The Pinay Cercle - these days simply known as Le Cercle - is a foreign policy think-tank specialising in international security. Set up after World War II, the group has members from twenty-five countries and meets at least bi-annually, in Washington, D.C. The group includes many senior intelligence experts.
At some point in the 1950s, Le Cercle was established by former French prime minister Antoine Pinay and French intelligence agent Jean Violet under the name 'Cercle Pinay'.
In later years, the British took over the chairmanship of Le Cercle.
Le Cercle has operated in almost complete anonymity since its creation with only a handful of articles having been written about it. As of this writing, no American sources have been identified. The Cercle was mentioned in the early 1980s by Der Spiegel in Germany as a result of the controversy surrounding Franz Josef Strauß, one of the regular attendants of the Cercle. In the late 1990s, the Cercle received some attention after a scandal had broken out involving Jonathan Aitken, at the time chairman of Le Cercle. Members that were contacted by newspapers refused to answer any questions about the group and sometimes simply put down the phone.
The ISGP website of Joel van der Reijden published the first photocopies of internal Cercle documents in 2011, including speeches of Brian Crozier and membership lists.
- ISGP, Le Cercle and the struggle for the European continent (2006)
- ISGP, Le Cercle and the Struggle for the Eurasian Continent (2010)
- ISGP, Le Cercle membership list
- David Teacher, Rogue Agents: Habsburg, Pinay and the Private Cold War 1951-1991 (2011) (40 mb *.pdf download)
- ISGP, First Cercle documents ever (2011)