German-born Prince Bernhard was a controversial figure, a notorious playboy philanderer, who had been a member of the German NSDAP and Reiter SS, and later in 1976, was accused of accepting more than a $1 million bribe from the US fighter aircraft maker, Lockheed, to influence purchase of US fighter planes by the Dutch Air Force. When Bernhard was forced to resign because of the scandals, he was succeeded as Bilderberg Chairman by then German Bundespräsident, Walter Scheel, and then afterwards by Britain’s Lord Carrington, a confidante and later business partner of Henry Kissinger. 
The American Steering Committee for the first Bilderberg Meeting in 1954 consisted of USA chairman Joseph E. Johnson, president of the Rockefeller-tied Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Others included George Ball, who during the Second World War was in London serving as director of the Strategic Bombing Survey, to analyze the impact of British and American bombing of German cities and civilian populations. After the war in 1945 Ball began close collaboration with Jean Monnet and the French government. Later Ball played a key role regarding the Marshall Plan. In 1950 he helped draft the Schuman Plan and the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty.
The American Bilderberg Steering Committee also included H. J. Heinz II, of the food group; George Nebolsine, a State Department consultant on the Marshall Plan; and Dean Rusk, then President of the Rockefeller Foundation and later Secretary of State. 
The real guiding hand behind the American side of the Bilderberg Group, however, was the first head of the newly-established Central Intelligence Agency, General Walter Bedell Smith. In 1950 Smith became Director of the CIA. The CIA helped organize, and sponsored the formation, and operation of the Bilderberg Conferences.
In late 1952, Retinger went to America to test his Bilderberg idea on his American contacts. Retinger met Averell Harriman, David Rockefeller, and Bedell Smith, then the first director of the CIA. After Retinger explained his proposal, Smith reportedly said, “Why the hell didn’t you come to me in the first place?” The CIA chief then told Retinger to go to C. D. Jackson, who was about to become President Eisenhower’s Special Assistant for Psychological Warfare, and liaison between the Pentagon and CIA. 
Bilderberg founder, Josef Retinger, a Polish-born Roman Catholic, organized his European network of the Bilderberg through the mediation of an Italian CIA asset, Prof. Luigi Gedda, head of Azione Cattolica. Gedda was also medical adviser to Pope Pius XII, a very strong right-wing anti-communist pontiff, who before the Second World War, as Cardinal Eugenio Giovanni Pacelli, had been architect of the 1933 Reichskonkordat with Hitler’s Nazi Party. Already in 1932 Pacelli as Vatican Secretary of State had played a key role in convincing Roman Catholic German Chancellor Franz von Papen to steer his Catholic Center Party into an anti-left alliance with the NSDAP of Hitler. 
As Pope, Pius XII had a clear political bias and it was towards support of clerical or nominally Roman Catholic fascist or extremely repressive right-wing regimes, a form of what some termed clerical fascism, the fusion of the Church with fascist or dictatorial political regimes, such as in Franco Spain.
In effect, Retinger’s European Bilderberg networks linked the extreme right-wing European anti-communist networks—including the Vatican of Pius XII, of Opus Dei, of the Franco government, of Portugal’s General Spinola and numerous other right-wing European anti-communist networks—to the triumphant American elites around the powerful Rockefeller group, through the networks and person of David Rockefeller. It was a power marriage that was to have a profound effect on the development of postwar European society and politics.
For the Rockefeller group and their Bilderberg allies, who controlled the CIA, State Department and owned the key companies of the military-industrial complex, a Vatican anti-communist crusade was a gift from Heaven so to say.
In August 1950, Francis Matthews, American Secretary of the Navy, held a speech in Boston. Matthews, a devout Roman Catholic, was former Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, described by some as the Catholic counterpart to freemasonry. He was intimate with the highest levels of the Church.