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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)

  • November 23, 1956

    Interim Policy Guidance for Free Europe Committee

    Cord Meyer forwards to Frank Wisner a copy of “Interim Guidance for RFE” dated November 20 [a final revision of previous drafts] that was transmitted to the FEC on November 21. [FEC copy available in the Hoover Archives.]

  • November 26, 1956

    Review of Radio Free Europe Hungarian Broadcasts

    Cord Meyer informs Allen Dulles that Radio Free Europe (RFE) Hungarian broadcasts did not incite revolution or promise outside military intervention. He encloses his memorandum of November 16, 1956, on monitoring and program control of RFE and RL.

  • November 29, 1956

    Radio Free Europe Hungarian Broadcasts Appraised

    Cord Meyer forwards to Allen Dulles, with extensive comment, deputy undersecretary of state Robert Murphy’s review, dated November 26, 1956, of selected RFE Hungarian program scripts. Meyer also forwards a CIA/IOD memorandum on RFE policy and program review procedures.

  • December 03, 1956

    Rethinking the Role of Free Europe Committee and Radio Free Europe

    CIA/International Operations Division routing slips raise questions about an attached Free Europe Committee (FEC) draft dated November 12 on the FEC’s role in the wake of the Hungarian Revolution and note that the FEC [in New York] did not forward to Radio Free Europe Munich certain CIA guidances on broadcast policy.

  • December 04, 1956

    Review of Radio Free Europe Broadcasting

    Cord Meyer forwards to Allen Dulles as background for Operations Coordinating Board discussions a memorandum of that date on “Radio Free Europe – Review of Broadcasting Policy and Content.”

  • December 04, 1956

    Review of Radio Free Europe Broadcasts to Hungary

    CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick provides Allen Dulles with his assessment of RFE operations based on investigations in Munich and New York.

  • December 12, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation, 'Official German Intentions Vis-a-Vis Radio Free Europe' [Declassified July 15, 2011]

    West German Washington Embassy First Secretary Wilhelm Turnwald conveys to State Department officials his concerns about RFE operations.

  • December 19, 1956

    Letter, Horace J. Nickels (American Consul) to L. Randolph Higgs (Special Assistant for Operations, Department of State)

    Horace J. Nickels, American Consul in Munich, reports his impressions of interviews with some 60 Hungarian refugees in Vienna the week of December 10

  • December 20, 1956

    Telegram No. 2416 from Bonn to the Secretary of State

    The Bonn Embassy conveys to Washington the results of the German review of tapes of RFE broadcasts to Hungry from October 23 to November 10.

  • December 26, 1956

    CIA-Free Europe Committee Exchange on Control of Radio Free Europe Broadcasts

    Routing slips indicate International Operations Division (IOD) dissatisfaction with the Free Europe Committee (FEC) response dated December 18 to an IOD letter to FEC dated December 3

  • December 26, 1956

    Interviews with Hungarian Refugees on Western Broadcasts

    Bonn Embassy official T.M. Rechnagel, reports his impressions of interviews with some 100 refugees in the Salzburg area in December

  • January 07, 1957

    Memorandum from Frank G. Wisner for the International Organizations Division Chief, 'Reflections on Radio Free Europe's Present Position and Potentials; Lines for Poland, etc.' [Declassified September 19, 2016]

    Frank Wisner, reflecting on the Hungarian Revolution, suggests that Soviet Communism is on the defensive and RFE broadcasts to Poland should discourage violence while supporting Party leader Gomulka’s efforts to gain more autonomy from the Soviet Union. IOD Chief Cord Meyer annotates the memorandum.

  • January 10, 1957

    Memorandum for [withheld], 'Reappraisal of U.S. Propaganda Broadcasting' [Declassified May 6, 2019]

    The State Department forwards to CIA a memorandum calling for fundamental reorientation and curtailment of RFE and RL broadcasts.

  • January 10, 1957

    Memorandum from the CIA Librarian to the Chief of the International Organizations Division, 'Personal Comments on RFE Broadcasting to Hungary, 24 October-4 November 1956' [Approved for Release, March 2007]

    A CIA official reviews Hungarian RFE broadcasts.

  • January 14, 1957

    CIA Librarian, 'Report on a Review of Radio Free Europe Broadcasts Beamed to Hungary, from 24 October to 4 November 1956' [Approved for Release, March 2007]

    Report of the CIA Librarian, who with other CIA Hungarian speakers reviewed tapes of RFE Hungarian broadcasts from October 24 to November 4, 1956 and provided responses to seven questions posed by IOD. He provided personal comments in a separate memorandum dated January 10

  • January 17, 1957

    Letter to Khrushchev from Radio Moscow Service Urging Creation of Warsaw Pact Radio Station

    The following letter to Khrushchev in 1957 by members of the German Service of Radio Moscow proposed establishing a Soviet international broadcaster structured along the lines of Radio Free Europe, with formal independence from the government. Indirectly it acknowledges the effectiveness of RFE broadcasts.

  • January 24, 1957

    Memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence, 'Reappraisal of U.S. Propaganda Broadcasting' [Declassified May 6, 2019]

    Richard Helms forwards to Allen Dulles a memorandum from the Psychological and Paramilitary Operations staff and the International Organizations Division taking issue with State Department recommendations to reorient and curtail RFE and RL broadcasts.

  • January 26, 1957

    Telegram No. 2849 from Conant (Bonn) to the Secretary of State [Approved for Release November 2006]

    Verbatim exchange between an East German journalist and West German Chancellor Adenauer

  • February 11, 1957

    Memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence, 'Additional Proposal concerning the Reappraisal of U.S. Propaganda Broadcasting' [Approved for Release March 2009]

    CIA and State Department officials plan an interagency working group including USIA officials to reappraise US international broadcasting [later named the Committee on Radio Broadcasting Policy, CRBP].

  • March 11, 1957

    Memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence, 'Additional Proposal concerning the Reappraisal of U.S. Propaganda Broadcasting' [Declassified May 6, 2019]

    CIA official Laughlin Campbell recommends to Allen Dulles that he support the establishment of an interagency working group to include USIA officials (later named the Committee on Radio Broadcasting Policy, CRBP) to reappraise U.S. international broadcasting.