March 14, 1979 • 1240 • Georgetown-State • 1148

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE01148_e.html.]

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 01
GEORGE 01148 141319Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 L-03 H-01 SS-15 SP-02 NSCE-00 SSO-00 /037 W
——————024301 141329Z /40

O 141240Z MAR 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9177
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 1148

E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: OREP, PINS, GY
SUBJ: GOG REPLY TO CHAIRMAN ZABLOCKI’S LETTER
REF: STATE 050207

1. GOG’S SEALED REPLY TO CONGRESSMAN ZABLOCKI’S LETTER TO PRIMIN FORBES BURHHAM (REFTEL) WAS HAND-DELIVERED TO CHANCERY AFTER CLOSE OF BUSINESS MARCH 13. COVERING ENVELOPE ALSO CONTAINED A COURTESY CARBON OF THE REPLY. TEXT FOLLOWS:

CFA: 14/41/1

MARCH 13, 1979

DEAR CONGRESSMAN,

YOUR LETTER ON JONESTOWN, TO THE PRIME MINISTER, THE TEXT OF WHICH WAS COMMUNICATED THROUGH A LETTER OF MARCH 2, 1979, ADDRESSED TO THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS BY THE UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR IN GEORGETOWN, HAS BEEN PASSED TO ME FOR REPLY.

THE EVENTS WHICH OCCURRED ON NOVEMBER 18, 1978, AMONG AMERICAN CITIZENS ON GUYANESE SOIL CONSITITUTED IN THEIR CHARACTER, SCALE AND DIMENSIONS THE GREATEST SINGLE TRAGEDY WHICH HAS EVER OCCURRED IN THE HISTORY OF GUYANA. NOTHING IN THE TRADITIONS OF OUR OWN PEOPLE HAD TAUGHT US TO EXPECT THEM. THE SENSELESS AND WASTEFUL LOSS OF LIFE, INCLUDING THAT OF REPRESENTATIVE LEO J. RYAN, A MEMBER OF YOUR COMMITTEE, HAS DEEPLY SADDENED THE PARLIAMENT AND THE PEOPLE OF GUYANA. FROM THE MEASURE OF OUR OWN GRIEF, I CAN FULLY UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THE DISTRESS FELT BY THE UNITED STATES

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 02 GEORGE 01148 141319Z

CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE; AND I WOULD, THEREFORE, LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY OF CONFIRMING AND REITERATING THE PLEDGE GIVEN TO YOU BY OUR AMBASSADOR IN WASHINGTON, MR. [Laurence] E. MANN OF THE FULL CO-OPERATION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA IN OUR MUTUALLY DESIRABLE INTERESTS TO MAKE FULL INVESTIGATION OF THIS TRAGIC EVENT.

AS YOU MAY KNOW, OUR CONCERN HAS LED US TO TAKE A NUMBER OF STEPS TO DEAL WITH THE AFTERMATH OF NOEVEMBER 18. MANY OF THESE STEPS, I AM HAPPY TO SAY, HAVE INVOLVED CO-OPERATION WITH AGENCIES OF YOUR GOVERNMENT. SUCH CO-OPERATION HAS BEEN FACILITATED BY A MINISTERIAL LEVEL COMMITTEE WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED WITH THAT OBJECT AS ONE OF ITS MAIN PURPOSES. IT WAS THIS COMMITTEE WHICH ARRANGED FOR THE COORDINATION OF INVESTIAGATIONS BY THE F.B.I. AND OUR OWN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION AS WELL AS THE JOINT MILITARY/CIVILIAN TASK OF BODY IDENTIFICATION AND REMOVAL. IN ADDITION, THERE HAVE OF COURSE BEEN MANY OTHER STEPS SEPARATELY TAKEN BY OUR OWN AGENCIES. IN PARTICULAR, OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES HAVE INITIATED ACTION IN OUR COURTS WHICH SEEKS THE APPLICATION OF OUR LAWS TO SEVERAL ASPECTS OF JONESTOWN, ONCLUDING THE DEATH OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN. FINALLY, THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA HAS DECIDED TO CONDUCT A JUDICIAL INQUIRY INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF JONESTOWN.

NOTE HAS BEEN TAKEN OF YOUR DECISION TO ORDER A COMMITTEE STAFF INVESTIGATION INTO ALL OF THE CIRCUSTANCES WHICH MIGHT HAVE A BEARING ON THE DEATH OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN AND OF YOUR REQUEST TO ALLOW YOUR STAFF GROUP TO INTERVIEW CERTAIN GUYANESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF MAKING A CONCERTED APPROACH, THERE ARE TWO CONSIDERATIONS WHICH I IN TURN INVITE YOUR TO CONSIDER. FIRST, AND ALTOGETHER APART FROM QUESTIONS OF PROTOCOL, SENIRO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SAME OF WHOM YOUR STAFF MAY WISH TO INTERVIEW, ARE VERY LIKELY TO BE ALSO REQUIRED TO TESTIFY BEFORE OUR OWN JUDICIAL INQUIRY. SECONDLY, A NEATER AND POSSIBLY MORE CONVENIENT WAY FOR YOUR COMMITTEE TO BE

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 03 GEORGE 01148 141319Z

SUPPLIED WITH THEIR EVIDENCE WOULD BE THROUGH THE REPORT AND FINDINGS OF OUR OWN INQUIRY, TO BE PROVIDED ON A BASIS OF RECIPROCITY. MAY I ADD THAT, SO FAR AS OUR INQUIRY IS CONCERNED, NO OVERLAPPING IS LIKELY TO OCCUR BECAUSE IT IS NOT CONTEMPLATED THAT OUR INQUIRY WILL BE SEEKING TO INTERVIEW GOVERNMENTAL WITNESSES UB THE UNITED STATES.

AS YOU MAY NOT HAVE HAD THESE CIRCUMSTANCES IN MIND, I WONDER WHETHER IN THE LIGHT OF THEM, SOU MAY WISH TO RECONSIDER THE NECESSIRY FOR FOR THE REQUEST MADE IN YOUR LETTER. PLEASE ACCEPT THE ASSURANCES OF MY HIGHEST CONSIDERATION.

YOURS CO-OPERATIVELY,

H.E. DYETT
PERMANENT SECRETARY
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

THE HONOURABLE CLEMENT J. ZABLOCKI,
CHAIRMAN,
HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
WASHINGTON D.C.,
U.S.A.

2. A SEALED ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO CHAIRMAN ZABLOCKI CONTAINING THE ORIGINAL OF THE GOG REPLY WILL BE TRANSMITTED BY NEXT AVAILABLE POUCH.

BURKE

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
NNN

Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on November 30th, 2020.
Skip to main content