74. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Vice President Mondale1


  • Broadcasting to the Moslem World (U)

In answer to your query at the PRC yesterday,2 all the participants, with the exception of OMB, are moving to implement the decisions taken at the December 11 SCC on broadcasting to the Moslem World and approved by the President. To date OMB has:

—released funds for VOA’s most urgent needs but been reluctant to provide funds for the expansion of Hausa, Swahili, Indonesian, Hindi and Amharic (the latter is particularly important)

—allocated no money to BIB for RFE/RL to improve the content and depth of Radio Liberty broadcasts in Uzbek, Tatar, Kazakh, Azeri, Tajik, Turkmen and Kirgiz on the grounds that funds for such steps could not be released until arrangements for transmittal rental have been accomplished. Improvements in these language services are needed now, however, in order to have better broadcasts ready when the transmitters are rented. Moreover, RL must begin to hire new people for these languages, a difficult task which will take months and which should be begun as soon as possible. (C)

Recent developments in Afghanistan3 have underscored the importance of moving rapidly to implement the December 11 SCC decisions, particularly funding for VOA and RL programming needs. I think [Page 223] a memo from you to Jim McIntyre would help to overcome OMB footdragging. (C)

  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: 10–12/79. Confidential. Larrabee forwarded the memorandum to Brzezinski on December 28 and noted he had coordinated it with Henze. (Ibid.)
  2. On November 23, Robert Gates asked Gary Sick and Paul Henze to prepare a memorandum for Brzezinski’s signature answering a query from Mondale about U.S. actions to counter Soviet propaganda in the Persian Gulf. Henze provided Brzezinski a draft memorandum on November 26. In his covering memorandum, Henze asked Brzezinski to engage Mondale as a supporter of a more assertive U.S. approach to international broadcasting. (National Security Council, Carter Administration Intelligence Files, I–023, SCC Meeting Folders, 1979–1980 and Attorney General Actions, SCC(i) Meeting on Broadcasting and Related Issues, 11 December 1979) Aaron signed the memorandum on Brzezinski’s behalf on November 27, reporting that severe budget limitations imposed on RFE/RL and VOA prevented progress. (Ibid.) On December 27, Mondale again asked about broadcasting to Muslim audiences.
  3. On December 25, Soviet airborne troops began arriving in Kabul, Afghanistan. On December 27, Soviet Army and KGB troops attacked the Presidential Palace in Kabul and killed Afghani President Hafizullah Amin. Concurrently, Soviet ground forces began crossing the border into Afghanistan.