Serial 1961

United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Memorandum

Date: 2/13/79

To: Mr. D. W. Moore, Jr.
From: J. O. Ingram

Subject: RYMUR

PURPOSE: To set forth meeting between Deputy Assistant Director Ingram and U.S. State Department Ambassadors John Crimmins and Stanley Carpenter on 2/12/79.

RECOMMENDATION: That appropriate record checks be made and the two Ambassadors advised of the results of these checks.

DETAILS: On 2/12/79 Deputy Assistant Director Ingram met with Ambassadors John Crimmins and Stanley Carpenter at the U.S. Department of State, Washington DC, at their request. The Ambassadors can be reached at [telephone number deleted] in Room 4908 at the State Department.

Ambassador Crimmins had previously telephonically contacted me indicating that Secretary of State Vance had given them the task of conducting an examination of all aspects of the relationship between the Peoples Temple community in Guyana and the Department of State and the American Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, prior to the incidents of November 18.

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Memorandum to Mr. Moore
RE: RYMUR

I had previously advised Ambassador Crimmins that the FBI would not be able to assist them to a great degree in this study. The FBI would not be able to answer any questions regarding the incidents after November 18 since the Federal Grand Jury is now in session in San Francisco regarding the prosecutive aspects of the murder of Congressman Ryan. It was suggested that Ambassador Crimmins contact the U.S. Department of Justice since the Department had had previous contact with Congressman Leo Ryan and others regarding “brainwashing” practiced by some religious sects. He indicated he intended to contact several agencies including the Department.

Michael Abbell, U.S. Department of Justice, who is handling day-to-day operations of the Guyana case for the Department, was alerted to possible contact by Crimmins with members of the Department of Justice.

On 2/12/79 I met with the two Ambassadors. They again related that their examination was strictly in the interagency coordination in Washington with regard to matters concerning Peoples Temple in Guyana, particularly the actions and responsibilities of the State Department and the American Embassy in Guyana. They also were concerned with the preparations made for Congressman Ryan’s travel to Guyana by the State Department.

Ambassador Crimmins asked if the FBI had had any contact with Leo Ryan regarding the Peoples Temple. They were told we have no record of any contact by Congressman Ryan with the FBI regarding the Peoples Temple. He was referred to a Department of Justice press release dated 11/24/78 issued by Deputy Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti setting forth the Department’s policy in investigating allegations of criminal activity by persons associated with religious sects. In this first release Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert L. Keuch had met on 5/18/77 with Congressman Robert Giaimo and Congressman Leo Ryan and others to discuss “brainwashing” as allegedly practiced by some religious sects. This press release indicated the Peoples Temple was never mentioned.

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Memorandum to Mr. Moore
RE: RYMUR

Crimmins asked if the FBI had an ongoing investigation of the Peoples Temple just prior to November 18 and he was told no. He then stated that he knew this was the case but as a matter of record he wanted to make that inquiry. He also asked if the FBI had received any complaints of possible kidnapping of members of the Peoples Temple and he was told that in June 1978 Senator [S.I.] Hayakawa had forwarded to the FBI an inquiry from [name deleted] in California alleging that the Peoples Temple or coaxing individuals into traveling into Georgetown, Guyana, and then they were being held there for reasons unknown. He was told [name deleted] was interviewed for a possible violation of the Federal Kidnapping Statute but it was determined that the people involved were adults who had gone to Guyana allegedly on their own. [Name deleted] was told that she should furnish this information to the State Department.

Crimmins said that the State Department did receive numerous complaints from citizens throughout the country of people being “coaxed” to travel to Guyana with the Peoples Temple.

Crimmins then asked if Debra [Deborah] Blakey after talking with State Department employee [Richard] McCoy had ever gone to law enforcement prior to November 18 and furnished law enforcement her views regarding people being held against their will in Jonestown. He was told the FBI would have to check its records to see if she contacted the FBI; but based upon my recollection she did not contact the FBI. He then wanted to furnish a hypothetical case where if State Department employee McCoy had received information from Blakey on possible violations of individuals being held at Jonestown and had furnished the information to the FBI, with the FBI have a record of McCoy’s contact. He was told that if McCoy while at the State Department in Washington, DC, had contacted our liaison representative of the FBI who is at State almost on a daily basis, this would have been made a matter of record and furnished to the Criminal Investigative Division of FBIHQ for action. If McCoy, while in Guyana at the American Embassy had contacted our legal attaché and furnished the information, this would have been made a matter of record and forwarded to Criminal Investigative Division, FBIHQ, for immediate action.

He was told that to the best of my recollection I recall

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Memorandum to Mr. Moore
RE: RYMUR

no contact by McCoy with our representatives in this matter, but we would have to check our records. Crimmins said no, it would not be necessary because McCoy did not contact the FBI; but he wanted just to know what action would have been taken and if it would have been made a matter of record of a contact, and I said, “Yes, definitely.”

Crimmins requested that records be reviewed to determine if the U.S. Treasury had furnished the FBI in San Francisco a copy of a Customs report dated 8/26/77 entitled, “Reverend James W. Jones, Peoples Temple Christian Church, San Francisco, California, 8/26/77”. Treasury had indicated contact with the FBI on this matter regarding weapons. He said he was not a big issue, but Treasury said they had contact with the FBI in San Francisco, and I said this could be as we do handle oral contacts as well as dissemination of reports on pertinent matters.

Crimmins mentioned that he and Carpenter had been in Guyana a week ago and [name deleted], a reporter, had indicated that an individual, unknown, connected with the Guyana Special Branch of the Police, allegedly has a tape of the last night at Jonestown for sale. He was told this would be called to our legal attaché’s attention but a lot of the last day at Jonestown on the tape had already appeared in the media across the country.

ACTION: San Francisco should immediately check its records to determine if Blakey had notified the FBI of any complaints, as well as to check to see if the San Francisco Office has any record of a dissemination by the U.S. Treasury Department of a report dated 8/26/77 mentioned above. Upon receipt I will furnish to the two Ambassadors.

Originally posted on August 5th, 2020.

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