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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Biographical Note

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.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Introduction  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  Conclusion 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  Conclusion 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  Conclusion 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  Conclusion 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  Conclusion 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”  “NATO-Professor”  Conclusion Conclusion: A Call for a New Diplomatic History Sources & Bibliography Index


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