Deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Task Force of the Democratic National Committee, Seith is a partner in a large Chicago law firm, where he practices international law. He is a past president of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

Chicago's growing clout in world affairs
"Chicago is the great American city. New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic, San Francisco is a lady, Boston has become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington wink like dull diamonds in the smog of Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter. Detroit is a one-trade town, Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle, St. Louis has become the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city. Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities." Norman Mailer, Miami and The Siege of Chicago, New York: New American Library, 1968.

WHEN CHICAGO'S professional sports moguls make a major move, you know it. With front page fanfare and prime time television promotions who could miss the ballyhooed birth of football's Chicago Fire in 1974 or its demise in1975; the perennial" pennant chases of baseball's Sox and Cubs or the attempted resurrection of the once championship Bears?

Yet, in the past decade, Chicago has moved quietly into the biggest of big leagues—the playing fields of international power which had long been the nearly exclusive domain of New York.

"The capital of the Establishment," wrote Pulitzer Prize author Theodore S. White in The Making of the President 1964 "is New York." And the quintessential expression of New York's power has been in foreign policy. If one could choose a single institution which illustrates how New York's Establishment profoundly shaped America's policy and destiny, it was New York's "august Council on Foreign Relations set in the center of the Perfumed Stockade on Park Avenue in the old Pratt Mansion," observed White.

Under the last five presidents, every secretary of state—Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, Christian Herter, Dean Rusk, William Rogers and now Henry Kissinger—has been a ranking member of New York's Council on Foreign Relations. And so have been scores of assistant secretaries of state, special envoys and ambassadors who, though less publicly prominent, are often no less important in shaping crucial decisions.

When Americans are worrying about how the rising price of energy can boost the cost of everything, foreign affairs has ceased to be an abstract global game for distant statesmen. What happens abroad in the capitals of the Common Market or the oil ports of the Persian Gulf, now clearly hits home.

And what happens at home can greatly depend on who represents America in the decision-making councils of the world. Earlier, a look at who represented us in those international conclaves would have seen a tight circle of men whose power base was either in Manhattan or enhanced by a connection with it.

But, in recent years, a perceptible piece of New York's once exclusive power has been planted in Chicago. And its bloomings have appeared prominently in Washington.

Second only to Henry Kissinger at Foggy Bottom is Deputy Secretary of State Robert S. Ingersoll. In 1972, Ingersoll resigned as board chairman of Borg-Warner, a Chicago-based multinational corporation, to become U.S. ambassador to Japan. His highly praised diplomacy prompted successive promotions to his current No. 2 spot at the State Department. An outspoken advocate of Chicago's emerging role in foreign affairs, Ingersoll says New York is "not really in touch with what's going on in the country." Its outlook, he explains, "was always distorted because of Wall Street." And "the same thing"—for different reasons—"is true of Washington." Ingersoll says his assessment was echoed by Henry Kissinger during a November 1974 visit to Chicago. "What a breath of fresh air," said the secretary of state about the city's personal and intellectual atmosphere.

At the White House, some of that Chicago fresh air is supplied by Donald Rumsfeld whose title, assistant to the President, understates his power. Rumsfeld, said one White House man, "tends not to involve himself in any decision the President doesn't make himself." On that comment, The Wall Street Journal observed: "This, of course, is only another way of saying that Mr. Rumsfeld involves himself in all the decisions that matter."

Feet on the table, pipe in hand,

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'Kissinger's views on detente were less interesting to Soviet leader Brezhnev than were the opinions of the treasury secretary, Chicago's Schultz, on how America would expand trade with the U.S.S.R.'

Rumsfeld explained some of his aims, "We want people who represent people." Rumsfeld's key role in "personnel" empowers him to put that view into practice. And his emphasis on seeking representative people—"whether by age, sex or geography"—stands in obvious contrast to the previous Eastern Establishment emphasis chronicled by Theodore White.

While praising the contributions of decision-makers with various geographic backgrounds, Rumsfeld noted the particular contribution of Chicagoans. Their outlook is "optimistic and upbeat" because the atmosphere of the Chicago area is "sound and healthy." Does Rumsfeld shape any of his own recommendations to the President by considering the probable views of a "constituency," views of people like those who live in the 13th Congressional District of Illinois which he represented from 1963 to 1969? Yes, he answered, "having had a functional link with three-quarters of a million people affects you."

And Robert Ingersoll, although never elected to public office, was emphatic about considering his Illinois "constituents" when making high-level decisions. To get the views of Illinoisans, said Ingersoll, "I call them up from time to time." The result? "Sometimes they say—it's a bright idea, but not worth a damn." Ingersoll continued, "They're not always right, but it pulls you up short."

Getting pulled up short by people outside Washington is essential for decision-makers within government, says a Chicago executive who served eight years in top-level international posts. Lawrence McQuade, president of Procon, Inc., observed that in Washington "you can become preoccupied with the game of winning" within government. The danger of these "fierce struggles" for power is that "one can lose perspective," said McQuade. "You can't ruminate with people in government," he explained, "because they are all fighting for position." Who holds those positions does make a difference in where America is headed internationally, McQuade says. In recent years, many Chicagoans have shown how.

In 1969 David M. Kennedy, then chairman of the Chicago-based Continental Bank became Richard Nixon's first secretary of the treasury. With the Vietnam war winding down, Kennedy began laying long-term plans for the next phase of foreign policy when international economics would rise in importance. Later, Kennedy's international touch was applied in Brussels where he was U.S. ambassador to NATO until 1972. His successor at NATO: Donald Rumsfeld.

Meanwhile, as the winter of 1970-71 brought forecasts of the later devaluation of the dollar, the President created a new post of advisor on international economic affairs, corresponding to Henry Kissinger's position of advisor of international security affairs. Picked for the post was Peter G. Peterson, president of Chicago's Bell & Howell. Soon The Washington Post acclaimed Peterson as the "economic Kissinger of the Nixon administration." But perhaps "Pete" was too energetic in a town where the price of power is jealousy.

Attacked by the White House insiders who feared that he was poaching on their private power preserves, Peterson abruptly submitted his resignation in early 1973 with an acid farewell. "My calves were too fat," he said, "to click my heels."

Although Peterson's title was inherited by a non-Chicagoan, the power of his position shifted largely to the new secretary of the treasury, a former University of Chicago professor named George W. Schultz, who had already shown in directing the Office of Management and Budget that those who manage the government's money command much of its power.

When Schultz was featured speaker at the 50th anniversary dinner of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in June 1973, he was fresh from summit talks in Washington. At those talks Kissinger's views on detente were less interesting to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev than were the opinions of the treasury secretary on how America would expand trade with the U.S.S.R.

In a recent interview, Schultz explained his view that "the Chicago School of Economics" is constantly at "the cutting edge" of new ideas. "Chicago," he said, "is always working on new theories and concepts." But its special contribution is that "theories are constantly tested by reference to reality and empirical developments" because Chicago is a superb "laboratory" of real life.

Elsewhere, trying to change realities in relationships between Latin America and the United States was Charles A. Meyer, a former East Coast establishmentarian with Harvard credentials who, by choice, became a Chicagoan in the 1940's and rose as an executive in Sears, Roebuck & Co. From 1969 to 1973, Meyer was assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs.

Now back in Chicago, Meyer reflected that Washington "is a company town" where the only "company" is the government. Like Robert Ingersoll, Meyer stressed the need to keep broader perspectives by "checking back" with people not in government. Ingersoll says Meyer is a prime example of Chicagoans whom State Department officials currently check back with.

Others include Roger Anderson, chairman of the Continental Bank; Robert Abboud, deputy chairman of the First National Bank; Robert McClellan, vice president of FMC Corporation, who from 1969 to 1971 was assistant secretary of commerce for domestic and international business; John Colman, executive vice president of Continental Illinois Corporation, who from 1966 to 1969 guided U.S. international monetary policy in the departments of State and Treasury; and Robert Wieczorowski, a former president of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, who left the Chicago-based A. G. Becker & Co. to be U.S. executive director of the World Bank from 1969 to 1973.

And, as Henry Kissinger seeks peace in the Middle East, his personally

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chosen key advisor is career diplomat Joseph F. Sisco. Now the No. 3 man in the State Department, Sisco is no striped pants dude but a tough-talking realist who took his first hard knocks growing up in Berwyn and graduating from Morton Township High School in Cicero.

Characteristically, at a private meeting Chicago before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Sisco bluntly told a prominent Arab and a prominent Israeli where he believed each was right or wrong. He concluded, "Why don't you both cut the crap?"

Cutting a large swath in world affairs, as these examples show, has ceased being primarily a prerogative of New Yorkers. But if Chicago's role were only a reflection of these leading lights, it might be discounted as a passing phenomenon largely attributable to one administration whose leader may, in the words of a Chicago businessman, have been "retaliating for the resentments of a kid from Whittier, Calif., who thought the East Coast always had it in for him."

But there is more to Chicago's emergence as an international power center: The city has begun to create its own replica of the sources of New York's former monopoly of power. Those sources were basically two. One was the not irrational belief of Presidents when picking subordinates: Men best able to command multi-billion bureaucracies for government were those who had commanded multi-billion dollar enterprises for private business. Before the mid-1960's, when most of America's international corporations, banks and law firms were headquartered in New York, so were the men who ran them.

The second source of New York's power was the "old-boy" network. Being known by the men in power was often a prerequisite for being elevated to power. In 1960, when John F. Kennedy sought a secretary of state, a little known name was made known to the President in a chorus of praise from the Eastern Establishment. Thus did Dean Rusk come to the office.

Thus also did the current incumbent. In1956, an assistant professor working in obscurity in the Harvard Yard was asked to be rapporteur—glorified note-taker—at a seminar on nuclear weapons sponsored by New York's Council on Foreign Relations. Seminar participants read like a roll call of the mighty of the past, present and future foreign policy establishment. While noting their words of wisdom, the young academic germinated his own thoughts and published them in J957 in his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. When the men who "make" future U.S. policymakers called the book "brilliant," 33-year-old Henry Kissinger was marked as a "comer."

If the "old-boy" network was good for men on the way up, it was superb for men on the way out of government. For those who retired from the top, like Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1953, the establishment provided a lucrative place to practice law, write memoirs and periodically advise Presidents. For those in midcareer there were challenging nongovernmental positions to enhance their skills—and establishment contacts—for a return to government at a higher level. Example: Dean Rusk who went from State Department assistant in 1949-1952 to president of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1953, then to secretary of state in 1961.

Lawrence McQuade, a 47-year-old graduate of New York's school of upward mobility, told how it used to work and why Chicago now enjoys part of New York's former monopoly. After high school in Phoenix, Arizona, McQuade went to Yale where he played varsity football, graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1950 and won a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to England's Oxford University. In 1954 as a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, McQuade entered one of Wall Street's premier law firms, Sullivan & Cromwell. "As a kid from Arizona who always dreamed of being a diplomat," McQuade now says, the firm's "glamour" made it "the only place to go." A former chief partner, John Foster Dulles, was then secretary of state. Another partner, Arthur Dean, had just been chief U.S. negotiator at the truce talks ending the Korean War in 1953.

Soon, McQuade was earning establishment esteem by working on multimillion dollar international transactions for major corporations and ghostwriting weighty magazine articles for Arthur Dean. The result: In 1961 McQuade—then age 33—was named special assistant to Paul H. Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. McQuade yielded that post in 1963 to Daniel Ellsberg, later of Pentagon Papers fame. After 1963, McQuade moved up rapidly in the Department of Commerce where he shaped U.S. policies on international trade and business.

In 1969, when the new administration picked its own top-level appointees, "I was panic-stricken," confesses McQuade, "that I wasn't going to be part of the great stream of events." But refusing "to swallow the pill of Potomac fever," he decided against a Washington job which offered the "illusion" of power by being "close to but not part of government."

He also rejected his first impulse to seek solace in the bosom of the New York establishment. Universal Oil Products, a multinational corporation headquartered in a Chicago suburb, offered him the presidency of its international subsidiary, Procon, Inc. McQuade accepted reluctantly because he feared that Chicago would be "provincial and ugly." But his view has wholly changed after six years of using his Chicago base to circle the globe on multibillion dollar business deals. Comments McQuade: "Unlike the 1950's, New York is no longer the only place to go."

"Larry McQuade is not a unique phenomenon," observes James Hoge, editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hoge, who came to Chicago after private education at Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale, says "New York is still ahead" in total amount of international talent, "but Chicago's first string is equally good or better."

It includes 45-year-old Peter T. Jones who, like McQuade, also displayed early brilliance at Yale and Harvard Law School on the way to legal practice at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. In the Kennedy administration, Jones also had significant foreign affairs roles, first in helping launch the Alliance for Progress in Latin America, later in aiding passage of a world trade bill.

Now general counsel and vice president for Marcor and Montgomery Wards in Chicago, Jones says "breaking up the Yankees wasn't necessary" in baseball or the bigger leagues of world affairs. Beyond a good "first string," according to Jones, Chicago's talent in international expertise is developing impressive depth.

Alexander Hehmeyer, executive vice president and general counsel of Field Enterprises, agrees. Viewing Chicago "with the objective eyes" of a successful Wall Street lawyer who moved here in 1969, Hehmeyer says, "New York

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The Shah of Iran was fascinated when Mayor Daley talked to him about the politics of how to get things done

has lost its gateway monopoly." While conceding that "Chicago is still no London, Paris or Brussels," Hehmeyer observes, "look where it was 20 years ago."

About ten years ago Chicago's international contacts and influence began to grow rapidly, according to Roger Anderson, chairman of the Continental Bank. In 1964 the Chicago-Tokyo Bank became the first foreign-owned bank to open in Chicago. It has been followed by the National Westminster Bank of London, the Banco di Roma, the Swiss National Bank, the National Bank of Greece and Banque Nationale de Paris, among others. "This is good," Anderson comments, "because it reflects recognition of Chicago's emerging international importance" and helps "spread that recognition." Likewise, Chicago-based corporations and banks have rapidly moved around the globe.

Andersen's conclusion, shared widely, is that Chicago is challenging New York's earlier primacy in international business and that this is helping to create Chicago's own version of the East's "old-boy" network. The growth of a Chicago-based foreign policy "establishment" provides a launching pad for aspiring policymakers on the way up and a desirable "home" for those on the way back.

"But why now?" is the inevitable question. Alex Hehmeyer credits business leaders in Chicago who have learned to coordinate and maximize Chicago's long-standing natural advantages. These include a central location between the east and west coasts, superb transportation links with the rest of the country and the world, and a diverse economic base.

Chicago is also the beneficiary of business disenchantment with other cities, says Robert Mallot, board chairman and president of FMC Corporation. In 1972, Mallott overrode objections of top company brass to move the corporate headquarters of the $2 billion FMC from its California home to a new setting in Chicago. Mallot points out that from 1956 to 1972 only two of the nation's seven largest cities increased in numbers of headquarters of those corporations listed in Fortune's top 500. And Chicago was out front. While Chicago gained 10 per cent in headquartering Fortune 500 corporations, Philadelphia lost 20 per cent and New York lost 24 per cent of these leading companies. Mallott largely credits Chicago's "stimulating climate" for international business for this increase.

Chicago's new strength and potential is persuasively described by Robert Abboud, deputy chairman of the board of The First National Bank. Having earned cum laude degrees in law and business from Harvard, Abboud rose rapidly through the bank's international division to his current position—one step from the top—at age 44. Abboud says Chicago is also on the rise internationally. He greatly credits "the political and economic leadership" of Mayor Richard J. Daley and Chicago-based businessmen in proving wrong the people who say cities can't work. What Chicago's "can-do" spirit means to foreigners was illustrated by William R. Polk, president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute for International Affairs from 1967 to 1974.

"Before the Shah of Iran visited Mayor Daley," Polk recalls, "neither knew much about the other." But the Shah, who wants to transform Iran from a "backward" oil producer to a modern industrial nation, was soon "fascinated" by the mayor. Why? Because, says Polk, "Daley talked about the politics of how to get things done."

Abboud says that another element in Chicago's new influence is a shift in international economics "from a capitalist market" long dominated by New York "to a commodities market" now dominated by Chicago. He elaborated, "Here, in the Midwest, we are dealing in the new currency of the world"—meat and grains. Ultimately, says Abboud, the world needs those foodstuffs more than it needs Arab oil. And, he adds, Washington increasingly needs Chicagoans.

That view, widely reiterated, raises a tough question: What can Chicagoans do for Washington that Washington can't do for itself? Former Treasury Secretary-- George Schultz answers: "Washington is fantasy land. Chicago is reality land."

Robert Ingersoll outspokenly agrees. What others call the "company town" quality of Washington, Ingersoll describes as "an atmosphere that is really incestuous." Consequently, he says, what Chicagoans bring to Washington is "a leveling effect."

Chicago is also helping to build a broader foreign affairs "constituency," says Bayless Manning, president of New York's Council on Foreign Relations since 1971. To show how, Manning cites the 52-year-old Chicago Council on Foreign Relations whose membership rose from 2,800 to 24,900 since 1961.

Among the council's many "constituences," is its prestigious Chicago Committee. With invitation-only membership of Chicago leaders, the committee's first off-the-record session in 1961 heard new Secretary of State Dean Rusk presented by founding chairman David M. Kennedy, later secretary of the treasury. Since then, the committee's rising stature among Washington policymakers has begun to rival the previously unique status of New York's Council on Foreign Relations.

Another recent Chicago institution highly regarded in Washington's foreign policy circles is the Mid-America Committee for International Business and Government Cooperation. Since its founding in 1966, the committee has similarly brought Chicago leaders into frequent contact with the makers of foreign policy.

Participants say that these committees have some of the attributes once I unique to New York's "old-boy" network. "On first leaving government," observed Charles Meyer, "you feel like an astronaut back from the moon. The experience is so singular you think there will be no one to talk to." Instead, says Meyer, he found much to talk about at meetings of those committees. Others say that in-depth seminars—like the Chicago Committee's prescient 1973 study of the later energy crisis—could be the meeting ground for future Henry Kissingers.

Perhaps the day will never come when the secretary of state and most of a President's other international advisors are from Chicago. But it is less remote than once imagined. And so, too, is the perhaps fanciful day when some New Yorker cries, "Break up the Chicagoans." 

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