David Morse

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Person.png David Morse   SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(bureaucrat, union leader)
David A Morse.jpg
Born31 May 1907
Died1 December 1990 (Age 83)
Alma materRutgers University, Harvard Law School
Founder ofInstitute for International Health & Development
Headed the International Labour Organization (ILO) until 1970. After the ILO, he started a CIA and deep state connected consulting partnership, offering global networking services to the top politicians in Europe and the Middle East, and doing lobbying work for among others the tobacco company Philip Morris. Attended the 1969 Bilderberg conference.

David Abner Morse was an American bureaucrat who headed the International Labour Organization (ILO) until 1970. After the ILO, he started a CIA and deep state connected consulting partnership, offering global networking services to the top politicians in Europe and the Middle East, and doing lobbying work for among others the tobacco company Philip Morris.

He attended the 1969 Bilderberg conference.


Born in New York on May 31, 1907, Morse graduated from Rutgers University in 1929, where he was a member of the Cap and Skull Society,[1] and from the Harvard Law School in 1932. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1932.


Morse later became Special Assistant to the United States Attorney General, Chief Counsel of the Petroleum Labour Policy Board in the US Department of the Interior 1933-1935, and Regional Attorney for the National Labour Relations Board in the metropolitan area of New York (1936-1937).[2]

When war broke out, he gave up his law practice to join the army. From June 1943 to April 1944, Morse served as Captain in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, where he was appointed Chief of the Labor Division of the Allied Military Government (1945). He drafted and put into effect the labour policy and programme in Sicily and Italy for the British and United States Governments and armies. As Chief of the Labor Section of the US Group Control Council for Germany under Generals Eisenhower and Clay, he prepared the labor policy and program for Germany. Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his army services in 1946.[2]

After his discharge from the Army in 1945, Morse was appointed general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.[2] On July 1, 1946, President Truman named him Assistant Secretary of Labor, and Morse devoted his activities to the creation of the Department's programme of international affairs; he served as Acting Secretary from June 9 to August 2, 1948.[2]

International Labour Organization

Morse had been a delegate to the International Labour Organization (ILO) on two occasions and served as the United States Government representative on the Governing Body. In June 1948, he was named chief of the United States delegation to the International Labour Conference. The US government actively involved itself in ILO budget control and overall direction, and during the reconstruction of Europe it was seen almost as an extension-arm of US foreign policy.

At the 105th session of the Governing Body in San Francisco in June 1948, he was unanimously elected director-general for a ten-year term. He was unanimously re-elected for five-year terms in May 1957, in March 1962, and in February 1967. In 1969 the ILO was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. He resigned in February 1970.[2]

During the Cold War many Americans and Europeans working in Geneva for U.N. agencies and international organizations were regularly reporting to their national secret service and diplomatic corps. Morse was able to tap into the labor agencies and unions around the world, and especially into government and semi-government organizations in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Africa. He would later privatize the contacts he made at both ends of these links - both in Washington, and in the capitals of the Eastern Bloc and other European states, and this served him well in his new job as tobacco lobbyist.

Tobacco Days

Morse returned to the USA and set up a legal partnership, Surrey & Morse, supposedly specializing in patent law and taxation, but actually offering global networking services to the top politicians in Europe and the Middle East. His partner was Walter Sterling Surrey, an ex-OSS (the precursor to the CIA) officer who later worked for the State Department. [3] Surrey had built up a strong network of top national administration and banking management executives in Europe, as the deputy head of the U.S. State Department's efforts to track down and recover the Nazi's stolen gold. [4] Morse had an equal status in Europe, having worked with most of the politicians and trade-union leaders through the ILO, and also being associated with such CIA-front labor-organizations as the American Institute for Free Labor Development [5] [6] (AFLID — headed by J. Peter Grace of W.R. Grace & Co.)

Surrey, who had retained his links with the CIA, State Department and US Foreign Service, was later involved in the CIA's banking and money-laundering activities including the formation of the World Finance Corporation in 1971 and the Nugan Hand Bank in 1973.

At the time Morse became his partner, Surrey had had a ten year association with Philip Morris as a fixer and negotiator in both Europe and Asia and on both sides of the Iron Curtain. In 1961 he was engaged in tobacco deals with the Philippines and Malaysia, [7] and by 1964 he was dealing with the European Common Market countries, plus Japan, Russia and Poland using his old connections. Myron M Cowen, another ex OSS operator who had become the US Ambassador to Australia, Phillipines, and Belgium, was also employed by the company to open doors in Asia.[8]

The Surrey & Morse lawfirm became incorporated (retaining its identity) into the larger legal partnership of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, which represented tobacco interests among other major corporate and government clients. Morse renewed his friendship with R. William "Bill" Murray (Also known as Bill Murray) and Geoffrey Bible who were moving up the executive ladder in PM.

Murray and Bible were accountants from Australia who had travelled the world together, spending time in the Middle East and in Geneva with UN Agencies. Later they both joined PM's European division which had its base in Lausanne. They were close friends, and Bible had worked for the ILO as budget-director under Morse, while Murray had social contacts with him in Geneva. The Australians and the American staff of the ILO had moved in the same social circles in Switzerland, and been members of the same ex-pat squash club.

International deal-maker

In the 1970s as the Cold War thawed Philip Morris expanded internationally (largely led by Murray and Bible, both now at the headquarters in New York), and so the company sent Morse and Surrey to Moscow to re-establish contacts with the Soviet authorities. [9] They wanted to feel out the possibility of the company entering the cigarette business in the USSR and East Europe. Morse provided many other top-level contact services both in the USA and in Europe. [10] He also proved to be useful for PM and other tobacco companies in dealing with American and European trade-unions. [11]

Through the Morse connection, the tobacco industry generously funded the AFL-CIO and many other unions to oppose legislation restricting workplace smoking. Morse was also able to provided links to Geneva-based international standards organisations. [12]

Walter Surrey had a minor heart attack in May 1974, a few weeks after returning from a mission to Russia with a group of PM executives. Such missions were meant to be kept strictly confidential by both the American capitalists and their Soviet counterparts. [13] [14] A decade later he badly messed up another important and confidential deal with China, and PM discontinued using his services. This only came to light as the rival Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, BAT's U.S. subsidiary, had a spy inside the organization watching Philip Morris's every move. [15] The true story is more likely that Surrey had now become embroiled in the CIA-World Finance Corporation scandal and subsequent Justice Department investigation, where it was said that the "WFC held the dubious distinction of being the longest running (and largest) launderer of money for Colombian cocaine smugglers." [16]

Morse was probably retained by Philip Morris because, in this year, his friend Bill Murray had elected to the overall PM board, and his other friend and associate, Geoffrey Bible had returned from a stint as manager in Australia (where he had been highly successful in countering the anti-smoking movement) to run the main global campaign against anti-smoking activism. Bible had been awarded a newly created position of Executive Vice President of PM's International division which came directly under Murray. The VP position put him in total charge of Philip Morris's PR campaigns in Europe and Asia and the Pacific.

Surrey & Morse's contacts had proved invaluable to PM in extending their business in the Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa and in trouble-shooting in the more developed nations where anti-smoking sentiments were rising. [17] so Morse's legal-practice was now focusing entirely on providing contact-services with politicians in Europe and with key bureaucrats in the United Nations and EEC in Brussels. Morse had close friends in the European Union/Parliament who accepted his lobbying, some valuable trade union links in Scandinavia and South America, and some especially valuable contacts with the Vatican authorities (he was associated with the Knights of Malta).

Pseudo friendship-associations

With Philip Morris, Morse made a close connection with PM's New York based Corporate Affairs executive/lobbyist Andrew Whist (another Australian accountant friend of Bible and Murray), and the two of them began setting up a number of fake international business associations. These pseudo-organisations paid substantial speakers fees to important politicians in their various emerging markets in Europe, Asia and South America. It was a way of providing junkets and outright bribes to influential people and politicians, and it put them in contact with (and in debt to) the tobacco company's main PR/Corporate Affairs directors in the various newly emerging markets.

They established the American European Community Association (AECA) and the New York Society for International Affairs (NYSIA) with PM funding. The head-office of both organisations was "a chair in Whist's Manhattan apartment" (according to court records). There are a few other similarly-named organisations (mainly associated with Latin America) which can be discovered (by Google) to have Whist listed as president or secretary [Citation Needed]. Some them appear to have slightly more substance than AECA and NYSIA.

The value to PM came from the fact that business societies with an international outreach can mount speaker-oriented lunches in New York for top-class politicians, and gain enormous publicity. The trick was to recruit other business executives to attend the luncheon, and collect a few hundred dollars from each table - then other companies pay for your lobbying. ACEA or NYSIA would then pay an important European politician handsomely speaking fees (about $20,000 in tax-free cash), and give them an all-expenses-paid visit for a week in New York.

Morse's ex-Deputy who later became the ILO's Director General, Francis Blanchard, was a lucky recipient of this bonanza and he liked the association so much that he later joined Morse in another Philip Morris astroturf organisation.

This was seen by all involved as a win-win operation. Apart from the junket, the main benefit for the politician/speaker lay with the international media attention and the opportunity to make new wealthy business contacts. New York's non-tobacco corporations also gained; they got to tap into PM's world wide political contacts. Meanwhile PM's lobbyists around the world generated a host of key political contact to exploit at some later date..

While the PM's in-house Corporate lobbyist Andrew Whist was the key operator of these schemes, both Hamish Maxwell (PM's CEO and Chairman) and David Morse also played a major part. By the early 1980s, Morse had become a regular participant at Philip Morris executive conferences. [18]

The AECA and NYSIA were also used to provide junkets for American politicians who wished to holiday abroad, with the most notorious known case being the international trips made by Governor Tommy Thompson (later to be US Secretary of Health) accompanied by none other than Andrew Whist and other PM lobbyists. [19] [20] [21].

European lobbying

In Europe, Morse was actively involved until just before his death in recruiting a past-President or Vice-President of the European Commission as an agent of influence for Philip Morris. [22] As an interim measure for PM's Brussels office, he landed Geoffroy Giscard de Estaing, the nephew of ex French President (later European Parliamentary leader) Valerie Giscard de Estaing. He went on to lead the council which wrote the draft European Constitution. The nephew worked out of PM's office Brussels (which was also Morse's home base during European lobbying periods) and was given the responsibility for handling Libertad in Europe. In 1991 he transferred to the New York office where he held wider responsibilities of the same kind. [23]


PM also established Libertad with Morse as 'President', [24] [25]. The name was derived from the Spanish Republican battle-cry with the double-meaning of suggesting Freedom-Ad (Freedom to Advertise). Through political contacts at the State Department and the Republican party they managed to get support from the President George H.W. Bush.[26]

Libertad (originally spelled LibertAd) purported to be an international association of lawyers and journalist who toured the world promoting freedom of expression. In fact, its purpose was to attack any 'restrictive legislation', particular laws restricting the tobacco companies right to advertise their products - and the media companies right to profit from this advertising. Libertad was entirely owned by PM and run by Morse and Whist out of America with the help of PM's regional offices.

In the USA, the Scaife-funded American Spectator publishing group, which later ran the Arkansas Project, was involved in Libertad through its editor, R Emmett Tyrrell Jr. [27] [28] At this time the nominal European president was Lord Plum of Colehill, the Tory ex-President of the European Parliament (1987-1989), a long time associate of Rupert Murdoch, and the Chairman of PRM, a specialised European lobbying and public affairs consultancy.

Libertad's activities were little more than a well-publicised journalistic junket for a few of the tobacco-industry's media friends, particularly those of the Murdoch's UK newspaper columnists Auberon Waugh and Bernard Levin who both enjoyed a long relationship with the tobacco industry. Levin was Murdoch's London Times columnist and highly influential, and he became the nominal UK 'president' of Libertad at one time.

You can get a good idea as to the value Libertad provided in providing access to the wealthy and influential, in this news story. [29]

The Vatican connection

Morse's partners (Paul G. Dietrich was a Director of the Vatican's "Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta' in the USA and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Morse was able to negotiate with the Catholic University authorities to set up the Institute for International Health and Development (IIHD) within the American Catholic University (Washington). He kept its head office in Washington and opened a branch office in Geneva. [30]

In 1990 PM's Corporate Contributions Department recommended that IIHD be funded by PM to the tune of $240,000. One of the activities foreshadowed was instituting an award to a Minister of Health, who would also be given an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University. [31] A survey in 1994 by IIHD stated that "every Minister of Health responding to the survey ranked smoking-related health issues in the lowest 10% of priorities". [32]

So both the Catholic Church links, the UN Agencies, and the international tobacco lobbying projects came together under the joint efforts of the Dietrichs and David Morse.


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/19699 May 196911 May 1969Denmark
Hotel Marienlyst
The 18th Bilderberg meeting, with 85 participants


  1. http://capandskull.com/
  2. a b c d e https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/library/oral-histories/morse1#3
  3. Allen GV, Tobacco Institute http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tvc98e00 Untitled letter March 1, 1962. Bates NO. 2010035354
  4. Eisenstat S, U.S. Department of State http://books.google.com.au/books?id=6q2UFPp21FUC&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=%2B%22Walter+Surrey%22&source=web&ots=7hRG8DoK2F&sig=EFqz6mC-ARKkYQxU78ZUt6xfamY&hl=en U.S. and Allied Efforts To Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II] May 1997
  5. Public Information Research, Inc.Namebase Morse, David A.; Accessed April 3, 2008
  6. Peter Gribbin Brazil and CIA CounterSpy, April-May 1979, pp. 4-23
  7. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pnu14e00
  8. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pnu14e00
  9. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/qzj02a00
  10. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/szj02a00] (see p.2)
  11. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xdr22e00] (see pp> s 5 & 7)
  12. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gwx24e00
  13. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ikk74e00
  14. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mdn84e00
  15. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/iwf23f00
  16. World Finance Corporation
  17. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xar24e00
  18. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nyz24e00
  19. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nyz24e00 (See p. 16)
  20. http://www.tobacco.org/resources/news/thompsonsum.html
  21. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/aft28d00
  22. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/cgg53e00 (see p. 7 - note pages are out of order)
  23. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/boa02a00 (see p.18)
  24. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/wrt24e00 (see p.6)
  25. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gys52d00
  26. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/iav39e00 (see pp. 6 & 11)
  27. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/llq39e00
  28. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vtn46e00
  29. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=18054 (Also see) http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vtn46e00
  30. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/hkw77d00
  31. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/frd32c00
  32. http://bat.library.ucsf.edu/tid/fcs50a99
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