March 9, 1979 • 2146 • State-Georgetown • 58518

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 2012 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was taken from from https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979STATE058518_e.html.]

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE FBB 077

PAGE 01 STATE 058518 ORIGIN ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 L-03 JUSE-00 OCS-06 CA-01 SSO-00 FBIE-00 /026 R
DRAFTED BY L/ARA:T.FORTUNE:JV
APPROVED BY L/ARA:M.KOZAK
JUSTICE – J. HERGEN
CA/SCS – F. HALL (PHONE)
DESIRED DISTRIBUTION
JUSTICE – JIM HERGEN
——————096343 092316Z /75

O 092146Z MAR 79
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE STATE 058518
E.O. 12065: N/A
TAGS: EFIN, GY (PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJECT: TEMPLE ASSETS; LITIGATION; EVIDENTIARY REQUESTS
REF: GEORGETOWN 0916

1. ENTIRE TEXT (LOU)

2. COPIES OF TWO TRAVEL REPORTS PREPARED BY HERGEN OF JUSTICE HAVE BEEN DISPATCHED TO EMBASSY.

3. PLEASE ADVISE ON STATUS OF EMBASSY’S REQUEST TO GOG FOR RETURN OF ADDITIONAL CHECKS IN AMOUNT OF APPROXIMATELY DOLLARS 138,000, WHICH ARE NOW BEING HELD BY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER ROBERTS. (FYI. CONTRARY TO OUR EARLIER ASSUMPTIONS, WE HAVE NOW LEARNED FROM TREASURY THAT FOR

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 02 STATE 058518

ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES U.S. GOVERNMENT CHECKS, AFTER ENDORSEMENT BY PAYEE, MAY BE NEGOTIATED AT ANY TIME; I.E., THEY DO NOT REPEAT NOT BECOME STALE AFTER SIX MONTHS. END FYI).

4. JUSTICE AND STATE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF ATTEMPTING TO DETERMINE PROPER DISPOSITION OF U.S. GOVERNMENT CHECKS NOW BEING HELD AT EMBASSY. EMBASSY WILL BE CONSULTED REGARDING FINAL DECISION IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

5. DEPARTMENT HAS LEARNED THAT PEOPLES TEMPLE SURVIVORS ALLEGEDLY FILED COUNTER SUIT AGAINST GOG IN GUYANA. PLEASE CONFIRM, AND IF POSSIBLE, POUCH SOONEST COPY OF COUNTER CLAIM.

6. PLEASE ADVISE WHETHER EMBASSY HAS YET HAD OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS FORTUNE’S MARCH 2, 1979, MEMO WITH ATTORNEY GILLETT; IF SO, WHAT WERE GILLETT’S COMMENTS WITH RESPECT THERETO.

7. JUSTICE HAS NOT REPEAT NOT REACHED FINAL DECISION REGARDING LITIGATION IN GUYANA. (FYI. ONE OF THE PROPOSALS UNDER CONSIDERATION IS THAT THE UNITED STATES MIGHT REFRAIN FROM LITIGATING IN GUYANA, IF THE RECEIVER AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEEDINGS AND TAKE ALL ACTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE PT ASSETS AND RETURN ANY RESIDUE TO U.S. COURT. END FYI.)

8. JUSTICE REQUESTS THAT EMBASSY CONTACT SKIP ROBERTS TO ASCERTAIN WHAT, IF ANYTHING, LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE DOING TO MONITOR ACTIVITIES OF PT SURVIVORS IN GEORGETOWN, E.G., ARE SURVIVORS UNDER SURVEILLANCE; ARE THEY FREE TO TRAVEL, AND IF SO, HAVE ANY OF THE SURVIVORS TRAVELED OUT-

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 03 STATE 058518

SIDE GUYANA?

9. REGARDING QUESTION POSED REFTEL PARA 2, EMBASSY IS CORRECT THAT DOCUMENTS OR INFORMATION SOUGHT FOR INVESTIGATIVE PURPOSES ARE EXEMPT FROM PRIVACY ACT. DEPARTMENT HAS RECEIVED REQUEST FROM JUSTICE FOR INFORMATION WHICH GOG HAS OR IS ABLE TO OBTAIN. TEXT OF REQUEST FOLLOWS.

(BEGIN TEXT). “IN CONNECTION WITH THE PENDING F.B.I. AND GRAND JURY INVESTIGATIONS OF POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS OF UNITED STATES LAWS WITH RESPECT TO THE MURDER OF CONGRESSMAN LEO RYAN AND THE OPERATIONS OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IN THE UNITED STATES AND GUYANA, IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION THAT THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT IS IN POSSESSION OF, OR ABLE TO OBTAIN, CERTAIN INFORMATION AND/OR EVIDENCE WHICH MAY FURTHER THESE INVESTIGATIONS.

IT IS HEREBY REQUESTED THAT OUR EMBASSY IN GUYANA LEND ITS ASSISTANCE TO THE OBTAINING OF THIS INFORMATION AND/OR EVIDENCE ON BEHALF OF THE F.B.I. AND GRAND JURY. SUCH INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION IS EXEMPT FROM THE COVERAGE OF THE PRIVACY ACT PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 552A(B)(7).” (END TEXT).

10. IN VIEW OF JUSTICE REQUEST, EMBASSY IS AUTHORIZED TO SEEK FROM GOG RECORDS AND INFORMATION REQUESTED BY LEGATT, CARACAS AND TO TRANSFER THESE TO LEGATT WHEN RECEIVED UNDER EXEMPTION TO PRIVACY ACT CONTAINED 5 U.S.C. SECTION 552A(B)(7), AND TO RESPOND TO REQUEST CONTAINED IN PARA. 7.

11. PLEASE SLUG REPLY FOR JUSTICE, ATTENTION JIM HERGEN.

CHRISTOPHER [ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER]

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE

Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on July 18th, 2022.
Skip to main content