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Register of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Related Collection(s)
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Appendix I: Known Pseudonyms

  • Title: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate records
    Date (inclusive): 1945-2006
    Collection Number: 2000C71
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of the Materials : Languages represented in the collection: English, German, Russian, Polish
    Physical Description: circa 4000 boxes (4000.0 linear feet)
    Abstract: The records of the American radio broadcasting organization operating Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) include 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. Digital copies of select records also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    creator: RFE/RL.


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use.

    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., Folder no. or title], 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  https://searchworks.stanford.edu . 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.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital copies of select records also available at https://digitalcollections.hoover.org. 

    Related Collection(s)

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcast records, Hoover Institution Archives Sig Mickelson papers, Hoover Institution Archives Arch Puddington collection, Hoover Institution Archives

    Historical Note

    American radio broadcasting organization operating Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    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 sound recordings 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, DC 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, DC 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). Other Washington office records have been organized into individual series. The RFE/RL, INC. series contains a subject file for matter originating after 1988 and other papers which would probably have been retained in the ALPHABETICAL FILE had the latter’s use been continued and expanded. Certain earlier materials, kept on hand for reference use, such as chronological files of correspondence, contracts, leases, legal and other documentation, fell into the FREE EUROPE series rather than the ALPHABETICAL FILE, although the close interplay between these series should be kept in mind by the researcher.
    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 series, 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.
    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, or 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 Radio Liberty, and therefore information about them may be found under both headings.
    In searching the PUBLIC AFFAIRS PHOTOGRAPHIC FILE 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. In 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.
    While the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT contains 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 in 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 contains 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 Archive (a separate collection) under HUNGARIAN BROADCAST DEPARTMENT.
    The extensive audience research records have been organized into three primary series: AUDIENCE RESEARCH REPORTS contain the topline reports produced by the audience research arms of both RFE and RL (and the combined RFE/RL Media and Opinion Research Department, as well as the later spin-off Intermedia, Inc.). AUDIENCE RESEARCH OFFICE FILES consist primarily of correspondence, memoranda, collected materials, and other files accumulated by the audience research departments in the course of their duties. The AUDIENCE RESEARCH SURVEYS series contains the voluminous raw data of the various surveys conducted on émigrés, travelers, and others providing information on listening patterns in the USSR and Eastern Bloc countries, as well as other information that the surveys attempted to adduce. In addition, an AUDIENCE RESEARCH INCREMENT contains additional materials relating to all three of the above series acquired at a later time.
    A large quantity of material received from the Washington, DC, office of RFE/RL, Inc. in the late 1990s-early 2000s was originally labelled "Washington Office" for the sake of simplicity. This designation may be found in early versions of this finding aid or in citations referring to this body of material. In the course of processing, however, this body of material was broken down into series based on organizational structure. Thus emerged series referred to as FREE EUROPE, INC., RFE/RL, INC., RFE/RL FUND, BOARD FOR INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING, etc.
    The BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS (BBG) series consists of materials related to the oversight of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasting activities. This includes annual reports from 1996 and 1998 and a meeting in 1997. The Broadcasting Board of Governors series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The BOARD FOR INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING (BIB) series consists of materials related to the management of RFE and RL. Though the Board for International Broadcasting act was passed in 1973, the series’ earliest materials are from 1974, and the bulk of the series ranges from the late 1970s into the 1980s. The largest portion of the series is Meetings, which are described to include any attachment materials to be discussed by committee members. Dealings with the U.S. Congress can be found in this section as well as the United States Government file. The Board for International Broadcasting series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The FREE EUROPE, INC. (founded in 1949 as the National Committee for a Free Europe and later named the Free Europe Committee) series consists of papers related to the organization’s oversight of Radio Free Europe, with the vast majority of the materials’ dealings taking place before the 1975 merging of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Two of the larger portions, Policy and Reports, are representative of much of the organization’s work, and other such materials are found elsewhere in the President’s Office and Radio Free Europe (RFE) files. THE FREE EUROPE, INC. series originally derived from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The INTERNATIONAL BROADCAST SYSTEMS, INC. (IBS, Inc.) series consists mainly of materials related to the planning and construction of the Israel Radio Relay Station, a transmitter to be located outside Tel Aviv, which was ultimately never built. The largest portion of the collection is the Israel Radio Relay Station subseries, which consists of the evolution of plans put together by IBS personnel and various consultation firms. Being of a more technical nature, this subseries was originally housed in the Engineering file. The rest of the series materials are concerned mainly with other aspects of the planning of the transmitters, such as dealings with the Israeli government and environmental organizations, personnel, and materials related to legal concerns and settlements with contractors. The International Broadcast Systems, Inc. series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The PHOTOGRAPHS series includes photographs found among the materials of the various subseries which once constituted the Washington Office file. Subjects have been identified where possible, but are otherwise listed as "unidentified." The Photographs series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The RFE/RL FUND, INC. (until 1960 known as the Crusade for Freedom) series is divided into three main parts, the first being the records of the Board of Directors. This section consists primarily of meeting materials, correspondence between members, and biographical information on members and other personnel involved with Fund dealings. The second major portion, Fundraising, has to do with contributions and fundraising, and this includes correspondence with contributing foundations and individuals, proposals and ideas for publicity, and materials related to fundraising procedures. The Projects portion has to do with various projects the RFE/RL Fund oversaw and for which it solicited funds. This includes descriptions and planning of various fellowships and internships, as well as information on the work of their recipients. Additionally, the series contains promotional materials, letters from presidents and other prominent individuals sent for the purpose of being used in a promotional manner, and speeches and reports created by Fund board members and personnel. The RFE/RL Fund, Inc. series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The RFE/RL, INC. series consists chiefly of materials created after the merging of the radios in 1975. Note that dealings with Congress and other branches of the U.S. Government can be found in the United States Government series. The RFE/RL, Inc. series spans the years 1975 to 1994, with the bulk of the materials having been created in the 1970s. The largest portions of the series are concerned with activities of board members and RFE/RL staff. Note that these two groups are described separately (Board of Directors and Personnel respectively). Additional activities carried out by personnel can be found in the Articles and Speeches and Writings subseries. The RFE/RL, Inc. series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The RADIO LIBERTY series (known as Radio Liberation until 1959) consists primarily of materials dated before the merger of Radio Liberty with Radio Free Europe in 1975. Materials created by and related to the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism (AMCOMLIB), the organization responsible for Radio Liberty, can be found both in the Meetings and Reports subseries. The Radio Liberty series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT series consists of materials related to relations and dealings not only with branch entities, but with government-funded or led organizations (i.e. Voice of America). Congress is the series’ largest section, with the bulk of the material coming from the early 1970s. There is a good deal of material on the establishment of the Board for International Broadcasting and its activities through the 1980s. Records of hearings published by Congress and other official materials that can be found elsewhere have been maintained throughout the series for convenience of access. The United States Government series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The WEST EUROPEAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE (WEAC) series represents the inclusion of Western Europeans at the advisory level of the Free Europe, Inc. and Radio Free Europe affairs. Almost all of the WEAC documents were created in the pre-merger period. Both the correspondence and meetings subseries include materials related to delegations with the Senate starting in 1971, and reactions on the part of the committee and radio personnel to the congressional push to establish funding for the radios from European countries. Also included is a Membership file subseries containing information on WEAC personnel. The West European Advisory Committee series was originally part of the Washington Office file, which contained all materials deriving from the Washington, DC office of RFE/RL, Inc.
    The MICROPRINT series consists of both microfiche and microfilm documentation, much of which is original documentation, which is to say that the original paper documents no longer exist, having been purged following their microfilming by RFE.
    The RFE/RL MOVING IMAGE MATERIALS series 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, Jack Doran, German Dziebel, Lenka Fedorova, Irene Franks, Lechoslaw Gawlikowski, Ilja Gruen, Alyssa Haerle, Polina Ilieva, A. Ross Johnson, Snetu Karania, Dev Kumari Khalsa, Mikolaj Kunicki, Lijuan Li, Natalya Mislavskaya, Andrew Moore, Dmitry Morozov, Ekaterina Neklioudova, Blanka Pasternak, Natalia Reshetova, Victoria Saenz, Mike Schaefer, Anatol Shmelev, Nick Siekierski, Sandra Staklis, Catalin Stoica, Quincy Tanner, Dennis Trapido, Ema Vyroubalova.

    Appendix I: Known Pseudonyms

    The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty corporate records at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives includes extensive correspondence between Free Europe Committee (FEC) and American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism (AMCOMLB) officials and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials. From 1949 to 1959 this correspondence was conducted using pseudonyms. Thereafter, until CIA oversight ended in 1971, it was conducted anonymously between "The President" [FEC or AMCOMLIB] and "The Executive Committee," "Advisory Committee," or "Board of Trustees" [CIA]. This appendix provides the identification of the FEC officials who wrote in pseudonym and the identification of those CIA officials responsible for FEC and AMCOMLIB issues whose true names and pseudonyms have been released by CIA. Identification of persons referenced in the correspondence indicates their organizational role and authority and helps in assessing the significance of the documents.

    Free Europe Committee Officials

    John Free
    DeWitt C. Poole
    William Freely
    Frederic R. Dolbeare
    William L. Digby
    Spencer Phoenix
    Merton T. Stone
    Frank Altschul
    Kenneth J. Walters
    Robert E. Lang
    Frank C. Kilday
    John Schroeder
    Charles Dempsey
    Herbert Gross
    Albert Robinson
    William E. Griffith
    H. Adams
    Alfred W. Held
    Michael J. Peters
    J. Barry Mahool
    Ray D. Tarlston
    Ray E. Millard
    Thorne E. Minett
    Ray E. Millard
    James C. Hayden
    James R. Burton
    Thomas E. Marschal
    Thomas E. Myers
    Michael E. Thompson
    Thomas E. Myers
    John L. Damewood
    H. Gates Lloyd
    Marc Petticord
    John Leich
    John L. Waterfield
    C. D. Jackson
    Bischop E. Dodge
    Lewis Galantiere
    Dorothy J. Lucker
    Ann Hester
    Sam E. Teslove
    Nancy Viccellio
    Leonard I. Stamm
    Admiral H. B. Miller
    Thaddeus Z. Abernathy
    Abbot Washburn
    Walter Edson
    Edward Welch
    Martin C. Johnson
    J. Clayton Miller
    Paul Dexter
    Stetson S. Holmes
    James W. Nicholson
    Konrad Kellen
    Douglas Neich
    Theodore C. Augustine
    David Powers
    Samuel S. Walker
    Whiting Stratton
    Levering Tyson
    Bruce Farmer
    Bernard Yarrow
    Judith Flint
    Irene Hood
    Daniel Church
    Whitney Shephardson
    Robert C. Newton
    George P. E. Cesar
    William Melville
    Richard M. Hunt
    Joseph P. Bradford
    Lawrence E. De Neufville
    Mrs. Ruth D. Cobedent
    Barbara G. Bowen
    John J. Sullivan
    Joseph F. Glennon
    Frank Lloyd
    Frank Wright
    Owen Taylor
    Thomas E. Brown Jr.
    Travis A. Albery
    Robert F. Kelley
    Martin L. Cantwell
    Robert F. Kelley
    Carey Metcalfe
    W. J. Convery Egan
    Franklin Woorham
    Frederick T. Merrill
    James P. O'Brien
    Robert F. Byrnes
    Robert G. Bixley
    Francis M. Hand
    Walter P. O' Dwyer
    Willis D. Crittenberger

    CIA Officials Overseeing RFE and RL (Partial List)

    Robert A. Ascham
    Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence
    Harold S. Witting
    Frank Wisner, Deputy Director for Plans
    not released
    Tom Braden, Chief, International Organizations Division (IOD), 1951-1954
    not released
    Cord Meyer, Chief, IOD, 1954-1957
    William D. Playton
    Tracy Barnes, Chief, Political and Psychological Warfare Division
    Eliot B. Judane
    Emmons Brown (IOD)
    Philip D. Abramson
    Emmons Brown (IOD)
    not released
    Robert "Bob" King (IOD)
    not released
    Harry Reis (IOD)
    not released
    John C. Richards (IOD)
    not released
    Arthur Cox (IOD)
    not released
    James "Jim" William Brown (IOD)
    not released
    Ernest I. Harrison (IOD)
    not released
    Arne Ekstrom (IOD)

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Radio Free Europe.
    Radio Liberty.
    Radio broadcasting--Europe, Eastern.
    Radio broadcasting--Soviet Union.