De Toledano,









M. Wesley




INT: So can you tell me what the relationship was between RFE and the CIA?

JN: Are we now on...

INT: We are.

JN: Can you repeat your question?

INT: So it was really to do with the discussion we've just had about the relationship between RFE and the CIA.

JN: Well, when I was in RFE, the relationship was surrounded by such secrecy that I only one knew one thing, that it was funded by CIA. My feeling was that CIA is not running the radio station, I knew it was not, because we were so independent. But I was intrigued by the mechanism and when I came to Washington, I spent a lot of time to find out for myself, because you know, success has many fathers and all the retirees, CIA executives, were taking a credit for success of Radio Free Europe. And I found this was simply not true. The money was... until '72, the money was channelled through CIA. CIA was supervising how it was spent, no investments, no extra projects would have been implemented without their consent. However, they were, under their charter, forbidden to issue any kind of policy instructions. Policy instructions were coming from the State Department but they had to be accepted by the American board of Radio Free Europe and they were discussed. So the role of CIA was that of being a channel for funding, supervising how the funds are being spent, but any kind of interference was very risky for CIA low-level people, because the board consisted of people of great influence, like General Lucius Clay for instance, or like Eisenhower was before he became President was there and they could pick up the phone and call Alan Dulles or the President, and say stop these people from interfering in our activities. And the first man who was in charge of... who is still alive here, Tom Brandon, told me, don't believe in all these stories about CIA, I would lose my job, because the man on the board of RFE would call Alan Dulles, who felt he is the founder of Radio Free Europe and Dulles said, it's not your business. The instructions, policy, were coming from the State Department and we were in constant conflict with diplomacy, because there is a professional conflict between diplomacy and journalism. The mass media maintained direct contact with the broad masses, diplomacy is maintaining traffic with the governments and they hate publicity. So we were in constant conflict with the ambassadors in Poland. Jack Beam, ambassador in Poland in the late fifties publicly requested that Radio Free Europe should be closed down. And some of his successor were very unhappy about it, because there was a kind of jealousy. Here is the instrument who has tremendous influence and we are not in control of it. But fortunately, the board of directors represented such considerably influence in the American public life, that they could successfully resist some of the instructions and the instructions were a compromise, they were later called, so-called country papers. They were first discussed between the State Department and the board of directors and then with me and on many occasions I did objected to it. Also, you know, any kind of interference. Foy Coler, who was Deputy Secretary for East Central Europe, did request that I should be fired and the board of directors said, no, we are not going to fire this man. He's got his own view, he's independent, but we consider him a good [unintelligible], we will not fire him. And I was not fired. So there was a considerable independence. There was all kind of....

INT: Fine. So could you tell me what you think the Cold War achieved?

JN: The Cold War simply led to a victory over Communism and over the Soviet Union. So, it was a third victory Americans scored in this century, but without bloodshed. Without Radio Free Europe there would be no Solidarity, no free trade union and it's not me, it's not I who say this, it is both Jesulban the spokesman of the Communist government, who said it would be enough to silence RFE for three months, Solidarity would not survive, and Solidarity led to the collapse of the Communist regime in Poland, the barrier of fear was abolished by the Polish example and then it was followed by collapse of the Berlin Wall and it was like domino, you know, one country after the other, with the Soviet Union at the end. That was achieved by combination of two forces. American policy, not just only through Radio Free Europe, it was cultural exchanges, limited economic assistance, which was conditional, all these combination really made possible the gradual non-violent liberalisation, which ended in liberty, in freedom and the second element was the resistance of people themselves. But this resistance would not have been possible without flow of information and ideas from the West. And without this link, the people were listening to one radio, same voices, same programmes, formed a kind of a link, so I believe that it was incredible victory, unexpected by people who were promoting Cold War.

INT: Fine, so the next question. Was the Cold War necessary?

JN: Absolutely. If you read the documents...


JN: Without policy of containment, Stalin would probably conquer Western Europe and without [unintelligible] or there was a possibility of war. We were very close to the war at the end of forties. It's enough to study to documents. There was a perception of the Americans that we are on the threshold of war, that Stalin is trying to achieve the same thing as Hitler and with the expansionism was built in the Soviet doctrine. And the expansion was there from Stalin to Brezhnev. It really collapsed in time of Gorbachev only, but there was a commitment to expansionism of Communism. And the idea that there would be no peace, no mere, until the whole world is, you know, become Communist and it's enough to study documents to see this. And the Cold War was a pretty sophisticated way of containment and finally rolling back with no war, no military measures. There were, of course, there was a war in Korea, there was a war in Vietnam, but they were local wars, which were the purpose was again to contain, where sometimes they went too far. I mean, there was containment in Vietnam was not necessary really, because nothing happened after it, but I believe that perception of Stalin was, after the Berlin blockade, and after the war in Korea, oh no, we'll never know how the West was going to react. There is a risk of war. I cannot invade Yugoslavia, because I don't what kind of risk I would be undertaking with the West and that saved the West.

INT: Great. Now the last question. What was the worst moment in the Cold War for you? What in your opinion?

JN: Well, the end of my term, ...


JN: What was the worst moment in my twenty five years? Definitely my last year, because I became aware that Henry Kissinger did want quite phase away radios, he was an enemy of any kind of appeal, popular appeals above the heads of the government. He was the pupil, a student of Metternich, and he only believed in the inplay between the governments and we were, our budgets were cut, one cut after the other, the State Department did not ask for renewal of licence for transmitters or Radio Liberty in Spain, everything indicated to me that I'm going to be an instrument of closing down the radio which I'd helped to build. And at that time also, there was a covert operation of the police, political police targeted on me. There were all kind of [unintelligible] covert operations, forged documents, letter, all this, and this was a very difficult time for me and for my wife. There were constant threats against my life and all that. The purpose was destroy my resistance. They did not. I did not resign because of it, but I did ask for early retirement and because I was sure that American administration of Kissinger under Ford was trying to quietly eliminate Radio Free Europe. I was wrong, because, when Carter won, a personal friend of mine, Zbigniew Brzezinski, became the head of the National Security Council and the first thing he did was to stop dismantling of radios and to modernise transmitters and all, but I was out at the time.

INT: Cut there, very good...

(End of tape)