The National Committee for a Free Europe, Inc., later renamed the Free Europe Committee, Inc. (FEC), is incorporated in the State of New York. Ambassador Joseph Grew is the first Chairman and DeWitt Poole is the first President.
The FEC establishes a Committee on Press and Broadcasting, chaired by FEC Director Fred Altschul and including Edward R. Murrow and other prominent journalists. Robert Lang is appointed the first Director of Radio Free Europe (RFE).
Lang visits European countries, where he is impressed by the home-service approach of the Radio in the American Sector, Berlin (RIAS) but fails to obtain time for RFE on existing short wave transmission networks.
The Crusade for Freedom, Inc., is incorporated in the State of New York as an outreach and fund-raising arm of the FEC.
July 4, 1950
RFE conducts its first experimental broadcast in Czech. One year later, RFE is broadcasting in five languages to Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain.
The Institute for the Study of the USSR is established in Munich.
The American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of the USSR, later renamed the American Committee for Liberation (AMCOMLIB) is incorporated in the State of New York. Eugene Lyons is the first president.
RFE begins broadcasting from Munich
RARET, Inc. is established as a Portuguese corporation to own and operate RFE transmitters.
RFE begins short wave transmissions from Portugal.
Radio Liberation (later renamed Radio Liberty) begins broadcasting in Russian (and in ten other languages by the end of 1954).
RL begins transmitting from Taiwan to the eastern USSR.
RL begins short wave transmissions from Spain.
RFE establishes a West European Advisory Committee to provide European perspectives and facilitate ties with West European governments.
RFE’s headquarters are transferred from New York to Munich.
Senator Case officially recognizes CIA sponsorship of RFE and RL and proposes their continuation by open Congressional appropriation.
A majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lead by Chairman William J. Fulbright, oppose the Nixon Administration’s proposal to overtly fund and oversee RFE and RL through a public-private corporation. Overt public funding is provided on an interim basis
Congressional Research Service issues reports generally laudatory of RFE and RL
The Milton Eisenhower Commission, appointed by the President, recommends continuation of RFE and RL, with oversight by a new federal body, the Board for International Broadcasting.
Congress enacts the Board for International Broadcasting Act of 1973
The Board for International Broadcasting begins operations.
The RFE and RL corporations are merged into RFE/RL, Inc.
A bomb causes significant damage to the RFE/RL building in Munich. Communist secret police archives opened after 1989 indicated that the bombing was ordered by Romanian leader Ceausescu and organized by the terrorist Carlos the Jackal.
Legislation advocated since 1977 by Senator Pell and the BIB is enacted that abolishes the private Board of Directors of RFE/RL, Inc., and conveys management as well as oversight responsibilities to the BIB.
Following the election of a non-Communist government in Poland, RFE/RL and BIB officials visit Solidarity leader Walesa in Gdansk
RFE/RL opens it first East European Bureau in Budapest. Bureaus are soon established in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.
With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian Federation President Yeltsin invites RFE/RL to establish a bureau in Moscow. Bureaus are soon established in most succession states of the USSR.
RFE/RL ends broadcasts to Hungary.
The Clinton Administration proposes merging RFE/RL into VOA. Opposition to this plan from Senator Joseph Biden and other Members of Congress results in continuation of a downsized RFE/RL without a research capability and with transmitter stations federalized under VOA.
Facing massive staff reductions, RFE/RL explores the offer of Czech President Havel and Prime Minister Klaus to relocate to Prague.
RFE/RL begins broadcasting to countries of the former Yugoslavia.
RFE/RL moves its headquarters from Munich to the former Czechoslovak Parliament building in Prague.
RFE/RL ends broadcasts to Poland.
RFE/RL begins broadcasting to Iran
, as mandated by the Congress, which passes legislation confirming RFE/RL’s continuing mission.
RFE/RL resumes broadcasting to Afghanistan
, terminated as mandated by the Congress ten years earlier after the Soviet withdrawal.
RFE/RL begins broadcasting to the North Caucasus.
Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein orders his agents to attack RFE/RL headquarters
, as revealed by the Czech Intelligence Service in 2009. A stockpile of smuggled weapons was in the Iraqi Embassy after the fall of Hussein's regime.
RFE/RL ends broadcasts
to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Croatia, and Bulgaria.
RFE/RL ends broadcasts to Romania
to a modern broadcasting center in Prague.
RFE/RL begins broadcasting a Russian-language program to South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
RFE/RL launches Radio Mashaal
and begins broadcasting in Pashto to the Pashtun border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.