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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)

  • May 22, 1973

    Hungarian Central Committee Report on Fight against 'Hostile Propaganda'

    This Central Committee report to the Hungarian Politburo reviews efforts of Party and government organs to analyze Western broadcasting and other information programs targeted on Hungary. The report indicates the extent of the resources devoted to analyzing "hostile" information programs, criticizes as inadequate the efforts to counter "hostile propaganda" claiming to "improve socialism," and urges better coordination of counterpropaganda. The resolution of the Politburo accepting the report follows. This resolution, adopted on May 22, 1973, was declared invalid ten years later by a resolution made on October 11, 1983.

  • September 30, 1975

    Czechoslovak Interior Ministry Note on Actions of Agent Minarik against Radio Free Europe

    Pavel Minarik worked at RFE from 1968 to 1976 as an agent of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service. During these years he provided many documents and analyses to the Service. This document contains Interior Minister Obzina’s approval of an Intelligence Service plan to recall and publicize Minarik’s activities. Minarik was recalled to Prague and surfaced at a staged press conference in 1976.

  • January, 1976

    Institute for the Study of Contemporary Problems of Capitalism Report, 'Trends of Western Radio Propaganda Broadcast in Polish'

    This document is an example of the monthly analyses of Western broadcasting to Poland prepared by the Interior Ministry-affiliated Institute for the Study of Contemporary Problems of Capitalism (Instytut Badania Współczesnych Problemów Kapitalizmu). It is representative of the extensive cottage industry devoted to such analyses that developed in Poland in the 1970s.

  • February 13, 1976

    Soviet Bloc Intelligence Services Take Joint Countermeasures against Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    This GDR document is a German translation of the draft Action Program of Countermeasures against RFE and RL which was discussed at a multilateral meeting of Bloc intelligence services (minus Romania) in Prague in February 1976. The Prague meeting was suggested by the Czechoslovak interior ministry but dominated by the Soviet Union. Oleg Kalugin, then in charge of KGB counterintelligence, gave the opening speech (no copy of which could be located). Some of the measures listed in the Action Program, such as disinformation, were implemented. Others, such as a public tribunal to condemn the Radios, were never pursued.

  • February 14, 1976

    Bulgarian Interior Ministry Account of Meeting in Prague

    A Bulgarian Interior Ministry account of the Prague meeting of Soviet bloc intelligence services on RFE and RL.

  • October, 1976

    Institute for the Study of Contemporary Problems of Capitalism, 'Propaganda of Western Broadcasting Stations about the So-Called Workers' Defense Committee and the Supreme Court Sentence on the Seven Participants in the Ursus Events'

    This analysis by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Problems of Capitalism indicates regime concern over RFE’s coverage of the first organized dissident movements in Poland.

  • 1977

    Bulgarian Interior Ministry Analysis of Foreign Propaganda against Bulgaria

    This document provides a detailed content analysis of the programs of individual Western broadcasters. It indicates particular sensitivity to broadcasts on Helsinki-related human rights issues, to the use of recent defectors with inside knowledge, and to Radio Free Europe's focus on domestic issues.

  • December 27, 1977

    Letter from Sixth Directorate of Bulgarian State Security on KGB Support

    This document from the Sixth Directorate of Bulgarian State Security thanks “Soviet comrades” for their assistance in combating hostile propaganda against Bulgaria. It acknowledges the role of State Security in publishing articles in the Bulgarian media “exposing” RFE and RL, and refers to joint Soviet-Bulgarian operations against Western radios.

  • 1978

    Bulgarian General Stoyanov Meets KGB Geneneral Bobkov to Discuss Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    Various counter-measures against RFE and RL were discussed in this meeting, including a possible international trial of the “committee” supporting RFE and RL.

  • December 04, 1978

    Hungary Central Committee Resolution on Fight against 'Imperialist Propaganda'

    In response to a report on the implementation of the Politburo resolution of May 22, 1973, concerning the need to strengthen the fight against "imperialist propaganda" (especially its emphasis on human rights) the HSWP Central Committee passes a resolution containing proposals for future tasks (including concern with projected Western satellite television broadcasts).

  • December 04, 1978

    Hungarian Secretariat Report on Fight against 'Imperialist Propaganda'

    Report on the implementation of the Politburo resolution of May 22, 1973, concerning the need to strengthen the fight against "imperialist propaganda" (especially its emphasis on human rights) and proposals for future tasks (including concern with projected Western satellite television broadcasts).

  • 1979

    Bulgarian Cooperation with KGB against 'Subversive Centers'

    This document provides further details of joint KGB-Bulgarian measures to counter RFE and RL. It vaunts the effectiveness of Bulgarian regime counterpropaganda, claiming that it thwarted Western efforts to create internal strife in Bulgaria.

  • 1979

    Bulgarian Interior Ministry Note on Actions against Western Radio

    A Bulgarian Interior Ministry paper details coordinated actions against Western radio in the aftermath of the May 1977 Budapest meeting of Bloc security services. The paper identifies RFE, and notably several of its broadcasters who recently defected from Bulgaria, as a major threat. It accuses Western media of sensationalizing the murder of Georgi Markov (who was killed by the Zhivkov regime).

  • 1979

    Bulgarian and Czechoslovak Interior Ministries Plan to Cooperate against Foreign Propaganda

    This document details a plan for cooperation between the 6th Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the 10th Directorate of the Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Czecho-Slovak Socialist Republic during the period 1979-1981 against foreign propaganda operations. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are singled out.

  • April 23, 1980

    Report by the Chairman of the Delegation of the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the USSR, General-Colonel V. M. Chebrikov during Soviet Bloc Meeting on Western Radio

    In the statement by KGB Chairman Chebrikov at the Bloc Meeting held on 23 April 1980 to discuss foreign “hostile actions,” including Western radio broadcasting, special attention is given to attempts to form a political opposition in the socialist countries.

  • April 24, 1980

    Report by the Chairman of the Delegation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Comrade Colonel Jan Kovach, during Bloc Meeting on Western Radio

    In the statement by the Czechoslovak Interior Minister at the Bloc Meeting held on 23 April 1980 to discuss foreign “hostile actions,” including Western radio broadcasting, special attention is given to attempts to form a political opposition in the socialist countries.

  • April 24, 1980

    Report by the Chairman of the Delegation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the People’s Republic of Poland, Comrade Boguslav Staruha during Soviet Bloc Meeting on Western Radio

    In the statements by the Polish Interior Minister at the Bloc Meeting held on 23 April 1980 to discuss foreign “hostile actions,” including Western radio broadcasting, special attention is given to attempts to form a political opposition in the socialist countries.

  • April 25, 1981

    Minutes of Meeting between Czechoslovak and Hungarian Interior Ministry Officials on the Carlos Terrorist Group and Radio Free Europe Bomb Attack

    A bomb exploded outside the RFE building in Munich on February 21, 1981, severely injuring several employees and causing major physical damage. This document, and others like it, indicates that the Ceausescu regime commissioned the “Carlos group” to carry out the attack. The Carlos group was then resident in Budapest, and this document indicates that the Hungarian Interior Ministry had advance knowledge of the bombing.

  • April 29, 1982

    Warsaw Military Court Sentences Zdzislaw Najder to Death

    RFE Polish Service Director Zdzisław Najder is sentenced to death in absentia for treason.

  • April 11, 1983

    Letter with Opinion of Małgorzaty Mehnel–Szyc on Radio Free Europe and the Case against Zdzisław Najder

    RFE Polish Service Director Zdzisław Najder was, like Col. Ryszard Kuklinski and Polish ambassadors who defected after the imposition of martial law, sentenced to death in absentia for treason. This document is an “expert opinion” to the effect that Najder required CIA support to become Polish Service Director.