Becoming the Advocate for US-based Multinationals: the United States Council of the International Chamber of Commerce, 1945-1981

The United States Council for International Business today is one of the United States most powerful business organizations and the leading ambassador for US international business interests. It also connects multinationals based in the United States with international business networks, as it is the US affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the Business industry advisory committee (BIAC) to the OECD (today: Business at OECD).

At its founding in 1945 (it was reorganized on the basis of a preexisting group), the United States Council of the International Chamber of Commerce (as it was called until 1981) was not particularly influential in political and business circles. This contribution will show how it gained its prominence during the 1960s and 1970s, through a series of political campaigns aimed at defending the international interests of US businesses. This rise in the US Council’s political authority as the mouthpiece for international US business interests accompanied the ascent of the multinational enterprise that was taking place during the same period. Based on fresh archival documents, this contribution aims to shed light on the largely under-researched history of the US Council.