Rolf Hansen

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Person.png Rolf Hansen  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Rolf Hansen.jpg
Born23 July 1920
Died26 July 2006 (Age 86)
As Norway's Minister of Defence, he kept a lid on Operation Gladio. Attended the 1978 Bilderberg when he was considered for future PM

Employment.png Norway/Minister of Nordic cooperation

In office
3 October 1980 - 14 October 1981

Employment.png Norway/Minister of Environmental Affairs

In office
8 October 1979 - 14 October 1981

Employment.png Norway/Minister of Defence

In office
15 January 1976 - 8 October 1979
Succeeded byThorvald Stoltenberg
Helped cover-up Operation Gladio after Norwegian police stumbled upon an arms cache in an unrelated investigation

Rolf Arthur Hansen was a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party. At the time of the 1978 Bilderberg he was Minister of Defense, and mooted as a potential future Prime Minister.


After the war, he was a member of the central board of Labour Party's youth wing AUF (until 1955). A skilled youth politician put to demanding tasks, Rolf Hansen was political secretary to the Minister of Social Affairs Gudmund Harlem 1956–59 and then for 15 years respectively secretary and chairman of the Oslo Labor Party, the party's bastion of power. In 1969–74 he was a member of the Labor Party's central board. Personally and politically, he was close to PM Einar Gerhardsen.

In the years 1971-75 (and again 1981-90) he was business manager for the building where both the Labor Party and Arbeiderbladet had their offices, and he was often referred to in the press as "the caretaker". The nickname was due, presumably, to both his personal versatile qualities and his role as a "cleaner" in the labor movement.

For the party members, it was hardly a surprise that Hansen became Minister of Defense (1975–79) and later Minister of the Environment (1979–81) in Odvar Nordli's government. He had broad political experience, and as a member of the Ombudsman Board for the Armed Forces 1952–65, he had acquired in-depth knowledge of the military.

Rolf Hansen belonged to Prime Minister Nordli's inner circle and became a prominent Minister of Defense. His was respected in the officer community. He elected a knowledgeable and dynamic researcher, Johan Jørgen Holst, as State Secretary. The two complemented each other. As a minister, Hansen, like his predecessors, first and foremost struggled with the opposition within the labor movement, particularly against NATO-armaments and nuclear weapons.

When Gro Harlem Brundtland, daughter of Gudmund Harlem, was transferred to the Storting in 1979, after five years as Minister of the Environment, Rolf Hansen became her successor. Environmental issues had come higher on the political agenda, and there was a need to have a new heavyweight in the position when the conflict over the Alta dam development peaked around 1980.

Rolf Hansen emerged in 1980–81 as a possible prime ministerial candidate. But even though he acknowledged that the party was in a difficult situation, his ambitions on his own behalf were modest. He himself believed that the young and talented deputy, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was the natural candidate. When she was willing and had the necessary support, Hansen found it easy to choose. For those who had wanted to push him forward as prime minister, the decision came as a surprise. Hansen continued as Minister of the Environment as well as minister of Nordic cooperation in Harlem Brundtland's government until he resigned after the 1981 election defeat.[1]

After his time as Minister of State, Hansen held a number of public and organizational positions, including chairman of the National Council for the Home Guard 1986–90 and chairman of the Norwegian Atlantic Committee 1985–92. He was appointed an honorary member of the Norwegian Labor Party in 1996.

Operation Gladio

In 1978, as Norway's Minister of Defence, Rolf Hansen was asked for an explanation about the discovery of a large cache of arms under in a secret basement under the house of shipowner and spook Hans Otto Meyer. Hansen prevented a full scale exposure of Operation Gladio by telling parliament that resistance groups were privately organized after the war and were placed under the supervision of the intelligence service, he said. He claimed that network was not answerable to NATO and dismissed any connections to the CIA.[2]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/197821 April 197823 April 1978US
New Jersey
Princeton University
The 26th Bilderberg, held in the US
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