The early issues contain disproportionately papers that the editor(s) saw and/or were able to solicit. Thus, early authors are predominantly individuals that the editor(s) knew. (A good number were favorable R&R’s at the top journals.) This selection process is not by design. The CFR would prefer to publish papers that are not solicited and written by less famous authors. The CFR is not a club journal. On the contrary. Help us!
Incidentally, many journals have originally “climbed the ladder” with the help of authors that had an interest in the journal or that were local and whose papers were thus easier to solicit. The first issue of the JFE appeared in 1974. It had three editors: Michael Jensen, Eugene Fama, and Robert Merton. The first issue, volume 1-1, featured four papers. One was by Fama (and Macbeth) and one was by Merton (and Samuelson). Larry Summers famously improved the QJE by starting to publish a lot of Harvard and MIT papers.
The goal of the CFR is to be able to move away from the need to solicit close individuals. The goal is to solicit good papers, not colleagues’ papers.