28. Memorandum for the 303 Committee1
- Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL)
The aims of this paper are three-fold. It offers (a) a review of efforts made to resolve the status of the Radios since the press disclosures of CIA covert funding activities in 1967; (b) it describes the activities and effectiveness of Free Europe, Inc., and Radio Liberty Committee, Inc.; and (c) it discusses three basic alternatives for the Radios, and the consequences of each.
This paper concludes that the only realistic hope of retaining the present benefits of the Radios is in continuing their status quo, and therefore recommends that the Committee endorse and recommend to higher authority their continued operation as CIA proprietary covert action projects, to be funded in amounts sufficient to keep them technologically competitive with comparable broadcasters.
Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty have been the oldest, largest, most costly, and probably most successful covert action projects aimed at the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They represent an investment over almost 20 years of $350 million, and currently are undertakings that involve some [number not declassified] people and a cost of $32 million annually. Following the 1967 disclosures of CIA covert funding activities, and the enunciation of the Katzenbach guidelines proscribing such support to private voluntary organizations, repeated efforts were made to find a politically less vulnerable alternative means of supporting the [Page 82]Radios.2 A one-time grant that assured their continuation through June 1969 was approved by higher authority in December 1967. The status and funding of the Radios beyond that date must be resolved at an early date.
3. Factors Bearing on the Problem
Origin of the Requirement
The requirement for a reappraisal of RFE and RL originated in the flood of publicity in early 1967, and in the policy guidelines laid down by the Katzenbach Committee to the effect that, “No Federal agency shall provide any covert financial assistance or support, direct or indirect, to any of the nationʼs educational or private voluntary organizations.”
Because RFE and RL did not represent a clear-cut case of CIA involvement with legitimate American private voluntary organizations, and because they have been of such importance to U.S. policy interests for so long, Secretary Rusk decided that the Radios fell outside the purview of the Rusk Committee, which had been appointed by President Johnson to review overt funding possibilities for the “CIA orphans.” Secretary Rusk requested instead that the Radios be handled as a special case, and that consideration of their future be undertaken by the 303 Committee.
On 29 June 1967, the 303 Committee considered nine alternatives submitted by CIA:
- status quo
- conversion from non-profit to profit-making corporations
- reincorporation abroad
- relocation abroad
- support by an umbrella public-private mechanism as envisioned by the Katzenbach Report
- support by a public-private mechanism specially intended to promote private international broadcasting
- overt funding by USIA
- transfer to USIA/VOA
The 303 Committee reduced these to three possibilities—status quo, support by a public-private mechanism established by Congress, and transfer to USIA—and appointed an interagency Radio Study Group to further analyze the main stumbling blocks of these remaining alternatives. This Group consisted of representatives from State, Defense, Bureau of the Budget, USIA, CIA and the White House.
The Radio Study Group and its subcommittees conducted an exhaustive two-month study which included consultations with the Embassies in the Radiosʼ host and target countries. The Groupʼs study, presented to the 303 Committee on 20 September 1967, found only two realistic choices—continuation as constituted, or termination—and recommended that RFE and RL operations be continued on substantially their existing scale. The Bureau of the Budget registered a demurrer to these conclusions, recommending instead that RL be terminated and that RFE either be given a one-time terminal grant or an open appropriation by USIA until other arrangements could be made. The 303 Committee decided to summarize the problem and present it for the personal decision of the President on the advice of the Secretaries of State and Defense. (See Tab A for Radio Study Group Report.)
While the problem was under consideration by the three principals, the Director of Central Intelligence, on the authority of the President, canvassed key Congressional reactions to the various alternatives. The Congressional leaders consulted were: Senator Richard B. Russell, Senator Milton R. Young, Representative George M. Mahon, Representative Frank T. Bow, and Representative Glenard P. Lipscomb. They unanimously agreed to continued funding of these activities. The Director was also advised by the Presidentʼs Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board that it was unanimous in its belief that the Agency should continue supporting the Radios, and that it wished these opinions made known to the President.
On the basis of these reactions, the Bureau of the Budget proposed in November 1967 that both Radios be surge-funded with one-time grants in amounts sufficient to sustain them through FY 1969. This course was considered by the 303 Committee and recommended to the President on 15 December 1967. Thus, in December 1967, RFE and RL were given lump sums totaling $49 million. This arrangement technically concluded CIAʼs financial relationship with the Radios in compliance with the Katzenbach Committee stipulation that all covert aid to private voluntary or educational organizations should cease by 31 December 1967, but left open the way to future resumption of CIA covert financial responsibility should this be decided by a new Administration. In practice, and as requested by the 303 Committee, [1½ lines not declassified].[Page 84]
While no provision was made for their existence after 30 June 1969, the thrust of the 303 Committeeʼs recommendation in December 1967 leaned strongly toward their continuation.
In November 1968, facing the question of whether to include Radio funds in CIAʼs FY 1970 budget, the Bureau of the Budget again reopened the question of the Radiosʼ future status in an independent analysis of the problem that outlined five alternative solutions:
- resume CIA covert funding without public acknowledgement by determining that the Radios are in the “overriding national security interest” as defined by Katzenbach doctrine;
- resume covert CIA funding, reincorporate the Radios abroad;
- allocate $30 million to CIAʼs FY 1970 contingency reserve and leave the ultimate decision to the new Administration;
- commence overt funding through USIA or State Department;
- provide for overt appropriations through a public-private mechanism established by Congress.
The Director of the Bureau of the Budget, with the concurrence of State, USIA, CIA, and Mr. Walt Rostow, recommended the third alternative to the President. In December, however, the President wrote off the $30 million which was recommended for inclusion in the Agencyʼs contingency reserve in favor of leaving both the policy decision and the budgetary problem in the hands of the incoming Administration.
Whichever of the various alternatives is agreed upon, the decision must be made at the earliest possible date, so that either normal operations can be assured for FY 1970, or termination plans can be set in motion.
Originally intended as political action instruments to mobilize the post-war emigration from Eastern Europe and the USSR into an effective opposition, the parent organizations of the two Radios have long since turned virtually their entire efforts to broadcasting. In doing so, their broadcasts have evolved in step with the development of official U.S. policies toward these countries. For nearly 20 years, the two Radios have used the cover of privately financed, non-profit American corporations. But during that time funds have come largely from CIA, [1½ lines not declassified].
Radio Free Europe (RFE)
Radio Free Europe has been in operation since 1949, and currently broadcasts 19 hours a day to Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, 12 hours a day to Romania, and 8 hours a day to Bulgaria. It is the principal activity of an organizational parent body, Free Europe, Inc. (FE, Inc.), located in New York City, which also sponsors East Europe magazine and other publications, supports East European émigré groups, [Page 85]conducts large-scale book-mailing programs into Eastern Europe, and facilitates diverse East-West contacts. General Lucius D. Clay is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Free Europe, Inc.; the President is William P. Durkee. Other members of the Board include Crawford H. Greenewalt, Roswell L. Gilpatric, Michael H. Haider, Livingston T. Merchant, and Robert D. Murphy. James M. Roche, Chairman of General Motors Corporation, has accepted the Chairmanship of Radio Free Europe Fund, Inc. (RFEF), the fund-raising arm of FE, Inc.
RFEʼs programming headquarters are located in Munich, Germany, with transmitters in Biblis and Holzkirchen, Germany, and in Gloria, Portugal. The facilities are licensed by the host countries under agreements entered into directly by RFE as a private corporation, and without the intercession or official acknowledgement of support by the U.S. Government. RFE is operating in Portugal on the basis of a ten-year license renewed in 1963, and in Germany on a year-to-year, automatically renewable license.
FE, Inc., employs [number not declassified] people and has an FY 1969 budget of [dollar amount not declassified], of which $16,418,000 is for RFE. Of the total budget, [dollar amount not declassified] was raised by RFEF.
There is an abundance of testimony to RFEʼs effectiveness as an important factor in the life of Eastern Europe. It comes to us from U.S. officials stationed in the target areas, as well as from regime officials who have remarked both publicly and privately on the success of the Radio in attracting listeners. This in turn is supported by audience research data gathered by USIA and by RFE itself, showing RFE to be the most widely listened to Western station in Eastern Europe. This would suggest that RFE satisfies urgent needs of the majority of the population of these countries which are not and, as the result of domestic political conditions, cannot be satisfied by their home radio stations and censored press. (See Tab B for audience research studies.)
During the historic spring and summer of 1968, RFEʼs audience in Poland, Hungary, and Romania reached an all-time high, as people listened to the Radio for news of developments in Czechoslovakia, denied to them by their own media. In Czechoslovakia itself, primarily because of the freedom accorded domestic media by the Dubcek regime, the RFE audience declined temporarily. But after 21 August, and particularly after the clandestine Czech radios encountered difficulty in obtaining adequate information and maintaining consistent service, the population turned toward RFE, and its September 1968 audience research poll showed that listenership reached a record 71 per cent. (See Tab C for research poll.)
In this crisis period, RFE informed its Czechoslovak audience of the worldʼs indignation at the invasion, including the criticism expressed by Romania and Yugoslavia and by a majority of the Western [Page 86]Communist Parties. The regular broadcasting schedule was extended to 24 hours a day, with news broadcasts every half-hour.
The impact of the Radio on the Czechoslovak people during the crisis impressed Ambassador Beam to such an extent that he said on 31 October, “They are doing a great job.” He also noted that Radio Prague had relied on RFEʼs coverage of the Olympics in Mexico City rather than originate its own programming. (See Tab D for Czech statements.)
Former Ambassador Gronouski cabled from Warsaw in March 1968 during the student demonstrations that as much as 40–50 per cent of the student population followed RFE for news of the riots, particularly in quest of information from other parts of the country, and that the news broadcasts were “especially appreciated by the Polish audience.” Another Warsaw report stated that many Poles were full of praise for RFEʼs coverage of the news, noting particularly that RFE broadcasts obliged the Polish media to react hastily in their own news treatment, with considerable fumbling as they attempted to present their version of the facts.
Ambassador Hillenbrand in Budapest reported that RFE has unquestionably furnished its Hungarian audience with more, and more timely, information on the Polish riots and the Czechoslovak situation than did the local media. Further information received from the Embassy in Budapest indicates that RFEʼs appeal seems to be increasing in Hungary, and that despite the regimeʼs displeasure, Hungarian officials listen to it regularly and probably use it as a gauge of public sentiment and reactions.
One of the most valuable service that RFE performs for its target audience is that of cross-reporting news from other East European countries that is suppressed by regime media. Thus, RFE has been able to tell its Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian listeners about the Czechoslovak liberalization program from the fall of Novotny to the present day. Likewise, Czechoslovakians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, and Romanians heard details of the Polish student demonstration that they would not possibly have learned from regime organs. Yugoslav developments, the independent moves of Romania, all of these are immediately made available to the other Bloc countries by RFE.
Testimony to the efficacy of radio in general—and RFE in particular—came recently in response to Secretary Ruskʼs request to all U.S. diplomatic missions for suggestions on specific ways for the United States to call attention to its efforts in the Paris talks with North Vietnam. Ambassador Hillenbrand replied that the official media of the countries of Eastern Europe are offset by widespread listening to foreign broadcasts and recommended that maximum feasible attention be given to publicizing the U.S. position on RFE and VOA. The Embassy in Warsaw reported that “with respect to the Polish public, we feel that [Page 87] U.S. broadcast media—which are the most effective means of reaching broad elements of the Polish population—should continue full factual coverage of the Paris talks and other developments relating to Vietnam.” (See Tab E for official documents.)
Radio Liberty (RL)
Radio Liberty has been broadcasting to the Soviet Union since 1953, and transmits 24 hours a day in Russian, 14 hours a day in Ukrainian, and lesser amounts in 15 other languages of the USSR. Radio Liberty Committee, Inc. (RLC), the parent body located in New York City, also sponsors the Institute for the Study of the USSR in Munich, conducts the Agencyʼs largest book-mailing program to the USSR, and runs a program for providing Latin American press and radio with journalistic material on Communism developed by RL. The President of RLC is Howland H. Sargeant, and its Trustees include General Alfred Gruenther, Peter Grace, Jr., and Whitney Seymour.
RLʼs programming headquarters are also situated in Munich, with transmitters in Lampertheim, Germany, in Pals, Spain, and Pa Li, Taiwan. RLʼs license agreement with the West German Government is valid to 9 July 1971. Although the West Germans have the option of terminating the agreement earlier, their relations with RL are extremely good and it is not expected that they will exercise this option. The Radioʼs Spanish license was granted for 12 years on 15 July 1959, and its Taiwan license does not expire until 30 July 1971.
The Radio Liberty Committee, Inc., currently employs [number not declassified] people and has an FY 1969 budget of $12,953,000, of which [dollar amount not declassified] is for RL.
Replying to a State Department request for an evaluation of Radio Liberty in July 1967, Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson recommended that RL be continued in operation. Noting that RL broadcasts are heavily jammed, he said that despite this interference it has been able to hold on to an audience. He also pointed out that jamming operations tie up Soviet resources and entail costs which, together with the impact of the broadcasts on the population, might make it possible for the United States Government to use eventual cessation of RL broadcasts as an indirect bargaining counter at a later date. Ambassador Thompson said that the political climate at that time was not suitable for making a unilateral concession. (See Tab F for Ambassador Thompsonʼs cable.) Since July 1967, the atmosphere has deteriorated. The USSR has intensified its jamming of RL, resumed jamming of VOA and other Western broadcasters, rejected an official U.S. protest on this subject, and registered a protest of its own over the printing of a collection of Soviet protest documents in USIAʼs Problems of Communism.
RLʼs reaction to the nine-month Czechoslovak interlude and the subsequent invasion has been to encourage, prior to the invasion, a [Page 88]crisis of confidence in the Soviet leadershipʼs judgment and intentions, and afterwards to arouse apprehension over the leadershipʼs misreading and brutal handling of the Czechoslovak situation, and to inculcate doubt as to the rationality of CPSU policy-making in times of stress. During the invasion, RL pressed into service its previously experimental one thousand kilowatt (megawatt) transmitter, and the Moscow Embassy has reported that its monitoring indicates that this signal can more than hold its own against the previously impenetrable groundwave jamming in the metropolitan Moscow area where the elite target audience lives. (See Tab G for monitoring and Embassy reports.)
In the USSR intellectual turmoil has begun to verge on political dissent, and RL has been particularly well suited to respond to this development. About 20 per cent of all output has focused on these sensitive areas. Among other things, it has broadcast the texts of virtually every one of the scores of Soviet protest documents, something VOA has been reluctant to do because of its official status, and frequently has read them at dictation speed so that they can be copied by listeners for further dissemination inside the USSR. In the fall and winter of 1967–68, RL concentrated heavily on reporting Soviet persecution of Ukrainian nationalist intellectuals, and serious youth problems in Georgia and Moldavia. Immediately afterward, in March 1968, the Ukrainian Party Secretary responsible for ideological and cultural affairs was demoted, and Radio Kiev was obliged to present a special interview with an official of the prosecutorʼs office to answer queries which, according to the broadcast, stemmed from the “noisy sensation” created by foreign press and radio about the trials of Ukrainian intellectuals.
There has never existed a firm basis on which to estimate the size of RLʼs audience. But several indicators of RLʼs relative standing are available. It is known, for instance, that even without the megawatt transmitter, RLʼs signal was capable of geographically covering, at various times, 90 per cent of the USSRʼs territory. From RLʼs analysis of its listener letters and from interviews with listeners who travel abroad, it is fairly clear that RL looms as one of the three or four most important stations broadcasting to the USSR, along with VOA and BBC, and that it probably ranks in popularity immediately behind these two stations. It is clear also that RL is recognized for what it is, a “political” station with a political message, and that therefore most of its audience is probably listening through preference rather than by accident. It is evident from this that RL is not so much in competition with VOA or BBC as it is complementary to their efforts, and that because RL offers a significantly distinctive product it is sought out for different reasons by many of the same people who also listen to other Western stations.[Page 89]
A number of indications of RLʼs impact are derived from audience responses and regime reactions. Several mail tests have shown that only about one letter in thirty reaches RL from inside the USSR. Despite this censorship, RL annually receives between 500 and 1,000 listener letters, and additionally interviews about 500 listeners who arrive in the West as legal travelers and refugees. After a two-year slump in Soviet listener mail that affected all Western radios, the rate of mail flow to RL in 1968 was 43 per cent higher than the previous year and might suggest that a greater number of people were listening than ever before. Listener evidence also shows that in times of international crisis, RLʼs audience size rises sharply. During the period of Polish student disturbances and Czechoslovak tensions in March 1968, RL was told by a Soviet literary critic that in Moscow “the streets were empty and quiet” because of people listening to foreign radio and that “Radio Liberty enjoyed the greatest success.” Evidently because of its coverage of East European developments and Soviet intellectual dissidence, RL was the object of more regime denunciations (78) in 1968 than in any previous year. Most of the attacks made reference to the Radioʼs treatment of these two subjects. Finally, Soviet efforts to jam RL around the clock have continued unabated since 1953, whereas jamming of VOA was discontinued in 1963 and only resumed during the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Pertinent U.S. Policy Considerations
The processes of fermentation and political adjustment which are now developing in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe can be expected to continue in the near future. Economic and social problems are likely to become more acute during the next few years. Intellectual ferment is likely to grow and expand to broader categories of the population. The Soviet military may become more clearly differentiated as a power group. Problems of nationalism and regionalism in various outlying areas of the USSR and in Eastern Europe may increase in overall importance.
The pervasiveness of these processes that have emerged during the last two years has exceeded expectations in this regard, and both Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe have played crucial roles in addressing themselves to these phenomena. We now would anticipate that in Eastern Europe the invasion of Czechoslovakia will prove only a stopgap measure toward containing pressures that will now be redirected into subtler forms of expression, and that in the USSR the current sporadic intellectual dissent will likely grow into the rudiments of a cohesive intellectual opposition to the regime if such dissidence is driven underground by the present repressions. These circumstances would make the Radios even more important than previously.
Alternative Courses of Action
A determination must now be made as to whether the Radios should be continued after 30 June 1969, and, if so, whether they should be funded [less than 1 line not declassified] by CIA. There is no reason to believe that additional staff review will make that decision any easier. The problem of what to do with RFE and RL has been studied exhaustively and almost continuously for the last three years by some of the most competent specialists in and outside the Government. The value of the Radios as irreplaceable assets has been affirmed over the years by every study group, official and private, that has addressed itself to the problem. Every reasonable alternative has been explored, and additional options from which to choose are not likely to be developed. What is required now is a policy decision based on value judgment.
It has been recognized by each reviewing body that RFE and RL represent important U.S. assets in terms of rare talent, specialized organization, and base facilities which have taken nearly 20 years and $350 million to develop. Once dispersed, these assets could be recreated only with immense difficulty, if at all. In itself this represents a powerful argument for continuing the operations.
If the Radios are to retain their present status and functions, however, there is no satisfactory alternative to the resumption of covert financing by CIA. If the Radios were openly associated with the Government, either through a public-private mechanism or as a line item in the USIA budget, they would be vulnerable to extensive debate each year, and it would become necessary inter alia to publicly explain and defend the more politically-charged missions of RFE and RL as distinct from those of VOA. Such open affiliation with the Government would be a contradiction in terms for a gray radio. It would confirm that the Radios were official instruments of the U.S. Government, and the contracts and licenses under which they operate as private organizations would become null and void, with the transmitters in Spain and Portugal reverting to the governments of those countries.
Against this backdrop it should also be recognized as a fact of life about which little can be done that there exists a widespread assumption, entertained especially by U.S. media, that the Radios are indeed financed by CIA. For the most part this has caused the Radios only minor difficulties, probably because their objectives are generally considered laudable, and because their activities are mostly conducted outside the United States. Moreover, among the scholars and journalists who have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the work of RFE and RL, most have emerged true believers in their worth, genuinely impressed with their expertise, sophistication, and restraint.[Page 91]
RL and RFE were only minimally involved in the publicity that followed the Ramparts magazine disclosure in February 1967. The only fire drawn by either of the Radios was directed at RFEʼs public fund-raising campaigns. As a result, public solicitation of funds through mass media was dropped, but discreet fund-raising from corporate donors was permitted. To support the corporate solicitation, the Advertising Council resumed in November 1968 its annual campaign on behalf of RFE, but omitting appeals to the public for funds. Since the expiration of the Katzenbach deadline on December 31, 1967, neither Radio has attracted any sustained or seriously embarrassing publicity, although both have continued to receive occasional queries about their source of funds.
This low-key interest in the Radios themselves will certainly continue. Some sharp questioning to sound out the new Administration for the record on its arrangement with the Radios may also be expected fairly early in the year, and there will probably be continued inquiry along the lines of the recent Evans and Novak column, probing the status and funding of the Radios.3 Any criticism thus developing would undoubtedly focus on the Radiosʼ public profile and on the charge of deception of the American public implicit in their proclaimed status as private organizations.
As long as these institutions continue to function in the public domain without a plausible source of support commensurate with the size of the operation, the problem of credibility will remain with us. Explanations or disclaimers short of outright disclosure of Government support will be suspect in unsympathetic circles. If, on the other hand, Government support were acknowledged, it would become extremely difficult if not impossible for the organizations to continue their operations in Germany, Portugal, and Spain.
On balance, it is recognized that there is no easy solution to the problem of continuing the operation of the Radios under a cover story [Page 92]which is intrinsically plausible and yet compatible with U.S. Government credibility. Ideally, the less that is said in response to press inquiry, the better.
In the last analysis it is believed that, if a determination is made to continue the operation of the Radios [less than 1 line not declassified], a public position will have to be taken by the Government which in practical terms constitutes an evasion of the question of financial sponsorship of the Radios. (A suggested scenario to cover this eventuality is attached as Tab H.)
In conclusion, it should be noted that a position taken with respect to the Radios in the above context will necessarily be affected by whatever policy the Administration chooses to adopt toward the Katzenbach rulings as a whole.
The possibility of openly affiliating the Radios with USIA was briefly considered in 1967 and was rejected as unsuitable for the following reasons. First of all, it is doubtful that Congress, faced with requests for appropriations for RFE and RL as part of VOA, would appropriate sufficient funds each year for RFE and RL. Moreover, the public appropriation/budgetary process would expose RFE and RL to conflicting pressures of outside criticism and review. The specific qualities that make RFE and RL broadcasts unique and allow them to foster U.S. interests in ways denied to VOA would be lost; i.e., their flexibility and hard-hitting commentary on internal affairs. The Radios would then be subject to the same policy restrictions and impediments as VOA.
The transmission bases and broadcast facilities of RFE and RL abroad would probably be lost since, as mentioned above, they are operated under non-transferable license agreements. There is little chance that the host countries would allow the U.S. Government to take over these facilities without exacting a high diplomatic or financial price. As for programs, they too would suffer from merger with VOA, in that target audiences, formerly well disposed, would view them skeptically because of their official sponsorship. Moreover, many members of the staffs of RFE and RL, with all of their rare talents and skills, would probably leave because of their reluctance to be associated with an official propaganda arm of the U.S. Government.
If the risks of continued covert funding are deemed unacceptable, and if, as indicated above, an autonomous affiliation with USIA is impractical, the only alternative for RFE and RL is termination. While it might be possible to salvage and turn over to VOA certain technical facilities, frequencies, and personnel, the unique element of RFE and RL broadcasts—detailed reporting and hard-hitting commentary on internal developments—would unquestionably be lost.[Page 93]
Termination at this particular time, in the aftermath of the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia, would be a significant unilateral concession to the Soviet Union and to the hard-line East European regimes. The absence of a plausible explanation for the cessation of broadcasting would suggest to the radio audiences in the USSR and Eastern Europe that the United States had lost interest in them. It might also be interpreted by West Europeans as another sign of U.S. disengagement, possibly suggesting that a deal had been struck with the Soviets.
Within the United States there are many elements, including large ethnic groups with close ties to many of the countries to which the Radios broadcast, for whom cessation of broadcasting would seem a serious and incomprehensible decision, especially in light of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The attitudes of the ethnic groups would probably add significantly to the likelihood of adverse publicity attendant on termination, and would lend themselves to domestic political exploitation. Strongly negative Congressional reactions were encountered when the Director of Central Intelligence discussed the possibility of termination with key members of Congress in late 1967. A number of Congressmen are likely to show particular concern for the fate of RFE and RL because of their traditional responsiveness to the interests of domestic European ethnic groups, and because of their considerable knowledge of and belief in the work of the Radios.
Termination would be neither cheap nor swift. It is estimated that termination would require at least 12 months and approximately [dollar amount not declassified] for the two Radios.
There has been close coordination with the Department of State, the United States Information Agency, and with the Bureau of the Budget over a two-year period on the question of the Radiosʼ future. Current operational and policy coordination is carried out on a regular basis with both the Department of State and USIA.
It is recommended that the 303 Committee:
- Affirm the continued political relevance of the missions of Free Europe, Inc., and Radio Liberty;
- Authorize the CIA to resume covert funding of Free Europe, Inc., and Radio Liberty, in FY 1970 as an exception in the overriding national interest as provided in the Katzenbach Report, but without public admission;
- Agree that inasmuch as the broadcasting activities of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are worth continuing, they should be maintained at a level sufficient to keep them on a qualitatively competitive footing with other international broadcasters to the same target areas.
The proposed FY 1970 budget for Free Europe is $20,900,000 [1 line not declassified]; Radio Liberty Committeeʼs proposed budget is $12,900,000. There are, however, no funds budgeted in FY 1970 for the Radios as a consequence of the Presidentʼs decision in December. It will therefore be necessary to increase the Agencyʼs Fiscal Year 1970 budget in the amounts cited, which presumably could be done in the current review of the budget proposals placed before the Congress by the outgoing Administration.
- Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Files, January–June 1969. Secret; Eyes Only. Tabs A–H, described below, are attached but not printed. No drafting information appears on the memorandum.↩
- On February 15,
1967, President Johnson appointed a committee
composed of Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach (Chairman), Secretary of Health,
Education and Welfare John W. Gardner, and Director of Central
Intelligence Richard Helms.
The panel was established in response to press reports, particularly
in Ramparts magazine (February 1967), of CIA secret funding over the years of the activities of
private organizations, which became involved in confrontations with
Communist-influenced groups at international gatherings. (The New York Times, February 16, 1967, pp. 1,
26) The Katzenbach Committee
presented its report to the President on March 29, 1967; see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents,
1967, pp. 1214–1217. For text of President
Johnsonʼs statement endorsing the reportʼs
conclusions, see Public Papers: Johnson, 1967,
Book 1, pp. 403–404. For relevant documentation, see
Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume X, National Security Policy, Documents 186, and 197 and ibid., volume XXXIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations, Documents 26– 29.↩
- In their column of December 5, 1968, journalists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak wrote: “One of the many loose ends left by the lame duck Johnson Administration for President-elect Nixon to tie up poses an acute problem of credibility… : Clandestine financing of Radio Free Europe. There is scarcely any doubt that the Nixon Administration will maintain the hefty U.S. subsidy, size unknown, that is funneled through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to provide almost all the financing for Radio Free Europeʼs massive propaganda effort… The question Nixon must decide is whether to maintain the subsidy under the table or to bring it out in the open …. With some of Nixonʼs financial supporters among Radio Free Europeʼs sponsors, the subsidy will assuredly continue—in one of three forms: (1) as a secret CIA contribution not acknowledged by the government; (2) as a CIA contribution whose existence is announced but size not disclosed or subjected to congressional scrutiny; or (3) as a regular congressional appropriation subject to normal congressional procedures.” Evans and Novak, “Financing of Radio Free Europe Leaves Nixon Sensitive Problem,” The Washington Post, December 5, 1968, p. A21.↩