Register of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate records

Processed by Hoover Institution Archives Staff
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Phone: (650) 723-3563
Fax: (650) 725-3445
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Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate records,
Dates: 1945-2005
Collection number: 2000C71
Creator: RFE/RL, Inc.
Collection Size: circa 4000 linear feet
Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: American radio broadcasting organization operating Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, financial and legal records, technical specifications, opinion survey data, serial issues, other publications, and microfilm, relating to operations of Radio Free Europe in broadcasting to audiences in Eastern Europe and of Radio Liberty in broadcasting to audiences in the Soviet Union, as well as non-broadcast operations of RFE/RL's predecessor, the Free Europe Committee, Inc.
Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English, German, Russian, Polish

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research. Portions of the collection in process open only by request. Please contact the Hoover Institution Archives for information.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate records, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2000 with subsequent additions.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Scope and Content of Collection

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc. Corporate Records
The complexity of this collection for the researcher as well as the archivist is manifold. The most salient fact characterizing the RFE/RL materials is their sheer volume, which necessitated their breakdown into two collections: the corporate records, consisting of the organizational and administrative documentation of RFE/RL (including its supervisory, subordinate, and affiliate organizations), and the broadcast archive, consisting of tapes of broadcasts, scripts and associated documentation.
Each of these units therefore has its own register, in turn broken down into series. This register describes the corporate records only.
The corporate records arrived at the Hoover Institution from two sources: the Washington, D.C. office and the Prague headquarters. With the exception of the Public Affairs photographs, which were essentially similar and complementary material with no outward differentiation, the materials from these two sources were not mixed, and therefore peculiarities of file structure and organization were retained in both cases. The Washington, D.C. records comprised files from various sources: the President's Office, particularly for the early years through the 1980s, the New York Programming Center, including its predecessor, the original headquarters of RFE and RL, the Board for International Broadcasting, transmitter stations, etc.
Aside from the Alphabetical File, which ceased to be used after 1988, the Washington records contained other documentation filed on the basis of origin or function: files of individual employees, organized as series under their names, files of units and organizations, e.g. Engineering (including records of International Broadcasting Systems, transmitter sites, and other technical matters). A Washington Office File has also been organized for materials which fell outside the readily apparent series. The Washington Office File contains a subject file for matter originating after 1988 and other papers which would probably have been retained in the Alphabetical File had its use been continued and expanded. It also contains materials going back to the earliest days, which were kept on hand for reference use, such as chronological files of correspondence, contracts, leases, legal and other documentation.
A further note must be made with regard to organizations, departments, and units which changed names during the period covered by this collection. In keeping with standard archival practice, descriptors are based on the last name in use, e.g. European Advisory Committee, rather than Western European Advisory Committee, or Free Europe, rather than National Committee for a Free Europe, RFE/RL Fund, rather than Crusade for Freedom. However, in cases where a name change was accompanied by a substantial change in authority, competency, goals and resources, both names may be found in the register, indicating that these were substantially different organizations or units.
This inevitably leads to some overlap in distribution of material. Thus, for example, the Czechoslovak Broadcasting Department was broken up into the Czech Broadcasting Department and Slovak Language Service on 3 January 1993, yet because many of the original files did not end or begin on that exact date, information on any of the three units named above for, e.g. 1992 or 1994 may be found under another of the relevant headings. Similarly, though the Baltic services are better known as RFE units, they were originally under RL, and therefore information about them may be found under both headings.
In searching the Public Affairs files for photographs of specific individuals, it is necessary to know that employees might be listed under various sections: they might be found directly in the "Employees" section in alphabetical order, or they might be found listed under the department in which they worked. At all events, the "General" folders should be checked because far from all photographs had names attached or written on the back. It is also worth restating the obvious, that the terms "includes" and "depicted" do not mean "limited to." While an effort has been made to list all identifiable personalities in a photograph where appropriate, in some cases this proved unmanageable, such as in mass group photographs, or when identifications were unavailable, unreliable or submitted post factum.
If there is a good head shot of a person in one section, he or she will not necessarily be listed by name in other sections, such as when appearing in a group. In most cases, group photos, or even of two people, were put under the "general" category closest or most appropriate to the essence of the subject area, unless it was obvious that one of the figures depicted was the central subject of the photograph (for example, in the case of visitors, where it was clear that one visitor was the central figure and others depicted were either employees or camp followers, the photograph was entered under the visitor's name, rather than as a group). In this case an effort was made to list the other identifiable people in the photo as well, especially if there are no other equally good or better photographs of them available elsewhere in the collection. This is particularly the case for interviews with celebrities or visitors, where the visitor's (or group's) name is the main entry, and the interviewer may or may not be listed. This purely subjective system was put into practice to avoid listing people whose only visible body part was the back of their head.
Similarly, depictions of sporting events, awards ceremonies, and other staff activities may be found either under the name of the person receiving the award, or in a "general" category if there is a group involved. As a general rule, one or more members of management were present at such awards ceremonies and other events, but are not always listed, as good direct photos of them are easily found under their own names.
Negatives were kept together with corresponding prints because they were originally provided in this fashion. Where they were kept separate, especially where strips of negatives depicted numerous and various subjects, the negatives can usually be found in the closest "general" folder, or in other folders if, for example, the corresponding print in question was originally part of a series located in one of the series folders. It should not be assumed that each print has a corresponding negative.
Another peculiarity of this series is that it contains some associated non-photographic documents: biographical notes, captions, clippings, correspondence, transcripts of broadcasts, and other materials directly associated with the photographs.
In searching by name, several points should be kept in mind: where provided (and unless dictated otherwise by the Library of Congress), full names (Eugene, rather than Gene) have been used, including initials where indicated. Absolute uniformity, however, proved impossible to achieve, in some cases due to misspellings or conflicting spellings, different methods of indicating or ignoring diacritics, or transliteration according to various systems (English, German, pidgin). Unless a specific latinized form of a name is used throughout, we have used either the prevalent form found in the documents, or, if no such form is indicated, we have used the Library of Congress system of transliteration. Name searches, therefore, should be conducted with a view to possible variations in spelling.
Not all the photographs in the RFE/RL records belonged to the Public Affairs department. For this reason, there is a separate Photographs file. Oversize photographs have been delegated to the Oversize File--Public affairs photographic file. The guidelines expressed above for the Public Affairs Photographic File apply in all cases.
In addition, there is a card index of former RFE employees in the Card File. This index is incomplete, but it contains passport-size photos for a large number of individuals affixed to cards indicating name, date of hire, and date of death, resignation, or other form of termination.
The central existing series within the Washington, DC materials was the Alphabetical File. This series contained documentation from the beginning of the Radios' history to 1988, when the series was discontinued. The files were organized strictly alphabetically, sometimes with a hierarchical structure (for example, subsets of files within generic "RFE" and "FEC" headings), and sometimes with arcane designations. This series has been left in original order with some minor changes to bring the headings into conformity with standard archival practices and Library of Congress subject classifications. Thus, files with various headings found under the letter "C" as part of an implied "Congress" heading have been arranged under "U.S. Government. Congress."
The Alphabetical File contains the earliest materials on RFE/RL history, beginning with documentation on the establishment, structure and activities of the National Committee for a Free Europe (later the Free Europe Committee, or FEC) and the American Committee for Freedom for the Peoples of the USSR, Inc. (later the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, or Amcomlib, and thereafter Radio Liberty Committee). The records themselves, arranged under headings relating to individuals, organizations, and subjects, include both materials about people, places and events, as well as correspondence with individuals and organizations on a variety of issues.
Particular attention should be drawn to the fact that guidances and policy materials, which are represented compactly but incompletely in the Office of Policy Director and Microfiche, are also present in the Alphabetical File under relevant subject headings (e.g., Czech crisis, or Romania), Free Europe Committee, Inc.--Policy, Radio Free Europe--Desks, Radio Free Europe--Guidances, Radio Free Europe--Policy matters, and elsewhere.
While the Office of the President files contain materials dating as far back as 1951, the bulk of this series dates from the mid-1980s through the very early 1990s, primarily the tenures of E. Eugene Pell and A. Ross Johnson. The files of the Office of the Executive Vice-President are also concentrated on this period, though they too contain some earlier documentation. Both series are rich in materials relating to preparations for the Radios' move to Prague from Munich.
The Office of the Policy Director files contain various types of guidances and policy memoranda and notes. Additional guidances and policy documents may be found in the Alphabetical File (see description above) and on Microfiche. Guidances for Hungary during the years 1955-1956 are also located in the RFE/RL Broadcast Collection (a separate collection) under Hungarian Broadcast Department.
The RFE/RL Moving Image Materials consist of motion picture film and various videotape formats that pertain to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty from various parts of the world, especially Europe. The content exists in several different languages and pertains to news coverage, press conferences, documentaries, and publicity relating to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Titles are taken directly from the labels.
This register could not have been compiled without the participation of a large group of individuals. They are listed here in alphabetical order: Suzanne Ament, Rodica Claudino, Laura Cosovanu, Venera Djumataeva, German Dziebel, Lenka Fedorova, Irene Franks, Lechoslaw Gawlikowski, Ilja Gruen, Polina Ilieva, A. Ross Johnson, Dev Kumari Khalsa, Mikolaj Kunicki, Lijuan Li, Natalya Mislavskaya, Ekaterina Neklioudova, Blanka Pasternak, Mike Schaefer, Anatol Shmelev, Sandra Staklis, Catalin Stoica, Quincy Tanner, Dennis Trapido.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Radio Free Europe.
Radio Liberty (Munich, Germany)
Radio broadcasting, Europe, Eastern.
Radio broadcasting, Soviet Union.

Container List

Box 1-74


Scope and Content Note

Addresses and telephone numbers, advertisements, agreements, award file, buildings file, by-laws, code, clippings, correspondence, daily broadcast analysis file, engineering file, fact sheets, financial documents, guest books, history file, indexes, legal appraisal, lists, logos and logotypes, manuals, memoranda, minutes of meetings, mission statement, organizational charts, pension plan file, personnel file, press releases, profile file, publications (in-house), reports, schedules, speeches, and subject file, arranged alphabetically by physical form
Box 75-140 (Photo shelves)


Scope and Content Note

Prints and negatives depicting people and events associated with RFE/RL, Inc. and the history of the Cold War, arranged by subject.
Box 141-365


Scope and Content Note

Materials from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL arranged in alphabetical order under original headings.
Box 366-412


Scope and Content Note

Clippings, correspondence, memoranda, notes, printed matter, reports, schedules.
Box 413-433


Scope and Content Note

Agreements, broadcast analysis reports, by-laws, cables, clippings, contracts, correspondence, financial records, inter-office communications, litigation records, memoranda, personnel records, policy guidelines, professional codes, reports, schedules, scripts, and travel records arranged alphabetically by original heading.
Box 434-437


Scope and Content Note

Briefing books, contracts, correspondence, financial documents, memorands and reports, arranged alphabetically by original heading.
Box 437-444


Scope and Content Note

Daily guidance summaries, guidance notes, guidances, policy guidance memoranda, policy notes and special guidances, arranged alphabetically by physical form and chronologically therein.
Box 445-468


Scope and Content Note

BIB-commissioned evaluations of programming and program reviews arranged alphabetically by broadcast department and language service.
Box 469-570


Scope and Content Note

Analytic memos, assessment memoranda, research memoranda, reports, and summaries, arranged by organizational hierarchy (EEAOR, MOR and SAAOR, alphabetically by physical form and numerically and chronologically therein.
Box 571-654


Scope and Content Note

Arranged by organizational hierarchy (EEAOR, MOR and SAAOR, alphabetically by physical form and numerically and chronologically therein.
Box 655-1655


Scope and Content Note

Data related to audience research, polls and questionnaires, audience mail, reports, statistics, organized by issuing individual or organization, and chronologically therein.
Box 1655-1887


Scope and Content Note

Artificial series created by RFE/RL staff in 1995 for proposed history of the organization.
On shelf

RESEARCH FILE, 1966-1993.

Scope and Content Note

In process.
On shelf


Scope and Content Note

In process.
On shelf


Scope and Content Note

In process.
On shelf


On shelf


On shelf


Scope and Content Note

The documents in this series relate primarily to S. Enders Wimbush’s and Kevin Klose’s tenures as RL Director. Most files consist solely of correspondence and memoranda. Other significant document types are mentioned when present. In process.
On shelf


Scope and Content Note

In process.
On shelf


Scope and Content Note

Contains documents generated and collected at the RFE/RL corporate office in Washington DC in the years 1954-1995. This includes materials related to the operations carried out by the RFE/RL Fund, Free Europe, Inc., and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Also included are documents dealing with the corporate, legislative, financial, and administrative activities of RFE/RL, Inc. In process.
On shelf


Photo shelves


Scope and Content Note

In process.
Oversize shelving

OVERSIZE FILE, 1950s-1980s.

Scope and Content Note

Albums, Computer printouts, photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials, arranged by series provenance, and therein by subject. In process.
Photo shelves


Film shelves


Scope and Content Note

All original film reels are closed to researchers for preservation purposes. Use copies on VHS tape are available.
Tape shelves


Scope and Content Note

Sound cassettes, sound disks and sound tape reels arranged alphabetically by physical form and by series therein. In process.