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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 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 Policy Paper

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

  • February 11, 1953

    State Department Views of Radio Liberty Broadcasting

    The State Department comments on the January 22, 1953 CIA paper ["Radio Liberty Editorial Policies Defined"], raising the issue of likely restraints from West Germany when it regains sovereignty.

  • February 18, 1953

    TASS to CPSU on 'Anti-Soviet propaganda of the Voice of America' on Death of Lev Mekhlis

    This TASS information bulletin was sent to the Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers. Note the distribution to Stalin and Malenkov only.

  • March 31, 1953

    Polish Proposal for Bloc-wide Coordination of Radio Jamming

    This unsourced document prepared in March 1953 in only three copies, one of which went to Politburo member Jakob Berman, suggested the need for multilateral Soviet bloc coordination of jamming efforts.

  • May 18, 1953

    CIA Criticizes American Committee for Liberation Policies

    Dana Durand, chief of the CIA/DDP SR Division, now responsible for the Radio Liberty project, concludes that efforts to unify the Russian emigration have become counterproductive, that RL broadcasting should be separated from émigré politics, and that AMCOMLIB president Leslie Stevens is too wedded to the old approach to continue in office.

  • June 25, 1953

    TASS on Radio Liberation Broadcast to Soviet Military in Germany during June 1953 East German Revolt

    This TASS bulletin containing the transcript of a Radio Liberation broadcast urging Soviet forces stationed in East Germany to “return to the barracks” was sent to top Soviet officials. Radio Liberation, later to be renamed Radio Liberty, went on the air in March 1953.

  • June 26, 1953

    TASS on Voice of America Broadcast Citing Radio Liberation Appeal to Soviet Military in Germany

    This document is the transcript of a VOA broadcast citing part of the Radio Liberation program mentioned in the 25 May TASS bulletin.

  • July 24, 1953

    Radio Liberty Broadcasting Reviewed

    State Department, CIA, and American Committee for Liberation (AMCOMLIB) representatives review Radio Liberty issues. CIA notes RL’s “steady progress” without participation of the émigré Political Center.

  • September 30, 1953

    Implementation of Jackson Committee Recommendations on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    The Operations Coordinating Board forwards CIA’s acceptance of Jackson Committee recommendations that the Free Europe Committee and American Committee for Liberation concentrate on radio broadcasting to the Soviet bloc as distinct from émigré support projects.

  • November 16, 1953

    Fomenting Unrest in the Communist World

    C.D. Jackson, now assistant to President Eisenhower, urges CIA director Allen Dulles to make contingency plans to exploit future unrest in the Communist world during a perceived “Winter of Discontent.”

  • November 18, 1953

    CIA Dissent from C.D. Jackson’s Views

    CIA official Tracey Barnes, reacting to C.D. Jackson’s memorandum of November 16, 1953 ("Fomenting Unrest in the Communist World"), cautions against encouraging active resistance in Eastern Europe.

  • February 26, 1954

    CIA Review of Radio Liberty Broadcasting

    A CIA memorandum reviews Radio Liberty policy guidance to date and outlines how it differs from the Voice of America.

  • March 08, 1954

    International Organizations Division, History of the Efforts on the Part of the American Committee to Establish Large Scale Radio Activities

    An International Organizations Division memorandum reviews the history of AMCOMLIB efforts to organize radio broadcasts, noting that they became the primary AMCOMLIB activity only after issuance of the Jackson Committee report in September 1953.

  • April 12, 1954

    CIA Criticism of American Committee for Liberation Mission Statement

    CIA official Thomas Braden, now responsible for Radio Liberty, criticizes American Committee for Liberation (AMCOMLIB) president Stevens’ enclosed mission statement as overemphasizing émigré politics and neglecting communication with the people of the Soviet Union.

  • April 21, 1954

    Revised American Committee for Liberation Mission Statement

    A revised AMCOMLIB Mission Statement reflects Thomas Braden’s critique in his April 12, 1954 memorandum ["CIA Criticism of American Committee for Liberation Mission Statement"]

  • June 10, 1954

    Memorandum for Mr. Lampton Berry from Thomas W. Braden [Approved for Release March 2009]

    CIA official Thomas Braden assures the State Department that RFE broadcasts which took sides in Czechoslovak factory council elections have ended. (The cited FEC document is available in the Hoover Archives as FEC teletype NYC 29, June 8, 1954.)

  • June 10, 1954

    Thomas W. Braden, 'Operation VETO' [Approved for Release May 6, 2019]

    CIA official Thomas Braden assures the State Department that RFE broadcasts which took sides in Czechoslovak factory council elections, as envisaged in FEC Czechoslovak Guidance No. 13, have ended. (The Guidance and the cited FEC telegram are available in the Hoover Archives and the Blinken Open Society Archives as FEC teletype NYC 29, June 8, 1954.)

  • June 16, 1954

    State Department Reservations about Free Europe Committee Policy

    State Department official Lampton Berry conveys to Thomas Braden reservations about FEC Special Policy Guidance No. 19 [available in the Hoover Archives] that emphasized weakened Soviet control in Eastern Europe.

  • July 12, 1954

    State Department Endorses American Committee for Liberation Mission Statement

    Lampton Berry conveys to Allen Dulles the State Department’s endorsement of the revised AMCOMLIB mission statement of April 21, 1954 ["Revised American Committee for Liberation Mission Statement"].