Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty
This is a collection of declassified U.S. Government (USG) documents pertaining to Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL) and their parent organizations, the Free Europe Committee and the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism. The Radios were overseen and funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 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 the book, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Stanford University Press, 2011). Documents with reference numbers preceded by “MORI” or “C” were obtained (many with redactions) by mandatory declassification review requests to CIA under the provisions of Executive Orders 13526 and 12958.
[Image: Jan Nowak-Jeziorański broadcasting for Radio Free Europe, 3 May 1952]
The collection is divided into five sections:
- The First Years: 1948-1955
- Challenge of Unrest in Eastern Europe: 1956-1957
- Détente Years: 1958-1966
- Transition to Open Funding: 1967-1971
- Document Supplement [UPDATE - Posted December 2012]
A brief description of each document, with reference to its citation or reference in the book when applicable, is provided.
Additional declassified USG documents on RFE and RL are included in various volumes of the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States series and the CIA Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room and the CIA CREST data base at the National Archives.
Declassified USG documents tell only a part of the Radios’ history. Other important primary sources include the RFE/RL’s corporate and broadcast archives deposited at the Hoover Institution, the RFE/RL research archives in custody of the Open Society Archives, the Robert F. Kelley Papers at Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division (containing important RL archives), and the Political Archives of the German Foreign Office.
A. Ross Johnson is a Woodrow Wilson Center Senior Scholar and author of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; the CIA Years and Beyond
These documents trace the establishment and initial operation of RFE and RL as public-private partnerships among the Department of State, the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC, fully integrated into CIA in 1952), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and influential private American citizens. RFE was the major operating division of the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), later renamed the Free Europe Committee (FEC). RL, initially called Radio Liberation, was the major operating division of the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism (AMCOMLIB), later renamed the Radio Liberty Committee (RLC). For convenience, these annotations use throughout the terms “Radio Free Europe” and its parent “Free Europe Committee” and “Radio Liberty” and its parent “American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism.”
April 30, 1948 – State Department Polish Planning director George Kennan outlines, in a Policy Planning Staff document for the NSC, the idea of a public committee, working closely with the USG, to sponsor various émigré activities. [Redacted final draft of a memorandum dated May 4, 1948, and published with additional redactions as document 269, FRUS, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment.]
August 26, 1948 – CIA, State Department, Defense Department, and OPC officials discuss establishing a philanthropic organization to sponsor radio broadcasts and other activities of East European émigrés.
October 14, 1948 – Draft charter for an émigré-support committee, prepared by OPC official Maynard Ruddock.
February 21, 1949 – George Kennan, State Department official Llewellyn E. Thompson, and OPC director Frank Wisner agree that influential private citizens organizing the FEC require approval for the project from Secretary of State Dean Acheson and thereafter responsibility for dealing with East European émigré leaders will shift from State to the FEC.
April 19, 1949 – Frank Wisner and FEC president DeWitt C. Poole brief FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on the FEC project to secure his concurrence and assure him of coordination with the FBI on émigré contacts.
May 3, 1949 – Soviet expert Robert F. Kelley urges forming a central organization representing Russian émigré groups and providing it with radio facilities to reach the Soviet Union and Soviet armed forces in Eastern Europe.
September 13, 1949 – George Kennan authorizes Frank Wisner to proceed with a central Russian émigré organization initially focused on émigré welfare and subject to USG policy guidance. Wisner directs OPC staff in a cover memorandum to proceed with the project.
Document 8 – Understanding Between Office of Policy Coordination and National Committee for Free Europe6 pp – OPC-FEC Memorandum of Understanding – reference Ch1 p25 – C05458949
October 4, 1949 – This seminal document reaffirms the mission of the FEC and outlines the respective authorities and responsibilities of OPC, as agent for the USG, and the FEC, “autonomous … with due regard for the source of its funds.”
March 16, 1950 – OPC requests information – negative and positive – from the State Department on conditions in Eastern Europe that could be used in RFE broadcasts.
April 26, 1950 – Robert F. Kelley expands the recommendation of his May 3, 1949 memorandum [Document 6] that OPC encourage the “existing striving of the Russian émigrés to create a central unifying organization” that would organize broadcast to the Soviet Union and be supported through a FEC-like committee in the United States. [A longer document of the same date, “Survey of Russian Emigration,” is available in the Kelley Papers.]
May 5, 1950 – OPC provides the FEC with State Department policy guidance dated April 26, 1950, calling for a range of diplomatic and information initiatives, including use of émigrés, but cautioning that broadcasts “should not promise imminent liberation or encourage active revolt.” [The quoted phrase was added to the initial guidance dated April 11 and published in FRUS, 1950, IV, 14-17.)
August 21, 1950 – Frank Wisner solicits George Kennan’s suggestions on the organization of AMCOMLIB (cryptonym Cinderella) and the composition of its board of directors.
October 19, 1950 – State Department Policy Planning official Robert Joyce laments to Frank Wisner disarray among the national councils and suggests redoubled efforts to unify them.
November 22, 1950 – 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 – 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.
August 21, 1951 – 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 25, 1951 – An OPC officer explains RL aims and objectives as involving “Russians speaking to Russians through an organization made up of the peoples of Russia.”
August 27, 1951 – OPC provides the State Department with a positive progress report on efforts to unify the Russian emigration and organize broadcasting to the USSR.
September 6, 1951 – Senior CIA and State Department officials review the August 21 OPC memorandum [Document 16]. 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.
November 20, 1951 – Assistant Secretary of State Edward Barrett reviews FEC plans with Allen Dulles and other officials. The State Department vetoes startup of RFE Baltic broadcasting on grounds that it would duplicate VOA broadcasts and insists that the Crusade for Freedom be toned down. Dulles subsequently rejects the latter point in a handwritten annotation. [Published in full (with one minor redaction) as document 94, FRUS, The Intelligence Community.]
December 21, 1951 – OPC officers visit Princeton to solicit George Kennan’s views on RL broadcasting.
March 8, 1952 – VOA Director Foy Kohler argues that without the formation of a Russian émigré political center enabling “Russians speaking to Russians, ” RL would be a “bad imitation of VOA.”
March 15, 1952 – CIA, State Department, and AMCOMLIB officials agree to expand AMCOMLIB activities, share funding with RFE from the Crusade for Freedom, and delay RL broadcasts until a sponsoring Russian Émigré Political Center is formed.
March 28, 1952 – An OPC memorandum formulates principles guiding RL broadcasting, which should be organized by a Russian Political Center, not duplicate VOA broadcasts, and aim at destroying the Soviet government’s monopoly of information.
April 4, 1952 – Richard Arens, counsel for the Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, accuses RFE of harboring Marxists and broadcasting left-wing and socialist propaganda.
April 24, 1952 – Frank Wisner in a memorandum to Robert Joyce dissents from State Department criticism that exile participation on RFE is minimal and rejects State’s proposal that East European National Councils should themselves organize broadcasts.
May 29, 1952 – State Department Russia expert Francis B. Stevens comments on a draft policy guidance for RL broadcasts. [Evidently an initial response to the OPC request in Document 28, which is dated June 2 but was drafted on May 26.]
June 2, 1952 – Frank Wisner in a memorandum to Robert Joyce requests State Department views on policy guidance for RL broadcasts, to be organized by the Russian émigré Political Center and adhering to a list of 21 prescriptions and prohibitions.
June 9, 1952 – State Department and OPC officials discuss differences among émigré groups and hostility of the exile Ukrainian Congress to AMCOMLIB.
July 3, 1952 – Responding to Frank Wisner’s request [Document 28], the State Department Office of East European Affairs provides Robert Joyce with its views of proposed RL broadcasts, stressing a policy of “self determination for the nationalities when conditions are such as to permit them freely to give expression to their will” [a formulation which would be known as non-predeterminism].
July 16, 1952 – The Psychological Strategy Board issues a restrained revision of the Princeton Statement adopted at a May 1952 meeting at Princeton on psychological operations [available in the Hoover Archives] convened at the initiative of FEC President C.D. Jackson.
August 4, 1952 – Allen Dulles records initialing a Memorandum of Understanding with 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.” [UPDATE - Document now available for download]
January 22, 1953 – A CIA memorandum formulates guidelines for RL broadcasts to be conducted by a Coordinating Center of Soviet exiles. [A nearly identical unredacted RL policy document, dated February 11, 1953, is available in the Hoover Archives and is cited in Ch1 n85].
February 11, 1953 – The State Department comments on the January 22, 1953 CIA paper [Document 33], raising the issue of likely restraints from West Germany when it regains sovereignty.
May 18, 1953 – Dana Durand, chief of the CIA/DDP SR Division, now responsible for the RL project, concludes that efforts to unify the Russian emigration have become counterproductive, that RL broadcasting should be separated from émigré politics, and that AMCOMLIB president Leslie Stevens is too wedded to the old approach to continue in office.
July 24, 1953 – State Department, CIA, and AMCOMLIB representatives review RL issues. CIA notes RL’s “steady progress” without participation of the émigré Political Center.
September 30, 1953 – The Operations Coordinating Board forwards CIA’s acceptance of Jackson Committee recommendations that the FEC and AMCOMLIB concentrate on radio broadcasting to the Soviet bloc as distinct from émigré support projects.
November 16, 1953 – C.D. Jackson, now assistant to President Eisenhower, urges CIA director Allen Dulles to make contingency plans to exploit future unrest in the Communist world during a perceived “Winter of Discontent.”
November 18, 1953 – CIA official Tracey Barnes, reacting to C.D. Jackson’s memorandum of November 16, 1953 [Document 38], cautions against encouraging active resistance in Eastern Europe.
February 26, 1954 – A CIA memorandum reviews RL policy guidance to date and outlines how RL differs from VOA.
April 12, 1954 – CIA official Thomas Braden, now responsible for RL, criticizes AMCOMLIB president Stevens’ enclosed mission statement as overemphasizing émigré politics and neglecting communication with the people of the Soviet Union.
April 21, 1954 – A revised AMCOMLIB Mission Statement reflects Thomas Braden’s critique in his April 12, 1954 memorandum [Document 41].
June 10, 1954 – CIA official Thomas Braden assures the State Department that RFE broadcasts which took sides in Czechoslovak factory council elections have ended. [The cited FEC document is available in the Hoover Archives as FEC teletype NYC 29, June 8, 1954.]
June 16, 1954 – 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 12, 1954 – Lampton Berry conveys to Allen Dulles the State Department’s endorsement of the revised AMCOMLIB mission statement [Document 42].
July 22, 1954 – CIA official Richard Bissell criticizes the April 21, 1954, AMCOMLIB mission statement [Document 42], now endorsed by the State Department, as postulating far reaching goals without identifying the means necessary to achieve them.
July 22, 1954 – An annex to the OCB “169 Study” on U.S. international communications reviews the goals and effectiveness of RFE and RL.
July 30, 1954 – CIA official Thomas Braden restates AMCOMLIB’s redefined mission which puts American staff and not exile leaders in charge of exile broadcasters.
September 1, 1955 – Stanford University communications expert Wilbur Schramm reviews the effectiveness of RL after two and a half years of broadcasting.
These documents trace the U.S. Government’s perceptions of unrest in Eastern Europe in 1956, its policy guidance to RFE and RL at the time, its subsequent reviews of RFE’s controversial broadcasts to Hungary in October-November 1956, and its reappraisal of the need for broadcasts to Poland after the October 1956 thaw.
March 13, 1956 – West German Ambassador Heinz Krekeler shares his government’s concerns about FEC balloon operations with Deputy Undersecretary of State Robert Murphy and FEC President Whitney Shepardson.
March 28, 1956 – In Budapest Legation Dispatch No. 372, two Hungarian-speaking officers appraise the content and reception quality of RFE Hungarian broadcasts. They rate newscasts higher than commentaries and features.
June 15, 1956 – CIA official Cord Meyer, chief of the International Organizations Division (IOD), notes that the Budapest Legation’s appraisal [Document 51 and Budapest Dispatch 427, May 23, 1956] is more positive than media commentary at the time [Cyrus Sulzberger’s May 14 commentary in The New York Times; letter to the editor response by FEC official Louis Galantier, June 2, 1956.]
July 3, 1956 – Staff draft of NSC 5608, concluding that ferment in the Communist world provides new opportunities to challenge Soviet control.
[Unredacted text of redacted document 73, FRUS, 1955-1957, XXV. A draft annex called for “encouraging evolutionary change” and defined as tasks of RFE and RL (and other USG-funded media) “avoiding any incitement to premature revolt” while “seeking to maintain faith in the eventual restoration of freedom.” Redacted document 76, FRUS, 1955-1957, XXV, unredacted document 12, Csaba Békés, Malcolm Byrne, and János M. Rainer, The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2002.]
July 13, 1956 – Senior officials discuss U.S. policy at a NSC principal’s meeting on July 12.
[Unredacted text of redacted document 79, FRUS, 1955-1957, XXV, 212-216. Notwithstanding less cautionary views expressed by Vice President Nixon at the NSC discussion, on July 18 President Eisenhower approved a minor modification of the draft (document 53 and the annex) as NSC 5608/1 to serve as a basic statement of U.S. policy (published as redacted document 80, FRUS, 1955-57, XXV ; unredacted document 17, Békés, Byrne, and Rainer, The 1956 Hungarian Revolution). ]
August 7, 1956 – CIA and FEC restate policy for RFE in the context of the 1956 upheaval in the Communist world.
October 25, 1956 – CIA/IOD guidance for RFE at the outset of the Hungarian Revolution calls for extensive use of President Eisenhower’s September 23 statement on maintaining the spirit of freedom and for caution in prejudging Imre Nagy.
October 25, 1956 - A CIA/IOD official recommends policies to guide RFE broadcasting to Hungary during the revolution.
October 30, 1956 – Radio Free Russia, the voice of the Russian émigré organization NTS, begins Hungarian-language broadcasts and reports the readiness of the “Association of Former Hungarian Servicemen” to assist the Hungarian insurgents.
[Radio Madrid in Hungarian broadcasts similar messages.]
November 2, 1956 – RFE Director Conerey Egan in New York telephones RFE Deputy Director Richard Condon in Munich to direct that RFE should report Hungarian developments and insurgent demands but not take a position for or against individual leaders or political parties.
November 2, 1956 – CIA redistributes a State Department message of November 1 endorsing RL’s [temporary] ban on commentary on Hungarian events.
November 3, 1956 – An authoritative cautionary USG guidance, approved by Allen Dulles and Deputy Undersecretary of State Robert Murphy, conveyed to the FEC that afternoon.
November 5, 1956 – RFE Director Conerey Egan reports RFE broadcasting policy problems to CIA.
November 9, 1956 – Frank Wisner discusses impressions of RFE broadcasts with interlocutors in Vienna.
November 20, 1956 – CIA provides the White House with an early appraisal of RFE broadcasting to Hungary during the Revolution.
December 3, 1956 – CIA/IOD routing slips raise questions about an attached 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 RFE Munich certain CIA guidances on broadcast policy.
November 14, 1956 – Cord Meyer forwards to Allen Dulles a State Department assessment dated November 13, 1956, of RFE Hungarian and Polish broadcasts. The assessment was requested by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and was prepared by State Department official L. Randolph Higgs, responsible for coordinating RFE issues with CIA, and Meyer, who objected to an initial State Department draft.
November 16, 1956 – The State Department approves with “comments and recommendations” a November 15, 1956, CIA/IOD draft of revised guidelines for the FEC with handwritten revisions [presumably by a State official].
November 16, 1956 – Second draft of “Proposed Interim Guidance for FEC” [Document 67] prepared for Allen Dulles to forward [over his disclosed pseudonym] to the FEC.
November 29, 1956 – 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.
November 26, 1956 – Cord Meyer informs Allen Dulles that 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 19, 1956 – Draft version of a CIA memorandum prepared for the White House on RFE broadcasts during the Hungarian Revolution.
November 19, 1956 – Final text of a CIA Memorandum submitted to the White House on RFE broadcasts during the Hungarian Revolution.
November 23, 1956 – Cord Meyer forwards to Frank Wisner a copy of “Interim Guidance for RFE” dated November 20 [a final revision of Document 68] that was transmitted to the FEC on November 21. [FEC copy available in the Hoover Archives.]
December 26, 1956 – Routing slips indicate IOD’s dissatisfaction with the FEC’s response dated December 18 to an IOD letter to FEC dated December 3.
December 4, 1956 – 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 4, 1956 – 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 – West German Washington Embassy First Secretary Wilhelm Turnwald conveys to State Department officials his concerns about RFE operations.
December 19, 1956 – Horace J. Nichols, American Consul in Munich, reports his impressions of interviews with some 60 Hungarian refugees in Vienna the week of December 10. [See also Document 80]
December 20, 1956 – 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. [The original German Government review could not be located in the German Foreign Office Archives.]
[December 26, 1956] – Bonn Embassy official T.M. Rechnagel, reports his impressions of interviews with some 100 refugees in the Salzburg area in December. [See also Document 78]
January 14, 1957 – 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 26, 1957 – Verbatim exchange between an East German journalist and West German Chancellor Adenauer.
February 11, 1957 – CIA and State Department officials plan an interagency working group including USIA officials to reappraise U.S. international broadcasting [later named the Committee on Radio Broadcasting Policy, CRBP].
February 28, 1957 – Robert Murphy and Allen Dulles agree that RFE and VOA should treat the March 15 anniversary of Hungarian Independence Day with caution.
March 5, 1957 – Robert Murphy, Allen Dulles, and other officials review on March 2 State Department recommendations contained in a memorandum dated January 10 [document not released] and agree that the charter of the CRBP include drafting RFE country policy guidances and considering reductions in RFE broadcasts.
March 18, 1957 – Wailes and Hungarian Embassy DCM Leonard Meeker brief IOD officers on Hungarian developments and their appraisal of RFE’s role in late 1956.
March 20, 1957 – Minutes of the CRBP meeting of that date, attended by State Department, USIA, and CIA officials.
May 1, 1957 – Cord Meyer forwards to Richard Helms his account of Ambassador Charles E. Bohlen’s views of RL provided to a CRBP meeting on April 24. Minutes of the meeting are provided in a State Department memorandum dated April 25.
June 5, 1957 – An IOD officer critically reviews treatment of Imre Nagy in RFE Hungarian broadcasts in October-November 1956.
August 9, 1957 – An IOD officer recounts differences among CRBP members about RFE country policy papers and discerns considerable overlap between RFE and VOA.
August 15, 1957 – VOA country policy guidelines for Czechoslovakia, endorsed by the CRBP, one of a series of East European country guidelines for VOA complementing country guidelines for RFE.
August 20, 1957 – Policy guidelines for RFE broadcasts to Poland as approved by the CRBP.
August 21, 1957 – Minutes of CRBP meeting on August 20, 1957.
[September 1, 1957] – IOD drafts policy guidelines for RFE broadcasts.
These documents trace controversies about RFE Polish and RL Russian broadcasts, turmoil in the Radios’ managements, continued State Department involvement in setting policy guidelines, and successive reviews of RFE and RL during the Johnson Administration.
January 30, 1958 – RFE, State Department, and CIA officials review RFE broadcasts to Poland in response to State Department criticism.
March 6, 1958 – An IOD reviewer highlights problems in RL Russian programs in early 1958.
May 1, 1958 – Policy guidelines for RL broadcasting approved by the CRBP.
May 1, 1958 – USIA guidelines for VOA Russian broadcasting policy, endorsed by the CRBP.
May 26, 1958 – Cord Meyer informs Allen Dulles about an IOD review concluding that AMCOMLIB co-founder Isaac Don Levine’s criticisms of RL Russian broadcasts are largely baseless.
June 2, 1958 – Minutes of a CRBP meeting on April 17, 1958, focused on State Department criticisms of RFE broadcasts to Poland.
June 15, 1958 – Attachments to a letter from Allen Dulles to President Eisenhower define “gray broadcasting” and summarize RFE and RL operations.
January 5, 1959 – Foreign Service Officer David Mark, reporting in Moscow Dispatch No. 375, suggests changes in U.S. policy to embrace reduction of “pressure-generating activities” on Eastern Europe, including RFE. Ambassador Llewellyn E. Thompson dissents but suggests that RFE broadcasts might be halted in exchange for an end to Soviet jamming [of VOA and other Western broadcasts].
February 2, 1959 – Richard Bissell forwards to Allen Dulles comments of Cord Meyer on Moscow Dispatch No. 375 [Document 102]. Dulles’ handwritten comment registers agreement with Meyer and Ambassador Thompson.
February 6, 1959 – Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson forwards to Washington his views on RL, following discussions in the Moscow Embassy with members of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Information.
February 19, 1959 – Ambassador Jacob Beam forwards to Washington in Warsaw Embassy Dispatch no. 301 his critique of RFE Polish broadcasts as incompatible with U.S. policy goals in Poland. In an attached undated and incomplete memorandum, IOD dissents from the State Department criticism.
February 24, 1959 – C.D. Jackson, in a personal letter to Allen Dulles, suggests reviving the concept of liberation of Eastern Europe.
March 18, 1959 – Cord Meyer notes weaknesses in some RFE Polish broadcasts but rejects Ambassador Beam’s negative assessment provided in Warsaw Embassy Dispatch no. 301 [Document 105].
April 2, 1959 – Cord Meyer recounts conclusions of the June 2, 1958, session of the CRBP.
April 28, 1959 – 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 Director George Allen sympathizes with State Department questioning the value of RFE and RL in a meeting with Allen Dulles and others.
August 3, 1959 – Polish Communist chief Wladyslaw Gomulka complains to Vice President Nixon that RFE “simply piles abuse on everything and everyone in Poland.” [published as document 74, in FRUS, 1958–60, X, part II.]
September 15, 1959 – 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 – An IOD officer describes strengths and weaknesses of RL Russian broadcasts.
April 24, 1960 – 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.
November 30, 1960 – Ambassador Beam responds to Allen Dulles’ letter of November 13, 1960 [document not released] about RFE Polish broadcasts.
November 30, 1960 – Ambassador Beam complains about two RFE Polish broadcasts to the U.S. Consul General in Munich.
December, 1960 – The President’s Committee on Information Activities Abroad, chaired by Mansfield Sprague, concludes that RFE and RL are slow to adapt to changes in the Soviet orbit and resulting shifts in U.S. policy. [Also available in the Richard Helms Collection released by CIA in 2008.]
December 5, 1960 – The Munich Consulate-General provides its appraisal of turmoil in the RFE Czechoslovak Service and the ensuing replacement of the American management at RFE Munich.
December 9, 1960 – Cord Meyer forwards Ambassador Beam’s criticism of RFE to Allen Dulles and calls for more American control over the RFE Polish Service. [See Document 115 and Document 116]
February 13, 1961 – An IOD officer regrets to AMCOMLIB president Howland Sargeant, that the Sprague Committee equated RL’s record with that of RFE.
July 20, 1961 – FEC Directors C. D. Jackson and Whitney Debevoise discuss with State Department officials their ideas on using RFE to pressure the Soviets during the Berlin Crisis.
July 14, 1961 – NSAM 63 directs the State Department to provide foreign policy guidance to all broadcasters, including RFE and RL, and authorizes the USIA Director to preempt time on RFE and RL in a national emergency.
September 6, 1961 – Approval of “low key” RFE and RL broadcasts on issues of nuclear warfare [a rare case of NSC-level involvement in broadcast policy].
November 27, 1961 – An interagency group convened by the Bureau of the Budget concludes that RFE and RL funding should continue at current levels, that continuous evaluation of programs is needed, and that European co- funding should be explored.
April 5, 1962 – Cord Meyer reviews the history for DCI John A. McCone.
June 1, 1962 – In Dispatch No. 743, the Prague Embassy views RFE as “doing a job of good quality” but offers suggestions for improving the broadcasts.
June 7, 1962 – In Dispatch No. 466, the Warsaw Embassy views RFE as “doing an effective job” in broadcasting to Poland.
January 4, 1963 – CIA Deputy Director Marshall Carter informs FEC President John Richardson of new funding for RFE capital expansion.
January 4, 1963 – CIA Deputy Director Carter informs AMCOMLIB President Howland Sargeant of new funding for RL capital expansion.
October 23, 1963 – Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson reports Anatoly Dobrynin’s denunciation of RL (and other “subversive” radios) while noting the USSR had stopped jamming VOA Russian.
December 6, 1963 – Revised guidelines (updating Document 97) for RL broadcasting policy approved by the CRBP.
June 19, 1964 – In Airgram 556, the Prague Embassy again commends RFE but suggests further improvements in its broadcasts.
December 23, 1964 – FEC directors emphasize their autonomy to CIA officials reviewing “proprietary” CIA projects.
April 28, 1966 – A panel commissioned by the White House and comprised of Zbigniew Brzezinski, William E. Griffith, John S. Hays, and Richard S. Salant recommends continuation of RFE and RL as covertly funded objective news services, along with VOA and RIAS, discontinuation of public solicitation of private financial donations to RFE, and (Hays dissenting) establishing a Radio Free China.
September 8, 1966 – CIA proposes adoption of the findings of the Panel on U.S. Government Broadcasting to the Communist Bloc [Document 134] pertaining to RFE and RL but urges continued solicitation of private corporate donations by the RFE Fund [successor to the Crusade for Freedom].
These documents trace the measures adopted to fund the Radios after disclosure of CIA involvement, to counter reservations of the West German government, and to manage the transition from covert to overt sponsorship and funding of RFE and RL.
September 8, 1967 – An inter-agency Radio Study Group reviews options for RFE and RL in the wake of publicity about CIA funding. It recommends (the Bureau of the Budget representative dissenting) that CIA funding continue but that U.S. government support be acknowledged.
December 19, 1967 – Principals of the Departments of State and Defense and CIA agree on December 15, 1967 on “surge funding” of RFE and RL through June 1969 and on continued corporate (but not private) contributions to the RFE Fund. [Published as document 197, FRUS, 1964-1968, X]
December 21, 1967 – DCI Helms approves procedures to surge-fund RFE and RL through June 1969.
August 22, 1968 – Consulted by Cord Meyer, Deputy Undersecretary of State Charles Bohlen approves RFE’s cautious approach to covering the Soviet invasion and also agrees to use of RL transmitters to reach Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia.
August 22, 1968 – In Prague Embassy Dispatch No. 3079, Ambassador Jacob Beam urges the U.S. Radios to provide factual reporting and neither encourage nor discourage Czechoslovak youth opposed to the invasion.
December 31, 1968 – The outgoing Johnson administration defers for action by the incoming Nixon administration decisions on future funding of RFE and RL.
February 20, 1969 – Henry Kissinger informs President Nixon of the 303 Committee’s determination that RFE and RL are not “private voluntary organizations” and not subject to the policy recommendations of the Katzenbach Committee ban on covert federal funding.
August 18, 1969 – CIA officials react to State Department criticism of a personal attack on Czechoslovak Party leader Gustav Husak in a RFE broadcast.
December 19, 1969 – Acting CIA Director R.E. Cushman appeals to Henry Kissinger the Nixon Administration’s decision to terminate Radio Liberty. [Published as document 33, FRUS 1969-76, XXIX]
December 29, 1969 – Kissinger recommends that RL funding be reinstated for Fiscal Year 1971. President Nixon approves Kissinger’s recommendation. [Published as document 23, FRUS, 1969-76, XXIX]
 – CIA reviews RL history in a briefing book (extract)
October 14, 1970 – CIA official Fred Valtin provides a detailed report on his discussion of RFE and RL with German Chancellor Willy Brandt. [Published as document 49, FRUS, 1969-76, XXIX]
January 21, 1971 – In Warsaw Embassy Dispatch No. 192, Ambassador Walter Stoessel criticizes RFE’s abusive personal characterizations of individual Polish leaders.
May 11, 1971 – Richard Helms alerts President Nixon about the absence of funding arrangements for RFE and RL after June 30, 1971. [Published as document 53, FRUS, 1969-76, XXIX]
June 16, 1971 – In the absence of Congressional action on funding RFE and RL after June 30, 1971, Richard Helms seeks advice from Office of Management and Budget Director George Shultz on “what the Administration desires that the Central Intelligence Agency do about the funding and the management of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, effective 1 July 1971.” [Published as document 55, FRUS, 1969-76, XXIX]
June 24, 1971 – Acting CIA Director Cushman advises AMCOMLIB President Sargeant to prepare for liquidation in the absence of Congressional funding action. [A similar letter was sent to the FEC. At the last minute, the Congress approved temporary funding for RFE and RL from the USIA budget].
September 19, 1972 – A CIA chronology records the end of all financial support to RFE and RL on June 30, 1971, and the end of all supervision and other involvement on March 30, 1972. [Thereafter, funding and oversight were temporarily the responsibility of the Department of State and thereafter until 1995 the responsibility of a new federal body, the Board for International Broadcasting, and subsequently the responsibility of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.]
This section contains additional documents that were declassified after this E-Dossier was originally published.
November 1, 1949 – An OPC official updates Frank Wisner on possibilities for providing the FEC with intelligence reports for use in planned RFE broadcasts. He also suggests that Foreign Broadcast Information Bureau monitoring reports of Soviet bloc media can be provided, but only in English translations. [See Document 9]
August 10, 1950 – OPC provides the FEC with four suggested propaganda themes for RFE broadcasts.
March 8, 1954 – An International Organizations Division memorandum reviews the history of AMCOMLIB efforts to organize radio broadcasts, noting that they became the primary AMCOMLIB activity only after issuance of the Jackson Committee report in September 1953. [See Document 37]
October 24, 1956 – The IOD officer responsible for RL notes to Cord Meyer his disagreement with RL’s policy of avoiding all commentary on the Hungarian Revolution. He cites Meyer’s intention to discuss the issue with AMCOMLIB president Sargeant. [See Document 60]
November 23, 1960 – 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.” [See Document 118]