Chase Manhattan is not the only mega-bank in the Rockefeller financial empire. The first bank with which the Rockefeller family became directly involved was the National City Bank of New York, which actually ranks number two in the international standings. Its former president, James Stillman, became a close associate of John D.’s brother, William, who was at the time managing the huge Standard Oil Trust. William Rockefeller tilted the Standard Oil banking business in Stillman’s direction and thus National City became the largest bank in New York City. The financial marriage was cemented by the marriage of two of William Rockefeller’s sons to two of Stillman’s daughters.
Until his retirement in 1967, James Stillman Rockefeller, a product of the Stillman-Rockefeller merger, was chairman of the board of First National City Bank. Previously, James had strengthened the Rockefeller family and financial ties by marrying Nancy Carnegie of the fabulously wealthy Carnegie family.
City Bank has enjoyed such phenomenal growth that it now surpasses the mighty Chase in total assets. While it does not have the prestige or political muscle of the Chase, it really matters very little since both are Rockefeller family banks.
Yet a third large New York bank in the Rockefeller orbit is the Chemical Bank, which is controlled by the Harkness family. Edward Harkness was one of John D.’s closest business associates in the Standard Oil Trust, and as late as 1939 the Harkness family was the largest non Rockefeller owner of Standard Oil stock.
Closely related to the Rockebanks are the gigantic insurance companies, with their investment funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Life insurance companies play a critical role in financing because they are the principal suppliers of long-term credit, whereas banks are mainly involved with short-term and medium-term credit. In turn the solvency (or bankruptcy) of other corporations is often dependent on their ability to obtain loans from the Rockefeller-controlled financial giants.
The Rockefeller Group of banks is heavily interlocked with the board of directors of three of the four biggest life insurance companies: Metropolitan Life, Equitable Life and New York Life. The total assets of these three insurance giants amounted to over $113 billion in 1969,According to Professor Knowles, the Rockefeller Group controlled banks account for about 25 % of all the assets of the fifty largest commercial banks in the country and for about 30 % of, all the assets of the fifty largest life insurance companies.
Buddy, can you spare a dime?
The Rockefeller family control over these banks and insurance companies gives them leverage over the economy that goes far beyond their direct ownership.
There are several ways in which the Rockefeller Clan controls vast segments of the economy. The first is through the stockholding of the families in the group. Five % ownership of a widely-held public corporation, according to a 1974 report by the Senate Banking Committee, is considered tantamount to control, especially if your name is Rockefeller. But if we consider only those firms where the Rockefellers own twice that much stock, or have five % of the stock plus two or more toplevel management positions, we can put the following companies in the column controlled by the Rockefellers. (The 1975 asset-size rating by Fortune magazine is indicated in parenthesis.)
Exxon (1), Mobil Oil (5), Standard of California (6), Standard of Indiana (13), International Harvester (26),
Inland Steel (78), Marathon Oil (60), Quaker Oats (163),Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel (194), Freeport Sulphur, and International Basic Economy Corporation.
Another means by which the Rockefeller Group has potential influence or control over major segments of the economy is through the trust departments of the Rockebanks. Nearly a decade ago, the assets of commercial bank trust departments were $253 billion, almost $100 billion more than those of all mutual savings banks and savings and loan companies. Usually a commercial bank trust department exercises sole voting rights over the stock it holds. But anyone who believes this is the case for the enormously large trusts established for the Rockefeller family probably also hopes to find a real diamond in the bottom of his Cracker Jacks box.
While Dilworth was bending over backwards trying to convince the assembled Senators at the hearings that the family never, but never, interferes with management, Fortune magazine has reported that the Rockebanks often throw their weight into proxy battles, and the very knowledgeable Professor Knowles adds,”No company is secure from possible domination by bank trust departments.
In 1967, the Rockebanks had a total of $35 billion in trust department assets -nearly 14 % of the national total! These included $22.5 billion in stocks. Knowles notes:
Obviously, such stockholdings, most of which ire either under the direct control of the families whose representatives sit on the boards of these [Rockefeller] banks or are indirectly under their control through voting rights exercised by the bank trust departments, provide a basis for the effective control of a large share of the American economy.
Chase’s trust department, with the bank’s companion investment management corporation, controls the single largest block of stock in 21 major American corporations. This means that United Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, Long Island Lighting, Atlantic Richfield Oil, National Air lines and 16 other multimillion dollar firms are also under the Rockefeller thumb. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Control of the bank and of its trust department has the effect of multiplying the family’s economic leverage. Every major bank in New York holds millions of shares in trust for other owners-most of whom give the banks the power to vote the shares and, thus influence corporate management.
Corporations which are probably under the control of the Rockefellers~ through financial institutions, trust departments or foundation ownership of stock, include the following (with the 1975 Fortune rating in parenthesis):
IBM (9), Mobil (5), Texaco (4), IT & T (10), Westinghouse (19), Boeing (39), International Paper (56), Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (59), Sperry Rand (70), Xerox (41), National Cash Register (97), National Steel (64), American Home Products (92), Pfizer (130), Avon (159), and Merck (1.52).
But wait, there’s more! Still wonder if the Rockefellers have amassed a dangerous amount of power? Consider that just the transportation companies under Rockefeller influence (with 1975 Fortune ranking for transportation corporations noted in parenthesis) are as follows:
Perm Central (T3), TWA (T1), Eastern Airlines (T8), United Airlines (T2), National Airlines (T26), Delta (T13), Braniff (T19), Northwest Airlines (T18), and Consolidated Freightways (T17).
Other major corporations in which the Rockefellers have significant influence, either director indirect, but not enough to prove working control, are:
AT & T (U1), Motorola (149), Safeway (R-2), Honeywell (68), General Foods (58), Hewlett-Packard (225), and Burlington Industries (86).
Yet another manner in which the Rockefellers can exert significant control over corporations is through loans.
More and more in recent years companies have had to finance modernization and expansion through bank borrowing. Old John D., biographer Allan Nevins tells us, 11 never allowed any finance capitalist to obtain large shares- of his properties. While Big Daddy did not want to be eaten by the Wall Street loan sharks, he didn’t mind becoming one. Roughly 80 % of Chase’s loan portfolio, the U.S.’s largest, represents major nationwide corporations. Bank of America, the nation’s largest, specializes in making installment loans to millions of individual customers. The Rockefeller banks make fewer loans, but they make them to the giants of industry. According to Professor Knowles, the Rockefeller Group’s position in the capital market is even greater than its share of banking and insurance assets would indicate. When a bank makes a large loan to a company, it is in a position to demand that it have a voice in the decision-making machinery of that company. Often this comes in the form of having somebody appointed to the borrower’s board of directors.
This relates to yet another method for economic control, interlocking directorates. An interlocking directorate exists between two companies when a member of the board of directors of one company also sits on the board of directors of the other company. This was theoretically outlawed by Section 8 of the Clayton Act, which says that no person shall be a director at one time in any two or more competing companies. This law is enforced almost as strictly as the one against jaywalking in New York City. Tracing all of the interlocks among the Rockefeller Group’s representatives on various boards of directors is a challenge that would reduce an Einstein to a babbling idiot. Just a few of the major corporations not previously mentioned that have interlocking-directorate ties with the Rockefeller Groups include:
Allied (Chemical) (8,5), Anaconda Copper (118),DuPont (17), Monsanto (43), Olin Mathison (161), Borden (47), National Distillers (185), Shell (14), Gulf (7), Union Oil (34), Dow (27), Celanese (101), Pittsburgh Plate Class (113), Cities Service (61), Stauffer Chemical (233), Continental Oil (16), Union Carbide (22), American Cyanamid (107) American Motors (93), Bendix (77), Chrysler (11), S. Kresge (R5), and R. H. Macy, C.I.T. Financial (F9.), S. (R27).
In case you were not able to keep a running total of the firms enmeshed in the various strands of the Rockefeller web, let us summarize the known results: 37 of the nation’s top l00 industrials, 9 of the top 20 transportation firms, the nation’s number one utility, 3 of the 4 largest insurance companies, plus scores of smaller companies engaged in manufacturing, distribution, retail sales, loans, or investments, are controlled by the Rockefellers.
Staggering, isn’t it? Put it all together and it does not spell MOTHER. It spells POWER.
“The power of the family fortune is beyond measure,” the Washington Post has reported. And this time the paper was telling the truth. “[It is] a nexus of ownership and leverage that is greater than the sum of its parts. “But, say Rocky, it’s all a myth! Sure, Rocky. And Raquel Welch is skinny, and Mark Spitz can’t swim.,
One or two Doubting Thomases have even wondered about whether it might be a conflict of interest to merge all of this monetary muscle with the political power of the Vice Presidency, and potentially the Presidency.
Wealth should not be an obstacle to high office, of course, providing that government stays out of business and business stays out of government. But, it is obvious that business and government have been getting closer and cozier for many decades. Today it is virtually impossible to tell who is seducing whom. Those on the ideological Left call it Corporate Fascism and those on the right call it State Socialism. Both are correct.
The point is that the Rockefeller family interests are so closely intertwined with matters of public policy, both foreign and domestic, that virtually every major governmental decision in some way affects the Rockefeller Empire. As Thomas O’Toole observes in the Washington Post (a paper that strongly supported Rocky’s confirmation as Vice President):
If Nelson Rockefeller becomes Vice President or events make him President someday, he will bump into his family’s wealth on practically every major public issue….
” Taxes, the environment, government regulation of business, prices, interest rates, overseas diplomacy, war and peace – Rockefeller interests are enhanced or hurt by government policy-making in practically every major area of American life….
…. As Vice President or President, he couldn’t very well disqualify himself every time a policy decision potentially affected Chase Manhattan Bank. He would be out of work if he did. Even if Rockefeller took a vow of poverty, this empire would remain intact, still dominated by his family.
But the Rockefeller wealth goes beyond this conflict – of – interest question.
What would a middle-level bureaucrat do, for instance, if he knew he was regulating the President’s family fortune? Would a senator or congressman be able to resist the combined might of the White House and Wall Street’s second-largest bank, not to mention all the corporations which do business there?
Rocky buried the entire issue, as far as Congress was concerned, when he asked:”Am I the kind of man who would use his wealth improperly in public office?” He knew that the question would satisfy the politicos on Capitol Hill, many of whom have received campaign donations from the Rockefeller Empire. Not one member of the judiciary Committee had the nerve to answer his rhetorical question with the resounding -Yes!- it so richly deserved.
As we shall see, the Rockefeller family wants more money and more power. lt will use its private fortune, its public position, and anything else it can to acquire it. The senior Rockefeller was a master Machiavellian who began by scheming against local competitors and wound up scheming with cartelists for economic control of: the world. His heirs make his ploys look like the friendly bargaining of a Saturday afternoon garage sale.
For more on the Rockefellers see our archives: