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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Did a Life Magazine Memo Say that Clay Shaw was in Rome?

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

Two days ago, I posted documents showing that the allegation that Clay Shaw was working for the CIA in Rome in the 1960s originated in Paese Sera, a Communist-controlled newspaper in Rome.

"Wrong again. There was a Time Life internal report that says he was in Italy. And this was at about the time that it first opened."

I would very much like to see that memo. Here is a Life Magazine memo written by Iride Cerabona, who was stationed in their bureau in Rome, about Clay Shaw and Permindex: (found in the papers of Richard Billings)

The memo clearly states all of the allegations originated with Paese Sera. There is no reference to any other Life Magazine memo.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Trade all denied any relationship between the CMC and the CIA. Even a top official in the Ministry of the Interior, on a confidential basis, denied the allegations.

The memo says that "contrary to other past exploits of Paese Sera, this one has not provoked or aroused formal protest, denial or sarcastic comments through other publications." This is not true. The March 5, 1967 edition of Il Messaggero said that Shaw had never been to Italy and noted that "there is no trace of his name in the foreigner's office":

Il Messaggero, March 5, 1967

The last paragraph reads:

"Il nome di Clay Shaw ha fatto fantasticare di attivita tenebrose per le quali e stata tirata in ballo anche la CIA, cioe la centrale del controspionaggio americana, ma nulla allo stato dei fatti sembra autorizzare illazioni cosi aczzardate."

I sent that paragraph to an Italian friend who sent me back this translation:

"The name of Clay Shaw has conjured an image of mysterious activity which appears to be involved with the CIA, that is to say, the headquarters of counterintelligence in America, but nothing in the current situation seems to authorize such risky speculation."

Another newspaper, Il Tempo, said "political fiction on Clay Shaw - a tangled and unlikely reconstruction from a communist source."


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