Dec 12, 1979 • 1243 • Georgetown-State • 5443

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979GEORGE05443_e.html.]

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GEORGE 05443 160256Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ADS-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 PM-05 NSC-05 SP-02 SS-15 /053 W
——————026716 160401Z /75

R 121243Z DEC 79
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1114
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 5443
PASS ARA/CAR

E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CGEN, GY (PEOPLES TEMPLE)
SUBJ: NEW BOOK CRITICAL OF DEPARTMENT/EMBASSY PERFORMANCE WITH REGARD TO PEOPLES TEMPLE

REF: 78 GEORGETOWN 3274

1. (LOU) – ENTIRE TEXT

2. DCM HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO BORROW BRIEFLY A SOON TO BE RELEASED BOOK BY AMERICAN ATTORNEY MARK LANE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. IT IS ENTITLED “THE STRANGE POISON” AND IS PUBLISHED BY HAWTHORN BOOKS, A DIVISION OF ELSEVIER-DUTTON, NEW YORK, COPYRIGHT 1980.

3. “THE STRANGE POISON” IS HIGHLY CRITICAL OF THE DEPARTMENT’S AND EMBASSY’S HANDLING OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE TRAGEDLY. IT ATTRIBUTES, FOR EXAMPLE, THE DEATH OF CONGRESSMAN LEO RYAN TO THE DELIBERATE WITHHOLDING OF INFORMATION BY THE DEPARTMENT AND THE EMBASSY. MOST AMERICAN NEWS MEDIA ARE DIRECTLY OR IMPLICITLY SUGGESTED TO HAVE BEEN CO-CONSPIRATORS WITH

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US GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN A PLOT TO DESTROY THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. MENTION IS NOT MADE OF THE FULSOME PRAISE AWARDED THE TEMPLE BY AUTHOR MARK LANE FOLLOWING HIS SEPTEMBER 1978 VISIT TO JONESTOWN (REFTEL).

4. THE BOOK APPARENTLY WILL BE RELEASED TO DISTRIBUTORS EARLY IN 1980. AS IT SEEMS LIKELY THAT THE BOOK WILL GENERATE MEDIA QUERIES, THE DEPARTMENT MAY WISH TO SEEK TO OBTAIN A PRERELEASE COPY. EMBASSY GEORGETOWN IS POUCHING SEVERAL EXCERPTS FROM IT TO ARA/CAR.

ROBERTS

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Originally posted on October 26th, 2020.

Last modified on November 16th, 2020.
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