The North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA)

Brian J Griffith's picture

Dear fellow historians,

I am writing to you to see if you might be able to help me locate something I'm looking for. I have been collecting sources on an American woman who (covertly) worked for Mussolini's fascist dictatorship during the 1930s (as a 'journalist') for a few years now. One of the areas where my documentation has always been rather sparse is the period during which she went to Spain to cover the Civil War (on the Nationalist side) for the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA). She allegedly drove 10,000 miles around Nationalist Spain in 1937 reporting for this newspaper syndicate before departing for Morocco (and onward to Ethiopia to tour Fascist Italy's colony there). I am trying to figure out which papers this NANA was syndicated with. The syndicate's Wikipedia page says that there were 50 American newspapers involved, but I can't find a single mention of any one of these individual newspapers. I am not really sure how I can go about trying to retrieve any of her reporting, especially since the syndicate disseminated its authors' articles nationally. Do you have any advice for me as to where I might look and how I might go about trying to track down her reports?

Thank you very much for your advice.

BJG

I had never heard of the North American Newspaper Alliance so I did some digging in my archives. A few references:

In a 1945 State Department report entitled "Memorandum on the Post-War International Information Program of the United States", on p33 is a passage about the establishment of Press Wireless Inc. It was established on 5 July 1929 with five newspapers as it original stockholders with "nominal stock participation by several news agencies -- the Associated Press, the United Press, King Features Syndicate, and the North American Newspaper Alliance."

In a 1951 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Lending Policy, on 8 March 1951, p1374, there is a mention of a Mr Martin Hayden who "wrote an article in the Washington Star for the North American Newspaper Alliance."

In a report by the Committee on Un-American Activities in the House, under the chairmanship of Francis Walter, entitled "Violations of State Department regulations and pro-Castro propaganda activities in the United States" and covering 6 May 1963 to 28 September 1964, there is a mention on p230-1 of a Vincent Lee. Lee asked the State Department "that his passport be validated" for a trip to Cuba between 30 Aug '62 - 30 Nov '62 as a "free-lance journalist for the North American Newspaper Alliance and as a radio reporter for Radio State WBAI in New York City." WBAI gave supporting evidence that they supported the trip and expected Lee to interview Castro and others. NANA, however, did not provide State such material. "On May 16, 1963, Sid Goldberg, the editor of the North American Newspaper Alliance wrote the Committee on Un-American Activities that he had never previously heard of Mr. Lee or any arrangements between Lee and NANA." (When later asked by the Committee about his relationship with NANA, Mr. Lee pleaded the Fifth!)

The letter by Sid Goldberg, introduced as evidence in the hearing, has an address for NANA: 230 West 41st Street, New York 36.

In a 4 March 1963 hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Activities of nondiplomatic representatives of foreign principals in the United States, in evidence is a telegram dated 14 August 1958 to the Dominican Republic Information Center, Sidney Goldberg (in the aforementioned document he was listed as Sid and he signed as Sid, in this, he is listed as Sidney) is a Feature Writer for NANA. (p300 - Activities of Nondiplomatic Representatives)

In the same hearing, on p788-9 ("Activities of Agents for Foreign Principals in the US"), there is a mention of a Mr Don Frifield that submitted articles to NANA. One of the articles was released on 7 February 1959 and was entitled "Chen, Wearing 'Three Hats,' Is Chiang's 'Heir Apparent'". Another writer for NANA: David Roads (circa 1960), formerly of the AP. (The issue was whether these journalists were writing bias reports as paid foreign agents.)

In this hearing, the Miami Herald is mentioned as a member of NANA. The Miami Herald editor-in-chief was John Pennekamp (and he was mentioned because he accepted articles from Frifield.

That's all I've got from a quick look. Hopefully that helps.

Matt

Vincent (Ted) Lee, who died a few years ago, testified at some length to a Congressional committee investigating the JFK assassination. Lee had become secretary of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee as a neutral figure that its two main factions (CP and SWP) could tolerate. He had joined the Merchant Marine during WWII while still a minor, and after the war became involved in various anti-war and left-wing activities. By the 1960s he was an anarchist, and remained one until his death frequently attending protests and picket lines in his wheelchair (he spent more than two decades in a wheelchair as a result of a failed heart bypass operation), waving his red and black syndicalist flag.