Serial 2307

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 2307 of the FBI’s RYMUR release.]

O 051630Z OCT 79
FM BOGOTA (89-4)
TO DIRECTOR (89-4286) IMMEDIATE 063-05

Re Butel September 18, 1979.

In response to immediate teletype from Legat, Bogotá, American Embassy, at Georgetown, Guyana, advised as follows:

Embassy has now obtained copy of the written confession of Mr. Larry Layton with regard to the November 18, 1978, murders of Congressman Leo Ryan and others at Port Kaituma, Guyana, as indicated Ref (A), as given to the Guyanese police in Georgetown on November 22, 1978. Layton apparently also made a verbal confession while in police custody in Port Kaituma. Embassy has requested, again, a copy of the police officer’s statement regarding this oral confession, which will be transmitted as soon as received.

Begin text of written confession: 20/12/78 [December 12, 1978] Comm: 10:30 AM. Ended: 11:00 AM. Guyana Police Force Criminal Investigation Dept. Police Headquarters, Eve Leary. 22.78 statement of Larry John


Layton age 32 years an ex-ray [X-ray] technician of California, United States. You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so but what you say maybe put into writing and given in evidence. A. Smith D/A.S.P. (Sgd.) Larry J. Layton I Larry Layton, wish to make a statement. I want someone to write down what I say. I have been told that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so and that whatever I say may be given in evidence. A. Smith D/A.S.P. (Sgd.) Larry J. Layton I make this statement of my own free will. I wish to do so and that whatever I say may be given in evidence. I Larry Layton take full responsibility for all the deaths and injuries that took place at the Port Kaituma airstrip. I had begged the bishop Jim Jones that I be allowed to bring down the plane but he disapproved, my reason for supporting this was because I felt that those people were working in conjunction with CIA to smear the People’s Temple and to smear Guyana. I got a gun from a friend of mine one Pancho [Garry Dartez Johnson] and I went to the airport intending to bring down the plane, but when the shooting started, I also started shooting as I thought it was all too late. A. Smith D/A.S.P. L.J. Layton


I have read the above statement. I have been told that I can add, alter or correct anything I wish. This statement is true I have made on my own free will. A. Smith D/A.S.P. Larry J. Layton

I here certify that this statement was taken by me between 10:30 AM and 11:00 AM on 12/11/78 at Criminal Investigation Department, Police Headquarters, Eve Leary. Same was read over to and by Larry Layton who said it is true and correct and signed his name to it in my presence and that of Det. Asst. Sjpt. Smith

Jagmohan Dept. Insp.

20.11.78 end text.

Embassy at Georgetown also advised that other material required by attorney Alfred Hantman has already been requested by Department of State presumably at request of Justice, and there have been a series of meetings of State on Justice on the subject. Washington has suggested, for example, that a liaison person from Washington (presumably from Justice) be sent to consult with prosecution before Layton preliminary inquiry begins October 29 and Guyanese have concurred. We would therefore prefer that Justice requests be transmitted to us through State to insure that both are fully informed.

Will insure that our traffic on the subject is reputed to you to keep you up to date as well.