Don's Blog: May 2022

Clay Shaw/Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw/Dueling Voices/I Lost It at the Beginning/101 Reasons Not To Murder The Entire Saudi Royal Family/He Knew Where He Was Going (?)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

William Gaudet and Latin American Reports and the International Trade Mart/Clay Shaw

One of the many shadowy-seeming figures around Clay Shaw was William Gaudet, who published a newsletter style offering called Latin American Reports. The publication seems to have begun operation in the mid-1940s, around the time that International House was opening in New Orleans and during the 2 1/2 year buildup to the opening of the International Trade Mart in 1948. The Trade Mart contributed to the publication by taking out subscriptions for tenants and potential tenants, possibly giving rent breaks and even small contributions. The newsletter, which years later evolved into a magazine, gave summaries of happenings in virtually all of the Central and South American countries. It is known that the CIA funded at least some of the research that went into the publication, and perhaps some travel expenses, but as best I could uncover William Gaudet was never paid by the CIA, never was employed by them, even as a contractor, and never signed any security agreement with them. But years later, in the 1970s, when the CIA was being investigated by Congress, Gaudet publicly claimed that he had worked for the CIA (not unusual, since the CIA rarely denied such claims, at least not publicly).

I go into Gaudet's history with Clay Shaw and the International Trade Mart in my biography of Clay Shaw, Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw. Latin American Reports began to fall behind on its rent in the second half of the 1950s, and Clay Shaw found it necessary to issue them a warning about possible eviction, a situation later resolved with some free advertising space in the pubication for the Trade Mart.

As for the shadowy Gaudet, his self-created legend lives on, if in much reduced form compared to the mid-1970s.

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