Serial 1458

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 1458 of the FBI’s RYMUR release.

[The FBI release deleted one line in this cable, but it was included in the State release. It is indicated below in red type.]

UNCLASSIFIED FBB 992

[Listing of agencies receiving informational copies on pdf]

0 281845Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8588
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 4483
E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CARR, GY (LAYTON, LARRY) (PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJ: W/W ARRESTS: LARRY LAYTON
REF: GEORGETOWN 4436

1. Preliminary inquiry into the deaths of Congressman Ryan and four other Americans was continued on Dec 27. Before testimony began, senior defense counsel Rex McKay complained to the court that local newspapers needed to exercise greater caution and discretion when publishing articles written overseas on Peoples Temple. Some of the articles that have been reprinted in the Guyanese papers, he claimed, had “inflamed” local Guyanese. This could be prejudicial to his client, because the jurors who will be selected to hear the case in the High Court will have read the local newspapers containing these articles.

2. Three new persons testified on the 27th. Lt. Scott Joseph, who was in command of the Guyana Defense Force 4-man detail that was repairing a plane at the Port Kaituma airstrip on Nov 18, gave his account of the shooting incident. (In essence, he said that the incident was over before he and his men could take any action.) Two doctors who examined Monica Bagby and removed two bullets after she was wounded

UNCLASSIFIED
UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 02 GEORGE 4483 281932Z

also testified. All three were cross-examined by McKay. A policeman, who had earlier testified on another matter, swore that he accompanied the bodies of the slain Americans from Ogle Airport, just outside Georgetown, to the Georgetown Hospital Mortuary on Nov 19. Cross-examinination was declined by the defense.

3. Inquiry is scheduled to reason on Dec 29. Only witnesses left to testify for the prosecution are several residents from Port Kaituma who rendered assistance to Americans after the shooting.

Dwyer [Richard Dwyer, Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy, Georgetown]

Originally posted on July 24th, 2020.

Last modified on July 25th, 2022.
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