Bilderberg Group

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The Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, or Bilderberg Club is an annual, unofficial, invitation-only conference of approximately 130 guests, most of whom are people of influence in the fields of politics, banking, business, the military and media. The names of attendees are made available to the press.[1] The conferences are closed to the public and the media, and no press releases are issued.[2][3]

Contents

Origin

The original conference was held at the Hotel de Bilderberg, near Arnhem in the Netherlands, from 29 May to 31 May 1954. It was initiated by several people, including Polish politician Józef Retinger, concerned about the growth of anti-Americanism in Western Europe, who proposed an international conference at which leaders from European countries and the United States would be brought together with the aim of promoting atlanticism – better understanding between the cultures of the United States and Western Europe to foster cooperation on political, economic, and defense issues.[4] Retinger approached Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who agreed to promote the idea, together with Belgian Prime Minister Paul Van Zeeland, and the head of Unilever at that time, Dutchman Paul Rijkens. Bernhard in turn contacted Walter Bedell Smith, then head of the CIA, who asked Eisenhower adviser Charles Douglas Jackson to deal with the suggestion.[5] The guest list was to be drawn up by inviting two attendees from each nation, one of each to represent conservative and liberal points of view.[4] Fifty delegates from 11 countries in Western Europe attended the first conference, along with 11 Americans.[6]

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