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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • July 16, 1951

    Report on Radio Free Europe

    Observations of BBC managers two months after the start of RFE broadcasting from Munich on May 1, 1951. It includes their analysis of the Czechoslovak Service broadcasts on May 26th, 1951, and of the network of field bureaus to gather information from refugees. They lauded the enthusiasm of RFE broadcasters but criticized their programs for mixing opinion with fact in newscast.

  • 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.

  • February, 1956

    Report on Visit to Radio Free Europe, Munich

    Analysis of RFE news operations by BBC Central European Service director Gregory Macdonald, who visited Munich from January 8 to January 23, 1956, at RFE’s request. Accompanied by notes from the British Foreign Office and its Information Research Department. Macdonald had been asked by RFE officials to assess the objectivity and organization of the newscasts.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • January 05, 1961

    Implementation of the CC CPSU Decree 'Measures to Vigorously Counteract Hostile Radio Propaganda'

    Report on the implementation of the CC CPSU decree to broadcast radio programs to counter VOA and BBC broadcasts.

  • November 26, 1966

    Gosteleradio Review of Western Radio Propaganda, 'Anti-Communism is the main weapon of imperialist radio propaganda in the Russian language'

    This lengthy review of foreign radio propaganda by Y. Novikov, an official of the USSR Gosteleradio [State Television and Radio] Guidance Department, pays particular attention to what it sees as Western broadcasters’ attempts to discredit Marxism-Leninism and Communist economics, as well as the notion of convergence between capitalism and Communism.

  • April 14, 1967

    Gosteleradio Memo to CPSU Central Committee, 'Ideological Subversion on the Airwaves of Foreign Radio Stations Broadcasting in the Russian language'

    This memo from N. Mesyatsev, Chairman, Broadcast and Television Committee, Council of Ministers, analyzes Western radio “propaganda” and credits Western broadcasts with being “an effective tool of ideological intervention.” The document notes that the broadcasts pay attention to Soviet dissidents, and mentions their use of humor and Western music.

  • February 16, 1968

    Memorandum to the CPSU CC from N. Mesyatsev, Chairman, Broadcast and Television Committee, Council of Ministers, USSR

    This document discusses Western radio programming aimed at the intelligentsia and dissidents, and cites the use of samizdat by Western broadcasters.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • September 25, 1986

    Memorandum to Central Committee from Politburo Members Ligachev and Chebrikov on Jamming of Western Radio Stations

    This memorandum from Politburo members Chebrikov and Ligachev describes in general terms the jamming situation in 1986 and the rationale for ending jamming on VOA, BBC, Radio Beijing and Radio Korea, while continuing jamming of Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Deutsche Welle and Kol Israel.