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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Committee on the Present Danger

Committee on the Present Danger

Acronym/Code: CPD

Updated: 7/89


Background: The original Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) was formed in 1950 by top eastern establishment luminaries. It was designed as a "citizen’s lobby" to alert the nation to the Soviet "present danger," and the resultant need to adopt the NSC-68 agenda in order to survive. NSC-68 was a top secret National Security Council document written by Paul Nitze promoting a huge military build-up for the purpose of rolling back communist influence and attaining and maintaining U.S. military supremacy in the world. (4,6) In 1951 the CPD launched a three-month scare campaign over the NBC network. Every Sunday night thereafter the group used the Mutual Broadcasting System to talk to the nation about the "present danger" and the need to take action. (4) As a result of efforts such as these both in and out of government, the recommendations of NSC-68 were adopted. President Harry Truman adopted a policy of containment militarism and the military budget escalated even more than the targeted factor of three times. The Cold War and an era of interventionist policies became a political reality in the United States. (6)

The post Vietnam era, however, saw the reemergence in the American public of anti-interventionist sentiment. In Congress, new policies of detente and arms control reflected a more conciliatory attitude toward East-West relations. Such trends were anathema to the CPD’s bipolar view of the world. Led once again by Rostow and Nitze, members of the CPD regrouped for action. (6)

The revitalization of the CPD grew out of an independent group called Team B. Team B was authorized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford and organized by then-CIA chief, George Bush. The purpose of Team B was to develop an independent judgment of Soviet capabilities and intentions. Team B was headed by Richard Pipes and included Paul Nitze, Foy Kohler, William Van Cleave, Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham (ret. ), Thomas Wolf of RAND Corp and Gen. John Vogt, Jr. (ret. ). Also a part of Team B were five officials still active in government: Maj. Gen. George Keegan, Brig. Gen. Jasper Welch, Paul D. Wolfowitz of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Seymour Weiss of the State Department. (2,6) Team B was housed in the offices of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. (6)

The political base for CPD II was in the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, a group formed in 1972 by the hard-line, anti-Soviet wing of the Senate, led by Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson. (6) These conservative Democrats contended that communism was a great evil and that the U.S. had a moral obligation to eradicate it and foster democracy throughout the world. (2) The 193 individual members of the revitalized CPD comprise a who’s who of the Democratic Party establishment and a cross-section of Republican leadership. (1,2) Eventually, 13 of the 18 members of the Foreign Policy Task Force of the CDM, lead by Eugene V. Rostow, joined the CPD. Notable among them were Jeane Kirkpatrick, Leon Keyserling, Max Kampelman, Richard Shifter, and John P. Roche. (6)

CPD II is a nonprofit organization established to "facilitate a national discussion of the foreign and national security policies of the U.S. directed towards a secure peace and freedom."(1) CPD II broadened its base considerably from the original group by including in its ranks top labor officials, Jewish liberals and neoconservative intellectuals. (6) It managed this feat by including in its ideology not only a strong antiSoviet policy, but also one which promoted growth and expansion. (6) These members donate their time to the organization. (1) The CPD presented an alternative to the cooperative vision of empire put forth by the Trilateralists with an imperial, unilateral philosophy of power retention through military strength. President Carter chose to follow the philosophy of the Trilaterals, but the CPD and its cohorts became dominant with the election of Ronald Reagan. (2)

Other proponents of the CPD position are the American Security Council (ASC), the ASC’s Congressional lobby group–the Coalition for Peace Through Strength–and the conservative think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), home base for such notables as Henry Kissinger, Jeane Kirkpatrick, David Abshire and Ray Cline. (2)

Advocate of nuclear superiority, the CPD helped to create the myth of U.S. nuclear inferiority and the concept of "windows of vulnerability."(2) CPD has expressed longstanding opposition to all types of arms control. Founding member William R. Van Cleave said,"Arms control has had a depressant effect not only on our military programs but also on our ability to deal with the Soviets. It has thoroughly muddled our thinking."(2)

Funding: The start-up grant for CPD-II came from David Packard of Hewlett-Packard. (6)

In 1984, the $300,000 budget came from 1,100 contributors, with a limit of $10,000 per year per source. (1) Grants given by Richard Scaife (Gulf Oil) from the Carthage Fdn, the Sarah Scaife Fdn and the Trust of the Grandchildren of Sarah Mellon Scaife to CPD between 1973 and 1981 total $300,000. (1)

Activities: CPD plays a significant role in public relations for conservative democrats. CPD works with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Coalition for Peace Through Strength (CPTS) on the issues surrounding containment militarism. (1) Forty-six members of the CPD advised the Reagan transition team. (1)

The CPD, in keeping with its philosophy and the desires of its defense industrial membership, has been a strong advocate of a rapidly increasing military budget–without regard to the burgeoning national debt. (2)

The authors of Rollback! describe as the Expanding Soviet Empire Theory (ExSET) the notion that the U.S. S. R. is at the center of an international, aggressive empire which is responsible for all global turmoil. CPD is the central public opinion group promoting ExSET. CPD members in the Reagan administration made ExSET the conventional wisdom of the early and mid-1980s. (2) ExSET objectives are to destabilize the USSR through military build-up (SDI and nuclear supremacy), economic isolation (trade embargos), and military insurgencies at the edges of the "empire" in the third world. (2)

CPD was among the major forces behind the opposition to the Salt II treaty. (2) CPD members belong to the Conservative Caucus, the American Conservative Union and the American Security Council. Combined, these organizations spent almost $4 million opposing Salt II. (6)

CPD has served as a link between anticommunist intellectuals such as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow, and Norman Podhoretz and the military-industrial complex. Major players in the latter include David Packard of Hewlett Packard, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, and ex-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Lyman Lemnitzer. (2)

CPD member Richard Perle speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee in his capacity as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs said in 1985 that it was a great mistake to continue honoring past arms treaties with the USSR, including Salt I and Salt II. (2)

Richard Pipes of CPD speaking as a staff member of the National Security Council said that any arms agreement achieved at Reykjavik would be a mistake as it would help the Soviet economy. (2) However, a later policy shift from the right-wing was expressed by CPD member Fred Ikle when he said that a reduction in offensive arms will make the job of providing effective defense easier and cheaper. This move to accept some types of arms agreements, according to Rollback!, is a strategy that was developed to replace that of a nuclear build-up, which lost public favor in the mid-80s. The group moved to a policy promoting high-tech conventional weapons and development and implementation of SDI. (2)

Israel, a nation dependent upon U.S. military aid and unable to withstand detente between the Soviet Union and the U.S. because of its need for U.S. military aid, had built up significant influence in the CPD. The primary contact person wasMichael Ledeen who was connected with Oliver North and the Iran-Contra affair. (7)

The CPD has produced a number of reports on the Soviet Union. The most recent,"Soviet Defense Expenditures," was released in May 1989. It claimed that the Soviet defense spending would increase dramatically in 1989–to the point that "virtually all of the growth in machinery output will go to military procurement."(8)

Government Connections: Thirty-three members of CPD received appointments in Reagan’s first administration, more than twenty of them in national security posts. (1,2) They were: Ronald Reagan, president; Kenneth L. Adelman, U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations; Richard V. Allen, assistant to the president for National Security Affairs; Martin Anderson, assistant to the president for Policy Affairs; James L. Buckley, Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology; W. Glenn Campbell, chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Board and member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; William J. Casey, director of the Central Intelligence Agency; John B. Connally, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; Joseph D. Douglass, Jr, asst director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; John S. Foster, Jr, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; Amoretta M. Hoeber, deputy asst secretary of the Army for Research and Development; Fred Charles Ikle, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Max M. Kampelman, chairman, U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; Geoffrey Kemp, staff of the National Security Council; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, U.S. representative to the United Nations; John F. Lehman, Secretary of the Navy; Clare Booth Luce, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; Paul H. Nitze, chief negotiator for Theater Nuclear Forces; Edward F. Noble, chairman of U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corp; Michael Novak, representative on the Human Rights Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; Peter O’Donnell, Jr, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; Richard N. Perle, asst secretary of Defense for Intl Security Policy; Richard Pipes, staff of the National Security Council, Eugene V. Rostow, director of Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Paul Seabury, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; George P. Shultz, Secretary of State and chairman of the presidents Economic Policy Advisory Board; R. G. Stilwell, deputy under secretary of Defense for Policy; Robert Strausz-Hupe, ambassador to Turkey; Charles Tyroler II, member of the Intelligence Oversight Board; William R. Van Cleave, chairman-designate of the General Advisory Committee, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Charles E. Walker, member of the president’s Economic Policy Advisory Board; Seymour Weiss, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; and Edward Bennett Williams, member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. (1,2,6)

In 1979, Ronald Reagan was initiated into the ranks of the CPD as a member of its executive committee. Dean Rusk, former Secretary of State was on the original board. (6)

The original board of CPD included a number of people who had served as ambassadors for the U.S. : John M. Allison, Japan, Indonesia, and Czechoslovakia; Eugenie Anderson, Denmark; Jacob D. Beam, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union; John M. Cabot, Sudan, Colombia, Brazil, and Poland; and Walter Dowling, Germany. (6)

Charles Tyroler II was the director of Manpower Supply for the Defense Department and chair of the Democratic Advisory Council in the Eisenhower administration. He also served as Assistant Secretary of Defense under Anna Rosenberg during the life of CPD I. (4)

Ray Cline served in the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA) and was a deputy director of the CIA. Cline has close connections with the World Anti-Communist League and its former U.S. chapter, the U.S. Council for World Freedom. (21)

Max Kampleman was the chief U.S. negotiator to the Geneva arms talks with the Soviet Union. (22)

Private Connections: The CPD is a member of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength (CPTS), an ad hoc lobby group of the American Security Council which is modeled after the Emergency Coalition Against Unilateral Disarmament. The Emergency Coalition was set up by the CDM in 1976. CPTS, which has 191 members of Congress in its ranks, serves as a link or umbrella for the New Right, the neoconservatives and the militaryindustrialists. It is the public face of the American Security Council, a group established in the 1950s by the militaryindustrial complex to ferret out "internal subversives."(6)

Rita Hauser of the CPD was chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the American Jewish Committee. (6)

Labor connections in the CPD have included: Lane Kirkland, head of the AFL-CIO; Sol Chaikin of the Intl Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU); Evelyn Du Brow, legislative director of the ILGWU; William Du Chessi, executive vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union; Albert Shanker, chair of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Rachelle Horowitz, director of the Committee on Political Education of the AFT; Martin J. Ward, president of the Plumber and Pipefitters’ Intl Union; John H. Lyons, president of the Ironworkers’ Intl Union; Bayard Rustin (deceased), former president of A. Philip Randolph Institute; J. C. Turner, president of the Intl Union of Operating Engineers; and Jay Lovestone, consultant to the AFL and ILGWU. (6)

Lane Kirkland serves on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private organization created to channel U.S. Information Agency (USIA) funds earmarked for democracy-building projects. (9) Kirkland also serves on the boards of the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) and the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and is president of the AfricanAmerican Labor Center (AALC) and the Asian-American Free Labor Institute (AAFLI). (10,11,12) All of these organizations are a part of the AFL-CIO’s Department of International Affairs, a far-reaching international operation which works with third world labor groups. Since the AFL-CIO receives a great deal of its funding from the government, these groups often work to carry out U.S. foreign policy. (13) Kirkland is also an honorary chairperson of the Bayard Rustin Fund, a group closely associated with the A. Philip Randolph Institute. (14)

Albert Shanker currently serves on the boards of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority and Freedom House, an organization that studies countries and governments around the globe to determine whether or not they qualify as democratic."(15) Shanker is also on the boards of FTUI, NED, and the Social Democrats, USA (SD/USA), a neoconservative group that sees labor as the cutting edge for social and political change. (16) He was on the boards of AALC and AAFLI. (12) Shanker is treasurer of the League for Industrial Democracy (LID), a group working closely with SD/USA. (17) In 1988, he was vice pres of the AFL-CIO and on the board of trustees of AIFLD. (11,18)

Rachelle Horowitz serves on the boards of LID and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a group established by NED to channel grants for democracy-building activities in third world nations. (9) She is the wife of Thomas Donohue who is the secretary of the AFL-CIO. (13)

Bayard Rustin was chairman of the exec committee of Freedom House, chairman of SD/USA, vice president of LID, and on the board of CDM. (15,16,17,19) Rustin also served as the vice presintl of the Intl Rescue Committee, a private voluntary organization which assists refugees from "totalitarian oppression."(20)

Jeane Kirkpatrick is on the board of the Committee for the Free World, a group founded by Midge Decter. CFW envisioned itself as an organization committed to the defense of the non-communist world "against the rising menace of totalitarianism. (23) CFW is stridently anticommunist and presents its case to the public through ads in major newspapers and other major media. (23) Kirkpatrick is a resident scholar at the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, and is a syndicated columnist for the New York Times. (22)

Max Kampleman was vice chair and served on the board of the CDM. (6) He is chairman of the board of Freedom House. (13,22)

Frank Barnett, director of the National Strategy Information Center, a lobbying organization and think tank dedicated to the preservation of containment militarism, opened an office in Washington DC in 1976. According to Jerry Sanders in Peddlers of Crisis, the major reason behind the DC office was to be more effective in the promotion of CPD policy. The Washington office is directed by Roy Godson who is also the director of Georgetown’s Intl Labor Program. In 1983, seven CPD members were on the staff of the Intl Labor Program. (6)

Industry was represented on the founding board of CPD by David Packard of Hewlett Packard; Richard V. Allen president of the Potomac Intl Corp; William Connell, president of Concept Associates; Henry Fowler, partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co investment brokerage house; David Harper of Gateway Natl Bank of St. Louis; James A. Linen, director and former president of Time, Inc; Hobart Lewis, chairman of Reader’s Digest; Sarason D. Liebler, president of Digital Recording Corp; Donald S. MacNaughton, chairman and CEO of The Prudential Insurance Co of America; Thomas S. Nichols, president of Nichols Co and former chairman of the executive committee of the Olin Corp; George Olmsted, chairman and CEO of International Bank in Washington; Charles E. Saltzman, partner in Goldman, Sachs & Co; and Harold W. Sweatt, former chairman of the board of Honeywell, Inc. (6)

Think tank representatives on the original board of directors included Donald G. Brennan, director of National Security Studies at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Indiana; George Tanham, vice president and trustee of the Rand Corp; Glenn Campbell, director of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University; Harris Huntington, trustee at the Brookings Institute; Ray Cline, director of the Center for Strategic and Intl Studies; and J. C. Hurewitz, director of Columbia’s Middle East Institute. (6)

Misc: Herbert "Pete" Scoville, former CIA deputy director, said when asked about Team B that it was "dedicated to proving that the Russians are twenty feet tall."(4)

Charles Tyroler claims that CPD has a mailing list of 14,000 which includes 900 members of the press. (1) Andrew Kopkind, journalist of the left, considers CPD an extension of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority and a driving force behind "Cold War II."(1)

The CPD reports contain no bibliographies. Each document states that the research material is available for study at the committee offices. (8)

Comments: Jerry Sanders in Peddlers of Crisis says of the doctrine of containment militarism codified in NSC-68,"Two things about this doctrine, often misinterpreted, must be stressed at the outset: first, it is a product not of strength, but weakness; second, it was founded in controversy and remains the subject of bitter debate."(6)

Sanders says of CPD,"Taken together, CPD-I and CPD-II cut a formidable portrait of power, their Establishment credentials setting them quite apart from the myriad lobbies of parochial interests that routinely besiege Washington and badger the public for attention. Moreover, policy elites of such impeccable pedigree ordinarily work behind the scenes, preferring collegial persuasion within executive councils far from the public eye, to campaigns of mass mobilization. Besides, there is the muchheralded bipartisan machinery whereby the two political parties mediate between elites and masses, shaping a popular consensus between the time policy has been agreed upon with the Establishment and the occasion when it is actually put into practice. Finally, while mass legitimation is critical at this stage, ratification is generally a pro forma exercise consecrating plans already well into motion."(6)

For a thorough–though slightly dated–investigation of the CPD and its interlocking connections in the government and private sectors, Jerry Sander’s book, Peddlers of Crisis, provides a wealth of information.

U.S. Address: 905 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington DC 20006.

Principals: Charles Tyroler II is the director. (3) The co-chairs until 1988 were two former Secretaries of the Treasury, Henry Fowler and C. Douglas Dillon. (1) Present acting chair of CPD, chairman of the CPD executive committee and treasurer is Eugene V. Rostow. (3) Other members of the Executive Committee are: Paul H. Nitze, chairman of policy studies and author of NSC-68–the policy document behind CPD I; David C. Acheson; Kenneth L. Adelman; Richard V. Allen, former aide to Richard Nixon and Reagan’s national security adviser; Adda B. Bozeman; Valerie A. Earle; William R. Graham; Charles M. Kupperman; Charles Burton Marshall; Richard E. Pipes, chief Kremlinologist of the Reagan administration; John P. Roche; William Schneider, Jr. ; Hugh Scott; Lloyd Smith; Herbert Stein; and William R. Van Cleave. (3,5)

Leaders of the Democratic Party who are members of CPD include: Max Kampelman, general counsel; Lane Kirkland, AFL-CIO; William Connell, former assistant to Hubert Humphrey; Evelyn DuBrow, Intl Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union; Leon H. Keyserling, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors under Truman; Bayard Rustin (deceased), former chair of the A. Philip Randolph Institute; and Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Dean Rusk, Secretary of State under President Kennedy has served on the CPD executive committee. (1)

As of 1984, the following individuals were also part of CPD’s conservative foreign policy network: William Casey, (deceased) former CIA director and Reagan’s 1980 campaign director; Ray S. Cline, former deputy director of the CIA and head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); John B. Connally, former governor of Texas and Secretary of the Treasury under President John F. Kennedy; Rita E. Hauser, Nixon campaign aide and representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission; and Reagan aide Martin Anderson. (1)

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