le Cercle in the Hôtel Negresco at Nice. He rang up from there and told Daska he would be back in time for dinner three days hence.