New York Society for International Affairs

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The New York Society for International Affairs was a sham organisation established by Andrew Whist, the head of External Affairs/Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris in New York. It was only one of many sham organisations Whist used to influence political opinion by bribery, political junkets, fake conferences, and general subversion of governments and the regulators.

The NYSIA was never more substantial than a letterhead -- but it managed to garner support in Europe and America from advertising companies, associations, and public relations firms who wanted to preserve the right of the tobacco companies to advertise, and it provided a front for providing junkets to politicians

The pseudo-organisation exists in the tobacco archives under two abbreviations (NYSIA and NYS) and also under the name New York Society sometimes followed by either of or for' and "International Affairs". The tobacco company paid many hundreds of thousand dollars through the NYSIA, mainly to support heavily-loaded tobacco conferences and to fund junkets for politician to exotic locations.

Andrew Whist specialised in creating organization like this, through which Philip Morris curried influence with politicians in various countries. This was only one of the phantom organisations he ran with David Morse and his legal associate Paul Dietrich as fronts for tobacco industry operations: they also had the American end of the American European Community Association (AECA), a global operation called Libertad (Freedom to advertise organisation), and the [[International Institute for Health & Development[[ (pro-smoking propaganda) ... and possibly a few others with links to various Chambers of Commerce.

Andrew Whist and Andrew Whist's deposition
New York Society for International Affairs
American-European Community Association
Institute for International Health & Development
Hungarian-American Chamber of Commerce
Spain-US Chamber of Commerce Inc
US-Spain Council

The role of the NYSIA was revealed during the deposition of Whist in 1998 during the case of Oklahoma vs the Tobacco Industry. It was very apparent that it was primarily used by Philip Morris as a front to offer junkets to compliant state governors and top officials. Whist finally had to admit that the Society existed only as a chair in his New York apartment.

However the records show that this phantom organisation ran many junkets and dozens of conference around the world on such diverse subjects as human rights (The Freedom to Advertise argument) and questions of World Health Organisations priorities. (they were against expenditures on anti-smoking programs). The junkets appear to have been mainly organised through the Council of State Governments.

Documents & Timeline

1982 [Source 1998 June 29th Deposition of Ulf Andrew Whist (VP Philip Morris International Corporate Affairs) {Spelling corrected and truncated.} [1]

Q. One of the organizations you mentioned that were included in the Philip Morris outreach that you were involved in as Vice President of Corporate Affairs of Philip Morris International was the New York Society for International Affairs?   A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell me what that organization is?   A. I need to take up some of your time, but I will. It's an organization that was started in 1980 by the late David Morse who had been earlier the Director General of the International Labor Organization that is a part of the United Nations system, and he, David Morse, received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work at the ILO.
When I came to New York I met with him. I became profoundly impressed by this extraordinary man, and he told me that there was a need perhaps, to have an international organization which would take in the minorities in the United States, which would take in the labor organizations, as well as management, the professions, and the other groups that typically do that kind of international work.
And he asked me would I be prepared to start it with him, and I was delighted to.

David Morse was an old personal friend of both the Phillip Morris Chairman (R William Murray and the CEO Geoffrey Bible. He set up the Institute for International Health & Development for them (and ran other scams). Whist maintains in his deposition that Morse also set up Libertad for similar altruistic reasons.

Q. What were the goals of the organization (the NYSIA) to be.   A. Well, the principal goal was free international trade, but there were others. To have a forum where these groups could discuss their problems on a worldwide basis.

Q. Did you at any time hold any offices or been on the board of the New York Society? A. Yes. From the very outset. I think originally I was a board member [and] David Morse was the Chairman, and I think at one point he made me the President, and that's what I'm still now.

Q. At any time has Philip Morris contributed money to the funding of the NYSIA?   A. Oh, yes. I think in the beginning the monies provided, I think, came from David Morse and a little from me. At some point in time, however, Philip Morris did start making contributions to the organization?

Q. Would it be correct to say that it's contributed as much as 98 percent in the 1990s?   A. I'm not sure. I really don't know.

Q. Does the New York Society have an office in the United States?   A. In my apartment. It's in 211 Madison Avenue.[[2]

1993 June 29 A private letter written by Whist on the letterhead of Libertad to the Philip Morris disinformation executive, Ted Lattazino. It explains how Philip Morris insiders were told about the the links between Libertad, American-European Community Association and New York Society for International Affairs.

Libertad was incorporated some 7 years ago as a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. We faced considerable skepticism at the outset, finding it difficult to recruit suitable spokespersons. Over the years, we have learned to modify our approach somewhat, without losing the ability to be heard above the din created by the opposition. We no longer face problems in recruiting individuals of rank who are willing to speak up publicly against ad bans and restrictions.

By now, we have recruited 23 spokespersons; a persuasive and credible group. With the exception of participating editors and journalists, none are dependent on advertising for a living. Nor do they require or request fees to participate. Likewise, Board members do not receive fees. They are reimbursed for normal travel expenses only when attending meetings.

Libertad employs no staff or consultants, except where we go in cold and need to establish local media contacts. This was the case recently in Prague, where the Czech office of Burson-Marsteller did a first rate job in inviting and screening journalists who attended this, our 11th international meeting.

Normally, I am able to reach leading local politicians via the AECA or The New York Society. Where I fail, Lord Henry Plumb steps in.

Charles Henry Plumb (Lord Plumb of Coleshill) was a professional public relations practitioner who became a Tory member of the European Parliament (MEP). He acted as a link between Philip Morris (Andrew Whist and David Morse, with Libertad) and the International Advertising groups, and was involved in running conferences for them in (Paris, Rome, London, Frankfurt, Brusssls, Madrid and Helsinki)

Libertad does not supplant activities undertaken by the media/advertising fraternities. However, the caliber of our participants lends moral, ethical and intellectual weight to efforts to derail ad bans and restrictions. The unusual mix of speakers also makes for lively events -- important when seeking media coverage.

In practical terms, we have achieved the defeat of some existing and proposed ad bans -- on our own and in collaboration with other organizations. Members have also generated positive coverage in select media and the popular press -- here and abroad. [3]

1997 The NYSIA junket to Costa Rica (Whist was asked about this in his June 1998 deposition. [4] ) Whist has a very poor memory when it comes to these junkets, but says vaguely that he was approached by a representative of the Costa Rican government to find an organisation that was interested in a visit to Costa Rica because it's important for them ... for trade and other purposes to remain close to the US. He met with [[Dan Sprague, Exec Dir of Council for State Governments. He then met with Danilo Jimenex the Costa Rican Ambassador to the US. "He died and his widow Muni Figueres asked me if I could continue." He claimed that this junket had nothing to do with Philip Morris, and when questioned said he didn't know whether they had a factory in Costa Rica. Yet Philip Morris provided most of the funds (via NYSIA).

Whist and his assistant Kevin Callahan were accompanied by

1997 Oct 21 The address of the NYSIA was now at 599 Lexington Avenue, the same as some of Whist's other organisations, Libertad and Institute for International Health and Development (IIHD)]. Philip Morris is no longer directly funding the NYSIA -- its subsidiary Kraft has sent the NYSIA a check of $150,000 Although this record was in the Philip Morris files. [[5]]

1998 June 29th Deposition of Ulf Andrew Whist (VP Philip Morris International Corporate Affairs) in the case State of Oklahoma v RJ Reynolds (et al) which included the other tobacco companies including Philip Morris). [Whist's real name was Ulf Andreas Whist, not Andrew]

This is a text-book example of how to answers evasively given by (1) strict interpretation of the questions, and by (2) memory lapses and (3) supposed confusion. [[6]

1999 May A panegyric to Andrew Whist when he was leaving PM says:

Mr. Whist is the 'President of the New York Society for International Affairs, dedicated to the promotion of peace through dialogue with international political, cultural and business leaders. This organization routinely stages meetings and seminars intended to assist third world nations. In conjunction with the Africa America Institute, the New York Society sponsors the David A. Morse Visitorship Program, which brings African professionals to the United States to study how democratic institutions function.


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