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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

This is a collection of declassified documents pertaining to Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL) – Radios which were overseen and funded by the Central Intelligence Agency until 1971, funded there after by open Congressional appropriation, and merged in 1976 as RFE/RL, Inc. The documents were used as primary sources for A. Ross Johnson's book ''Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond'' or published in the appendix of ''Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe'' edited by A. Ross Johnson and R. Eugene Parta. See also CWIHP e-Dossier No. 32 and e-Dossier No. 59 for introductions to the documents, and the related collections Intelligence Operations in the Cold War, and Mass Media and Censorship. (Image, RFE broadcaster Nowak-Jezioraski, 1952)

  • August 25, 1951

    Radio Liberty Objectives Outlined

    An Office of Policy Coordination officer explains Radio Liberty aims and objectives as involving “Russians speaking to Russians through an organization made up of the peoples of Russia.”

  • August 27, 1951

    Office of Policy Coordination Memorandum on Russian Emigration

    OPC provides the State Department with a positive progress report on efforts to unify the Russian emigration and organize broadcasting to the USSR.

  • September 06, 1951

    CIA-State Department Reservations about Broadcasting to the Soviet Union

    Senior CIA and State Department officials review the August 21 OPC memorandum ["Office of Policy Coordination History of American Committee for Liberation"]. The State Department officials question whether disparate Russian émigré groups can cooperate enough to organize broadcasting to the USSR, while CIA director Walter Bedell Smith questions the cost of the project.

  • September 15, 1951

    Report to USSR Minister of Communications on Western Broadcasts to Poland

    The following document describes how arrangements were made to jam Western broadcasts to Poland from Soviet and Polish territory in 1951.

  • October 24, 1951

    USSR Council of Ministers Decree Instituting Jamming of Anti-Polish Propaganda via Radio on Polish Territory

    Decree ordering the USSR Ministry of Communications to assist with the jamming of Western radio broadcasts in Poland.

  • November 20, 1951

    CIA-State Department “Summit” Limits Scope of Radio Free Europe

    Assistant Secretary of State Edward Barrett reviews Free Europe Committee plans with Allen Dulles and other officials. The State Department vetoes startup of Radio Free Europe Baltic broadcasting on grounds that it would duplicate Voice of America broadcasts and insists that the Crusade for Freedom be toned down. Dulles subsequently rejects the latter point in a handwritten annotation.

  • December 21, 1951

    George Kennan’s Views on Radio Liberty

    Office of Policy Coordination officers visit Princeton to solicit George Kennan’s views on Radio Liberty broadcasting

  • February 17, 1952

    Report by Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart on his visit to Radio Free Europe, Munich

    Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart - head of the World War II Political Warfare Executive who later had a highly popular BBC weekly program in Czech - visited RFE with BBC Central European chief Gregory Macdonald between January 29 and February 1, 1952. Reviewing personalities, attitudes, and operations in Munich, Lockhart concluded that RFE had made progress in its first year, that its broadcasters were happy to be separated geographically from émigré politicians in the US, but that RFE faced the challenge of keeping the spark of hope alive in Eastern Europe without instigating revolt. It also faced the challenge of emerging German sovereignty, which Lockhart thought would force RFE to relocate to another country. Accompanying Foreign Office memoranda generally endorsed Lockhart conclusions. Information Research Department official F.C. Stacey cautioned that “the need for sensational stories of RFE activities” for the domestic US audience might result in irresponsible RFE broadcasts.

  • March 08, 1952

    Voice of America Views of Radio Liberty Broadcasting

    Voice of America Director Foy Kohler argues that without the formation of a Russian émigré political center enabling “Russians speaking to Russians," Radio Liberty would be a "bad imitation of VOA."

  • March 15, 1952

    CIA, State Department, American Committee for Liberation Discussion of Radio Liberty Broadcasting

    CIA, State Department, and American Committee for Liberation (AMCOMLIB) officials agree to expand AMCOMLIB activities, share funding with Radio Free Europe from the Crusade for Freedom, and delay Radio Liberty broadcasts until a sponsoring Russian Émigré Political Center is formed

  • March 28, 1952

    Radio Liberty Broadcasting Policy

    An Office of Policy Coordination memorandum formulates principles guiding Radio Liberty broadcasting, which should be organized by a Russian Political Center, not duplicate Voice of America broadcasts, and aim at destroying the Soviet government’s monopoly of information.

  • April 04, 1952

    Senate Staff Member Criticizes Radio Free Europe

    Richard Arens, counsel for the Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, accuses Radio Free Europe of harboring Marxists and broadcasting left-wing and socialist propaganda.

  • April 24, 1952

    Office of Policy Coordination Dissents from State Department Views on Radio Free Europe

    Frank Wisner in a memorandum to Robert Joyce dissents from State Department criticism that exile participation on Radio Free Europe is minimal and rejects State’s proposal that East European National Councils should themselves organize broadcasts.

  • May 29, 1952

    State Department Comments on Radio Liberty Policy Guidance Paper

    State Department Russia expert Francis B. Stevens comments on a draft policy guidance for Radio Liberty broadcasts. [Evidently an initial response to "Office of Policy Coordination Requests State Department Views on Radio Liberty", which is dated June 2 but was drafted on May 26.]

  • June 02, 1952

    Office of Policy Coordination Requests State Department Views on Radio Liberty

    Frank Wisner in a memorandum to Robert Joyce requests State Department views on policy guidance for Radio Liberty broadcasts, to be organized by the Russian émigré Political Center and adhering to a list of 21 prescriptions and prohibitions.

  • June 09, 1952

    State Department and Office of Policy Coordination Discussion of Radio Liberty

    State Department and Office of Policy Coordination officials discuss differences among émigré groups and hostility of the exile Ukrainian Congress to the American Committee for Liberation.

  • July 03, 1952

    State Department Views on Radio Liberty

    Responding to Frank Wisner’s June 2 request ["Office of Policy Coordination Requests State Department Views on Radio Liberty"], the State Department Office of East European Affairs provides Robert Joyce with its views of proposed RL broadcasts, stressing a policy of “self determination for the nationalities when conditions are such as to permit them freely to give expression to their will” [a formulation which would be known as non-predeterminism].

  • July 16, 1952

    Revised Princeton Statement [on American Foreign Policy]

    The Psychological Strategy Board issues a restrained revision of the Princeton Statement adopted at a May 1952 meeting at Princeton on psychological operations [available in the Hoover Archives] convened at the initiative of Free Europe Committee President C.D. Jackson.

  • August 04, 1952

    CIA-Free Europe Committee Memorandum of Understanding

    Allen Dulles records initialing a Memorandum of Understanding with Free Europe Committee (FEC). The Memorandum, also initialed by FEC President Howard B. Miller, outlines procedures for CIA (“Sponsor”) approval of FEC (“Fund”) budget submittals and establishment of a CIA liaison office to handle all FEC contacts except for financial matters and “matters which the Fund desires to take up with the Director of Sponsor [i.e., Dulles] or his immediate Deputies.”

  • January 22, 1953

    Radio Liberty Editorial Policies Defined

    A CIA memorandum formulates guidelines for RL broadcasts to be conducted by a Coordinating Center of Soviet exiles