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Obituaries

Alexander MacDonald; Ex-Editor of Bangkok Post

May 26, 2000

Alexander MacDonald, 92, former editor of Thailand's oldest English-language newspaper, the Bangkok Post. MacDonald began his journalism career in Boston, working for the Advertiser, the Evening American and the Post before moving to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, in the Pacific. He wound up commanding an OSS unit in the Burmese jungle in the final months of World War II, broadcasting Allied news into Japanese-occupied Thailand. After the war ended, he stayed and created the Bangkok Post with a polyglot staff recruited from among Thais who had worked with him in the jungle and Japanese from a detention camp who apparently were the only people in Thailand who understood how to run his printing press. During his eight years as editor, he often used the paper to promote democracy and free speech. He wrote a highly regarded column called "Postmen Say." In the early 1950s he was ousted from the paper and ejected from Thailand by a military regime that opposed the Post's reporting. He returned to the United States and managed a resort on Cape Cod, later moving to become publisher and editor of the Marblehead Messenger in Marblehead, Mass., in 1966. A native of Lynn, Mass., he wrote two books, "My Footloose Newspaper Life" and "Bangkok Editor." On Sunday of a heart attack at his Marblehead home.

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