March 2, 1979 • 0138 • State-Georgetown • 50207

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979STATE050207_e.html. The State Department FOIA release of 1981 withheld the first two-thirds of this cable under the national security exemption. The once-deleted portions denoted below in red type.]

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STATE 050207
ORIGIN ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 L-03 H-01 SS-15 SP-02 NSCE-00 SSO-00 /037 R
DRAFTED BY L/ARA:MKOZAK;ARA/CAR:AHEWITT:JV;BGT;NLF
APPROVED BY ARA – BGROVE, JR.
H:ETAYLOR
L:LMARKS (SUBS)
L/CA:RDALTON (SUBS)
HFAC:GBERDES
——————106651 020305Z /73

O 020138Z MAR 79
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 050207

E.O. 12065 GDS, 3/1/85 (GROVE, BRANDON)
TAGS: OREP, PINS, GY
SUBJECT: HFAC INVESTIGATION OF ASSASSINATION OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN

1. (C – ENTIRE TEXT)

2. IN CONNECTION WITH ITS INVESTIGATION, HFAC WISHES ITS STAFF INVESTIGATIVE GROUP TO INTERVIEW A NUMBER OF GOG OFFICIALS. WE HAVE HAD SEVERAL CONVERSATIONS WITH THE STAFF, AND HAVE EXPRESSED OUR WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE FULLY IN SEEKING APPOINTMENTS FOR THEM. WE HAVE EXPLAINED TO THEM OUR CONCERN OVER THE GROUND RULES OF THE PROPOSED INTERVIEWS, HOWEVER.

3. TO DATE, INTERVIEWS BY THE HFAC STAFF HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED WITH A STENOGRAPHER PRESENT, THEREBY RESULTING

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IN A RECORD TRANSCRIPT. THE TRANSCRIPT IS CLASSIFIED CONFIDENTIAL” AND WILL NOT BE MADE PUBLIC NOR SUBJECT TO PRESS SCRUTINY. EACH PERSON INTERVIEWED IS PROVIDED WITH A COPY OF THE TRANSCRIPT TO CORRECT AS NECESSARY.

4. THE HFAC INVESTIGATIVE GROUP WISHES TO MAINTAIN THE CONTINUITY OF THIS PROCEDURE IN CONNECTION WITH ITS INTERVIEWS OF GOG OFFICIALS. WE HAVE EXPLAINED THAT WE ARE NOT PREPARED TO PRESS FOR GROUND RULES ALONG THESE LINES, SINCE WE WOULD NOT REPEAT NOT BE PREPARED TO RECIPROCATE SHOULD GOG INVESTIGATORS WISH TO INTERVIEW U.S. OFFICIALS ON SAME BASIS (I.E., WE WOULD BE PREPARED TO ALLOW GOG INVESTIGATORS TO MEET WITH APPROPRIATE U.S. OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS OUR PERSPECTIVE ON EVENTS SURROUNDING THE TRAGEDY; WE WOULD NOT BE PREPARED TO AGREE TO FORMAL “ON-THE-RECORD” INTERVIEWS.) AT THE SAME TIME, WE DO NOT REPEAT NOT WISH TO PREJUDICE HFAC STAFF’S CHANCES OF PERSUADING GOG OFFICIALS TO AGREE TO “ON-THE-RECORD” INTERVIEWS ON A VOLUNTARY, UNILATERAL BASIS.

5. ACCORDINGLY, YOU SHOULD PROMPTLY DELIVER LETTER FROM CHAIRMAN ZABLOCKI TO PRIME MINISTER SET FORTH IN PARA 10. SHOULD GOG INQUIRE AS TO GROUNDRULES OF PROPOSED INTERVIEWS, YOU SHOULD RESPOND THAT THAT IS A MATTER TO BE WORKED OUT BETWEEN GOG AND HFAC STAFF. FYI: STAFF WOULD BE WILLING TO MEET WITH AMB. MANN FOR THIS PURPOSE, AND KEEP US FULLY INFORMED AS TO PROGRESS OF SUCH DISCUSSIONS. WE WILL IN TURN KEEP YOU FULLY AND CURRENTLY INFORMED. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN THESE DISCUSSIONS, HFAC STAFF WILL NOT REPEAT NOT INDICATE OR IMPLY THAT U.S. WOULD BE PREPARED TO RECIPROCATE, AND

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WILL REFER ANY QUESTIONS OF THIS NATURE THAT MAY BE RAISED BY MANN TO DEPARTMENT. END FYI.

6. IF ISSUE OF RECIPROCITY IS RAISED BY GOG IN YOUR DISCUSSIONS, YOU MAY INDICATE THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT IN PRINCIPLE WE WOULD BE PREPARED TO PERMIT GOG INVESTIGATORS TO MEET WITH APPROPRIATE U.S. OFFICIALS ON MUTUALLY SATISFACTORY TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

7. INDIVIDUALS WHICH THE INVESTIGATIVE GROUP WISHES TO INTERVIEW INCLUDE: MR. FORBES BURNHAM, PRIME MINISTER; MR. KIT NASCIEMENTO, MINISTER OF STATE; MR. PTOLEMY REID, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT; MR. LAURENCE MANN, GOG AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES; MR. JAMES MENTORE, CHIEF, SPECIAL BRANCH, NATIONAL POLICE; MR. THEO GEORGE, EX-CHIEF, IMMIGRATION OFFICE; MR LLOYD BARKER, COMMISSIONER OF NATIONAL POLICE; MR. VIBERT MINGO, MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS; MR. C. A. “SKIP” ROBERTS, POLICE COMMISSIONER; MR. AUBREY BISHOP, EXJUSTICE OF GUYANESE SUPREME COURT; MR. DENNIS CORLETTE, EX-MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT; MR. CLARENCE HUGHES, ATTORNEY. (EMBASSY COMMENT INVITED.)

8. IN THE EVENT TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCES PERMIT, THE INVESTIGATIVE GROUP MAY WISH TO INTERVIEW ADDITIONAL INDIVIDUALS WHOSE NAMES CAN BE PROVIDED UPON ARRIVAL. ON THE HOPEFUL ASSUMPTION THAT THE GROUP WILL BE ABLE TO VISIT JONESTOWN, IT WOULD ALSO BE DESIRABLE TO MEET WITH AND POSSIBLY INTERVIEW INDIVIDUALS/OFFICIALS IN THE NORTHWEST REGION AT PORT KAITUMA AND MATTHEWS RIDGE.

9. FINALLY, THE INVESTIGATIVE GROUP WILL ALSO WISH TO INTERVIEW THE FOLLOWING OFFICIALS OF THE U.S. EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN: AMBASSADOR BURKE; RICHARD DWYER, DCM; DOUG ELLICE, CONSULAR OFFICER; DENNIS REECE, CONSULAR

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OFFICER; NANCY MASON, CONSULAR OFFICER; MALCOLM JENSON, AID OFFICIAL; JOSEPH HARTMAN, CONSULAR OFFICER (PLUS TWO ASSOCIATES); JAMES WARD; AND RICHARD MARTIN.

10. TEXT OF LETTER FOLLOWS:

DEAR MR. PRIME MINISTER:

I AM WRITING YOU IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF NOVEMBER 18, 1978, WHICH HAVE AFFECTED BOTH OUR COUNTRIES. THE DEATH OF REPRESENTATIVE LEO J. RYAN, A MEMBER OF THIS COMMITTEE, AND THE EVENTS AT JONESTOWN, GUYANA, HAVE SERIOUSLY DISTRESSED THE U.S. CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

IN THIS RESPECT, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE TO YOU AND THE GUYANESE PEOPLE FOR THE EXPRESSION OF DEEP SYMPATHY EXTENDED TO ME IN MY OFFICE AT A MEETING REQUESTED BY AMBASSADOR LAURENCE MANN SHORTLY AFTER THE TRAGEDY. AT THAT TIME, AMBASSADOR MANN ALSO PLEDGED THE FULL COOPERATION OF YOUR GOVERNMENT IN OUR MUTUALLY DESIRABLE INTERESTS TO FULLY INVESTIGATE THIS TRAGIC EVENT. DURING OUR MEETING, I ADVISED AMBASSADOR MANN THAT IN AN ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN NECESSARY INFORMATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE EVENTS OF NOVEMBER 18, I HAD ORDERED A COMMITTEE STAFF INVESTIGATION INTO ALL OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MIGHT HAVE A BEARING ON THE DEATH OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN. THAT INVESTIGATION HAS BEEN UNDERWAY SINCE NOVEMBER 21, 1978, AND HAS INCLUDED INTERVIEWS WITH MORE THAN 50 PERSONS BOTH HERE IN WASHINGTON AND IN CALIFORNIA.

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THE COMMITTEE STAFF INQUIRY HAS NOW REACHED THE POINT AT WHICH THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES IT NECESSARY TO TALK WITH VARIOUS OFFICIALS OF THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT I AM THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING YOUR COOPERATION IN AGREEING TO ALLOW OUR STAFF GROUP TO INTERVIEW CERTAIN GUYANESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS DURING THE WEEK OF MARCH 11, 1979. UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR HOPEFULLY POSITIVE REPLY TO THIS REQUEST IT IS MY URGENT DESIRE THAT THIS INVESTIGATION CAN BE COMPLETED IN THE NEAR FUTURE. IF YOU AGREE, I WILL CONTACT AMBASSADOR MANN TO INFORM HIM OF THE PEOPLE WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE, AND TO WORK OUT MUTUALLY SATISFACTORY PROCEDURES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INTERVIEWS.

SINCERELY YOURS, CLEMENT J. ZABLOCKI, CHAIRMAN.

VANCE

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Originally posted on October 22nd, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
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