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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • August 26, 1948

    US Government Officials Discuss Émigré Broadcasts to Eastern Europe

    CIA, State Department, Defense Department, and OPC officials discuss establishing a philanthropic organization to sponsor radio broadcasts and other activities of Eastern European émigrés.

  • November 01, 1949

    Office of Policy Coordination, HCFE Broadcasting (Interim Report)

    An official from the Department of State, the Office of Policy Coordination updates Frank Wisner on possibilities for providing the Free Europe Committee (FEC) with intelligence reports for use in planned Radio Free Europe broadcasts. He also suggests that Foreign Broadcast Information Bureau monitoring reports of Soviet bloc media can be provided, but only in English translations.

  • March 16, 1950

    Request to State Department for information on Eastern Europe for Radio Free Europe Broadcasts

    Office of Policy Coordination requests information – negative and positive – from the State Department on conditions in Eastern Europe that could be used in Radio Free Europe broadcasts.

  • August 10, 1950

    Office of Policy Coordination Provides Propaganda Themes for Radio Free Europe

    The Office of Policy Coordination provides the Free Europe Committee with four suggested propaganda themes for RFE broadcasts.

  • November 22, 1950

    Wisner Update on Radio Free Europe

    Frank Wisner reviews RFE broadcasting after 5 months and notes a shift from use of exile leaders “of questionable current value” to “timely news items and commentary.” He foreshadows expansion of broadcast hours and shift of program production to West Germany.

  • January 11, 1951

    Radio Free Europe Budget Increase Approved

    Allen Dulles (who has joined CIA as Deputy Director for Plans) informs Frank Wisner that CIA has approved RFE’s capital budget for new transmitters.

  • 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.

  • August 21, 1951

    Office of Policy Coordination History of American Committee for Liberation

    Frank Wisner reviews the origins of the Soviet émigré project. He considers AMCOMLIB to be a cover organization without independent authority, notes the difficulty of uniting Soviet émigré groups, yet assumes that an émigré “political center” can organize publishing and broadcasting for the Soviet Union.

  • August 27, 1951

    Office of Policy Coordination Memorandum on Russian Emigration

    OPC provides the State Department with a positive progress report on efforts to unify the Russian emigration and organize broadcasting to the USSR.

  • September 06, 1951

    CIA-State Department Reservations about Broadcasting to the Soviet Union

    Senior CIA and State Department officials review the August 21 OPC memorandum ["Office of Policy Coordination History of American Committee for Liberation"]. The State Department officials question whether disparate Russian émigré groups can cooperate enough to organize broadcasting to the USSR, while CIA director Walter Bedell Smith questions the cost of the project.

  • September 15, 1951

    Report to USSR Minister of Communications on Western Broadcasts to Poland

    The following document describes how arrangements were made to jam Western broadcasts to Poland from Soviet and Polish territory in 1951.

  • November 20, 1951

    CIA-State Department “Summit” Limits Scope of Radio Free Europe

    Assistant Secretary of State Edward Barrett reviews Free Europe Committee plans with Allen Dulles and other officials. The State Department vetoes startup of Radio Free Europe Baltic broadcasting on grounds that it would duplicate Voice of America broadcasts and insists that the Crusade for Freedom be toned down. Dulles subsequently rejects the latter point in a handwritten annotation.

  • 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.

  • April 04, 1952

    Senate Staff Member Criticizes Radio Free Europe

    Richard Arens, counsel for the Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, accuses Radio Free Europe of harboring Marxists and broadcasting left-wing and socialist propaganda.

  • April 24, 1952

    Office of Policy Coordination Dissents from State Department Views on Radio Free Europe

    Frank Wisner in a memorandum to Robert Joyce dissents from State Department criticism that exile participation on Radio Free Europe is minimal and rejects State’s proposal that East European National Councils should themselves organize broadcasts.

  • 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.”

  • June 10, 1954

    CIA Reassures State Department on Radio Free Europe Broadcasts

    CIA official Thomas Braden assures the State Department that RFE broadcasts which took sides in Czechoslovak factory council elections have ended.

  • 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 22, 1954

    US Government Policy for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

    An annex to the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) “169 Study” on U.S. international communications reviews the goals and effectiveness of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

  • March 23, 1955

    Polish Interior Ministry Report on Intercepted Letters Sent to Radio Free Europe Cover Addresses

    This document is an early reflection of concern with RFE’s impact in Poland. Particular attention is given to the broadcasts of Jószef Światło, the senior Interior Ministry official who defected in December 1953.