Douglas Eden

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Douglas Eden was the founder and head of the Centre for Study of International Affairs (Europe and America) at Middlesex University and organizer of the annual Trent Park conferences on the future of the Atlantic Community. A Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom, Eden has acted as an adviser to political figures, governments and media outlets in the US and UK. Among his publications are (1997)The Future of the Atlantic Community: The Conference Proceedings; (2000) Europe and the Atlantic Relationship: Issues of Identity, Security and Power and (1981) Political Change in Europe: The Left and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance. Chairman of the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (1973-97) Eden is also an associate fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

The Future of the Atlantic Community draws on the Madrid conference in 1995, in response to European and American political leaders having announced their intention to establish closer commercial, political and cultural co-operation. In 1995 and 1996, this led to the agreement to create the World Trade Organisation (WTO), aiming for a closer and freer trading relationship and closer political, economic and institutional links in addition to developing and expanding NATO. Eden’s Centre for Study of International Affairs was set up in 1995 to encourage study of the transatlantic relationship in this context and worked with the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom via a 1996 conference at Trent Park, which also has connections to NATO and an advisory board which includes Geoffrey Lee Williams and the IEDSS’ Alan Lee Williams and William Schneider, Jr.Deputy Director (to Herman Kahn) of the Hudson Institute prior to 1981. The 1999 conference gathered together former Ambassadors to the US, a former Chief of Defence Intelligence, Ministry of Defence, a Labour Defence Spokesman, advisors to British Aerospace and others.

According to a Middlesex University web page, the Future of the Atlantic Community is described as having a focus on:

The collapse of Soviet communism, the success of the Western liberal democratic system and the display of American technology and power in the Gulf War liberated enormous energies after 1991. The end of the Cold War meant, among other things, that significant national investment could be redeployed from unproductive military expenditure. It also made possible the dramatic expansion of international commerce. More technological enterprise and productive capacity became available for development of a global market place.

Political Change in Europe is a collection of papers, with contributions, from amongst others, Hugh Thomas, Paul Johnson, Stephen Haseler and Eden. According to a review by Trevor C. Salmon:

The tone and general argument of the book reflects the roles which Iiaseler and Eden have played in the Social Democratic Alliance. In fact, the collection is a polemic, bemoaning, for example, the passing of Labour politicians like Ernest Bevin, and the Left’s lessening commitment to NATO. Its message is that “In the long run, the threat to the unity of the Western alliance lies in the ideologzcal and political battle which is being waged within the borders of some member countries” (italics in original), and that such developments pose “a potential threat to the community of interest and values of the democratic world.”

For Salmon the subject is not well served in the collection, partly because of the “intrusion of the pronounced political views of the contributions which inhibits a balanced view.” Eden’s earlier work the (1981) Political Change in Europe: The Left and the Future of the Atlantic Alliance (edited with Frederick Short) was reviewed by Fritz Stern, in Foreign Affairs, Summer 1981, which, in its entirety, stated:

The alarming characteristics of the European Left, especially in the most vulnerable countries, i.e., Italy and Britain, are starkly analyzed in a series of essays that, inter alia, speak of “this new phase of brutalism” as something distinctly English, and warn, above all, against a rising tide of neutralism on the Left. A highly readable, perhaps excessively simple tract for our times.

Back in 1979, Edward Liegh in the Guardian noted the “enormous amount of newspaper space has been devoted to a group called the Social Democratic Alliance, who specialise in issuing very long lists of MPs and ministers they imply are virtually in the pay of the Kremlin. Wow, what a smear.” And tells us the Social Democratic Alliance (SDA) consists of two polytechnic lecturers: Stephen Haseler (also with the IEDSS) and Eden, who “send round quarterly newsletters to “registered supporters” in the Labour Party, many of whose names, sadly, have to be kept confidential.” This added:

The supporters pay an average of £2 a head and, according to Douglas Eden, the newsletters only cost £35 a time to run off. There are around 800 members, Eden and Haseler always tell everyone, so there must be a few bob left over for election times. Funny thing though, Eden says, when asked, that the SDA achieved its 800 members very recently. “Three years ago, in 1976, we had about 200 … we got towards 800 about one and a half years ago.” Yet, as long ago as November 1976, according to newspapers of that time, Haseler was saying the SDA strength was a round – well, this is a smear story, after all: you guess.

According to Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley’s (2003) Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century (p.358), the SDA, despite its factionalism, worked with the Association of Democratic Groups in sponsoring a 1981 conference intended to build support for the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The conference was chaired by Lord George Brown, then president of the SDA. By this time Eden and Stephen Haseler (also with the IEDSS) had been expelled from the Labour party and were “threatening to stand 200 candidates against it in the next general election, this despite the fact that some of its own prospective condidates were still Labour Party members.” They note that although the SDA became a part of the newly formed SDP, it was kept on the sidelines, yet it remained in existence and in 1981 ran a social democratic campaign, headed by Lord Brown in the Greater London Council (GLC) even although:

This contradicted a decision taken by the SDP steering committee, so maintaining the uneasy relationship. To make matters worse, Haseler contested the first SDP presidential election, finishing behind Shirley Williams and William Rodgers.

Haseler and Eden (who both became GLC councillors) had formed the SDA in 1975, Brian Crozier notes in Free Agent (p. 147) that he first met Eden at one of the early sessions of the National Association for Freedom, and Eden would work with Crozier’s Shield which, after the closure of the IRD, worked to provide briefings on the alleged communist threat for the leadership of the Tory Party. Crozier also stepped into the gap caused by the closure of IRD with a group which included ex-SIS officer Nicholas Elliot and US General Vernon Walters, by creating ‘a Private Sector Operational Intelligence agency’ called 6I (the Sixth International) which, according to Robin Ramsay in the (1996) Clandestine Caucus, was, like IEDSS, funded by the Heritage Foundation. Ramsay also notes in his review of Free Agent that In the 1970s and 80s Crozier claims to have ‘run’ Eden.

The minutes of SDP meetings in 1982 contain correspondence between Eden and Ian Wrigglesworth, concerning the former’s resolution on CND and the SDP. Eden also wrote for Encounter and copies of notes supplied by Eden to Margaret Thatcher when a MP and PM, appear in the Janus Archive (donated by Eden) and include notes given to Thatcher via Richard Ryder (her Private Secretary), December 1976 and May & June 1978 (relating to trade unions) and via Alfred Sherman in October 1977 (relating to the leadership of the Labour Party) and July 1984 (relating to the Miners’ Strike of 1984/5).

Brian Crozier’s (1993) A secret shield for the Lady, article for the Times, was billed as “The inside account of an intelligence operation, rivalling MI-5 and reporting direct to Mrs Thatcher” (although it was an extract promoting his memoir ‘Free Agent’). It describes Crozier as both the “scourge of left-wing militants and security chiefs”, who helped to form Mrs Thatcher’s “vision of a new Britain” via a “semi-official campaign against the hard Left” which is very similar to the agenda of the IEDSS. This sets out the formation of ‘Shield’ via a meeting with Thatcher in 1976.

The meeting was hosted by Viscount De L’Isle and included Norris McWhirter, John Gouriet (right-wing activist and businessman) and Robert Moss the founding members of the Freedom Association. Later meetings included ex-SIS Nicholas Elliott. Crozier tells us that in 1976-77, he, Elliott and Stephen Hastings were involved in “two secret counter-subversion exercises: one of them national, the other international.” The idea was to set up a secret advisory committee to brief Thatcher and her closest colleagues on security and intelligence and they called the committee ‘Shield’. According to Crozier the problem they wanted to tackle was subversion: “the deliberate undermining of the State and society”:

In Britain, as in other affected countries, the ultimate aim was to turn the country into a ”people’s democracy” on the East European model. The trades unions and the Labour Party had largely been taken over by the subversive Left. Many other areas of life were affected: the schools and universities, the media, the Churches. The unions were the biggest source of the Labour Party’s funds, and since the biggest unions were controlled by the subversive Left, there was little the moderates could do. Moreover, the subversives were rapidly taking over Labour’s constituency organisations. Positive action was needed. The Shield Committee was necessarily small, secrecy being a paramount consideration.

Crozier states they produced 20 papers on various aspects of subversion, with the researchers being Peter Shipley and Douglas Eden. The papers were always made available immediately to Margaret Thatcher, Lord Carrington, William Whitelaw, and Keith Joseph. Carrington was said to be “systematically hostile to our ideas and even more to our proposals.” Crozier outlines tactical and strategic objectives of Shield concerning attempts to influence:

Britain’s existing counter-subversion machinery, proposals for fundamental change, and contingency planning for a major crisis a widespread paralysis caused by political strikes and riots which Margaret Thatcher might well face when, as we trusted, the Conservative party won the next general election.

Richard Norton-Taylor’s (1985) Where detente is a dirty word / The Heritage Foundation in Britain, in the Guardian, November 26, states that the IEDSS, initially shared premises in Golden Square with the “US-funded organisation, the Institute for the Study of Conflict”, run by Crozier. This added thatThatcher had sent her congratulations to Washington on its achievement with Heritage which was “keen to establish a foothold in Britain” via the IEDSS and had previously worked with Keith Joseph and the Centre for Policy Studies. The IEDSS is also described as having the aim “to protect the Atlantic Alliance” which, according to Gerald Frost, was under strain from “neo-Gaullism, European neutralism and ‘democratic parties”. Norton-Taylor states:

Its targets are evident from the titles and authors of its publications: British Churches and the Peace Movement, by TE Utley (a Daily Telegraph leader writer) and Edward Norman; the Dean of Peterhouse, Cambridge, described as Mrs Thatcher’s favourite cleric; Peace Studies: A Critical Survey, by Caroline Cox and Roger Scruton; Idealism, Realism and the Myth of Appeasement, by Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan’s former ambassador to the UN; Protest and Perish: A Critique of Unilateralism; Turkey in Transition: The West’s Neglected Ally; and Greece under Papendreou: NATOs Ambivalent Partner.

It quotes Heritage’s Policy Review as stating:

At least there is hope now that both the Conservatives and Social Democrats (with Mrs Thatcher setting the pace) can move toward a society in which both parties can function with a measure of agreement, as the Republicans and Democrats do in the United States, pushing the socialist Labour party – and its ideas for a wholly different kind of state – to the outer fringes of politics.The report also states allegations made by Gough Whitlam, the Australian ambassador to Unesco and former prime minister, that the Heritage Foundation was trying to influence the British press and British opinion-leaders to secure Britain’s withdrawal from the UN organisation. Frost is said to have distanced the IEDSS from Heritage’s “aggressive campaign against Unesco”.

The emphasis of IEDSS is said to be on influencing opinion-formers behind the scenes, with its then latest initiative of a conference to be addressed by Lord Carrington, then NATO secretary-general, and Lord Chalfont, tied to a Gallop opinion poll on public opinion and NATO.

The report also notes that Eden broken off formal links with the IEDSS by 1985, and that Encounter magazine shared offices with the IEDSS’ Survey and that The Committee for the Free World shared a Whitehall office block with Julian Lewis, of the anti-CND Coalition for Peace through Security. Eden (who is American) also appears in the Committee for the Free World (also termed the Committee for a Free World) set up by the IEDSS’s Leopold Labedz (below) and Midge Decter. Peter E. Newell’s Chatham House and spies notes that according to Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB/MI6 double agent, writing in KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev (together with Christopher Andrew), the KGB resident chief in the early 1980s, Arkadi Guk, “devised a conspiracy theory to explain . . . the founding and initial success of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). It had been created, Guk argued, with the help of the CIA and the US embassy in order to split the Labour Party and keep the Conservatives in power.” The Committee for the Free World (CFW) distributed Eden’s (1982) ‘The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.’

The CFW also included Brian Crozier’s close associate Robert Moss (described by Phil Kelly in the (1981) Leveller essay ‘An Unholy Alliance,’ as “the CIA’s Man in the Media, fanatical anti-communist columnist in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and Goldsmith’s ‘Now” contributor to Forum World Features and the ISC, and council member of the Freedom Association, formerly of course the NAFF.”

As mentioned Eden is an associate fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Americas based at the University of London. According to his obituary, this was run by former intelligence officer Esmond Wright (who taught two Labour leaders, John Smith and Donald Dewar) from 1971-83. As a don at Glasgow university, Wright reviewed and wrote leaders for the Glasgow Herald, especially on American topics. Hugh Fraser who brought him onto the board of the Glasgow Herald, and he eventually became deputy chairman. A friend Sir Fitzroy MacLean (Wright was later to help him with several of his historical works). In the 1970s he became Professor of American History and Director of the United States Institute in the University of London, the oldest centre in Europe for the exclusive study of American history and culture. Its Advisory Board is chaired by Baroness Thatcher and it is supported by grants from the US government as form of public diplomacy. According to their brochure, in 2004 the Institute merged with the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and with the Institute of United States Studies (IUSS), both of which had been founded in 1965 at 31 Tavistock Square. In addition to public lectures and seminars, the Institute is said to have organised the John M Olin Programme on Politics, Morality and Citizenship and is supported in part by the United States Information Service. Eden is its American Specialist along with the IEDSS’ Christopher Coker, Lawrence Freedman, Victor Bulmer-Thomas the Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Eric Hobsbawm and others who have positions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Council and US Embassy.

*Back to the The Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies

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