January 10, 2008
Tony Blair to take up £500,000 job as political adviser to US company
Tony Blair is to take a job with JPMorgan Chase,
The former Prime Minister is to be a political adviser to the American firm which operates in more than 50 countries and whose assets are put at $1.5 trillion, with interests also in commercial banking and private equity.
Sources said last night that Mr Blair would advise the bank on global political issues. His salary is unknown but is likely to be more than £500,000.
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said Mr Blair would be “enormously valuable” to the company. “There are only a handful of people in the world who have the knowledge and relationships that he has.”
Mr Blair said that he expected to agree to “a small handful” of similar appointments with other companies in different sectors. He is believed to have held talks with other banks, such as HSBC and Citigroup, about such roles and there was speculation at the end of last year that he would take a position at Credit Suisse because of his close friendship with Russell Chambers, one of the bank’s senior executives.
Mr Blair told the Financial Times: “I have always been interested in commerce and the impact of globalisation. Nowadays, the intersection between politics and the economy in different parts of the world, including the emerging markets, is very strong.”
The JPMorgan Chase job was brokered by Robert Barnett, the Washington lawyer who also negotiated a reported £5 million advance for Mr Blair’s memoirs.
Mr Dimon, who is one of the leading Democrats on Wall Street, said he approached Mr Blair personally. “I went to visit him and we hit it off.” He said it was important to both men “to try to make the world a better place and have a bit of fun doing it”.
Mr Blair will add the part-time advisory role to his job as a Middle East envoy and speaker on the international lecture tour, which is earning him about £100,000 a speech.
It will be the first big City appointment for Mr Blair, who is on course to earn £5 million from the publication of his Downing Street memoirs in 2009. Mr Blair has struck a deal with publishers on both sides of the Atlantic that has only been bettered by the sums paid to Bill Clinton, according to publishing sources.
A source close to Mr Blair said: “Tony is focused on and enjoying the challenge of his task in the Middle East. He continues to receive requests to speak and, as his schedule allows, he does so on both a paid and unpaid basis.”
Mr Blair’s new job will have been approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets all jobs given to former ministers.
He is not being paid a salary in his role as Middle East envoy, working on behalf of the Quartet — the US, Russia, the UN and the EU. However, Britain has donated £400,000 to a UN development programme trust fund, which provides “operational and technical support” in the Jerusalem office of Mr Blair.
In a Commons written reply, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said that Britain had seconded four staff to Mr Blair’s team, and that other international donors were supporting his work. A
Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs
Brief history and influence
Founded in 1920, the organisation is officially called The Royal Institute of International Affairs. The name of the building which houses it - Chatham House - is now commonly used to refer to the organisation itself.
The idea of an Anglo-American institute to study foreign affairs was conceived at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. In the event, the British Institute of International Affairs was founded in London and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York was developed as a sister organisation.
What it does
Aims to be Europe's leading foreign policy thinktank, operating at the heart of the debate on international affairs. It invites academics, business people, politicians, diplomats, media, NGOs, and policy-makers to interact in an open and impartial environment.
Advises over 250 corporate members - including government departments and 2000 individual members - on the latest development in foreign affairs. Operates 10 research programmes with separate regional or thematic specialisations to analyse developments. Recent speakers have included Tony Blair, Russian president Vladimir Putin; Afghan president Hamid Karzai; and author Jung Chang. 1
In August 2006 Chatham House released a report titled Iran, its Neighbours and the Regional Crises which said that the influence of Iran in Iraq had overtaken that of the US. The report asserted that any threatening action towards Iran could result in mass destabilization across the Middle East.
In December 2006 the departing director of Chatham House – Victor Bulmer-Thomas – produced a briefing paper on U.K. foreign policy during the Blair era entitled Blair’s Foreign Policy and its Possible Successor(s). The paper generated a media storm as it heavily criticized the Prime Minister for allying the U.K. too closely to the U.S. at the expense of closer ties with Europe.2
The earliest origin of the Council stemmed from a working fellowship of about 150 distinguished scholars, called "The Inquiry," tasked to brief President Woodrow Wilson about options for the postwar world when Germany was defeated. Through 1917-18, this academic band, including Wilson's closest adviser and long-time friend Col. Edward M. House, as well as Walter Lippmann, gathered discreetly at 155th Street and Broadway in New York City, to assemble the strategy for the postwar world. The team produced more than 2,000 documents detailing and analyzing the political, economic, and social facts globally that would be helpful for Wilson in the peace talks. Their reports formed the basis for the Fourteen Points, which outlined Wilson's strategy for peace after war's end.
These scholars then traveled to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 that would end the war; it was at one of the meetings of a small group of British and American diplomats and scholars, on May 30, 1919, at the Hotel Majestic, that both the Council and its British counterpart, the Chatham House in London, were born. Although the original intent was for the two organizations to be affiliated, they became independent bodies, yet retained close informal ties.
Some of the participants at that meeting were, apart from Edward House, Paul Warburg, Herbert Hoover, Harold Temperley, Lionel Curtis, Lord Eustace Percy, Christian Herter, and American academic historians James Thomson Shotwell of Columbia University, Archibald Cary Coolidge of Harvard and Charles Seymour of Yale.
Morgan and Rockefeller involvement
The Americans who subsequently returned from the conference became drawn to a discreet club of New York financiers and international lawyers who had organized previously in June 1918 and was headed by Elihu Root, J. P. Morgan's lawyer; this select group called itself the Council on Foreign Relations. They joined this group and the Council was formally established in New York on July 29, 1921, with 108 founding members, including Elihu Root as a leading member and John W. Davis, the chief counsel for J. P. Morgan & Co. and former Solicitor General for President Wilson, as its founding president. Davis was to become Democratic presidential candidate in 1924.
Other members included John Foster Dulles, Herbert H. Lehman, Henry L. Stimson, Averell Harriman, the Rockefeller family's public relations expert, Ivy Lee, and Paul M. Warburg and Otto H. Kahn of the law firm Kuhn, Loeb.
The Council initially had strong connections to the Morgan interests, such as the lawyer, Paul Cravath, whose pre-eminent New York law firm (later named Cravath, Swaine & Moore) represented Morgan businesses; a Morgan partner, Russell Cornell Leffingwell, later became its first chairman. The head of the group's finance committee was Alexander Hemphill, chairman of Morgan's Guaranty Trust Company. Economist Edwin F. Gay, editor of the New York Evening Post, owned by Morgan partner Thomas W. Lamont, served as Secretary-Treasurer of the organization. Other members related to Morgan included Frank L. Polk, former Under-Secretary of State and attorney for J.P. Morgan & Co. Former Wilson Under-Secretary of State Norman H. Davis was a banking associate of the Morgans. Over time, however, the locus of power shifted inexorably to the Rockefeller family. Paul Cravath's law firm also represented the Rockefeller family.
Edwin Gay suggested the creation of a quarterly journal, Foreign Affairs. He recommended Archibald Cary Coolidge be installed as the first editor, along with his New York Evening Post reporter, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, as assistant editor and executive director of the Council.
Even from its inception, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was a regular benefactor, making annual contributions, as well as a large gift of money towards its first headquarters on East 65th Street, along with corporate donors (Perloff 156). In 1944, the widow of the Standard Oil executive Harold I. Pratt donated the family's four-story mansion on the corner of 68th Street and Park Avenue for council use and this became the CFR's new headquarters, known as The Harold Pratt House, where it remains today.
Several of Rockefeller's sons joined the council when they came of age; David Rockefeller joined the council as its youngest-ever director in 1949 and subsequently became chairman of the board from 1970 to 1985; today he serves as honorary chairman. The major philanthropic organization he founded with his brothers in 1940, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, has also provided funding to the Council, from 1953 to at least 1980.
Another major support base from the outset was the corporate sector; around 26 corporations provided financial assistance in the 1920s, seizing the opportunity to inject their business concerns into the weighty deliberations of the academics and scholars in the Council's ruling elite. In addition, the Carnegie Corporation contributed funds in 1937 to expand the Council's reach by replicating its structure in a diminished form in eight American cities.
John J. McCloy became an influential figure in the organization after the Second World War, and he held connections to both the Morgans and Rockefellers. As assistant to Secretary of War (and J. P. Morgan attorney) Henry Stimson during World War II, he had presided over important American war policies; his brother-in-law John Zinsser was on the board of directors of JP Morgan & Co. during that time, and after the war McCloy joined New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hope, Hadley & McCloy as a partner. The company had long served as legal counsel to the Rockefeller family and the Chase Manhattan bank. McCloy became Chairman of the Board of Chase Manhattan, a director of the Rockefeller Foundation and Chairman of the Board of the CFR from 1953 to 1970. President Harry S. Truman appointed him President of the World Bank Group and U.S. High Commissioner to Germany. He served as a special adviser on disarmament to President John F. Kennedy and chaired a special committee on the Cuban crisis. He was said to have had the largest influence on American foreign policy of anyone after World War II. McCloy's brother-in-law, Lewis W. Douglas, also served on the board of the CFR and as a trustee for the Rockefeller Foundation; Truman appointed him as American ambassador to Great Britain.4
Mixed reaction for plan to make Blair Middle East envoy
· Backing from US, Israel and Fatah leadership
· Moscow unlikely to want retiring PM as spokesman
Julian Borger, diplomatic editor and Ian Black, Middle East editor
Friday June 22, 2007
The greatest obstacle is Moscow, which has had an increasingly combative relationship with the Blair government, particularly over the poisoning of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
The Bush administration has been the driving force behind the Blair candidacy but many Middle East observers see the job as a poisoned chalice. Since the last quartet envoy, James Wolfensohn, a former World Bank president, resigned in April 2006, conditions in the Palestinian territories have worsened markedly.Nevertheless, both Israel and Palestinians loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas said they would welcome Mr Blair as a special envoy. Zvi Heifetz, Israel's ambassador to London, said: "It's an excellent idea. There is no better person for this job. He has been dealing with the Middle East for 10 years, and he has been objective and balanced."...5
Blair received into Catholic Church in private Mass at cardinal's home
Mr Blair joins his wife Cherie and four children in the Roman Catholic faith.
Cardinal O'Brien told The Scotsman: "I was very happy to hear that Tony Blair had been received into the Catholic Church.
"He had obviously spent a long time considering God's call. Now I join with others in wishing him and his family every blessing as they go forward together in one faith."
Following the special Mass at the archbishop's house in Westminster, attended by Mrs Blair and their children, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor – the leading Roman Catholic in England and Wales – said the service was "very intimate, very prayerful". The Vatican has also welcomed Mr Blair's decision to become a Catholic.
It comes as research suggests Catholic churchgoers now outnumber Anglicans in the UK for the first time in 500 years.
A Vatican spokesman said such an "authoritative personality" choosing to join the Catholic Church "could only give rise to joy and respect".
Last year, Mr Blair, who is now a Middle East peace envoy, said he had prayed to God when deciding whether or not to send UK troops into Iraq.
It had been an open secret that Mr Blair had been taking instruction from a Catholic priest as a prelude to conversion.
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wished the former prime minister well in his spiritual journey.
Dr Williams said: "A great Catholic writer of the last century said that the only reason for moving from one Christian family to another was to deepen one's relationship with God.
"I pray that this will be the result of Tony Blair's decision in his personal life."
But the former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe – herself a Catholic convert – said Mr Blair's voting record as an MP had often "gone against Church teaching" and that his conversion raised some questions.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) reacted with surprise to the news of Mr Blair's conversion.
John Smeaton, its national director, said: "During his premiership Tony Blair became one of the world's most significant architects of the culture of death, promoting abortion, experimentation on unborn embryos, including cloned embryos, and euthanasia by neglect.
"SPUC is writing to Tony Blair to ask him whether he has repented of the anti-life positions he has so openly advocated throughout his political career."
There has never been a Roman Catholic prime minister of Britain, although there is no constitutional barrier to such a move.
However, it had been suggested in the past that Mr Blair would wait until after leaving office, to avoid possible clashes such as that of the role in appointing Church of England bishops.
A RELIGIOUS OFFICE
TONY Blair's formal conversion appears to have taken a number of months and it is thought his decision followed a period of contemplation rather than a "falling out" with the Church of England over an issue such as the ordination of women priests.
The move comes after years of speculation that Mr Blair would convert from Anglicanism after he resigned from No 10 in June.
Converting while in office would have caused him problems in connection with issues such as abortion, contraception, homosexuality and faith schools.
Mr Blair's former spokesman, Alastair Campbell, once famously told reporters "We don't do God", but has since said that his former boss "does do God in quite a big way".
Even while in office, Mr Blair attended Catholic services with his family, but did not participate fully.
Note: Extensive Bolds, Large Fonts, and Highlights used for emphasis. Blogman.