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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • February 17, 1952

    Report by Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart on his visit to Radio Free Europe, Munich

    Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart - head of the World War II Political Warfare Executive who later had a highly popular BBC weekly program in Czech - visited RFE with BBC Central European chief Gregory Macdonald between January 29 and February 1, 1952. Reviewing personalities, attitudes, and operations in Munich, Lockhart concluded that RFE had made progress in its first year, that its broadcasters were happy to be separated geographically from émigré politicians in the US, but that RFE faced the challenge of keeping the spark of hope alive in Eastern Europe without instigating revolt. It also faced the challenge of emerging German sovereignty, which Lockhart thought would force RFE to relocate to another country. Accompanying Foreign Office memoranda generally endorsed Lockhart conclusions. Information Research Department official F.C. Stacey cautioned that “the need for sensational stories of RFE activities” for the domestic US audience might result in irresponsible RFE broadcasts.

  • June 24, 1955

    Report by Sir Bruce Robert Lockhart on Radio Free Europe

    Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart reports to the Foreign Office on his second visit to RFE (again accompanied by BBC Central European chief Gregory Macdonald) between July 5 and July 8, 1955. Lockhart positively evaluated broadcasts as more responsible than in 1952 and gave high marks to the content of the leaflets dispatched to Czechoslovakia by balloon and mail. He found staff unsettled by RFE’s change of status following the restoration of German sovereignty, did not think RFE could long survive in Munich, and would advise it to relocate of its own volition before it was forced out of Germany