America’s Response to Global Governance

America’s response to the League of Nations was swift and definitive: no! Henry Cabot Lodge, and others, mounted an impressive, aggressive “America First” campaign that was reflected in the U.S. Senate’s rejection of the first 30 Articles of the Treaty of Versailles.

The proponents of global governance, however, would not take “no” for an answers. The transformation of the Rhodes-Milner “Round Table Group” into the Royal Institute for International Affairs, and the transformation of Edward Mandell House’s “Inquiry” into the Council on Foreign Relations, continued their efforts, especially in the field of education.

In 1925, the Institute for Pacific Relations (IPR) was established in Honolulu. Raymond B. Fosdick, who had been active in the American Association for International Cooperation and the League of Nations, and had served under the Secretary General of the League, resigned when the Senate rejected the treaty, and was instrumental in forming the League of Nations Association, along with Adlai Stevenson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Thomas W. Lamont, Eleanor Roosevelt, John W. Davis, and Quincy Wright, and others. These names will gain importance as we continue to explore.

Quincy Wright was a professor at the University of Chicago responsible for the administration of the Harris Foundation, which had been donated to the University for the “promotion of a better understanding on the part of American citizens of other peoples…for improved international relations and a more enlightened world order.” (1)

While the Council on Foreign Relations targeted a broad general audience with its publication, Foreign Affairs, Wright decided to use the foundation’s funds to target academia, even though he also was affiliated and worked closely with the Chicago branch of the Council on Foreign Relations. Wright scheduled a series of conferences jointly with the IPR, funded primarily by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Both the Carnegie Endowment, and the League of Nations launched a serious campaign to revise history books. The League formed a special Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC) expressly for the purpose. Opposition to the transformation of history was mounted by the Hearst newspaper syndicate, and by Chicago Mayor, William Hale Thompson.

Thompson, a popular figure in Chicago, was forced to withdraw from his re-election campaign when a close aide was exposed in a scandalous affair. William E. Dever was elected, and he appointed seven members to the Chicago School Board, and William McAndrew as Suprintendent. The new school board insisted on using the new, revised history books written by Arthur M. Schlesinger and Albert Bushnell Hart.

Despite efforts by concerned citizens, the new textbooks prevailed until 1927, when Thompson was re-elected using the textbook as his primary issue. Thompson dumped the school superintendent, and the action drew ridicule from the League of Nations, the New York Times, and the London Daily Express.

The political battle between Thompson and the pro-League forces, spilled over into a battle for the leadership of the Institute for Pacific Relations. A new leadership group from the east took control. Among them were Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Paul Warburg, and Thomas W. Lamont,

IPR conferences continued to be funded by Carnegie and Rockefeller, and with the money came the influence of Walter Lippman, John W. Davis and University of Chicago professor, Quincy Wright.

This group focused on teachers and professors with their conferences, which used the “round table discussion” method, to foster the idea of “group thinking,” and promoted the ideas of internationalism and the diminution of national sovereignty.

Their work continued through the depression; they were less affected than the ordinary population whose attention was drawn to survival. Their work was successful enough to ensure ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945, with only two dissenting votes, and virtually no popular resistance.

Stalin’s antics in Russia and the growth of the communist party in America, to nearly 100,000 by some estimates, caused a nervous reaction in some quarters, especially in Congress. In 1947, The House Un-American Activities Committee probed the Hollywood film industry resulting in the famous “Hollywod 10,” nine of whom went to jail for contempt because they invoked their Fifth-Amendment right to refuse to incriminate themselves.

On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a senior editor of Time magazine, and a self-admitted ex-communist, named Alger Hiss, the first U.N. Secretary General, and at the time, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as a communist agent. (2) The next day, the headlines in the New York Times, and most of the nation’s newspapers, screamed the revelation.

The nation was in a frenzy of anti-communist sentiment. Senator Joseph McCarthy captured the mood, and became the nation’s most visible communist fighter, when in 1950, in Wheeling, West Virginia, he made a speech and claimed he had a list of State Department employees who were either communists or communist sympathizers. By 1953, his televised hearings spared no one. More than 20-million viewers watched the committee compile two-million words of testimony.

At about the same time, Congressman B. Carroll Reece was named to continue the investigation of foundations that had begun in the previous Congress. Rene Wormser, counsel to the committee, told an audience at the University of Chicago in 1952, that foundation funding of socially active organizations had enormous impact on public policy. He said:

“It may be that we will … reach some form of of society similar to socialism, without consciously intending it.” (3)

Among the committee’s findings are these:

  • [Foundations] can materially predetermine the development of social and political concepts and courses of action through the process of granting and withholding foundation awards upon a selective basis;
  • It can play a powerful part in the determination of academic opinion, and, through this thought leadership, materially influence public opinion;
  • It has already come to exercise a very extensive, practical control over most research in the social sciences, much of our educational process, and a good part of government administration in these and related fields;
  • It has become extremely difficult for objective criticism of foundation practices to get into news channels without having first been distorted, slanted, discredited, and at times ridiculed;
  • The impact of foundation money upon education has been very heavy…tending to induce the educator to become an agent for social change and a propagandist for the development of our society in the direction of some form of collectivism;
  • In the international field…these combined efforts have been to promote “internationalism” in a particular sense – a form directed toward “world government” and a derogation of American “nationalism.”
  • With several tragically outstanding exceptions, such as The Institute of Pacific Relations, foundations have not directly supported organizations which, in turn, operated to support Communism.

The committee discovered that the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) had been a funnel through which the Carnegie Corporation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Rockefeller Foundations had poured millions of dollars for the benefit of the Communist Party of the United States:

“The net effect of IPR activities on United States public opinion has been pro-Communist and pro-Soviet, and has frequently and repeatedly been such as to serve international Communist and Soviet interests, and to subvert the interests of the United States.” (4)

Indeed. IPR staff member, Frederick V. Field, was also on the staff of New Masses, and The Daily Worker, New York’s two most prominent Communist publications. (5)

The committee discovered a vast network of interlocking directorates among the foundations and the organizations that received and used the foundations funds. Many of the principles were members of the Council on Foreign Relations, and sat on the boards of several of the target organizations.

For example, Edward R. Murrow, who is credited with bringing down Senator McCarthy with his March 9, 1954 CBS television program See it Now, was on the board of the Institute of International Education, along with John Foster Dulles, and Thomas W. Lamont. Each member of this board also served on the board of either the Institute of Pacific Relations or the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, or both.

McCarthy’s popularity plummeted in the polls, from a high above 50% a low of 30%. Following Murrow’s lead, the media vilified McCarthy, and his investigation ended as did his career. The Reece Committee folded its tent. Its report was barely mentioned in the press. The organizations that Reece set out to investigate proved their power by not only bringing both investigations to an end, but by also turning public opinion away from the Communist threat, and against the very people who attempted to root out that threat.

While these investigations were claiming the headlines, Robert Welch (1899-1985) began circulating a letter which became a book titled The Politician. Welch attacked Dwight D. Eisenhower as a turncoat Republican who campaigned on conservative values and implemented liberal policies. The liberal press, and moderate Republicans condemned the book, and Welch, who, in 1958, formed the John Birch Society. This organization has relentlessly opposed communism, and global governance – by any name it may be called.

For its rigid stance, the John Birch Society has been condemned as “ultra-right-wing,” and demeaned by the press even until this day. To a very large extent, the work of Welch, and the John Birch Society, is surprisingly accurate, as history has proved. This society cannot be overlooked as one of the important American responses to global governance.

The close of the McCarthy era reinvigorated the global governance movement. President Kennedy’s State Department issued its “Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World.” Domestic issues once again claimed the headlines. Business was booming and the first signs of an environmental movement appeared.

Stewart Udall was named Secretary of Interior in John Kennedy’s 1961 Cabinet, opening a House Seat that was won by his brother, Morris Udall. Their combined environmental influence was felt immediately.

With their help, The Wilderness Act of 1964, a five-year project of the Wilderness Society, drafted by its Executive Secretary, William Zahniser, (6) was enacted. And soon, the original nine-million acres designated “Wilderness” under the Act, tripled. Udall was the Congressional champion of the unsuccessful Federal Land Use Planning Act drafted by William K. Reilly.

Unnoticed on the domestic front, the United Nations created its Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 1968, ECOSOC adopted Resolution 1296 which established the basis and guidelines for NGO accreditation by the United Nations.

The battle for land championed by Udall, Reilly, and the Kennedy-Johnson administration, caused a reaction in the American west, generally known as the “Sagebrush Rebellion.” (7)

David Witts, a Texas attorney and former State Legislator, led the fight in Washington against the Land Use Planning Act. He notes that the Council on Environmental Quality held forums to promote the legislation, which were conducted by Stanley D. Schiff, who headed the U.S. Delegation to the 1976 U.N. Conference on Human Settlements, Lester Brown, of the Worldwatch Institute, a major advocate of global governance, and others who were closely aligned with the United Nations. (8)

In 1971, Ron Arnold resigned his position with the Conservation Committee of the Northwest Chapter of the Sierra Club, and began to write extensively about the negative impact on free enterprise that would result from environmental extremism. Alan Gottlieb founded the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, in Bellevue, Washington July 4, 1976, as a part of the Bi-centennial celebration. In 1984, Arnold joined the Center, which has been responsible for publishing Trashing the Economy, Undue Influence, and other books that have inspired and informed the wise-use/property rights movement.

Ron Arnold is the author of the term “Wise-use movement,” In 1987, he and a group of colleagues were trying to find a name to describe the growing grassroots resistance; he suggested that since Gifford Pinchot had said “Conservation is the wise use of natural resources,” that “wise-use movement” would be especially appropriate. Since that day, the term “wise-use” has been synonymous with grassroots opposition to federal land use control, especially on federal land. (9)

One of the first targets of land-control enthusiasts was the inholders on public lands. These are small plots of privately owned lands surrounded by federal lands. Early on, the objective was to remove these inholders using whatever excuse or tactic necessary, in order to restore the vast areas of public land to wilderness.

Chuck Cushman was among the first people to organize a resistance to this government pressure. His National Inholders Association, founded in 1978, evolved into the American Land Rights Association, and has been responsible for the defeat of many legislative proposals to expand wilderness.

The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and his appointment of James Watt as Secretary of the Interior, brought hope to the sagebrush rebels, and mobilized the NGOs who wanted more government control of land use. By 1983, Watt had been so demonized by environmental groups and the press that his resignation was a political necessity for the Reagan administration.

Grant Gerber founded the Wilderness Impact Research Institute in Elko, Nevada in 1985, to develop factual information about the economic impact Wilderness designation had on local communities.

Clark Collins organized the Blue Ribbon Coalition in Pocatello, Idaho in 1987 to resist the federal government’s increasing restrictions on recreational use of federal lands.

Other organizations began to spring up, especially in the west, working to resist the ever-tightening noose around the use of public and private land.

Bob Brace organized the Pennsylvania Landowners Association in 1987, in response to the federal government shutting down his plan to convert his own pasture to row crops, over an alleged wetland violation.

The Environmental Conservation Organization formed in 1988 when 17 national organizations gathered in Chicago to address the federal government’s implementation of wetlands policy on private land. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen Association, Pennsylvania Landowners Association, Home Builders, Contractors, and others were present. The discussions were chaired by Wilson Scaling, who had just stepped down as Chief of the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service.

Then followed the Alliance for America, and by the early 1990s, more than 500 organizations had formed across the country, all working to resist the increasing impact of federal regulations on land use policy.

It was apparent that these policies were being advanced by environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, the Wilderness Society, the National Wildlife Federation and many others. What was not apparent at the time, was the influence of the international community and funding the provided by foundations.

The Environmental Conservation Organization held its first national conference in 1993, in Reno, Nevada. There Dr. S. Fred Singer presented evidence that the U.N.’s Climate Change Treaty was based on faulty science. Dr. Dixy Lee Ray, who attended the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, warned that Agenda 21, and the treaties adopted at the conference, were stepping stones to global governance.

To counter the effectiveness of what came to be known as the “Wise Use and Property Rights” movement, the Tides Foundation funded a project called the Environmental Working Group, which set up a special project known as CLEAR (Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research). The sole purpose of this project, which operated from 1993 to 1999, was to identify and label organizations and the leaders in the wise use and property rights movements, as shills for big industry and “right-wing” zealots. For a time, this group gained some currency, but as their information continued to be proven inaccurate, if not slanderous, they faded from the scene.

In Missouri, a Natural Streams Act was proposed. Ray Cunio quickly organized Citizens for Private Property Rights to combat the initiative which would have taken private property rights from landowners who happened to have a stream on their property. They were successful. Within a few years, the State Department of Conservation, operating at the behest of the federal government, proposed a Coordinated Resource Management Plan, that fit very well with another initiative launched by the U.S. State Department’s Man and the Biosphere Program and The Nature Conservancy, to create a U.N. Biosphere Reserve in the Ozarks.

Co-incidental to the events in Missouri, in 1994, Tom McDonnell, Director of Natural Resources at the American Sheep Industry Association, discovered a peer-review draft of one section of the U.N.’s Global Biodiversity Assessment. The draft was analyzed by Henry Lamb and Dr. Michael Coffman, and found to be the instruction book for the implementation of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity. This draft was condensed and published by the Environmental Conservation Organization, and with maps produced by Dr. Coffman, became the basis for the defeat of the treaty in the Senate, (10) and for the defeat of the Biosphere Reserve in the Ozarks. (11)

Interestingly, On September 30, 1994, the day after selected Senate staffers had received copies of the Draft of the Global Biodiversity Assessment, the Chicago Tribune printed a story by Jon Margolis, in which he quoted a U.N. spokesman who denied the existence of the Assessment. Margolis reported the Assessment was a process that had not yet begun. In fact, the process had been underway for two years, and had reached the peer-review stage, which several key Senators had in hand when the article appeared.

The Environmental Conservation Organization joined with Bob Voight, founder of the Maine Conservation Rights Institute, Tom McDonnell, Dr. Mike Coffman, and Floy Lilley, Program Director of the Murchison Chair of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas, to form the Sustainable Freedom Coalition, which held a national conference in Kansas City, in 1996. The theme of the conference was the “Global Environmental Agenda.” This was the first national conference that linked international policy initiatives with domestic policy implementation. A 570-page conference workbook is still the bible for hundreds of grassroots organizations that work to protect private property rights and wise use of natural resources.

While he was attending a United Nations meeting on climate change in Geneva, Switzerland in 1996 (COP II), Henry Lamb realized that all the efforts by grassroots organizations in the United States were going unnoticed by the international community, which was plowing ahead with its global governance agenda.

In a 3:am trans-Atlantic phone call to Bob Voight, the two decided to try to convert the Sustainable Freedom Coalition into a more formal organization to work especially at the international level. By the end of the year, Sovereignty International, Inc., was organized, with Henry Lamb as its Chairman.

Reaction to the 1996 conference and to Sovereignty International, was predictable: CLEAR, and the environmental community, ridiculed the idea that domestic policy was related to the U.N.

Curt Christianson, a staffer for the House Resources Committee, is reported to have said that Henry Lamb and Floy Lilley had dropped off the edge of the earth. But, within two years, Christianson helped draft Congressman Don Young’s American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, which would require that every existing, and proposed U.N. Biosphere Reserve be approved by Congress. The bill has passed the House twice, but has been blocked by the Senate.

Phyllis Schlafly produced a video on Global Governance which has aroused substantial interest and informed many people about the global governance agenda and its implementation. In 1999, Schlafly’s Eagle Forum joined with Sovereignty International, Environmental Conservation Organization, the American Policy Center, Liberty Matters, and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow to develop the Freedom 21 Campaign.

The campaign seeks to “Advance the principles of freedom in the 21st century,” by promoting positive pro-active policies based on the principles of freedom, rather than the policies arising from Agenda 21.

The resistence to global governance is taking root as more and more grassroots organizations realize that the local, domestic issues they face flow from the international agenda. Increasingly, organizations who work primarily with environmental issues, are finding allies with organizations who work with education and family issues, as well as those who work with Second-Amendment issues.

Organizations in Italy, England, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, are also beginning to offer resistance to the global governance agenda. Through web sites and email, the “sovereignty” issue is becoming a global issue – much to the chagrin of the proponents of global governance.

Unlike the coordinated strategies and well-funded programs of the global governance movement, the freedom movement is spontaneous, empowered by hundreds, if not thousands, of individual groups doing what they can to protect freedom, and resist global governance. There is no central command in the freedom movement, nor is there an endless supply of foundation and tax-payer funds to fuel their efforts.

Nevertheless, the freedom movement is gaining momentum and members. The question is whether or not the freedom movement can gather enough members to achieve the critical mass necessary to once again, deliver a definitive “no” to the global governance machine.

The battle that has raged throughout the 20th century, and continues now, is not really about good vs. evil, as it is often described. It is about good people, for the most part, who have conflicting views about how people should live. Proponents of global governance have been schooled in ideas stemming from the Hobbes-Ruskin-Rhodes philosophy, who really believe that government should grant and limit freedom to individuals for the benefit of all society.

Fortunately, there remain a number of people who avoided that schooling, and usually out of necessity, have come to understand that John Locke’s philosophy, as refined by Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and other brave souls more than 200 years ago – still offers Americans, and the world, the best hope for happiness, prosperity, and freedom.

We started this course with concepts in conflict; we will end it with those same concepts in conflict, still. For this reality we should be grateful. The only time when freedom is not under attack, is when there is no freedom. Our task is to not only continue the struggle, but to ultimately prevail, to the extent that there is no perceived need for one person to control another. We have a long way to go.


  1. Letter from Wright to Alberto Mascarenas, Sub-Secretary, Department of Finance, Mexico City, Mexico 25 February 1926, Wright Papers, box 8, folder 1, as reported by Robert P. Hillmann, Reinventing Government: Fast Bullets and Cultural Change, (Murchison Chair of Free Enterprise, University of Texas, 2001), Distributed by Sovereignty International.
  2. . See also:
  3. Rene A. Wormser, Foundations: Their Power and Influence, (Devin-Adair Company, New York, 1958), p. xiii.
  4. Ibid, pp. 45-47.
  5. Robert P. Hillman: Reinventing Government: Fast Bullets and Cultural Change, (University of Texas at Austin, 2001), p. 51.
  6. David Foreman, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, (Harmony Books, New York, 1991), p. 179.
  7. See also: for a continuing discussion of the movement to present times.
  8. David A. Witts, Theft, (University of La Verne Press, La Verne, California, 1981), pp. 14-15.
  9. Personal interview with Ron Arnold, August 8, 2001.
  10. How the Convention on Biological Diversity was Defeated, Sovereignty International, .
  11. A Study of a Failed Nomination Effort, University of Missouri, .