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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)

  • December 06, 1963

    Radio Liberty Broadcasting Policy

    Revised guidelines (updating previous Gray Broadcasting policy) for RL broadcasting policy approved by the Committee for Radio Broadcasting Policy.

  • January 30, 1964

    Romanian Securitate Report on Radio Free Europe's Encouragement of Romanian Independence from the USSR

    Information Note from the Foreign Information Section of the Securitate with regard to RFE’s encouragement of foreign policy autonomy, and differences of opinion on the matter within RFE.

  • May 04, 1964

    Romanian Secretariate Report on Radio Free Europe's Encouragement of Romanian Independence from the USSR

    Information Note from the Foreign Information Section of the Securitate with regard to RFE’s encouragement of foreign policy autonomy, and differences of opinion on the matter within RFE.

  • June 19, 1964

    Prague Embassy Praises Radio Free Europe

    In Airgram 556, the Prague Embassy again commends RFE but suggests further improvements in its broadcasts

  • December 23, 1964

    CIA Meeting with Members of Board of Directors of Free Europe Committee

    FEC directors emphasize their autonomy to CIA officials reviewing “proprietary” CIA projects

  • April 29, 1965

    Memorandum to CC CPSU from Turkmen CC on Extending Turkmen Foreign Broadcasting

    The Central Committee of the Turkmenistan Communist Party lobbies the Central Committee of the CPSU to establish a Farsi broadcasting service aimed at Iran and Afghanistan.

  • February 05, 1966

    Letter from Main Political Administration of the Polish Army to the Interior Minister on 'Hostile Radio Propaganda'

    A letter from the chief of the Polish Army Main Political Administration to the Interior Minister transmits an analysis of hostile radio propaganda prepared in the MPA for the purpose of countering "enemy propaganda" in the armed forces.

  • April 28, 1966

    Report of the Panel on US Government Radio Broadcasting to the Communist Bloc

    Panel commissioned by the White House and comprised of Zbigniew Brzezinski, William E. Griffith, John S. Hays, and Richard S. Salant recommends continuation of RFE and RL as covertly funded objective news services, along with VOA and RIAS, discontinuation of public solicitation of private financial donations to RFE, and (Hays dissenting) establishing a Radio Free China

  • September 08, 1966

    CIA Submittal to 303 Committee, Reaffirmation of Existing Policy on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    CIA proposes adoption of the findings of the Panel on US Government Broadcasting to the Communist Bloc pertaining to RFE and RL but urges continued solicitation of private corporate donations by the RFE Fund [successor to the Crusade for Freedom]

  • November 26, 1966

    Gosteleradio Review of Western Radio Propaganda, 'Anti-Communism is the main weapon of imperialist radio propaganda in the Russian language'

    This lengthy review of foreign radio propaganda by Y. Novikov, an official of the USSR Gosteleradio [State Television and Radio] Guidance Department, pays particular attention to what it sees as Western broadcasters’ attempts to discredit Marxism-Leninism and Communist economics, as well as the notion of convergence between capitalism and Communism.

  • January 26, 1967

    Polish Foreign Intelligence Report on Radio Free Europe

    This intelligence report indicates detailed knowledge of certain RFE operations, including audience research among Polish travelers in Western Europe, and news gathering by its field bureaus. It is noteworthy that the first name on the distribution list for this report was Party chief Gomułka.

  • March 13, 1967

    Memorandum, Central Intelligence Agency, 'Guidelines on Svetlana (Stalin) Defection'

    A CIA officer provides guidance to AMCOMLIB on minimal RL coverage of Svetlana’s defection and avoidance of immediate commentaries on the issue to minimize Soviet perceptions that the US is publicly exploiting the defection.

  • April 14, 1967

    Gosteleradio Memo to CPSU Central Committee, 'Ideological Subversion on the Airwaves of Foreign Radio Stations Broadcasting in the Russian language'

    This memo from N. Mesyatsev, Chairman, Broadcast and Television Committee, Council of Ministers, analyzes Western radio “propaganda” and credits Western broadcasts with being “an effective tool of ideological intervention.” The document notes that the broadcasts pay attention to Soviet dissidents, and mentions their use of humor and Western music.

  • April 27, 1967

    Telegram from the American Embassy in Warsaw to the Department of State, 'Appraisal of RFE Broadcasts to Poland' [Declassified September 19, 2016]

    In Warsaw Embassy Airgram A-666, US Embassy officers analyze six weeks of RFE Polish broadcasts and conclude that they support US policy objectives by informing Poles about developments in Poland and the world and encouraging evolutionary change.

  • September 08, 1967

    Report of Radio Study Group on the Future of Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL)

    An inter-agency Radio Study Group reviews options for RFE and RL in the wake of publicity about CIA funding. It recommends (the Bureau of the Budget representative dissenting) that CIA funding continue but that US government support be acknowledged

  • December 19, 1967

    303 Committee Decision on Funding Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    Principals of the Departments of State and Defense and CIA agree on December 15, 1967 on “surge funding” of RFE and RL through June 1969 and on continued corporate (but not private) contributions to the RFE Fund.

  • December 21, 1967

    CIA Implementation of 303 Committee Decision on Funding and Continuation of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    DCI Helms approves procedures to surge-fund RFE and RL through June 1969

  • February 16, 1968

    Memorandum to the CPSU CC from N. Mesyatsev, Chairman, Broadcast and Television Committee, Council of Ministers, USSR

    This document discusses Western radio programming aimed at the intelligentsia and dissidents, and cites the use of samizdat by Western broadcasters.

  • August 22, 1968

    CIA-State Consultations on Czechoslovak Crisis

    Consulted by Cord Meyer, Deputy Undersecretary of State Charles Bohlen approves RFE’s cautious approach to covering the Soviet invasion and also agrees to use of RL transmitters to reach Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia

  • August 22, 1968

    Prague Embassy Urges Caution on Radio Free Europe and Voice of America

    In Prague Embassy Dispatch No. 3079, Ambassador Jacob Beam urges the US Radios to provide factual reporting and neither encourage nor discourage Czechoslovak youth opposed to the invasion