Richard McCoy Memos to the Files,
December 1978

In early December 1978, three weeks after the deaths in Jonestown, Richard McCoy – former Consul to the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, then-Guyana Desk Officer at the State Department – wrote at least two memos “to the files” summarizing the agency’s and embassy’s interactions on several issues related to Peoples Temple during the previous two years: the two-year child custody battle involving John Victor Stoen; the defection of Deborah Layton Blakey in May 1978; and the challenges of distance and accessibility faced by the Embassy in monitoring the community. The memos, initially intended for internal use only, offer both analysis and overall context to the public official stance of the U.S. government. While not overtly stated, the intra-office memos reflect the frustration that especially the embassy felt in negotiating disputes between Americans in a foreign country.

Richard McCoy Memo to File, December 5, 1978 on Deborah Layton Blakey defection

Richard McCoy Memo to File, December 7, 1978 on accessibility to Jonestown from Georgetown

Richard McCoy Memo to File, December 8, 1978 on Stoen custody matters

(Editor’s note: Independent researcher Brian Csuk received these documents from the State Department in response to his request for agency records under the Freedom of Information Act. His website on primary government sources related to Peoples Temple went offline in 1998.)

Originally posted on April 11th, 2021.

Last modified on April 12th, 2021.
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