May 7, 1979 • 1731 • Georgetown-State • 2023

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE02023_e.html.]

CONFIDENTIAL
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GEORGE 02023 071906Z
ACTION L-03
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ADS-00 JUSE-00 H-01 CA-01 OCS-06 ANAE-00 /023 W
——————084057 081453Z /42

R 071731Z MAY 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9600
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 2023
E.O. 12065: GDS 5/7/85 (DWYER, RICHARD A.) OR-M
TAGS: CASC, GY
SUBJ: PROGRESS ON LAYTON TRIAL
REF: STATE 101322

1. (C [CONFIDENTIAL]-ENTIRE TEXT)

2. IN ABSENCE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO IS CURRENTLY OUT OF GEORGETOWN, DCM INQUIRED REGARDING PROGRESS OF LAYTON CASE OF CHIEF JUSTINCE OF HIGH COURT SIR HAROLD BOLLERS. BOLLERS STATED THAT DIRECTORATE OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS HAS BEEN IN TOUCH WITH SOME WITNESSES PRESENTLY IN UNITED STATES AND HAS OFFERED THEM AIR FARE AND HOTEL COSTS TO RETURN TO GEORGETOWN FOR NEW PRELIMINARY INQUIRY. WITNESSES ALSO WANT REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOST WAGES WHICH TRIP TO GEORGETOWN WOULD ENTRAIL, WHICH GUYANESE UNWILLING TO PAY.

3. EMBASSY HAS SERIOUS MISGIVINGS ABOUT WISDOM OF REQUESTING GUYANESE GOVERNMENT (GOG) TO EXTRADITE LAYTON UNDER TERMS OF 1931 TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN. AS DEPARTMENT IS AWARE, MR. LAYTON HAS ONE OF THE MOST ABLE LOCAL ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING HIM. EMBASSY IS UNAWARE OF ANY U.S. EXTRADITION PROCEEDING TO DATE AGAINST AMERICANS RESIDING IN GUYANA SINCE INDEPENDENCE (ALTHOUGH WE UNDERSTAND FBI HAS HAD WARRANTS OUT FOR AT LEAST ONE SUCH

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INDIVIDUAL FOR SOME TIME). WE WOULD BE MOVING INTO WATERS VERY MUCH UNCHARTED, AND WE ARE APPREHENSIVE THAT BY SOME TECHNICAL FLAW OR FLUKE LAYTON MIGHT BE RELEASED AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO FLEE TO SOME THIRD COUNTRY. GOG MIGHT VERY WELL WELCOME OPPORTUNITY TO SPARE ITSELF EXPENSE AND PUBLICITY OF LAYTON TRIAL. AND WE ARE UNCERTAIN OF WISDOM OF GIVING THEM AN APPARENT “OUT” AT THIS TIME. IT IS LIKELY THAT CHARGES AGAINST LAYTON WOULD FIRST HAVE TO BE DISMISSED. IF THEN THEN EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS FAILED, LAYTON COULD CONCEIVABLY END UP A FREE MAN AS FAR AS GUYANESE AUTHORITIES ARE CONCERNED. WHILE IT IS LIKELY THAT GOG WOULD AGREE TO DEPORTATION IN THAT CASE, IT IS NOT CLEAR THAT GOG COULD LEGALLY INSIST UPON DEPORTATION TO U.S.

4. A SECOND CONSIDERATION IS THAT THE PEOPLES TEMPLE JONESTOWN, AND THE LAYTON TRIAL ARE ALL SENSITIVE POLITICAL ISSUES IN GUYANA. WHILE THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO MAINTAIN THAT JONESTOWN ET AL ARE PURELY AMERICAN PROBLEMS THAT ONLY HAPPENED TO TAKE PLACE IN GUYANA, ALL OPPOSITION GROUPS ARE UNITED IN CALLING FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE GOG’S RESPONSIBILITIES AND PUNISHMENT OF ANY WRONG DOING.

5. WE VERY MUCH APPRECIATE FBI’S AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE’S CONCERNS IN THIS CASE, WHICH ARE NO LESS THAN OUR OWN, BUT IN CONSIDERATION OF THE ABOVE, WE FEEL IN THE FIRST INSTANCE THAT WE SHOULD EXERT WHATEVER POWERS OF PERSUSION AVAILABLE TO U.S. AUTHORITIES TO CONVINCE WITNESSES TO RETURN FOR INQUIRY. IF THIS PROVES IMPOSSIBLE, AND IF IT THEN APPEARS THAT ABSENCE OF THE WITNESSES WILL SERIOUSLY PREJUDICE

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INQUIRY (OR SUBSEQUENT TRIAL), WE SHOULD THEN EXPLORE EXTRADITION OR DEPORTATION POSSIBILITIES.

BURKE [John Burke, U.S.Ambassador to Guyana]

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Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on July 26th, 2022.
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