Dec 9 1979 • 1155 • State-Georgetown • 317851

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979STATE317851_e.html.]

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STATE 317851
ORIGIN ARA-15
INFO OCT-00 ADS-00 L-03 H-02 /020 R
DRAFTED BY ARA/CAR:RAMCCOY:EN
APPROVED BY ARA/CAR:WRWARNE
L/C:FKWIATEK (SUBS)
——————110327 091500Z /44

R 091155Z DEC 79
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
UNCLAS STATE 317851

E.O. 12065: N/A
TAGS: ACLM, GY, US
SUBJECT: TORT CLAIMS RELATING TO JONESTOWN TRAGEDY
REFERENCE: A. STATE 311371 B. GEORGETOWN

1. AS MENTIONED IN REFTEL THE DEPARTMENT HAS RECEIVED TWO CLAIMS UNDER THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT ON BEHALF OF ROY DARWIN HUMPHREY AKA ROY HARRIS AND LEO J. RYAN. DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION RICHARD A. DWYER HAS BEEN NAMED IN BOTH CLAIMS ALONG WITH OTHER DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS.

2. TO RESPOND TO THESE CLAIMS, WE WOULD APPRECIATE DCM DWYER’S COMMENTS ON THE FOLLOWING ISSUES.

— DWYER HAD RECEIVED REPORTS OF MISTREATMENT, ASSAULTS TORTURE AND DEATHS OCCURING [OCCURRING] AT THE INSTANCE OF THE LEADERS OF JONESTOWN, AND MET WITH JIM JONES.

— THAT DWYER HAD RECEIVED REPORTS OF PERSONS BEING

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RESTRAINED AND IMPRISONED AGAINST THEIR WILL AND “KNEW THIS COULD CAUSE A STATE OF EXTREME ANXIETY AND TENSION.

— THAT DWYER HAD RECEIVED REPORTS THAT THE LEADERS OF JONESTOWN HAD CONDUCTED SUICIDE DRILLS.

— THAT DWYER WAS AWARE OF THE HIGHLY CHARGED ATMOSPHERE AT JONESTOWN THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO THE VISIT OF CODEL RYAN AND THE NBC TEAM.

— THAT DWYER WAS ALSO AWARE OF REPORTS OF LARGE QUANTITIES OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION BEING BROUGHT INTO JONESTOWN AND KNEW THAT THE JONESTOWN LEADERS REGARDED MEMBERS OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD WITH EXTREME IRRATIONAL DISTRUST AND FEAR.

— DESPITE THE ABOVE, NO WARNING OF ANY SUCH DANGER WAS GIVEN TO THE DECEDENTS OR ANY OTHER PERSON ENTERING THE COMMUNITY NOR WAS ANY FORM OF SECURITY OR PROTECTIOFFORDED TO THE PARTY.

3. EMBASSY SHOULD ALSO GET A LEGAL OPINION FROM A MINISTER OF JUSTICE ON WHETHER THE USG COULD BE SUED IN GUYANA IF IT WERE A PRIVATE PARTY AND HELD LIABLE FOR DAMAGES UNDER THE LAWS OF GUYANA, ASSUMING THE FACTS OF THE CLAIMS ARE AS ALLEGED.

4. FYI: THIS REQUIREMENT IS A NECESSARY CONDITION PRECEDENT TO DETERMINING LEGAL VALIDITY OF CLAIMS FILED UNDER THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT, AS AMENDED.

VANCE

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Originally posted on October 26th, 2020.

Last modified on December 30th, 2020.
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