[David] Rockefeller describes his involvement in the Cercle – or the "Pesenti Group", as he tellingly calls it – in the chapter "Consorting with Reactionaries" in his 2002 Memoirs, an account which is worth quoting in full:
"Bilderberg overlapped for a time with my membership in a relatively obscure but potentially even more controversial body known as the Pesenti Group. I had first learned about it in October 1967 when Carlo Pesenti, the owner of a number of important Italian corporations, took me aside at a Chase investment forum in Paris and invited me to join his group, which discussed contemporary trends in European and world politics. It was a select group, he told me, mostly Europeans. Since Pesenti was an important Chase customer and he assured me the other members were interesting and congenial, I accepted his invitation.
Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer were founding members of the group, but by the time I joined, they had been replaced [sic] by an equally prominent roster that included Antoine Pinay, a former French President [of the Council, i.e. Prime Minister]; Giulio Andreotti, several times Prime Minister of Italy; and Franz-Josef Strauss, the head of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria and a perennial contender for the Chancellorship of the Federal Republic of Germany. The discussions were conducted in French, and usually I was the sole American present, although on a few occasions when the group assembled in Washington, Henry Kissinger, at the time President Nixon's national security advisor, joined us for dinner. Members of the Pesenti Group were all committed to European political and economic integration, but a few - Archduke Otto of Austria, the head of the house of Habsburg and claimant to all the lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire; Monsignor Alberto Giovannetti of the Vatican and a prominent member of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic organization; and Jean-Paul Léon Violet [incorrect; Jean-Eugène Violet], a conservative French intellectuel - were preoccupied by the Soviet threat and the inexorable rise to power of the Communist parties of France and Italy.
Pesenti set the agenda for our thrice-yearly meetings, and Maître Violet, who had close connections with the Deuxième Bureau of the Services des Renseignements (the French CIA), provided lengthy background briefings. Using an overhead projector, Violet displayed transparency after transparency filled with data documenting Soviet infiltration of governments around the world and supporting his belief that the threat of global Communist victory was quite real. While all of us knew the Soviets were behind the "wars of national liberation" in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, I was not personally convinced the Red Menace was quite as menacing as Maître Violet portrayed it to be, but my view was a minority one in that group. Even though I found the discussions fascinating, the ultraconservative politics of some participants were more than a bit unnerving. My Chase associates, who feared my membership could be construed as "consorting with reactionaries", eventually prevailed upon me to withdraw".
A second source of information about Rockefeller's attendance at Cercle meetings in 1969-1970 are secret transcripts which Kissinger ordered prepared of his telephone calls, 'telcons' which have now been mostly declassified. Several telcons between Kissinger and Rockefeller show that Kissinger accompanied Rockefeller to least two Cercle meetings in 1969-1970, the first on 2nd July 1969 and the second on 2nd December 1970. Both meetings were minuted by Kissinger's staff; the July 1969 record has recently been declassified by the CIA, whereas the twelve-page memorandum documenting the December 1970 meeting is reproduced in full below.
- David Rockefeller, Memoirs, Random House, New York 2002, pg 413. Monsignor Alberto Giovannetti was appointed as the first Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN in March 1964 and served until July 1973 - see ABC (Madrid) of 8/4/64 pg 46; La Vanguardia Española of 9/4/64 pg 15; ABC (Madrid) of 28/7/73 pg 29; La Vanguardia Española of 21/8/73 pg 21; http://www.holyseemission.org/about/former-permenant-observers.aspx. Although eventually prevailed upon to withdraw from the Cercle, Rockefeller was a regular participant for nearly a decade, attending a November 1977 Cercle meeting – see declassified State Department cable 1977STATE277883 given below. Großmann records that Rockefeller first attended a meeting of the Cercle in Rome in May 1968, six months before Nixon's victory in the Presidential elections of November 1968. Rockefeller then attended the first Cercle meeting to be held on American soil at the Rockefeller Center on New York on 6th December 1968 and a later meeting hosted by Strauß in Bavaria in early 1969 – see Die Internationale der Konservativen, pgs 465-466.