Reframing the Diplomat

Ernst van der Beugel and the Cold War Atlantic Community


In Reframing the Diplomat Albertine Bloemendal offers a unique window onto the unofficial dimension of Cold War transatlantic relations by analyzing the diplomatic role of the Dutch Atlanticist Ernst van der Beugel as a government official and as a private diplomat. After a career with the Dutch government at the frontlines of the Marshall Plan, European integration and transatlantic relations, Van der Beugel pursued a more freestyle approach to diplomacy as a private citizen, most notably through his role as Secretary-General of the illustrious Bilderberg Meetings and his ties to the European and American foreign policy establishments. This book also traces his close friendship with Henry Kissinger, which provided him with a direct line to the White House.

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Albertine Bloemendal, Ph.D. (2017), Leiden University, is a historian and Americanist currently working as a lecturer at that same university. She is specialized in New Diplomatic History and Cold War transatlantic relations and has published in popular and scholarly publications, such as New Global Studies.
"In conclusion, measured against the objectives of the New Diplomatic History as formulated by the author, this book can certainly be considered a success. It is clear that the part played in Cold War transatlantic relations by informal actors such as Ernst van der Beugel could be significant, and an account such as this one is a valuable addition, not only to the traditional, state-oriented historiography, but also the already existing work on networks such as Bilderberg." - Ruud van Dijk, Rezension zu: Bloemendal, Albertine: Reframing the Diplomat. Ernst van der Beugel and the Cold War Atlantic Community, in: H-Soz-Kult, 27.07.2018 (
List of Illustrations

 Ernst van der Beugel
 The Atlantic Elite and the Unofficial “Atlantic Community”
 Ernst van der Beugel: A Case Study in New Diplomatic History
 Sources and Structure

1 “The Great Mistake of the West”
 Youth and Student Years
 The Worst Years: “The Idea of War is Growing more Familiar to us Every Day”
 The War Years

2 “Present at the Creation”
 The Marshall Plan
 The Paris Conference
 To Washington
 The Washington Meetings
 The Marshall Plan: A Joint Venture between the Public and the Private Sector
 The Dutch Organization
 Public Private Linkages in the Netherlands
 Cooperation with the American Country Mission in The Hague
 A Comprehensive PR-Campaign
 The ERP: Developing Transatlantic Networks
 Hirschfeld’s Heir

3 An Atlanticist European
 Historical Context: the Netherlands and the Road to Rome
 Political and Military Integration
 The Group of Ten
 Diverging Paths: The EDC and the Rise of the Gaullists
 Atlanticist vs. Europeanists and the Straightjacket of Administrative Discipline
 State Secretary: The Road to Rome
 Hope and Disillusionment: The Free Trade Area and Charles de Gaulle
 Conclusion: an Atlanticist European

4 Unofficial Ambassador for an Atlantic Community
 Statesman without Office
 KLM Connections
 Transition and Continuity
 The Unofficial Atlantic Community
 The Bilderberg Meetings
 Public Voice
 A Transatlantic Mediator
 Turbulence at KLM

5 The Gaullist Challenge
 Atlantic Crisis: A Nightmare Come True
 Beyond ‘Facilitation’: The Run-Up to the Bilderberg Meeting in Cannes
 Cannes, 1963: “We Now Know What We Are Up Against”
 The MLF Conversion: From “Patch-Up Tool” to Instrument for Atlantic Cohesion
 Transatlantic Family Quarrels: The Lingering Rivalry of Europeanists vs. Atlanticists
 American Leadership: A Cri de Coeur
 Reverberations of Williamsburg
 MLF: The Battle Continues
 European Political Union Revisited: The Erhard Plan

6 Defense, Détente and the “Average Man”
 Détente and the Soviet Threat
 A Decline in Accepted and Acceptable American Leadership
 The Atlantic Elite and the ‘Average Man’
 The Dutch Scene: Nieuw Links, the PvdA and the Vietnam Letter
 The Dutch Defense Debate
 A Friend in the White House
 A Small Intervention that Could Make All the Difference
 The Biesheuvel Cabinet and the Committee of Civil and Military Experts
 In Pursuit of a Domestic Climate Conducive to Close Transatlantic Relations

7 The Challenge of the Successor Generation
 A Very Serious Generation Problem
 Consultancy: The Ford Foundation and the Successor Generation
 Bilderberg and the Pursuit of a ‘Continuous Rejuvenation’
 Bridging the Generation Gap: From Marienlyst to Woodstock
 The Old Guard in Defense of the Capitalist System
 Bilderberg and the Lockheed Scandal: An Existential Crisis
 “The Smoothest Coup d’état in the History of the Atlantic Alliance”

Conclusion: A Call for a New Diplomatic History

Sources & Bibliography
All interested in Cold War transatlantic relations, unofficial diplomacy and transnational elite-networks, European integration and Dutch foreign politics.
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