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Jon S. Lodeesen Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS222

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Jon S. Lodeesen Papers consist of records of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and include annual and budget reports, as well as files relating to Lodeesen's many years of work in Radio Liberty's programming and research departments. The research files include articles and reports on the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries during the early sixties through the late eighties, particularly relating to freedom of information in published and broadcast media, and the role of RFE/RL.

Material is organized into the following series:

1. Moscow Memoranda - files relating to Lodeesen's work as U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Political Section, U.S. Embassy, Moscow (1966-68).

2. Correspondence/Memoranda Series - chronologically arranged communications between members of RFE/RL personnel including George Bailey, James L. Buckley, William A. Buell, Glenn W. Ferguson, Jon S. Lodeesen, Gene Pell, Walter Roberts, Francis S. Ronalds, Jr., Walter K. Scott, Gene Sosin, Robert L. Tuck, Gerd Von Doemming, Ralph E. Walter.

3. RFE/RL Reports/Studies Series (chronologically arranged) - published and unpublished reports/studies on RFE/RL.

4. RFE/RL Reports/Studies Series (arranged by author).

5. RFE/RL Annual/Fiscal Reports Series (1960-93).

6. RFE/RL Operations, policies, personnel - files of miscellaneous information, memoranda, reports relating to these matters.

7. RFE/RL Programming Series - includes memoranda/reports re policies; audience research reports; transcripts of broadcasts.

8. Research and Analysis re Russia/USSR (1970s-1980s) - reports/studies, newsclippings.

9. Research and Analysis - miscellaneous topics including material on China, Indo-China, Europe, Poland.

10. Special Issues - including allegations of anti-Semitism at RFE/RL; 1972 Senate Hearings on continued funding for RFE/RL; broadcast jamming problems; RFE/RL policies and use of Samizdat publications.

Series 11 through 17 include miscellaneous files relating to RFE/RL: conferences on broadcasting and Eastern Europe; other broadcasting organizations (BBC, VOA); individuals such as Eleanor Dulles, Sig Mickelson, Alexander Solzhenitsyn; manuscripts, notes, speech material by Lodeesen; and news and publications featuring RFE/RL.


  • 1960-1996

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical/Historical note

Jon S. Lodeesen was born on February 14, 1934, in Miami, Florida. He received a B.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia (1955); and obtained his Master's degree in International Relations with a specialization in Soviet affairs, attending night school at the American University in Washington, D.C. (1956-58). He was also a doctoral candidate in diplomatic history at the University of California until 1959 when he entered the U.S. Foreign Service.

From 1955 to 1958, Lodeesen served in the reserve commission, Army Intelligence, as Russian language translator and intelligence analyst at the National Security Agency. In 1959, Lodeesen took up his first posting in the Foreign Service as case officer for performing arts exchanges on the Soviet and East European Exchanges Staff, Bureau of European Affairs, Department of State, Washington, D.C. He also served as staff aide at the Department of State Operations Center, during the final three months of this tour ending in 1961. Lodeesen next served as vice consul at the American Consulate in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1961-63).

In 1963, he returned to Washington as political officer in charge of Soviet-African relations, at the Soviet Desk, Department of State. From 1965 until 1966, Lodeesen attended the Army Institute of Soviet and Eastern European Studies in Garmisch, Germany. Then in 1966, he was appointed political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. From 1968 to 1970, Lodeesen served as a permanent member on the International Staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, specializing in Soviet issues.

In 1969, Lodeesen joined the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In the two decades that followed, he held many positions beginning with policy officer in the Program Policy Division of Radio Liberty. Other positions included chief of policy staff, Program Policy Division; manager (and later program manager) of the Russian Service of Radio Liberty; and director of policy and research. In 1972, Lodeesen was detailed, as chief, to RFE/RL's Washington, D.C. bureau, and in 1984, he became director of U.S. operations. In later years, Lodeesen was also appointed assistant director of corporate affairs, and senior representative to the Russian Institute. Jon Lodeesen died on February 13, 1993. He was survived by his wife Peggy Jean and son David.

Radio Free Europe was founded in 1949; Radio Liberty in 1951. Both corporations originally received funding by the U.S. government channelled through the CIA, and some private contributions. In 1971, all connections with the CIA were completely severed. Direct Congressional appropriations were allocated temporarily through the U.S. Department of State until passage of the Board for International Broadcasting Act of 1973, which provided for funding by Congressional appropriations granted through BIB. On October 1, 1976, the corporations merged to become RFE/RL, Inc. Today, RFE/RL is a nonprofit, private corporation, operating under American management, funded by Congressional grants supplied and administered through the presidentially appointed Board for International Broadcasting (BIB). RFE/RL consists of professional radio stations that broadcast news and information in 23 languages to countries of Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, Russia, and Afghanistan. According to the official charter, the mission of RFE/RL is to "encourage a constructive dialogue with the peoples of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union by enhancing their knowledge of developments in the world at large and in their own countries." RFE/RL bureaus are located in Bonn, Bratislava, Bucharest, London, Paris, Prague, Rome, Sofia, Warsaw, Washington, D.C., and Moscow. Main programming centers are in New York and Prague (the latter originally in Munich, was relocated in 1994).


15 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

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Jon S. Lodeesen Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057