64. Memorandum From Paul Henze of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • VOA Expansion (U)

You will recall that we directed VOA to re-examine its language priorities and readjust its output to support basic U.S. foreign policy objectives a few months ago. Tom Tuch, deputy director of VOA, have me a brief rundown today of where things stand. Persian-language broadcasts were resumed in April and now go out ½ hour2 of original programming per day. There is not much evidence of impact yet in either Iran or Afghanistan. An additional hour of Persian will be added this winter. In addition, additional resources are being allocated to Chinese-language broadcasting and an hour of English to the Caribbean is being added during FY 1980. (C)

Next priority is Azeri, but it is being put off until 1981 because of budgetary stringency. Cost of adding Azeri (with impact in both Iran and USSR) is $250,000 per year and 8 slots. ICA says it cannot reprogram during FY 1980 to do this. (C)

In light of what we know the Soviets are doing in the area immediately to the south of their borders, we seem to be going at expanding our own impact in a very leisurely way. If all we need is $250,000 to start Azeri, it seems to me it would be very much in our national interest to do it. We also need to push VOA into doing something about building new and more powerful transmitters in the South Asian area (approved in March 1977), for whatever they are programming, their signal is weak and they are not competing with the vastly more powerful broadcasts out of the USSR. (C)

At some point, it seems to me, we need to make the effort to get a little more zip and pep into this whole effort. But the present time may not be opportune. (U)

I stand ready to propose ways of raising these issues whenever you want them raised. What is your advice?—


[Page 203]

Generate a Proposal for finding MONEY for Azeri sooner3

PUSH the transmitter problem4

TELL VOA/ICA to be more adventuresome in seeking extra funds (C)5

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 112, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Voice of America: 1–9/79. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. David Aaron circled “½ hour” and wrote “ridiculous!” at the top of the memorandum.
  3. David Aaron approved the recommendation.
  4. David Aaron approved the recommendation.
  5. David Aaron approved the recommendation. He added a handwritten comment at the bottom of the page: “Also push and above all Persian facilities. DA.”