2002, David Rockefeller, 'Memoirs', pages 412-413

"Consorting with reactionaries"

Bilderberg overlapped for a time with my membership in a relatively obscure but potentially even more controversial body known as the Pesenti Group.  I had first learned about it in October 1967 when Carlo Pesenti, the owner of a number of important Italian corporations, took me aside at a Chase investment forum in Paris and invited me to join his group, which discussed contemporary trends in European and world politics.  It was a select group, he told me, mostly European.  Since Pesenti was an important Chase customer and he assured me the other members were interesting and congenial, I accepted his invitation.

Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Konrad Adenauer were founding members of the group, but by the time I joined, they had been replaced by an equally prominent roster that included Antoine Pinay, a former French president; Giulio Andreotti, several times Prime Minister of Italy; and Franz-Josef Strauss, the head of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria and a perennial contender for the chancellorship of the Federal Republic of Germany.  The discussions were conducted in French, and usually I was the sole American present, although on a few occasions when the group assembled in Washington, Henry Kissinger, at the time President Nixon's national security advisor, joined us for dinner.

Members of the Pesenti Group were all committed to European political and economic integration, but a few - Archduke Otto of Austria, the head of the house of Hapsburg and claimant to all the lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire; Monsignor Alberto Giovanetti of the Vatican and a prominent member of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic organization; and Jean-Paul León Violet, a conservative French intellectuel - were preoccupied by the Soviet threat and the inexolerable rise to power of the Communist parties of France and Italy.

Pesenti set the agenda for our thrice-yearly meetings, and Maître Violet, who had close connections with the Deuxième Bureau of the Services des Renseignements (the French CIA), provided lengthy background briefings.  Using an overhead projector, Violet displayed transparency after transparency filled with data documenting Soviet infiltration of governments around the world and supporting his belief that the threat of global Communist victory was quite real.  While all of us knew the Soviets were behind the "wars of national liberation" in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, I was not personally convinced the Red Menace was quite as menacing as Maître Violet portrayed it to be, but my view was a minority one in that group.  Even though I found some of the discussions fascinating, the ultraconservative politics of some participants were more than a bit unnerving.  My Chase associates, who feared my membership could be construed as "consorting with reactionaries," eventually prevailed upon me to withdraw.