April 27, 1979 • 1816 • Georgetown-State • 1915

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 2149 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE01915_e.html.]

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GEORGE 01915 271837Z
ACTION L-03
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ADS-00 H-01 FBIE-00 SY-05 SYE-00 OC-06 CCO-00 /027 W
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P 271816Z APR 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9548
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 1915
PASS L/ARA FOR FORTUNE
E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: OREP (RYAN, LEO) GY
SUBJ: TAPES OF TELCONS REGARDING PEOPLES TEMPLE ACTIVITIES AND CODEL RYAN ACTIVITIES NOV. 11-18, 1978.

1. IN MEETING REQUESTED BY CONSUL DOUGLAS V. ELLICE WITH DCM DWYER AFTERNOON OF APRIL 25, MR. ELLICE REVEALED FOR FIRST TIME THAT HE HAD IN HIS POSSESSION TAPE RECORDINGS OF SOME OF HIS TELEPONE CONVERSATIONS FROM HIS HOME TELEPHONE COVERING THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 11-18, 1978. MR. ELLICE STATED THAT HE HAD INFORMED FBI SPECIAL AGENT DONALD HALE OF THE EXISTENCE OF THESE TAPES THAT MORNING, NOTING THAT IN THE BACKGROUND OF A NUMBER OF CALLS RADIO TRANSMISSIONS BETWEEN THE PEOPLES TEMPLE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY AND THEIR OFFICE IN GEORGETOWN COULD BE OVERHEARD. MR. ELLICE STATED THAT HE HAS ROUTINELY MADE RECORDINGS OF INCOMING AND OUTGOING CALLS FROM HIS RESIDENCE FOR HIS PERSONAL CONVENIENCE FOR SOME TIME. NORMALLY HE RETAINED THESE TAPES FOR 2-3 WEEKS AND THEN RECORDED OVER THEM. HE DID, HOWEVER, RETAIN THE TAPES OF THE PERIOD COVERING THE CODEL VISIT. MR. ELLICE SAID THAT HE HAD NOT INTENDED TO MAKE KNOWN THE EXISTENCE OF THESE TAPES, BUT THAT IN PREPARATION FOR DISCUSSIONS WITH VISITNG SA HALE

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AND LEGATT OGLESBY, HE HAD LISTENED AGAIN TO THE TAPES AND REALIZED THAT THE BACKGROUND RADIO COMMUNICATIONS MIGHT BE OF VALUE TO THE FBI AND HAD THEREFORE INFORMED MR. HALE OF THEIR EXISTENCE. MR. HALE REQUESTED AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE TAPES WITH THE BACKGROUND RADIO TRANSMISSIONS OF NOVEMBER 18 TO DETERMINE WHAT EVIDENTIARY VALUE THEY MIGHT HAVE IN TERMS OF THE ON-GOING PROCEEDING IN SAN FRANCISCO. AMBASSADOR WAS IMMEDIATELY INFORMED AND MR. ELLICE REPEATED ABOVE TO AMBASSADOR IN MEETING WITH DCM.

2. AMBASSADOR INSTRUCTED MR. ELLICE TO BRING TAPES TO EMBASSY MORNING OF APRIL 26 WHERE NOVEMBER 18 TAPES WERE PLAYED AT MEETING ATTENDED BY AMBASSADOR, DCM, MR. ELLICE, LEGATT OGLESBY, AND MR. HALE. NOVEMBER 18 TAPES INCLUDE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN MR. ELLICE AND DECEASED TEMPLE MEMBER SHARON AMOS, THE AMBASSADOR, SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE EMBASSY STAFF, AND HFAC STAFF MEMBER JAMES SCHOLLAERT. THEY DEAL WITH EMBASSY ARRANGEMENTS FOR AIRCRAFT TO FLY TO PORT KAITUMA TO PICK UP CODEL AND TEMPLE MEMBERS LEAVING JONESTOWN COMMUNITY, AS WELL AS SOME CRYPTIC RADIO TRANSMISSIONS IN BACKGROUND. WHILE TAPES DO NOT APPEAR TO ADD SIGNIFICANTLY TO KNOWLEDGE OF EVENTS OF NOVEMBER 18, THEY DO SERVE TO ESTABLISH MORE ACCURATE TIME FRAM AND MAY BE OF EVIDENTIARY VALUE TO FBI FOR GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS. MR. ELLICE HAS PREVIOUSLY MADE HIS NOTES OF NOV. 18 TEMPLE RADIO TRANSMISSIONS AVAILABLE TO FBI IN JANUARY BUT HAD NOT THEN REVEALED EXISTENCE OF TAPES. MR. ELLICE STATES THAT TAPES DO NOT REPRESENT COMPLETE RECORD OF ALL CALLS DURING THIS PERIOD, THERE ARE GAPS

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AS TAPES RAN OUT AND WERE NOT IMMEDIATELY REPLACED.

3. AMBASSADOR, LEGATT OGLESBY AND SA HALE HAVE AGREED THAT TAPES WILL BE SENT TO L/ARA FORTUNE IN NEXT CLASSIFIED POUCH (MAY 3). SA HALE ANTICIPATES THAT FBI WILL REQUEST NOVEMBER 18 TAPES WHICH INCLUDE BACKGROUND RADIO TRANSMISSIONS AS EVIDENCE.

4. AMBASSADOR AND DCM HAVE NOT YET HEARD TAPES OF NOVEMBER 11-17. LEGATT OGLESBY AND SA HALE HAVE STATED THAT FBI INTERESTED IN CONFINED TO TAPES WHICH HAVE AUDIBLE RADIO TRANSMISSIONS IN BACKGROUND.

5. SA HALE, WHO DEPARTED FOR SAN FRANCISCO EARLY APRIL 27, REQUESTS THAT FBI BE INFORMED OF EXISTENCE OF NOVEMBER 18 TAPES WITH PARTS OF RADIO TRANSMISSIONS, AND OF FACT THAT HE AND LEGATT OGLESBY HAVE HEARD THEM.

6. EMBASSY SUGGESTS THAT TAPES BE REVIEWED BY L/ARA UPON RECEIPT FOR RELEASE OF REQUESTED PORTIONS TO FBI. DEPARTMENT MAY ALSO WISH TO MAKE COPIES OR TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE TO HFAC STAFF MEMBERS INVESTIGATING PEOPLES TEMPLE AND ASSASSINATION OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN IF APPROPRIATE OR USEFUL.

BURKE [John Burke, American ambassador to Guyana]

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Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on July 18th, 2022.
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