S/P–NSC Files: Lot 61 D 167: NSC 66 Series1
Note by the Executive Secretary of the National
Security Council (Lay)2
,] April 4, 1950.
Support for the Voice of America in the Fields of
Intelligence and of Research and Development
At the request of the Secretary of State the enclosed report on the above
subject, prepared by the Department of State, is transmitted herewith
for consideration by the National Security Council, the Secretary of the
Treasury, and the Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
The Secretary of State, in transmitting the enclosure, stated that the
most urgent need is to provide means whereby a sufficiently high
priority is established for securing research and intelligence necessary
[Page 286] to overcome Soviet jamming
of the Voice of America. He suggested that a special staff group might
be constituted for this purpose with representatives of the Department
of State, the Department of Defense, the Federal Communications
Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other agencies of the
Government which have technical competence in this field.3
In accordance with the suggestion in the above paragraph, the Secretaries
of State and Defense, the Chairman, Federal Communications Commission,
and the Director of Central Intelligence are being requested in advance
to designate representatives to prepare a report for consideration by
the National Security Council, the Secretary of the Treasury and the
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, in the event that the
recommendations in the enclosure are approved.4
Report to the National Security Council by the
Department of State
Support for the Voice of America in the Fields
of Intelligence and of research and development
1. To determine the means at our disposal to penetrate Soviet jamming
of the Voice of America, and to establish the appropriate priorities
to provide support for the Voice of America in the fields of
intelligence and of research and development.
2. The Effect of Soviet Jamming of the Voice of
- Considerable evidence is available that prior to the Soviet
jamming, the Voice of America had become an effective means of
supplying information of the free world to the peoples of the
Soviet Union and its Satellites.
- Present trends in our relations with the Satellite governments
(i.e., the suspension of relations with Bulgaria, the closing of
our information offices in Rumania, etc.), indicate that the
Voice of America may shortly be the only overt means now in use
by which we can attempt to reach the peoples of those countries;
and while jamming has been limited to date to VOA and BBC Russian-language broadcasts, interference with
programs to the Satellite areas is possible and probable.
- The history of Soviet jamming activity, since it became an
all-out operation in April, 1949, is one of thorough and
systematic organization and application of steadily increasing
resources, indicating a major effort on the part of the USSR. It
has been successful to the point where, notwithstanding the
greatly increased effort of the Voice of America, a much reduced
percentage of the former audience is being reached. If carried
to a conclusion, the Soviet jamming effort could virtually
disrupt all forms of international radio communications.
- Recent information indicates that Soviet development of a new
technique of jamming which, now in limited use, holds the
potential of even more effectively blocking the information
addressed to the people of the USSR and nearby countries through
the VOA. This new technique, if
backed by transmitters of sufficient power (now being built,
according to our intelligence sources), could deny the reception
by almost all European home receivers of any program other than
that originating in the USSR.
- The USSR and its Satellites, in addition to their jamming
efforts, are taking advantage of post-war frequency negotiations
to silence VOA relay
broadcasting facilities located outside the United States and
its territories. The priority of the mission of the VOA and its resultant requirement
for frequency allocation has not clearly been established to the
satisfaction of all agencies of this Government.
3. The Effort to Counteract Soviet
- The Department of State is presently undertaking a
comprehensive facility program which seeks to enable VOA to break through Soviet
jamming. However, no comparable research effort has yet been
established pointed at the problem of achieving an
understandable signal under all conditions in existing receiving
sets of foreign populations which, not being under our control,
cannot be modified or replaced. Although the Research and
Development Board of the Department of Defense has been
cooperating with this Department, its planned research in this
field is pointed almost wholly toward counter-jamming
(retaliatory jamming of electronic devices and communications of
any potential enemy), and anti-jamming (protection of our
electronic devices and military communications from
- While no attempt at retaliatory jamming of Soviet broadcasts
or the control signals of their jamming network has been made by
the VOA, serious consideration
has been given to this as a possible Pleasure to force the USSR
- The Department has not received sufficient intelligence on
Soviet jamming to guide its efforts in attempting to penetrate
Soviet jamming. The present surveillance of the radio spectrum
by U.S. intelligence and monitoring agencies is insufficient to
provide necessary data or to assure that the USSR is not even
now developing and testing more effective jamming
4. Requirements of the VOA in the Fields of Communications Research and
- The basic means to meet the research requirements of the
VOA exists at present in the
Research and Development Board of the Department of Defense.
However, the lack of a clearly recognized priority for the
VOA requirements will hamper
the effective utilization of research and development facilities
as presently organized.
- At present there exists no authoritative interdepartmental
mechanism through which a definitive priority for the required
research effort can be established.
5. The Requirements of the VOA in the Intelligence Field.
- An adequate intelligence effort in support of the VOA would require a coordinated
program, among all intelligence agencies, to collect and
associate relevant data from both monitoring and non-monitoring
sources. This would involve an allocation of resources among the
available monitoring facilities and daily close coordination in
the use of these facilities. It would be necessary to arrange
direct channels for passage of intelligence to the VOA.
- The facilities to meet those requirements do exist at present
among the intelligence agencies and monitoring facilities of the
Government. The monitoring facilities would include the Federal
Communications Commission, Foreign Broadcasting Information
- The intelligence effort in support of the VOA has been inadequate largely
because of the lack of a priority relative to other intelligence
tasks and the absence of a clearly established program to
coordinate intelligence activities in this connection.
6. Inter-relationships between VOA and other Communications
- The inter-relationship of the VOA problem to the total communications problem of
the Government is well illustrated by the possibility that the
present VOA efforts may be
serving as a maneuvering ground for the Soviets in (a) development of their own
communications and jamming techniques including the training of
large numbers [Page 289] of
personnel, and (b) Soviet investigation
of our capabilities to take counter-measures. A continuation of
the VOA penetration projects may
prematurely commit this Government to a counter-jamming war in
all governmental and commercial fields of communications.
- Because of these factors and the requirements of other
communications and intelligence programs, as well as related
questions of security and communications policy, the Department
of State has encountered reluctance among other agencies and
activities to establish a high priority in support of the VOA requirements.
7. Soviet jamming of the VOA has
become a serious obstacle to our reaching the people of the USSR
with information of the free world. Extension of jamming to programs
directed at the peoples of the satellite countries is a strong
probability and is in line with other measures being taken to reduce
the passage of information behind the Iron Curtain.
8. The ever increasing jamming efforts by the USSR and our
counter-measure actions could lead not only to the disruption of the
free flow of information to all parts of the world, but also to the
disruption of all forms of radio communication.
9. Greater support in the fields of intelligence, communication
research and development, and frequency assignment must be given
this problem if the VOA is
effectively to penetrate present and probably future Soviet
10. Failure to obtain necessary support to the VOA has been due primarily to the lack
of an adequate recognized priority for the project throughout the
11. The establishment of a priority in support of the VOA can only be undertaken in the light
of the close interrelation of this problem with other problems in
the field of intelligence and of communications.
12. That the National Security Council establish a special staff
group to consider and to recommend to the National Security Council
the priorities in the fields of intelligence and of research and
development necessary to enable the United States to penetrate
Soviet jamming of the Voice of America.
- The special staff group shall consider, among other problems
related to penetration of jamming, (1) the development of means
to penetrate jamming; (2) measures which might induce or compel
the USSR to discontinue its jamming of the Voice of America; and
(3) the effectiveness and probable consequences of the use of
these means and measures.
- This special staff group shall consist of a chairman
designated by the Secretary of State and members designated by
the Secretary of Defense, Federal Communications Commission, the
Director of Central Intelligence, and such other departments and
agencies of the Government as the Chairman may find to have
direct technical competence in this problem.
13. That, upon receipt and review of the recommendations of this
special staff group, the National Security Council establish the
priorities adjustments required to provide support for the Voice of
America in the fields of intelligence and of research and