Ryan telegram to Amb. John Burke, November 1


November 1, 1978

John R. Burke
American Ambassador
American Embassy
Georgetown, Guyana
South America

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

This will confirm earlier reports you have received regarding a proposed congressional delegation trip to Guyana. Congressman Ed Derwinski and I will arrive on November 14 in Georgetown and wish to review with you and other officials the agricultural commune operated by Rev. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. I look forward to meeting with you.

Following is the text of a telegram I am sending to Rev. Jones:

In recent months my office has been visited by constituents who are relatives of members of your church and who expressed anxiety about mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who have elected to assist you in the development of your church in Guyana.

I have listened to others who have told me that such concerns are exaggerated. They have been supportive of your church and your work. Your effort, involving so many Americans from a single U.S. geographical location is unique. In an effort to be responsive to these constituents with differing perspectives and to learn more about your church and its work, I intend to visit Guyana an talk with appropriate government officials. I do so as a part of my assigned responsibilities as a Member of the House Committee on International Relations. Congressman Ed Derwinski (R-Ill.) also a member of the committee and staff members of the committee will be accompanying me.

While we are in Guyana, I have asked our Ambassador, John Burke, to make arrangements for transportation to visit your church and agricultural station at Jonestown. It goes without saying that I am most interested in a visit to Jonestown, and would appreciate whatever courtesies you can extend to our Congressional delegation.

Please consider this letter to be an open and honest request to you for information about your work which has been the center of your life and purpose for so many years. In the interest of simplifying communications, it will only be necessary for you to respond to Ambassador John R. Burke at the American Embassy in Georgetown. Since the details of our trip are still being arranged, I am sure the Ambassador and his staff will be able to keep you informed.

I look forward to talking with you either in Jonestown or Georgetown.

Sincerely yours,
Member of Congress

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