Feb 27, 1979 • 1602 • Georgetown-State • 0872

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE00872_e.html.]

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GEORGE 00872 280444Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 OCS-06 CA-01 L-03 SP-02 ABF-01 /029 W
——————074645 010103Z /23

R 271602Z FEB 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9073
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 0872

E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CDES, GY(PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJ: ESTATES – DISPOSITION OF SHIPPING CRATES CONSIGNED TO PEOPLES TEMPLE
REF: 78 GEORGETOWN 4316

1. REFTEL REPORTED THAT THERE ARE 114 LARGE CRATES CONSIGNED TO THE PEOPLE’ TEMPLE AT VARIOUS SHIPPING COMPANIES IN GEORGETOWN, AND WE HAVE SINCE IDENTIFIED THREE MORE, FOR TOTAL OF 117.

2. GUYANESE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS HAVE SO FAR OPENED AND EXAMINED THIRYT-TWO CRATES. A CONSULAR OFFICER WAS PRESENT IN EACH CASE AND MADE A SUMMARY LIST OF CONTENTS, COPIES OF WHICH HAVE BEEN POUCHED TO CA/OCS/CCS. SOME OF THOSE CRATES, WHICH HAVE BEEN INSPECTED, CONTAIN A SIGNIFICANT QUANTITY OF IDENTIFIABLE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF PERSONS KNOWN TO HAVE PERISHED AT JONESTOWN. EXAMINATION OF ADDITIONAL CRATES HAS BEEN DELAYED DUE TO LACK OF MANUAL LABORERS TO MANHANDLE, OPEN AND RESEAL CRATES.

3. NOW THAT IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT CRATES CONTAIN IDENTIFIABLE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF DECEDENTS, EMBASSY WILL REQUEST GUYANESE GOVERNMENT TO TURN OVER THESE EFFECTS TO CONSULAR OFFICIALS. BEOFRE MAKING FORMAL REQUEST, HOWEVER,

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EMBASSY NEEDS ASSURANCE THAT FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR RENTING WAREHOUSE SPACE, IF NEEDED; FOR HIRING MANUAL LABORERS TO MANHANDLE, OPEN AND RESEAL CRATES; AND FOR ONE OR TWO PIT EMPLOYEES TO ASSIST IN THE INVENTORY OF THE EFFORTS.

4. UPON THE COMPLETION OF THE ABOVE DUTIES, IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO PREPARE THE FORMAL CONSULAR INVENTORY OF EACH ESTATE, NOTIFY THE NEXT OF KIN, AND TO DISPOSE OF THE PROPERTY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE NEXT OF KIN.

5. FOR DEPARTMENT’S INFORMATION, ONE FREIGHT FORWARDED HAS ALREADY SENT EMBASSY A LETTER NOTING THAT STORAGE FEES FOR CRATES ON HIS DOCK AMOUNT TO $66,000 (GUYANESE). EMBASSY HAS REPLIED NOTING THAT CONSULAR RESPONSIBILITIES EXTEND ONLY TO THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF DECEASED AMERICANS AND THAT LEGAL ACTION HAS BEEN BROUGHT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA TO FREEZE CORPORATE ASSETS OF PEOPLE’S TEMPLE.

6. ACTION REQUESTED: REQUEST DEPARTMENT INDICATED APPROVAL FOR RENTAL OF WAREHOUSE SPACE (WHILE SPACE REQUIRED IS NOT NOW POSSIBLE TO ESTIMATE, COSTS SHOULD RUN UNDER US$1,000), LABORERS, AND PIT EMPLOYEE(S).

BURKE

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Originally posted on October 22nd, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
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