Guide to the Tom McNiff Jr. Collection 1940-2010

Collection number: MC 352 [Off-site storage]
Size: (25 boxes) (8.33 cu.ft.)

About Tom McNiff, Jr. (1940-2017)

Thomas Alfred McNiff Jr. (1940-2017) was a freelance reporter based in Massachusetts. He was a member of the United States Air Force from 1957-1961, later working for the Boston Globe at various points. As a freelance journalist his primary research focused on American and British counterintelligence activities in Albania after WWII. McNiff seems to have been inspired by Nicholas Bethell’s 1984 book “The Great Betrayal: The Untold Story of Kim Philby’s Biggest Coup” about British/Soviet double agent Kim Philby’s involvement in Operation BFIEND (later Operation OBOPUS) in Albania. [Note: Sources disagree on whether the original name was BGFIEND or BFIEND. McNiff used the latter, so that spelling is preserved throughout this finding aid.]

Operation BFIEND/OBOPUS was a joint effort (1949-1958) by British and American intelligence services to arm anti-communist guerilla organizations in Albania. They hoped to overthrow the Soviet-backed Communist regime of Envar Hoxha (1908-1985, in power 1941-1985) by setting up exiled Albanian King Zog I and fomenting an Albanian civil war. Additionally, it was hoped that a revolt in Albania would inspire a chain of anti-Communist revolts in Eastern Europe. The operation was a complete failure due to Soviet agents infiltrating the groups and tipping off the Albanian regime.

In a 1985 letter, McNiff wrote,

“I am a freelance journalist now pursuing a project similar to Lord Bethell’s examination of the Anglo-American intelligence operations in Albania, but from an American point of view.”

McNiff’s research found a series of operations not included in Bethell’s book. These served to link Albanian operations more closely with Balkan history of the era – especially Tito’s break with Stalin in 1948 and the emigration to US of Nazi officials around the same time. In another 1985 letter McNiff wrote,

“I am a journalist working on a book that examines American and English intelligence activities in Albania after World War II. As you know the Americans have been accursed of allowing Nazi collaborators to emigrate to the U.S. after the war because of alleged intelligence usefulness. It is this point that I am trying to clear up: whether Albanian collaborators [of the Hoxha regime] were allowed to emigrate to the U.S.”

McNiff’s research concentrating on the American side of the story, but he also needed to get the British and Albanian sides. Between 1985 and 1998 he traveled across the United States, Britain, and Europe conducting interviews and research in support of the book he planned to write. While this volume was ultimately never published, several partial drafts are included in this collection.

About the Tom McNiff Jr. Collection (1945-2010)

This collection consists of ca. 25 cubic feet of research materials. There are 155 audio tapes of interviews with Albanians living in Britain and 148 original and reproduced photographs. The bulk of the collection over 10,000 pages of documents obtained from the FBI, CIA, MI6, U.S. Army, National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), United Nations, and related entities, the bulk of which was obtained through Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. Photocopies from his research at the Eisenhauer and Truman presidental libraries and various Ivy League universities are included. Around 1000 pages are handwritten notes taken during unrecorded interviews McNiff conducted. Materials are in a mix of English and Albanian.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Contents of this collection are stored offsite and require 48 hours' notice for access. Please contact archives@unh.edu for more information.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder Number], [Box Number], Tom McNiff Jr. Collection, 1940-2010, MC 352, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of the estate of the creator, 2020

Separated Material

Duplicates and unrelated material were removed. Approximately 230 books relating to the Albanian operation were removed and selected volumes will be cataloged.

Collection Arrangement

Original order was not discernable upon acquisition. An artificial order was imposed by subject, creating a single series. Each subject is organized chronologically.

Collection Contents

Series 1: Research Materials, 1940-2017

(25 cubic feet)
Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1Copy of “The Great Betrayal” by Lord Nicholas Bethell
Box 1, Folder 2Copy of “rhetoric and Reality: The Eisenhower Administration and unrest in Eastern Europe, 1953-1959 by James David Marchio
Box 1, Folder 3Maps of Albania
Box 1, Folder 4Correspondence 1985-1986
Box 1, Folder 5Correspondence 1987-1995
Box 1, Folder 6Correspondence 2008-2017
Box 1, Folder 7Early book draft materials
Box 1, Folder 8Early book draft materials
Box 1, Folder 9Early book draft materials
Box 1, Folder 10Early book draft materials
Box 1, Folder 11OPVAL(operational validation program) draft
Box 1, Folder 12OPVAL (operational validation program) draft
Box 1, Folder 13Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.1 part 1 with handwritten notes
Box 1, Folder 14Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.1 part 2
Box 1, Folder 15Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.2 part 1 with handwritten notes
Box 1, Folder 16Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.2 part1 with handwritten notes
Box 1, Folder 17Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.3 with handwritten notes
Box 1, Folder 18Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.4 part 1 with handwritten notes
Box 1, Folder 19Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.4 part 2 with handwritten notes
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.5 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 2Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.6 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 3Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.6 pt.2 with handwritten notes, FBI records of trial
Box 2, Folder 4Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.7 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 5Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.8 with handwritten notes, valuable Fiend leaflets
Box 2, Folder 6Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.9 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 7Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.10 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 8Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.11 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 9Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.12 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 10Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.13 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 11Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.13 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 12Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.14 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 13Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.14 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 14Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.15 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 15Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.15 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 16Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.16 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 17Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.17 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 18Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.17 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 19Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.18 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 20Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.18 pt. 2 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 21Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.19 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 22Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.20 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 23Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.20 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 2, Folder 24Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.22 with handwritten notes
Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.23 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 2Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.23 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 3Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.24 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 4Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.24 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 5Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.25 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 6Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.25 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 7Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.26 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 8Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.26 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 9Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.27 pt.1 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 10Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.27 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 11Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.28 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 12Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.29 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 13Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.29 pt.2 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 14Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.30 with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 15Copy of CIA report, OBOPUS / BFIEND, Vol.31
Box 3, Folder 15Operation QKSTAIR Bulgaria
Box 3, Folder 17Operation OBDURATE Bulgaria
Box 3, Folder 18Personnel File: Destan Berisha with handwritten notes
Box 3, Folder 19Personnel File: Shaqir Kabashi with handwritten notes, pt. 1
Box 3, Folder 20Personnel File: Shaqir Kabashi with handwritten notes, pt. 2
Box 4
Box 4, Folder 1-20Copies of declassified documents form CIA, 1951 - 1955; copies about Michael Tanes; Copies from Harry S. Truman; copies of Presidential Secretary files, 1950s.
Box 5
Box 5, Folder 1-20Copies of Lists of US Government documents; copies of Albanian Activities in the US 1951 through 1954; copies of newspaper articles; information on how to get declassified government documents.
Box 6
Box 6, Folder 1-20Files of 1952 OPS; Thunderclap 1951; Project Obdurate 1953 through 1954; Mustafa Story; copies of CIA declassified documents.
Box 7
Box 7, Folder 1-20Copies of declassified British files; copies from Eisenhower Library; information concerning Everland - Truitt Case; background of Ahmet Kabashi.
Box 8
Box 8, Folder 1-20Copies pertaining to Michael Burke and Hermann Neubacher; copies from British Foreign Office, 1949.
Box 9
Box 9, Folder 1-20Transcripts of interviews with Kupi Family, John Campbell, Abas Ermenji, Ndue Gjonmarka, John Hart, Saiti Bariq, Avni Gastra, Maco Hasani, Alfred Ulmer, Sam Hopler, Philip Adams, Nick Lalic, Asim Jakava, Gilbert Greenway
Box 10
Box 10, Folder 1-20Albanian Maritime, CIA account of Albania 1949 - 1955, Thunderclap Operation, League of the Mountains 1950 - 1951.
Box 11
Box 11, Folder 1-20Copies from the Department of State National Archives, Truman Library, OP Val 1940 - 1950.
Box 12
Box 12, Folder 1-20Personnel files for Philip Adams through Joseph Gurley. Many files contain interviews notes.
Box 13
Box 13, Folder 1-20Personnel files for Ed Hamilton through Lokman Lutvi. Many files contain interview notes.
Box 14
Box 14, Folder 1-20Personnel files for Safet Malushi through Gratian Yatsevitch, many files contain interview notes.
Box 15
Box 15, Folder 1-20Albanian spy activities, CIA information, British Intelligence; notes taken on a trip to Washington DC in 1989.
Box 16
Box 16, Folder 1-20Copies from 1950s pertaining to activities in Albania.
Box 17
Box 17, Folder 1-20Information about Joseph Lieb; CIA activities; pages of handwritten notes of research and findings.
Box 18
Box 18, Folder 1-20Research Materials: miscellaneous copies.
Box 19
Box 19, Folder 1-20Copies from FBI files on Albanian citizens and their activities.
Box 20
Box 20, Folder 1Photo: Tom McNiff at his house in Winthrop, MA
Box 20, Folder 2List of photos
Box 20, Folder 3Photos: Identified people and places, 1945 - 1951
Box 20, Folder 4Photos: Identified people and places, 1951 - 1952
Box 20, Folder 5Photos: Identified people and places, but undated
Box 20, Folder 6Unidentified slides and negatives
Box 20, Folder 7Unidentified photos
Box 20, Folder 8Misc. photos, 1980s
Box 20, Folder 9Photos: Esat Bajraktar, 1947 - 1952
Box 20, Folder 10Photos: Bektashi in Detroit, 1985
Box 20, Folder 11Photos: John C. Lee, undated
Box 20, Folder 12Photos: Ndue Melyshi, 1949, 1987
Box 20, Folder 13Photos: Mr. Surla, 1984
Box 20, Folder 14Photos: Romanian Agents
Box 20, Folder 15Photos: Tameion Building in Athens, 1990
Box 20, Folder 16Photocopies: BFIEND / OBOPUS Training Photos, 1949 – 1953
Box 20, Folder 17Newspaper Clippings, 1949 – 1953
Box 20, Folder 18Albanian Newspaper Clippings, 1991 – 1993
Box 20, Folder 19Yugo Newspaper clippings, 1992 – 1993
Box 20, Folder 20Yugo / Albanian Newspaper clippings, 1989 – 1992
Box 20, Folder 21Misc Newspaper clippings, 2008 - 2010
Box 21
Box 21, Folder 1-20Newspaper articles written by Tom McNiff, undated
Box 22
Box 22, Folder 1-20Reporter Notebooks (50-75), mostly undated
Box 23
Box 23, Folder 1-20Cassette player, cassettes of interviews, floppy discs and compact discs.
Box 24
Box 24, Folder 1-20Cassettes of interviews, with inventory
Box 25
Box 25, Folder 1-20Four books of copies from the United Kingdom National Archives

Formats

Audio Recordings
Books
Legal Papers
Letters & Postcards
Newspapers & Publications