March 15, 1979 • 1420 • Georgetown-State • 1158

[Editor’s note: The text of this cable was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE01158_e.html.]

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GEORGE 01158 151436Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 H-01 SY-05 SYE-00 SSO-00 /022 W
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O 151420Z MAR 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9187
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 1158

E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: OREP, GY
SUBJ: HFAC STAFF DEL VISIT TO GUYANA
REF: STATE 063145

1. AS OF NOW THERE ARE, AS FAR AS THE EMBASSY KNOWS, ONLY SIX SURVIVORS OF PEOPLES TEMPLE REMAINING IN GUYANA, IN ADDITION TO THE TWO AMCITS [American citizens] AWAITING TRIAL, LARRY LAYTON AND CHARLES BEIKMAN. WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW ALL OF THESE INDIVIDUALS WILL REACT TO THE RECENT SUICIDE OF THEIR FELLOW TEMPLE MEMBER MICHAEL PROKES, NOR ARE WE LIKELY TO KNOW PRIOR TO STAFF DELS’ ARRIVAL. HOWEVER, THE CONSULATE HAS HAD FAIRLY FREQUENT CONTACT WITH VARIOUS OF THESE INDIVIDUALS SINCE NOV. 18 AND NO OVERT HOSTILITY TO THE USG OR ITS OFFICIALS HAS BEEN MANIFESTED IN THE COURSE OF THESE CONTACTS. FURTHERMORE, CHARLES TOUCHETTE, ONE OF THE SURVIVORS, DID VISIT CONSUL THIS MORNING (3/15) ON ANOTHER MATTER. HE INDICATED THAT STEPHAN JONES, IN THE U.S., HAD PHONED GEORGETOWN WITH THE NEWS OF PROKES’S DEATH. TOUCHETTE’S ATTITUDE WAS CLEARLY NOT HOSTILE, AND HE STATED UNAMBIGUOUSLY THAT HE FELT PROKES’ ACTION WAS IRRATIONAL.

2. EMBASSY HAS NOT AND OBVIOUSLY WILL NOT PUBLICIZE STAFF DEL’S VISIT. GOG HAS BEEN INFORMED, OF COURSE, AND A CIRCULE OF GOG OFFICIALS CAN BE EXPECTED TO KNOW

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OF THE STAFF DEL’S PRESENCE, THOUGH WE HAVE NOT PROVIDED A FIRM ARRIVAL DATE OR INDICATED WHERE THE GROUP WILL BE STAYING. THESE OFFICIALS MAY SHARE THIS KNOWLEDGE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY SO THERE IS THE CHANCE THAT THE STAFF DEL’S VISIT MAY BECOME COMMON KNOWLEDGE IN GEORGETOWN’S SMALL AND RATHER LIMITED COCKTAIL CIRCUIT.

3. ONE CAN NEVER BE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CERTAIN OF PERSONAL SECURITY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, BUT FOR THE PRESENT IT WOULD SEEM THAT STAFF DEL WILL BE EXPOSED TO NO GREATER RISK THAN ANY OTHER OFFICIAL AMCIT IN GEORGETOWN IS REGULARLY EXPOSED TO. AS DEPT KNOWS, GEORGETOWN HAS A HIGH INCIDENCE OF STREET CRIME, OFTEN IN DAYLIGHT HOURS EVEN ON MAIN ARTERIES AND OFTEN DIRECTED AT TOURISTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO WEAR COATS AND TIES. STAFF DEL SHOULD BE ADVISED TO COME WITH SHIRT JACS OR EQUIVALENT AND TO WEAR THEM THROUGHOUT THEIR STAY.

4. INFORMATION ON HOTEL RESERVATIONS WILL BE PROVIDED SEPTEL.

BURKE

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Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on July 20th, 2022.
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