May 5, 1979 • 1350 • Georgetown-State • 2018

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE02018_e.html.]

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ACTION L-03
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ADS-00 FBO-05 A-02 CA-01 OCS-06 /029 W
——————069219 051409Z /47-40

P 051350Z MAY 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9598
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 2018
PASS L/ARA FOR FORTUNE PASS ARA/EX

E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CASC, CDES, (PEOPLES TEMPLE), GY
SUBJ: PERSONAL EFFECTS OF JONESTOWN DECEDENTS
REF: A. STATE 100212 B. STATE 302466 78 C. 78 STATE 299110 D. 78 GEORGETOWN 4316 E. 0872 OF 2/27/79 F. 1600 OF 4/9/79 AND PREVIOUS

1. IT HAS JUST BEEN BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION THAT EACH MEMBER OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE UPON ENTERING GUYANA SIGNED A FORM REQUIRED BY THE GUYANESE IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES. THE FORM WAS DESIGNED TO ELICIT FROM THE INTENDING RESIDENT PERSONAL DATA INCLUDING ASSETS. IN EACH CASE IN FILLING IN THAT BLANK THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE RESPONDENTS STATED: “ALL ASSETS ARE TO BE IMPUTED IN THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AGRICULTURAL MISSION WHICH HAS LEASED LAND FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA UNDER ITS FCH PROGRAM”. THESE

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STATEMENTS WERE PREPARED IN TYPEWRITTEN FORM APPARENTLY BY THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AND WERE SIGNED BY EACH DECEASED MEMBER. WHILE THE EMBASSY MAY NOT HAVE A FORM FOR EACH DECEASED MEMBER IT IS ASSUMED THAT SUCH A FORM WAS PREPARED BY THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AND SIGNED BY EACH ADULT MEMBER IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OR HER ENTRY INTO GUYANA.

2. THE QUESTION ARISES WHETHER SUCH ACTION ON THE PART OF EACH PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBER CONSTITUTES AN ASSIGNMENT OF ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY TO THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AS COMMUNAL PROPERTY. IF THAT WERE THE LEGAL DETERMINATION THEN ALL PROPERTY AT JONESTOWN, INCLUDING CLOTHES, ETC., WOULD HAVE TO BE REGARDED AS CORPORATE PROPERTY. AS THE DEPARTMENT IS AWARE, THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING LEGAL ACTION TO CLAIM ALL ASSETS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IN GUYANA. THE GOG HAS AGREED TO RELEASE TO THE EMBASSY ONLY THOSE ITEMS CLEARLY IDENTIFIABLE AS THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF DECEASED U.S. CITIZEN MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION. IF ALL EFFECTS MUST NOW BE REGARDED BY THE DEPARTMENT AS COMMUNAL PROPERTY, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT CONSULAR RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE POSSESSION AND INVENTORY PERSONAL EFFECTS OF DECEASED U.S. CITIZEN MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MAY BE NEGATED.

3. IN VIEW OF APPARENT LACT OF INTEREST THUS FAR BY NEXT OF KIN AND/OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES OF DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE WITH REGARD TO THEIR PERSONAL EFFECTS, EMBASSY ANTICIPATES THAT THE TASK OF INVENTORYING AS WELL AS STORAGE OF THE DECEASED PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBERS, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO CONSUME MANY MAN-HOURS, TOGETHER WITH

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STORAGE UNITL SUCH TIME AS DISPOSITION CAN BE MADE, WILL BE A CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND MAY PROVE TO BE FRUITLESS.

4. DEPARTMENT’S VIEWS ARE URGENTLY REQUESTED.

BURKE

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Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
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