281. Memorandum From Stephen Low of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1
- VOA Broadcast to Cuba
Since 1961 the VOA has beamed a special broadcast at Cuba called “Cita Con Cuba” (CCC). The daily one-hour program was supposed to be tailored to the Cuban audience and contain the message we wanted to get across to them. Besides programs to Brazil (in Portuguese), this is the only special country broadcast to Latin America. For various [Page 756] reasons, including budgetary and personnel, it was never possible to attain the quality broadcast necessary to attract real audience interest in Cuba. As far as VOA can tell, its regular Latin America program gets a greater response from the Cubans than CCC.
As a result of the lack of success of the program, it was reduced in 1973 to a half-hour evening program, repeated the following morning. There was no observable reaction either in Cuba or Florida to this reduction. Now USIA wants to drop CCC in stages—eliminating the morning rebroadcast on July 1, and the evening half-hour on October 1 when it restructures its normal program activity.
In State’s view, there is no danger that elimination of the program would give a misleading signal that we are modifying our policy of isolating Cuba.
Anne Armstrong’s office, however, is concerned about the reaction within the Cuban community in Florida of the final phase-out of the program on October 1. They agreed to eliminating the rebroadcast in July, but suggested that we wait until a later date for final elimination of the program. I saw no reason why we should not go along with their request to postpone final elimination of the program until later and so informed the State Department, telling them we would be willing to look at it again at the end of the year.
Summary: Low reported on plans to phase out a Voice of America radio program directed at Cuba.
Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Latin American Affairs Staff Files, 1974–1977, Box 2, Cuba—Political, Military 1. Limited Official Use. Sent for information. At the bottom of the memorandum, Low wrote, “On Nov 21 SL [Stephen Low] gave OK to Culver Gleysteen for full cut off as of Dec 1 when other cutbacks being made.” In a June 7 memorandum to Shlaudeman, Little proposed dropping “Cita Con Cuba;” Shlaudeman wrote, “OK with me. Please do check with Steve Low.” (Ibid.)↩