The Trilateral Commission 
Overview and possible enlargement 

Last updated 4 November, 1997.

Click here for the homepage of the Trilateral Commission
Click here for an abridged version in Portuguese 
Carregue aqui para uma versão resumida em português

The Trilateral Commission, a Private North American-European-Japanese Initiative on Matters of Common Concern, has offices in New York, Paris and Tokyo and three regional chairmen. There are 17 national sections or groups, one for each one of the G-7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States) and of 10 smaller European countries.

The Commission's members total around 325 citizens, with a variety of leadership responsibilities in business, politics (except for government positions), academia and the press in the three major democratic industrialized regions of the world. They serve in principle for three 3 year terms.

Aside from the three regional chairmen, there are directors in the 3 offices and an Executive Committee (ExCom) gathering about 36 individuals. ExCom membership does not follow general rotation procedures.

Annual Plenary Meetings are held in each one of the three regions in the Spring. So far there were 8 such meetings in Tokyo, 8 in North America (of which 5 in Washington) and 7 in Europe.

The Trilateral Commission (Europe) gathers European members every year in the Fall. The 21st European Meeting was held in The Hague, Netherlands on 24-26 October 1997. The 20th European Meeting was held in Helsinki, Finland on 11-13 October 1996, by coincidence the week-end during which the Finnish markka joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

The three regional chairs rotated in the triennium which began with the 1992 Plenary Meeting, held in Lisbon on April 25-27. European chairman Georges Berthoin was replaced by Otto Lambsdorff, M.P., former Minister of Economy of Germany and leader of the Free Democratic Party. Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Board of Governors replaced David Rockefeller.

Akio Morita, chairman of Sony, became the new Japanese chairman. He was replaced in October 1996 by Yotaro Kobayashi, Chairman and CEO of Fuji Xerox. Kiichi Miyazawa, former Prime Minister, was acting chairman in the meantime.

As the 1995-97 triennum will be concluded at the Plenary Meeting held in Tokyo on 22-24 March, discussions on the possible "enlargement" of the Trilateral Commission are taking place within the three regional groups, especially the European, in the hope that sensitivities will converge at national and regional levels. There are several useful instances of enlargement. The World Trade Organization has applicants like Russia and China.

In early September 1996 the Bank of International Settlements has just accepted 9 new members (India, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore) and membership in the OECD has also been expanding in America and Europe, let alone the Far East. Korea was offered admission in early October.

Misperceptions about this enduring private initiative are revealed by a false site on the Internet and by numerous pamphlets available there (such as the Ross International Enterprises homepage, the Secret Societies/New World Order or Mitsui's Trilateral Connection, for example). A true site was suggested by the Portuguese member at the European ExCom  in Helsinki, and the idea was approved by the three chairman shortly thereafter. After some discussion at the Tokyo Plenary Meeting, the site was open at the Hague European meeting. Some background is also provided here.

P.S. An earlier version was presented at the first meeting of Forum Portugal Global, on 17 September, 1996. It was also discussed at the Paris office on 27 September. Nevertheless, I remain responsible for the text. Send questions or comments to Jorge Braga de Macedo.