Accession Number:



Foreign Broadcast Information Service. History. Part 1: 1941-1947

Descriptive Note:


Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



A superficial examination might suggest that the Foreign Broadcast Information Service FBIS of 1967 is a radically different organization from the Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service FBMS of 1941, or even from the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service that emerged from World War II. Todays FBIS is considerably larger, much more efficient, and it handles tasks such as the analysis of foreign documents that were not even considered in the earlier years. Yet in its fundamental organization and responsibilities, its basic operations and methods, the change is not great. FBIS took form during those six years before its adoption by the Central Intelligence Agency, and came to CIA almost mature, trained and disciplined, and ready to plunge immediately into the tasks outlined for it. The basic operation of monitoring foreign broadcasts was learned and almost perfected prior to 1947. Monitoring is performed today very much as it was then, despite the vast improvements in technical equipment during the past 20 years. Methods of distributing FBIS products, and the extent of distribution, are very much the same today as they were in 1947. FBIS, emerged, then as the only recognized service organization trained and equipped to monitor and process foreign broadcasts for,the benefit of all government agencies needing the service. It had thoroughly demonstrated by 1947 that the task of listening to foreign broadcasts and reporting to other government units was an essential task that could not be abandoned, and that the best way to meet the need was to assign the responsibility to one central organization. Worldwide coverage of the foreign radio to the extent it exists today was of course only a dream in 1947, but the goals already were established, and important first steps toward international cooperation to make possible the most efficient organization for worldwide coverage had been taken.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Intelligence
  • Radio Communications

Distribution Statement: