Jan 8, 1979 • 1715 • Georgetown-State • 0060

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE00060_e.html.]

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GEORGE 00060 081812Z
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INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ISO-00 JUSE-00 SCS-06 CA-01 H-01 TRSE-00 NSCE-00 SSO-00 /023 W
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O 801715Z JAN 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8659
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E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CASC, GY/(PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJ: GOG REPLY TO EMBASSY NOTE RE PEOPLES TEMPLE ASSETS.
REF: GEORGETOWN 0059

1. FOREIGN MINISTER CALLED IN AMBASSADOR ON FRIDAY JAN. 5 TO HAND HIM GOG NOTE RESPONDING TO EMBASSY’S NOTE OF DEC. 20 RE PEOPLES TEMPLE ASSESTS IN GUYANA. (FULL TEXT GOG REPLY WAS TRANSMITTED REFTEL.)

2. IN ADDITION TO CONVEYING THE NOTE, FOREGIN MINISTER MADE THE FOLLOWING ORAL COMMENTS DURING THE COURSE OF HIS INTERVIEW WITH THE AMBASSADOR:

A. GOG RESPONSE WAS GENERAL AND UNSPECIFIC AND WAS MEANT TO BE RESPONSIVE TO THE U.S. GOVERNEMENT NOTE AND TO PROVIDE THE BASIS FOR A CONTINUING DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE TWO GOVERNMENTS ON THE QUESTION OF THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE ASSETS IN GUYANA.

B. THE GOG WAS ASSIGNING OVERSIGHT OF ASSETS TO INDIVIDUAL MINISTRIES ON THE BASIS OF THEIR NORMAL RESPONSIBILITIES, E.G., MINISTRY OF FINANCE WOULD CONCERN ITSELF WITH THE UNDELIVERED CRATES PRESENTLY ON THE DOCKS AS WELL AS THE PEOPLES TEMPLE BANK ACCOUNTS IN GUYANA; MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS WOULD BE CHARGED WITH

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RESPONSIBILITIES FOR JONESTOWN, THE PEOPLES TEMPLE RESIDENCE IN LAMAHA GARDENS, MOTOR VEHICLES; ETC.

C. THE CABINET-LEVEL COMMITTEE HEADED BY MINISTER HAMILTION GREEN DURING WHICH TIME THE MINISTRIES CONCERNED WOULD BE MADE AWARE OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE OVERSIGHT OF PEOPLES TEMPLE ASSETS.

E. THE FOREIGN MINISTRY WOULD HAVE A “WATCHING BRIEF” IN THIS ENTIRE MATTER AND BE INVOLVED ONLY WHEN DIFFERENCES MIGHT ARISE BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL MINISTRIES AND THE EMBASSY.

3. AMBASSADOR THANKED THE FOREIGN MINISTER FOR THE GUYANA GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE. HE NOTED THAT IN PARA 4 OF ITS NOTE, THE GOG APPEARED TO BE REJECTING THE USG OFFER OF THE JOINT INVENTORY WHICH WAS CONTAINED IN THE DEC. 20 NOTE. THE FOREIGN MINISTER REPLIED THAT THIS WAS NOT REALLY INTENDED TO BE THE CASE. THE GOG DID EXPECT TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH THE USG IN THE MATTER OF PEOPLES TEMPLE ASSETS; HOWEVER, CERTAIN INVENTORIES HAD ALREADY BEEN TAKEN AND A COOPERATIVE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION COULD BEGIN BASED ON SUCH INVENTORIES.

4. THE AMBASSADOR ASKED THE FOREIGN MINISTER ABOUT PARA 5 OF THE GOG NOTE, SPECIFICALLY THE PHRASE THAT THE GOG “RESERVES ITS POSITION AS REGARDS ANY ASSETS WHICH WERE HELD BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE OR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS THEREOF IN VIOLATION OF THE LAWS OF GUYANA.” THE FOREIGN MINISTER REPLIED THAT THIS REFERRED TO ASSETS OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE WHICH HAD BEEN BROUGHT INTO THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY IN CONTRAVENTION OF GUYANESE STATUTE AND WHICH WOULD BE

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SUBJECT TO CONFISCATION BY THE GOG. THIS WOULD COVER, FOR EXAMPLE, THE FIREARMS WHICH HAD BEEN ILLEGALLY INTRODUCED INTO THE COUNTRY. (THE AMBASSADOR PURPOSELY REFRAINED AT THIS TIME FROM ASKING WHETHER OR NOT THE SUMS OF SEIZED FOREIGN CURRENCY MIGHT ALSO FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY. IT SEEMS CLEAR, HOWEVER, THE GOG EXPECTS TO LAY CLAIM TO THIS MONEY UNDER ITS STATUTES.)

5. THE AMBASSADOR THEN ASKED THE FOREIGN MINISTER HOW THE TWO GOVERNMENTS MIGHT PROCEED FROM THIS POINT. THE FOREIGN MINISTER REPLIED BY STATING THAT AFTER THE MEETING SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 8 THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE IN TOUCH WITH THE EMBASSY.

6. COMMENT: IT IS OBVIOUS FROM THE GOG NOTE THAT THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT WISHES TO KEEP ALL OF ITS OPTIONS OPEN AT THIS STAGE. AT THE SAME TIME, THERE SEEMS A WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME AN ATTITUDE OF COOPERATION WITH THE USG IN CONSIDERING THE QUESTION OF ULTIMATE OWNERSHIP OF PEOPLES’ TEMPLE ASSETS IN THE COUNTRY. MR. FORTUNE OF THE STAFF OF LEGAL ADVISER READ THE GOG REPLY ON JAN. 5 BEFORE GOING OVER TO THE ISLAND OF NEVIS ON A BRIEF HOLIDAY. HIS PRESENT INTENTION IS TO RETURN TO GEORGETOWN LATER IN THE WEEK OF JANUARY 8 TO BEGIN DISCUSSIONS WITH APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE GOG. THE GOG HAS BEEN INFORMED OF HIS AVAILABILITY FOR SUCH TALKS.

BURKE

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Originally posted on October 19th, 2020.

Last modified on November 3rd, 2020.
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