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


  • Gronouski as BIB Board Chairman?—II

This is in response to your questions on my first memorandum on this subject.2

The way a Chairman of the BIB allocates his time and goes about exercising his responsibilities depends in large part on how he wants to do it and how he manages his team—i.e. both the other Board members and the Board staff. Abshire has been a very activist, interventionist Board Chairman and, being here in Washington, has made it much more of a job than it needs to be. (There is an advantage in having a Board Chairman who is not resident in the Washington area.) The Board probably needs to meet about four times per year for a day or two, maybe longer for the budget meeting, and Board members should (as a group or individually) probably make one visit a year to Munich and some of the radio sites in Europe.

PL 93–129, The Board for International Broadcasting Act of 1973,3 is very specific about certain things:

• Board members are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

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• Only three may be of the same political party.

• For each day of service they are compensated at the E–V daily rate ($182.00 under the new pay raise), and when traveling they are allowed travel money and per diem. There is no upper limit on compensation for travel or allowances permitted by the law.

The law does not specify how often the Board shall meet or how it goes about its business except that it is permitted to establish a staff hired under standard civil service procedures. The division of labor between the Board and its staff is up to it.

The law authorizes the Board to make grants to RFE/RL (including monies received from other governments and private individuals), to review and evaluate the mission of RFE/RL, to see that broadcasting is kept within the broad foreign policy objectives of the U.S., to encourage efficiency and economy, to make audits, prescribe regulations and report annually to the President and the Congress. The law does not specify how the Board is to exercise these functions. This concluding general provision of the law is interesting:

“In carrying out the foregoing functions, the Board shall bear in mind the necessity of maintaining the professional independence and integrity of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.”

The Secretary of State is charged in the law with responsibility for providing the Board “with such information regarding the foreign policy of the United States as the Secretary may deem appropriate.”

VOA and other broadcasting operations are not mentioned in the law.


In sum, the job of Chairman can be accommodated to the schedule and wishes of the man who takes the job, subject to the desires of the other members of the Board. He could, theoretically, make it practically a full-time job, but the assumption underlying the law is clearly that he would not and that the function, and that of the other members of the Board, is clearly a part-time one.

I find a broad degree of consensus that Gronouski would, if he wants the job, be a good man for it. If you prefer not to contact him directly, perhaps I could do so saying that I have been asked to sound him out in your behalf.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Horn/Special (Henze), Box 1, Chron File: 2/77. Confidential; Outside System.
  2. Reference is presumably to Henze’s February 15 memorandum to Brzezinski, in which he indicated that Aaron had “checked on how we approach Gronouski” to serve as BIB Chairman. Henze wrote, “Word is that we are free to go ahead and ask him whether he would like to be considered for the appointment. No commitment of any kind is implied in this action, of course.” (Ibid.)
  3. The Board for International Broadcasting Act (P.L. 93–129), which Nixon signed into law on October 19, 1973, created the Board as an independent federal agency to fund and oversee Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.