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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)

  • January 27, 1959

    Cord Meyer, Jr., 'Policy Guidance and Program Review for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation' [Approved for Release May 6, 2019]

    CIA official Cord Meyer reviews RFE and RL responses to program changes directed by the interagency Committee on Radio Broadcast Policy.

  • February 02, 1959

    Comments on US Policy Towards the USSR and Radio Free Europe

    Richard Bissell forwards to Allen Dulles comments of Cord Meyer on Moscow Dispatch No. 375. Dulles’ handwritten comment registers agreement with Meyer and Ambassador Thompson.

  • February 06, 1959

    Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson’s Views of Radio Liberty

    Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson forwards to Washington his views on Radio Liberation, following discussions in the Moscow Embassy with members of the US Advisory Committee on Information.

  • February 24, 1959

    Charles Douglas Jackson’s Views on Eastern Europe

    C.D. Jackson, in a personal letter to Allen Dulles, suggests reviving the concept of liberation of Eastern Europe.

  • March 18, 1959

    CIA Rejects Ambassador Beam’s Critique of Radio Free Europe

    Cord Meyer notes weaknesses in some RFE Polish broadcasts but rejects Ambassador Beam’s negative assessment provided in Warsaw Embassy Dispatch no. 301

  • April 02, 1959

    Review of Radio Free Europe Polish Broadcasts

    Cord Meyer recounts conclusions of the June 2, 1958, session of the Committee on Radio Broadcasting Policy.

  • April 28, 1959

    CIA-State Department Differences on Radio Free Europe Polish Broadcasts

    Cord Meyer records sharply different views of the utility of RFE Polish broadcasts aired by State and CIA officials in a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Foy Kohler on April 23, 1959

  • May 13, 1959

    USIA Criticism of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    USIA Director George Allen sympathizes with State Department questioning the value of RFE and RL in a meeting with Allen Dulles and others

  • May 19, 1959

    KGB Report, 'On the State of Jamming anti-Soviet Radio Programs of Foreign Radio Stations'

    The following KGB document reports on problems jamming Western radio stations in a range of Soviet cities. It indicates times and frequencies on which Western radio broadcasts were clearly audible and Soviet jamming was ineffective.

  • August 03, 1959

    Gomulka Complains to Nixon about Radio Free Europe

    Polish Communist chief Wladyslaw Gomulka complains to Vice President Nixon that RFE “simply piles abuse on everything and everyone in Poland.”

  • September 15, 1959

    CIA-State 'Summit' on Radio Free Europe Polish Broadcasts

    Allen Dulles records his discussion that day with Undersecretary of State Douglas Dillon and Ambassador Jacob Beam, who were critical of RFE Polish broadcasts

  • October 19, 1959

    CIA View of Radio Liberty Broadcasts

    An International Organizations Division officer describes strengths and weaknesses of RL Russian broadcasts

  • April 24, 1960

    Allen Dulles Suggests Private 'Freedom Radios'

    Dulles drafts a suggestion for establishing “Freedom Radios” that would merge RFE and RL, expand broadcasts to other parts of the world, and become truly private enterprises free of CIA involvement

  • May 16, 1960

    Memorandum for International Operations Division Chief, 'RFE Guidance Line on U-2 Incident'

    An IOD officer responsible for RFE reports to Cord Meyer on differences between the FEC/RFE leadership in New York and the RFE management in Munich on broadcast coverage of the U-2 incident and endorses the “calm and reasoned” approach of the Munich management.

  • July 15, 1960

    CC CPSU Report, 'Measures to Vigorously Counteract Hostile Radio Propaganda Directed at the Soviet Population'

    Report from the head of the Department of Agitation and Propaganda of the Central Committee of the CPSU detailing the shortcomings of Soviet broadcast media in countering Western broadcasts. The document is noteworthy for its criticism of the poor distribution of Soviet newscasts in the Eastern part of the USSR, and acknowledgment of how Western broadcasts have filled this void. An interesting point is made on the habit of adapting Soviet-made receivers to capture Western shortwave broadcasts.

  • July 19, 1960

    CPSU CC Decree of the Secretariat Protocol Nº 158 § 6 Measures to Vigorously Counteract Hostile Radio Propaganda

    A Central Committee decree on measures to counter "hostile radio propaganda" by increasing broadcasts of Soviet radio programs.

  • October 01, 1960

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of Latvia Measures to Implement the CC CPSU Decree, 'Measures to Vigorously Counteract Hostile Radio Propaganda Directed at the Soviet Population'

    Report from the Central Committees of Latvia on actions taken to improve broadcasting of Soviet programs in order to counter Western broadcasts.

  • October 31, 1960

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia Measures to Implement the CC CPSU Decree, 'Measures to Vigorously Counteract Hostile Radio Propaganda Directed at the Soviet Population'

    Report from the Central Committees of Estonia on actions taken to improve broadcasting of Soviet programs in order to counter Western broadcasts.

  • November 23, 1960

    International Operations Division, Management Turmoil at Radio Free Europe

    The IOD officer responsible for RFE informs Cord Meyer of the turmoil in the RFE Czechoslovak Service. He opines that resignation of the RFE Munich leadership [European Director Erik Hazelhoff and his deputies David Penn and Charles J. McNeill] “would be an extremely healthy thing.”

  • November 24, 1960

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan Memorandum Concerning Progress in Implementing the CC CPSU Decree 'Measures to Vigorously Counteract Hostile Radio Propaganda'

    Report from the Central Committees of Uzbekistan on actions taken to improve broadcasting of Soviet programs in order to counter Western broadcasts.