In Profile : Sir Peter Blaker KCMG MP

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To understand the real agenda of the UK Conservative cabinet we must look to history and the players. 

Rt. Hon Sir Peter Blaker KCMG MP served in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders from 1942-46 as a captain, on leaving the army he became a solicitor and was then admitted to the Foreign Service in 1953, stationed at the embassy in Phnom Penh (1955-57) and at the UK High Commission in Ottawa 1957-60. At the Foreign Office from 1960-62 he was Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Foreign affairs from 1962-64.

He attended a disarmament Conference in Geneva as part of the UN General Assembly in 1962 and 63 (shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis) which led to the signing of the test ban treaty in Moscow in 1963. He became an MP representing Blackpool south from 1964-92, an opposition whip (1967-67) and PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1970-72), moving to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Army) at the MOD from 1972-74 and a minister of state at the FCO 1979-81 and for the Armed Forces 1981-83.

He was a member of the executive committee of the British-American Parly group (1975-79) and chairman of the board of the Royal Ordinance factories (1972-74); a member of the Council of Chatham House (1977-79); the Council for Arms Control ( 1983-); a member of the Freedom Association; Vice Chairman of Peace through NATO; vice-president of the Conservative Foreign and Commonwealth Council (1983-); a member of the council of the GB USSR association (1974-92); a Governor of the Atlantic Institute 1978-79; Chairman McLean Hunter Cablevision Ltd 1989 Integrated Asset Management; Central Lancashire Television; World Trading & Shipping Ltd. Recently he has joined Constantia.

There is no mention of his involvement with the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Service in official biographies.

According to Stephen Dorril (1984) American Friends : the Anti-CND Groups, Lobster 3, The Coalition For Peace Through Security (CPS) was formed in 1981, its main activists being Julian Lewis and Francis Holihan, an American roller-skate businessman. The CPS has close relations with the Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC), and with the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Centre for Policy Studies, all of which had connections to the IEDSS..

Dorril adds that the CPS’s most important link is to the Campaign For Defence and Multilateral Disarmament (CDMD) ran and funded by Tory Central Office, and helps distribute CPS literature. Drawing on the Guardian April 30, 1983, he notes that Harvey Thomas, a Tory Central Office official on the CDMD committee said We keep in touch with the Coalition. There is a friendly relationship between us.

CDMD is actually a tightly organised group of the Conservative Party hierarchy. It includes Winston Churchill, who chaired the co-ordinating (anti-CND groups) Committee For Peace With Freedom (CPF); John Selwyn Gummer, Party Chairman, and the man responsible for the anti-unilateralist campaign in the Churches, Peter Blaker, Minister of State for Defence ; Ray Whitney, MOD spokesman and formerly of the Cold War propaganda unit IRD (and also of the Institute for European and Strategic Studies (IESS) and the Council for Arms Control; Michael Heseltine  Secretary of State for Defence and Head of the Defence Secretariat 19, and, finally, Cecil Parkinson, ex Party Chairman and member of CPS.

Dorrill adds that Churchill was appointed by Margaret Thatcher as co-ordinator of the Government’s campaign against CND (citing the Guardian 14th Feb,1983), the loose grouping CPF meeting at his London flat. The CPS joined the CPF and attended the monthly meetings. Its members specifically discussed anti-CND tactics with Churchill and Blaker. It was Blaker who arranged the informal meetings  sometimes with the Prime Minister, sometimes with civil servants, sometimes with Tory politicians to prepare and co-ordinate policy against the anti-nuclear movement. It was decided at one of these meetings that Gummer should lobby the General Synod of the C.Of E. Gummer is a member of the joint Parliamentary Ecclesiastical Committee.

The European Atlantic Group and Dangerfield
Blaker is (and was at the time of the IEDSS) a member of the committee of The European Atlantic Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Conflict Issues which is sponsored by the Mezzanine’s UnLtd.

The Group on Conflict Issues was launched on Tuesday 6th February 2007 by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s former Special Representative in Iraq, who answered questions on The Changing Nature of Conflict. Greenstock, whose book on the Iraq war was blocked by the Foreign Office, was joined on the platform by London School of Economics Professor, Mary Kaldor, author of New and Old Wars : and a previous contributor to E. P.

Thompson’s Protest and Survive, which came under attack by the IEDSS. Other APPGCI meetings include The Power of Mediation,’ March 2007 where the speakers were Lord Hurd of Westwell (former Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary) and Professor Karl Mackie of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution; Dogs of War or a Force for Peace?

May 2007 which examined the controversial and unregulated role of private military and security companies in modern conflict, the speakers were: Andy Bearpark, Director General, British Association of Private Security Companies and John Hilary, Campaigns and Policy Director, War on Want; November 2007 Strategic Trends 2007-2036 with Rear Admiral Chris Parry, head of the MoD’s think tank, the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre. The All-party Group’s website states The Secretariat for the group is provided by ministry for peace.

This type of cozy gathering would seem too communal for someone with such right-wing credentials as Blaker, but with his involvement with the Council for Arms Control, set up as a front organisation, in the 1980s, while the IEDSS and other Heritage Foundation-funded organisations attacked, smeared and aimed to subvert CND.  In 1991 with Lord Chalfont and right-wing MP Julian Lewis he launched a campaign against Generals for Peace and Disarmament led by the Gulf War veteran Brigadier Michael Harbottle stating : We have convincing evidence that it is intimately linked with the World Peace Council and other organs of the Soviet propaganda machine.

In a speech to The European Atlantic Group (E-AG) back in 1982, Nuclear Arma and Arms Control,’ he set out his beliefs backed by the writings of Laurence Martin :

There are those who would argue that NATO’s decision means that America is planning to fight any future war in Europe, rather than having to risk its own country. Nothing could be further from the truth. If, and of course it is nonsense, the Americans did have any such idea, then the last thing they would want to do is to link their security so closely with that of their European allies by using their weapons fired from bases in Europe. The Russians would clearly regard such missiles and they have said so  as coming from the US

The EAG archive minutes from the first E-AG meeting suggest certain similarities with the IEDSS and stated it was set up 1954 by Lord Layton (then Vice-President of the Council of Europe), Lord Abinger, Lord Birdwood, Commander Sir Stephen King-Hall and Elma Dangerfield who’s obituary in the (2006) Independent stated she :

Worked in the Admiralty and in MI9, a branch of the intelligence services She was assigned to keep in touch with the Polish community in exile Although Dangerfield stood for Parliament unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate more than once, she had discovered her unique talent, the organising of cross-party, broadly liberal, extra-parliamentary campaigns, aimed at shaping opinion.

MI9 was headed by Airey Neave and helped escaped prisoners of war and Resistance movements. A hand written note (by Dangerfield) states that invitations were sent to readers of the European Atlantic Review for a meeting at the Anglo-Belgian club on the necessity of European Atlantic co-operation, Meetings were held monthly dealing primarily with European and Atlantic subjects connected with NATO and the Council of Europe.

The initial meeting (in the House of Commons) attracted a high level audience, described as including most of the NATO Ambassadors in London and many MPs and Lords : Lord Ismay (Secretary-General of NATO), Gen. Alfred Gruenther (Supreme Commander of SHAFE), Harold Macmillan, the then Foreign Secretary and Sir David Kelly, president of the British Atlantic Committee. Other meeting were held on the effect of Television on European and Atlantic unity advised by a panel of experts from the US.

Dangerfield’s Byron Society, involved Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar and (Oxford Professor of Modern History and former member of MI9) Michael Foot. The Times obituary stated she worked at the Ministry of Information and was involved behind the scenes with delegations from Eastern Europe. This adds that her friendship with Sir Edward Hulton resulted in contributions to Picture Post and her editorship of the European-Atlantic Review with the Earl of Bessborough, Sir Edward Beddington-Behrens and Lord Layton. The focus of this group was to endorse the power of the Council of Europe and to start a group in London with leading representatives of all the Anglo-European and Anglo-US and Canadian societies in London. The obituary also states that she was :

also a co-founding member of other groups with comparable objectives, whose influence is still felt today, namely the British-Atlantic Group (forerunner to the Atlantic Council of the UK) and the Mid-Atlantic Group.

According to the (2004) Sunday Herald, Dangerfield, with the Duchess of Atholl via the (Scottish and British) League for European Freedom, were part of an early cold war spy network run by MI6. Dangerfield suggested that distinguished names and right-wing sympathisers at the heart of Scottish society were used to fight communism. While obituaries skirt round her work in relation to Eastern Europe, this states :

There is also evidence to suggest that Ukrainian double agents in a notorious SS division, later accused by the Polish government of wartime atrocities against the Jewish population of the Ukraine, were recruited through the organisation and trained in Scotland.

The report, drawing on the work of Douglas Macleod, author of Morningside Mata Haris and Stephen Dorril’s MI6, stated that Dangerfield professed to know nothing about secret service involvement  and that :
members of her [The Duchess of Atholl] group of aristocrats, including people suspected of fascist links, used the organisation for their own ends and were working for the British wartime secret intelligence service.  Members of the league included right-wing activists such as Dr John Stewart and General John Boney Fuller. Fuller was one of the inner circle of the British fascist leader, Oswald Mosley, and visited Mussolini and Hitler before the war.

Dorril states that Dangerfield knew Frederick A. Voight, who was an MI6 agent and part of Claude Dansey’s Z-Network and that she knew Joseph Retinger and Victor Cazelet.

The relationship with Voight led to the formation of several anti-communist groups such as the Middle Zone Association.

Dangerfield states in her own account of the setting up of the E-AG, that she was then the Foreign Correspondent of the Guardian at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and that :

The original idea of Lord Layton was to have such an International Group in each Capital of Europe as well as in Washington and Ottawa but the Founders discovered it was enough to have one active Group in London and have left it to the other countries of the West to form their own Groups.

In James Abinger’s account of the early years, Dangerfield is credited with being the driving force along with her journalist partner Dennis Walwyn-Jones.

Elsewhere the E-AG site states it was founded together with other Members of both Houses of Parliament, industrialists, bankers, economists and journalists. The bankers included Henry Tiarks of Schroders, whose (1995) Independent obituary notes that Schroders post-war revival was constrained by post-war controls and the outstanding German debts, which were not recovered until 1952-54 (one of the key motivations of the European Movement) and that Tiarks often visited Schroders Wall Street firm and was on the Dollar Export Council. In 1939 Tiarks and the Marquis of Willingdon took over the private security company, Securicor, and Tiarks remained a director till 1968. Previously the company was called Night Watch Services, and was a team of bike-riding guards wearing police uniforms, launched as a deterrent force in London. According to Nigel South’s (1988) Policing for Profit :

“The Private Security Sector, [p.22], this was to protect the penthouse propertied set against East End undesirables and Moseley’s Fascists who were drawing violence to their meetings wherever they were in London.

A letter from Dangerfield, on E-AG headed note paper, to Allen Dulles in his archive at Princeton states :

Dear Mr. Dulles,¨I heard from our mutual old friend, [name deleted] today that you were in London, and hasten to send you my greetings and regards, hoping that you may remember our breakfast time meeting in New York way back in 1948, when Rebecca West so kindly introduced me to you? Since then I have been in touch with your office whenever I was in the States the last time in 1958 on my return from staying with Ciang-Kai-Shek in Formosa and your late lamented Brother was good enough to allow me to be in touch with him and to send a message to our Review the latest copies of which I enclose which I hope may be of some interest to you, as ours is, I think, the only journal of its kind at present in the English language and is dedicated to promoting European-Atlantic relations, as is our group, details of which I attach. If you could ever have the time or possibility to send us a contribution [‘statement’ is crossed out] for publication on American views of Europe today, we should be very honoured to publish it and if there is any chance of seeing you while you are in London, I should be very gratified indeed.

Similarities with the IEDSS can be seen in an Evening Standard, January 31, 2001, report that, the then Shadow Defence Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith offered vigorous support to George Bush’s Star Wars programme in a speech to the E-AG, with a now overly familiar spin :

Saddam Hussein is close to developing nuclear missiles despite the sanctions We have a shared interest with the United States in containing this potential menace through a space shield.
The report also mentions that the Former Defence Minister Lord Chalfont shared Duncan Smith’s concerns about a European Army. It would make the Americans resentful for no advantage  Henry Kissinger told me the other day that it would mean weakening the emotional base between Europe and the United States. The IEDSS Alan Lee Williams was vice-president of the E-AG.

Woodrow Wyatt in a Times, March 25, 1987, dutifully used a speech at the EA-G by the US Ambassador, Charles Price, which noted that in opinion polls a low regard for American policies and a deep suspicion of American motives was represented, to attack the Labour Party on a number of points:
NeilKinnock1@0 copy 2Labour is the explicit anti-American party. Mr Kinnock (right), when he went to Cuba, leads the attack on Washington’s policies on El Salvador, Nicaragua and elsewhere. It denounced Mrs Thatcher’s permission for US aircraft stationed in Britain to be used in the Libyan air raid. When Kinnock mildly rebukes Moscow over Afghanistan it is usually in conjunction with a slap at America for trying to prevent communists and their allies taking over in Nicaragua. Americans fear a Labour government because they know it would mean effectively the end of Nato and the special relationship between Britain and the US. Being the principal defender of the West and its values is a lonely role which brings little love from those defended; Britain ceasing to be her stout friend would be a grievous blow to America. Labour sees no difference in awfulness between Russia and the US and its stance shows that it is more prepared to trust Moscow with nuclear weapons than Washington. Labour eagerly accepts Gorbachov as a harbinger of a new Russia against which we need little defence.

Price had stated :

Anti-Americanism is an amorphous, wholly subjective, feeling. It is therefore difficult to agree on an acceptable definition. For my part, I approach it as one of our Supreme Court justices approached pornography : I can’t define it, but I sure can recognise it when I see it. And nowadays, I see a lot of it, in Britain and in Europe.

Owen Oyston
Back with Blaker, because of his directorships in Central Lancashire Television, East Lancashire Cablevision, East Coast Cablevision and a consultancy with BT, Blaker became a rival bidder against Owen Oyston for licences, and this prompted his moral and financial support for a campaign waged against Owen Oyston by Michael Murrin, the owner of a fish and chip shop in the village of Longridge, that was also backed by another former government minister, Sir Robert Atkins.
Owen Oyston told police he had been subjected to a very nasty and vicious campaign.

owen oyston@0 copyLord Blaker and ex-sports minister Robert Atkins, MP for South Ribble, as having mounted the conspiracy against him.

Oyston told Liverpool Crown Court that he had 48 hours of tape recordings of conversations between Lord Blaker, Mr Atkins, Blackpool businessman William Harrison, a man named Michael Murrin and a whole range of other senior people in the Conservative party and that the tapes showed Blaker, Harrison and Atkins were running a conspiracy against me and members of the North West Labour Party. Oyston served 3 years of a six-year sentence.According to Andrew Rosthorn (1998) Our Friends in the North West: The Owen Oyston Affair, in Lobster 34:

The Oyston Affair appears to have been the longest and most expensive privately funded political dirty tricks campaign in recent British history. The astonishing 15-year campaign waged against Owen Oyston by Michael Murrin, the owner of a fish and chip shop in the village of Longridge, Lancs, was backed by help and cash payments raised by two former government ministers and a millionaire friend of Margaret Thatcher. The former Tory ministers are Sir Robert Atkins and Lord Blaker. Their target was the Labour Party’s biggest private contributor in the days of Neil Kinnock’s leadership.

In 1995, Chris Blackhurst in the Independent reported that a motion, tabled by Tom Pendry, MP accused Blaker of having been privy to obtaining by clandestine means private papers and bank account details of Mr Oyston. Blaker and Robert Atkins were asked to apologise to MPs for having previously failed to reveal the extent of their financial and personal involvement in the squalid investigation  and for not responding to earlier claims concerning their part in making secret payments to fund a dirty tricks campaign against leading Labour Party members and supporters.

Small is Dangerous
He has written (1977) Coping with the Soviet Union, with Julian Critchley and Matthew Parris; (1974) Labour’s renegotiation policy: a Conservative view, a reprint from The World Today; (1977) Guidelines for Belgrade.  Memorandum from the Bow Group; (1985) Small Is Dangerous, was subtitled Micro States in a Macro World and organised by Sheila Harden, this emerged from a study group appointed by the David Davies memorial Institute with texts adopted by consensus of a group consisting of Blaker as chairman, Donald Anderson, Hugh Hannig, Rosalyn Higgens, David Kessop, Patrick Keatley, Peter Lyon, Lord Mayhew, Malcolm Shaw, Jack Spence and Donald Cameron Watt. Among the areas covered were the Falklands isles and Grenada.

Blaker was also involved with the mysterious Defence Secretariat 19, The former head of DS 19 was J. K. Ledlie who went on to be chief of public relations in the MOD, Hansard of July 1986, states that :

Three of the other former members of the division have resigned from the Civil Service. One has taken up a posting overseas with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and another is serving in the Cabinet Office. Of the remaining two, one is serving in the MOD public relations organisation and one in an equipment secretariat division in the Procurement Executive.

This also states that although disbanded in 1983, its duties were carried on by the Defence Arms Control unit in conjunction, as appropriate, with other branches in the Department. Hansard also states that it was it was formed to advise the then Secretary of State for Defence on how best to explain to the public the facts about the Government’s policy on deterrence and multilateral disarmament and that it was set up in February 1983 and disbanded in September 1983. The number of staff employed was eight and the costs of the unit were confined to the salaries of those eight posts and associated administrative costs which were approximately £142,000 at 1983 prices.

The distinction drawn between political propaganda and explaining Government policy in terms of the Government using DS 19 to mobilise publicity and propaganda against the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in view of the fact that the Opposition were opposed to nuclear arms, was also discussed in the House of Lords  but the conclusion (if any) was that the work of DS 19 will be confined to departmental information work.

The Ministry of Defence had 20 such Secretariats and also drew on the Central Office of Information for assistance. Although disbanded, Hansard notes that Defence Secretariat 17, had been in existence for several years, and also provided the Secretary of State with advice on nuclear policy, arms control and disarmament.
More detail on DS 19 and its operations against CND are set out in the profile on the British Atlantic Committee.

Blaker was also involved in the successor to the Information Research Department, and it should also be noted that the IEDSS Ray Whitney (who worked with Blaker on several front group projects such as the setting up of the Council for Arms Control) was the last head of IRD the IEDSS then, can be seen as a clearing house for similar projects, given its association with others who formerly worked for the IRD or the Congress for Cultural Freedom or other CIA-related projects. In Brian Crozier (1994) Free Agent (p. 188-9), he describes how, when he was still on sufferance, in Golden Square, the IEDSS headquarters, upon his urging, Margret Thatcher attempted to revive the Information Research Department (IRD) in the face of entrenched opposition from the Foreign Office mandarins, at the time Crozier was assembling quotations from the already published words of hundreds of extremist politicians and trade unionists, as raw material for analytical reports in the Shield manner. Shield was another of Crozier’s anti-communist groups which had involved other members of the IEDSS.

The IRD was a Foreign Office and MI6 propaganda and disinformation organisation, but also represents liaison between MI6 CIA. Set up in 1947 it essentially carried on the work of the wartime Political Warfare Executive from offices in Carlton House Terrace, it was to be based at Riverwalk House, 157-166 Millbank, London SW1P 4RR from the mid 1950s. When it was abolished in 1977 it was replaced by the Overseas Information Department, the first Director of OID was the MI6 Officer James Allen, but it was absorbed into the Foreign Office’s Information Department in 1981.

The IRD used both media (sometimes news agencies) and academic outlets (including publishing), with the CIA, with the most well-known examples being Encounter, Crozier’s Forum World Features and Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ampersand Ltd (the IRD’s publishing house), the Background Books series and many others. Authors included Brian Crozier, Robert Moss, Charles Douglas Home, Paul Wilkinson, Robert Conquest and others.

A new Overseas Information Department (OID) was set up run by Blaker, who Crozier also describes as a friend of mine from Cambodian days, when Blaker was Minister of State at the Foreign Office. Crozier states that he informed Blaker of his view that the IRD was closed down by the Labour government because of Labour’s connections to the Soviets: a conspiracy theory not uncommon in Crozier’s thinking, whereby the parliamentary left are conflated with the communist threat. Baker answered parliamentary questions on this on 13 January 1981, adding that the OID had 79 members and :
directs the Government’s official information effort overseas including the overseas services of the Central Office of Information  has financial responsibility for the overseas information programme and maintains liaison with the BBC External Services and the British Overseas Trade Board. It also supervises sponsored visits to the United Kingdom, in co-operation with the Central Office of Information, and the work of the Wiston House conference centre. The Department provides regular guidance and background briefing to Her Majesty’s Missions abroad on matters of general concern affecting Government policies.

This also states that 29 members of the OID had served in the former IRD at some stage in their careers. When asked what other government departments distribute unattributable material to journalists and other opinion formers in the UK and overseas; and what material they distribute, Blaker stated :

News department frequently gives unattributable briefing to journalists, for the main part orally, but occasionally written material is used to supplement the oral briefing. From time to time most other departments, including the information department, meet requests for informal briefing from other opinion formers on various aspects of international affairs.

Blaker also stated that in 1981 £3.5 million was spent on public relations in the Ministry of Defence. As mentioned earlier, by the early 1980s, Blaker was also answering questions in the House in relation to the government’s promotion of nuclear weapons, this campaign clearly encountered a setback with the many local authorities making representations to the Government asking for their areas to be declared nuclear-free zones. Hansard of December 9 March 1982 states that these included :

Representations calling upon Her Majesty’s Government to refrain from the manufacture or positioning of any nuclear weapons within their boundaries have been received from the following local councils :

Manchester City, the London borough of Brent, the metropolitan borough of Bury, Derby City, Durham County, Harlow, Kinston Upon Hull City, the metropolitan borough of Kirklees, Liverpool City, North-West Leicestershire district, the metropolitan borough of Rochdale, South Yorkshire County, Worcester City, Wrexham Maelor, Leicester City, Desborough Town, Norwich City, Oxford City, the borough of Pendle, Scunthorpe borough, Welwyn and Hatfield district, the metropolitan borough of Tameside, Dyfed County, the borough of Watford, the borough of Camden, Glasgow City, Chesterfield borough, Leeds City, the borough of Langbaurgh, Dwyfor district, the London borough of Greenwich, Crawley borough, Clydebank district, Higham Ferrers town, Nuneaton and Bedworth borough, Ceredigion district, Bassetlaw district, Barnsley metropolitan borough, Gwent County, North-East Derbyshire, Wakefield metropolitan, Leicestershire county, Aberdeen City, London borough of Hounslow, borough of Afan, Strathclyde, Llanelli, Torfaen borough, Hastings borough, Greater London, Llanfrothen community, Nottinghamshire County, Bolsover district, Corby district, city of Sheffield metropolitan, Cannock Chase district, Falkirk district, Middlesbrough borough, metropolitan borough of Calderdale, Amber Valley district, Stirling district, Wansbeck district, Basildon, and Northumberland County.

The government seem to have had a problem calculating the total population in the areas covered by these councils. With regard to a later section of Crozier’s memoirs (p. 250-1) we can note that these Councils were regarded by Thatcher as a challenge to the government, and to deal with them a full counter-subversion programme was planned which would use soviet-style tactics (the enemy’s own methods). This was arranged at a meeting with Thatcher, Crozier and several other unspecified trans-Atlantic financiers, at the same time Heritage Foundation money came to the IEDSS. Crozier notes (p. 244-5) that he previously written to Thatcher in July 1981 that he had persuaded the CIA via the IEDSS’s Richard Allen, who was a major influence on Reagan’s foreign policy, to fight the : Soviet peace campaign, conducted through the World Peace Council and its many subsidiaries, the CND, the Socialist International, and related bodies. Blaker’s work with the OID is mentioned, and clearly Crozier is further encouraging Blaker to counter the peace campaign.

Crozier states that shortly after this he was contacted by the CIA’s William (Bill) Casey which stated that the private sector must be associated with these activities to demonstrate that support comes from the people as well as the governments, and adds that Casey did find a way to get money to me, this is clearly related to the Heritage disseminated backgrounder titled Moscow and the Peace Offensive, which led to the Heritage Foundation’s funding of the IEDSS and other groups. Crozier mentions the Dutch group the Freedom, Peace and Defence Foundation and the Belgian Rally for Peace in Freedom and the Bonn Peace Forum, the French Comite Francais contre le Neutralisme and in the UK the work of Julian Lewis and the Coalition for Peace through Security.

Blaker had made a statement in the House of Commons in 1982 in response to Norman Atkinson’s question as to which peace movements encouraged and financed by the Soviet Union are acknowledged by that country as being so supported,” Blaker stated :

The Soviet Union largely finances the World Peace Council  which has its headquarters in Helsinki  and its national ancillaries. As Ministers have previously stated, the WPC is a disguised instrument of Soviet foreign policy. Discussions of the WPC’s governmental funding caused the withdrawal of its application for consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council in February 1981. The British affiliate of the WPC is the British Peace Assembly.

According to Tam Dalyell, when James Lamond MP asked a question on human rights,  Blaker’s response was :

I recognise the interest of the honourable member in matters relating to the Soviet Union. He is a vice-president of the World Peace Council, which is a disguised instrument of Soviet policy.

Lamond issued the challenge that if any MPs can prove to me that the World Peace Council receives money from the Soviet government, the British government or any other government, I shall resign my position immediately.  The Telegraph’s 2007, obituary of Lamond stated that :

Until the collapse of the Soviet Union he had been active in many Communist front organisations and vice-president of one of the most notorious, the World Peace Council.

This also notes that : In 1980 Lamond became a prime target for the Social Democratic Alliance, the SDA was run by the IEDSS’ Stephen Haseler and Douglas Eden, and also involved the IEDSS George Brown and Reg Prentice.  According to the Telegraph the provenance of the allegations stem from Lord Orr-Ewing who alleged that it

Received large sums of money from Moscow, and it asserts that In 1989, however, he [Lamond] admitted that 90 per cent of the council’s funds did come from the Soviet Union.

In May 1983, Blaker responded with a No, to Michael Meacher’s question as to whether any of his officials have at any time over the past year discussed with Cardinal Hume or any senior church official the involvement of Monsignor Kent or any other churchman in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activities; and, if so, how often; on what dates; who held the discussions; and to what purpose.

UNESCO Parliamentary Questions
Although there is little mention of it elsewhere Hansard 22 November 1985 contains an exchange between George Foulkes and Blaker concerning the activities of the Heritage Foundation in relation to a propaganda campaign concerning the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The Heritage Foundation was attacking UNESCO with a view to encouraging the UK to follow the US in withdrawing from the organisation. The exchange went as follows :

Mr. Foulkes : I said that the right hon. Gentleman and others, including the former Australian ambassador to UNESCO, Owen Harries, and the United States ambassador, Jean Gerard, were involved in discussions to put pressure on the Government to issue a withdrawal notice and to issue the ultimatum to UNESCO. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to deny that, I shall be interested to hear what he has to say.

Sir Peter Blaker : I deny that instantly. I have met Mr. Owen Herries, whom I found extremely interesting in relation to UNESCO. He had direct experience there. I have never met Gerard.

Mr. Foulkes : My information is that meetings took place. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted meeting Owen Herries. All this was co-ordinated by the Heritage Foundation-a United States trust. The hon. Gentleman may wish to deny it publicly, but my information is that he was part of meetings organised by the Heritage Foundation which were designed to put pressure on the Government to withdraw from UNESCO. The right hon. Gentleman does not deny it.

Sir Peter Blaker : On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do deny it.

Mr. Foulkes : We can check up on another occasion. My information is that the right hon. Gentleman was part of it.

The decision was questioned by a range of MPs including Edward Heath. In response to comments by Tony Benn, who inter alia noted that every Member who has spoken had favoured our remaining in UNESCO,” and that Rupert Murdoch had exerted influence on the Times coverage of the matter, motivated by UNESCO’s proposals that might thwart his right to dominate the media of the Third world, Blaker replied :

More years ago than the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) or I would care to mention, we had neighbouring rooms in the same college at Oxford. At that time, our political views were rather closer than they are now, but I seem to remember that from time to time I had to put him right on his facts. If I were to put the right hon. Gentleman right on the errors of fact in his speech today, I would take so long that others would be unable to contribute.

The debate eventually led to a 5 December 1985 announcement by Baroness Young that the UK would be pulling out of UNESCO despite that fact that it had played a prominent part in the creation of UNESCO :

Among our concerns are the degree to which its work has been harmfully politicised; the organisation has been used to attack those very values which it was designed to uphold. Then there has been inefficient management. This has led to programmes which contain vague and meaningless studies, duplication with the work of other agencies, and lack of discrimination in the creation of projects. There have been serious weaknesses in staff management, and excessive expenditure and staffing at the Paris headquarters.

The announcement was made that the UK pulled out as of 31 December 1985, and was cheered on by Lord Beloff. Not all the Lords were a-leaping with joy. Lord Hatch of Lusby noted that the all-party Foreign Affairs Committee had advised the Government to stay in UNESCO. Furthermore he drew her attention to the campaign by the very Right-wing American organisation, the Heritage Foundation, financed by a number of American millionaires, who, the previous year came over to this country and conducted an intensive campaign among Members of Parliament and the media which apparently resulted in a series of articles and programmes hostile to UNESCO?

Lord Hatch also drew her attention to the testimony of Gough Whitlam, the former Australian Prime Minister and ambassador to UNESCO, who recounted in this Palace the activities of that organisation which is very close to the United States President? and asked (to no avail) whether Baroness Young was still convinced that this decision has not been affected by the pressure of official American opinion and the unofficial opinion that is hostile not just to UNESCO but to the whole United Nations ideal.

This is a reference to an anthology entitled A World Without the United Nations,” which suggested that the US would be better off if it came out of other UN bodies, including the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, and even suggested withdrawing from the General Assembly. In a later reference to the affair in 7 November 1996 Lord Wallace of Saltaire stated that a Parliamentary investigation into the British refusal to stay in UNESCO concluded that the US Heritage Foundation had lobbied both the Reagan Administration and the British Government to take a decision which in many ways was not in our national interest. The government’s position was that all this was neither here nor there in the matter, although as we shall see its reasons concur with those advanced by the Heritage Foundation and were based on them.

At the time of Blaker’s exchange with Foulkes he was a member of the Board of Management of the Heritage Foundation-funded Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies, at the same time as Dr. Edwin J. Feulner jr. the Chairman of the IEDSS and president of the Heritage Foundation although no comment on this was made.

The US withdrew from UNESCO in 1984 to protest against the organisation’s advocacy of policies that undermine freedom of the press and free markets. This is outlined in Brett D. Schaefer’s (2001) Look Before Leaping to Rejoin UNESCO, The Heritage Foundation Executive Memorandum No. 745, May 7.

The affairs is tackled from a left-wing perspective in William Preston, Edward S. Herman, Herbert I. Schiller (1989) Hope & Folly: The United States and Unesco, 1945-1985, which traces (p. xv) the anti-UN policy to the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Leadership, the collection of proposals presented to the Reagan administration in 1980.

Amongst the several controversies that surrounded the affair included UNESCO criticism of Israel’s role in the territories it occupied after the 1967 war, but more generally the assertion is made in connection with the 1980 UNESCO Sean McBride’s report that :

the criticisms of the report, and of UNESCO in general, deviated so sharply from reality that the notion of a hidden agenda was hard to avoid. McBride stated that criticisms were made by :

people who had never read the report. It criticised things that the Report never said. It invented recommendations which the Commission never made recommendations which were made in the opposite sense to the recommendations that were made.

Hope & Folly describes the Heritage Foundation as one of the most significant movers and shakers in the campaign against UNESCO via dozens of books, pamphlets, background papers and memoranda attacking the UN in general. Backgrounder 221 criticised UNESCO for advocating the New International Economic Order, which it described as :

a simplistic scheme to redistribute the world’s wealth and resources to more than 100 underdeveloped nations, creating a global welfare state financed mainly by the US and the western industrial nations.
Other accusations, more commonly associated with the far-right conspiracy theorists, were that the New International Economic Order (NIEO) was Fabian Socialism and a secret plan to create a world government (p. xvii).

Other influences include Thomas G. Gulick (1982) UNESCO, Where Culture Becomes Propaganda, December 13, Backgrounder No. 233, whose abstract sets the tone :

As in its education policy, UNESCO must excise the socialist, anti-Western propaganda from its cultural agenda or lose its chief supporters, the citizens of the United States. For their part, Americans and all free world citizens must refuse to let their elected representatives at home and their diplomats assigned to UNESCO continue the game of damage control. They should insist that a firm Western voice be heard at UNESCO exposing the NIEO and the New World Cultural Order for what they are an attack on the freedoms of the Western world.

These types of attacks are said to conflate subjects which were discussed with policy positions that were to be adopted.

The pointman on the propaganda campaign is said to be Owen Harries, the same individual who was said to have met Blaker with the US ambassador and author of the (1983) The US and UNESCO: Time for Decision, December 5, Executive Memorandum #40.

This went further and announced that the US should formally withdraw (Hope & Folly states this is No. 68). Drawing on Harries (1984) UNESCO – Time To Leave, Executive Memorandum #68, December 10, most likely the process was a re-run of the process whereby the US withdrew from the international Labor Organisation (ILO) in 1977-1979, the result was a marked improvement in that body’s performance which made it possible for the US to resume membership in 1980.

Hope & Folly (p. xviii) quotes Blaker’s IEDSS colleague, Edwin Feulner’s brag in a fund-raising letter of October, 1984, as the time for the US withdrawal drew near, which stated that Reagan’s decision was a direct result of the Heritage campaign in general and Harries background report in particular and indeed was one of Heritage’s most significant achievements. One question here is who was Owen Harries, did he has connections to organisations other than the Heritage Foundation that would cast some light on how they and the IEDSS operated.

Andrew Clark (2006) Profile of Owen Harries in the Australian Financial Review, December 15, notes that Harries, was editor of the, Washington-based, The National Interest magazine, who launched Fukuyama’s, the end of history and that he retired as a senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.

This also notes that Harries became an active member of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and that he joined the editorial board of the Current Affairs Bulletin, having met Irving Kristol in 1968, under the networking umbrella of the CCF. After the election of the Whitlam Labour government in 1972, he began advising the Liberal Party, and :

Harries also authored The Harries Report, a 450-page document about Australia’s ties with the third world, which became a basis for a seminar in the British Foreign Office. He was later appointed Australian ambassador to UNESCO in Paris. After Labour returned to office, and he was looking around for something to do, Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, the two leading figures in the American neocon movement, persuaded him to take a one-year fellowship at the right-wing Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Harries began writing articles for Foreign Affairs, Commentary, edited by Podhoretz. As regards UNESCO the article states that :

the force of his written attacks persuaded the Reagan White House and the Margaret Thatcher-led tory government in Britain to withdraw from the body.

The Foundation sent him on extensive speaking tours in Europe and when his year with the them was up, it states that it was Kristol who suggested that he edit The National Interest and that Kristol raised the money from the Olin, Smith Richardson and Bradley foundations. Contributors included Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and Richard N. Haass, later a director of policy planning at the US State Department, and a significant influence on Bush’s Iraq strategy.  Harries also wrote The Australian Connection,” for the anthology :

The neoconservative imagination: essays in honour of Irving Kristol, edited by William Kristol. This outlines that Harries had a sustained working relationship with Irving,” and sets out the setting up of Quadrant, the Australian version of Encounter. This also adds that when it emerged that Quadrant had been funded secretly by the CIA, our general inclination was not to condemn but to congratulate the CIA for having been smart enough to give us the wherewithal to do what we wanted in any case Harries job for the Australian government is said to include interpreting the political culture of the US and he describes the Neoconservative tendency and the creation of the US right-wing think tanks as what he rationalised to his superiors.  This seems to have included (p. 42) passing off Kristol’s Two Cheers for Capitalism, as the opinions of the Australian PM, Malcolm Fraser.

In an interview (2002) On Prudence and Restraint in Foreign Policy with Susan Windybank, Harries stated :

I joined a think tank there, the Heritage Foundation, where I spent a very happy year and a half getting America and Britain to withdraw from UNESCO.
SW : On what grounds?

OH : That under its director general, M’Bow, it was corrupt, that it was grossly inefficient, and that it was grossly anti-Western. America and Britain were paying to get their values undermined and attacked. Even by UN standards, UNESCO was pretty outrageous, and I always argued that even those who believed in the UN should have wanted to criticise and attack UNESCO because it was giving the UN a bad name.

The (1995) American Purpose, Issue 1, Volume 9, states that on February 13-14,1995, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the IEDSS, the Institute of United States Studies at the University of London, and the Social Affairs Unit co-sponsored an international conference entitled Learning the Limits :

The Politics and Priorities of the United Nations in the New World Order.

The conference, held at Senate House, University of London, featured papers by such scholars and publicists as Jeremy Rabkin of Cornell, Mark Almond of Oriel College, Oxford, Anne Applebaum then with the Spectator, and John Bolton, former US assistant secretary of state for international organisation affairs. What Have We Learned for the Next Fifty Years? By John R Bolton President, then with the The National Policy Forum, reinforced the attacks on the UN.

Elliott Abrams was the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) and the chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. His writing (often adapted from work published by Freedom House and also in The National Interest) appears in American Purpose published by the EPPC as A Commentary on the Peace, Freedom, and Security Debate.

The Atlantic Institute
Melvin Small’s (1998) The Atlantic Council ”The Early Years, states that three major Atlantic organisations, the Atlantic Council, the American Committee for an Atlantic Institute, and the less important American Council on NATO were unified because of pressure from the US State Department and the Ford Foundation. This also adds that when the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) emerged from the merger in 1961, the certificate of incorporation noted that the organisation shall not in any way, directly or indirectly, engage in the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation, it adds :

The highly valued tax exemption would make it difficult if not impossible for ACUS to engage in public lobbying, an issue that led several of its officers in 1976 to take the lead in forming the anti-detente Committee on the Present Danger, an organisation that could engage in such activities.

In 1981, former board members included Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State Al Haig and CIA Director William Casey and Eugene Rostow. Small notes interest by the ACUS in successor generation of leaders who would be devoted to the idea of the Atlantic Community in 1967, noting that one board member worried several years later, how were we going to educate these young people today when there are no sympathetic instructors in the colleges? 

The main function was to create a personal community of influentials. During the period of putting together their reports government and business leaders, often younger second-tier people, got to know and understand one another, as they created permanent relationships backchannel networks of continuing communication that lasted for decades. From these interactions, according to Small, the ACUS provided (for Soviet spies) capsulised characterisations of the private, personal political views of highly placed Americans.

Our Friends in the North West: The Owen Oyston Affair


Further Study
The Centre for European Reform and Hakluyt
Margaret Thatcher
Brian Crozier
Samuel Julius Gould
The Heritage Foundation
Frank Lowy and the Westfield Company