The State Department Cables – 1980-81

This is a listing of cables transmitted during 1980 and 1981, with a single entry from 1986. Most originated either within the State Department or the US Embassy in Georgetown.

A key to the notations in the columns appears below the chart. A note on sources used in the compilation of this chart also appears below.

Date
Time
Origin
ID
Content
PDF
Text
800101
1715
Georgetown
0005 1379
Embassy officer visits Beikman
State
Text
800107
1255
Georgetown
0075 1403
Embassy officer visits Layton
State
Text
800111
2036
State
83678
TV journalist wants to interview Layton
State
Text
800115
1533
State
11565
Temple Receiver plans to visit other countries
State
Text
800115
1533
State
11566
Temple Receiver plans to visit Georgetown
State
Text
800122
1644
Georgetown
0314 1519
Layton lawyer from US visits client
State
Text
800123
1415
Georgetown
0325 1552
Embassy officer delivers mail to Layton
State
Text
800124
1702
Georgetown
0362 1545
Embassy officer visits Beikman
State
Text
800131
1224
Georgetown
0434 1586
Date of Beikman trial announced
State
Text
800204
1400
Georgetown
0490 1621
Beikman date incorrect
State
Text
800204
1527
State
30638
State states position on Receiver lawsuits
State
Text
800205
1028
Georgetown
0518 1635
Embassy talks to Layton about treatment, conditions
State
Text
800207
1700
Georgetown
0565 1649
Embassy officer visits Beikman
State
Text
800228
1601
Georgetown
0883 1809
Report on guns found in Jonestown
State
Text
800228
1925
Georgetown
0890 1813
Layton trial to start April 1
State
Text
800229
2210
State
55000
Temple assets returned to US
State
Text
800305
1037
Georgetown
0937 1833
GOG seeks to resolve legal issues with Receiver
State
Text
800313
0457
State
66237
Money placed in Layton account for expenses
State
Text
800320
1808
Georgetown
1252 1986
Presence of Dale Parks not needed at Layton trial
State
Text
800320
1827
Georgetown
1265 1992
Beikman and Layton seek Temple assets
State
Text
800325
1541
State
078590
Travel of FBI, witnesses to Guyana
FBI
Text
800328
1834
Georgetown
1394 2059
Prosecutor will use only Gosney in Layton trial
State
Text
800328
1844
Georgetown
1404 2067
GOG commission on Jonestown has done no work
State
Text
800331
1035
Georgetown
1436 2084
Embassy talks to Layton about treatment, conditions
State
Text
800401
1125
Georgetown
1449 2091
Embassy visits Beikman
State
Text
800402
1825
Georgetown
1506 2116
Beikman goes on trial; Larry plans to plead not guilty
State
Text
800403
0506
State
87499
Press reports Beikman pleads guilty to lesser charge
State
Text
800408
1740
Georgetown
1567 2153
Travel of FBI, witnesses to Guyana
FBI
Text
800411
1837
Georgetown
1677 2206
FBI agent and US attorney will attend Layton trial
State
Text
800422
1926
Georgetown
1886 2300
Embassy visits Layton
State
Text
800429
1806
Georgetown
1996 2348
Embassy visits Beikman
State
Text
800429
1807
Georgetown
1997 2349
Embassy visits Layton
State
Text
800503
0508
State
116945
Fabian asks Embassy to locate checks made payable to Phyllis Houston
State
Text
800506
1925
Georgetown
2098 2010
Judge in Layton trial agrees that GOG has case against defendant
State
Text
800507
1615
Georgetown
2102 2411
Embassy has numerous checks, none of Houston’s
State
Text
800507
1935
Georgetown
2163 2440
Status of Layton trial (Day 3)
FBI
Text
800508
0711
State
121503
GOG claims PT should pay for repair of aircraft
State
Text
800509
1925
Georgetown
2179 2447
Judge in Layton trial allows confession into evidence
State
Text
800512
1412
Georgetown
2202 2460
US Government says it paid for Guyanese aircraft
State
Text
800513
1724
Georgetown
2244 2485
Status of Layton trial (Day 7)
FBI
Text
800516
1850
Georgetown
2292 2509
Status of Layton trial (Day 8)
FBI
Text
800520
1313
Georgetown
2314 2521
Status of Layton trial (Day 9)
FBI
Text
800520
1845
Georgetown
2329 2524
Status of Layton trial (Day 10)
FBI
Text
800521
1932
Georgetown
2358 2540
Status of Layton trial (Day 11)
FBI
Text
800522
1634
Georgetown
2374 2544
Embassy denies responsibility for PT’s crates
State
Text
800522
1435
Georgetown
2375 2545
Beikman’s sentence reduced
State
Text
800522
1805
Georgetown
2383 2553
Layton acquitted
FBI
Text
800523
1830
Georgetown
2406 2556
Aftermath of Layton acquittal
State
Text
800530
1830
Georgetown
2496 2609
Embassy promises info on possible Layton release
State
Text
800611
0011
State
151895
State offers advice on handling money in Layton account
State
Text
800623
1714
Georgetown
2860 2796
Status report on Temple assets in Guyana
State
Text
800627
1225
Georgetown
2932 2827
Embassy visits Beikman in prison
State
Text
800628
0815
State
170129
Receiver asks about Temple checks and crates
State
Text
800702
1928
Georgetown
3022 2874
Layton expresses anxiety about resolution of case
State
Text
800703
1405
Georgetown
3036 2882
Embassy lists dates of visits to Layton
State
Text
800717
1403
Georgetown
3243 2973
Embassy looks for guidance on questions about crates and checks
State
Text
800818
1639
Georgetown
3849 3253
Embassy visits Beikman in prison
State
Text
800818
1644
Georgetown
3854 3257
Embassy visits Layton in prison, presses GOG on disposition of case
State
Text
800826
1845
Georgetown
4078 3378
Extradition of Larry Layton
FBI
Text
800830
1347
Georgetown
4161 3424
Embassy makes reservations for US military personnel (may not be JT related)
State
Text
800917
1600
Georgetown
4460 3563
Deportation of Larry Layton
FBI
Text
800917
1601
Georgetown
4461 3565
Embassy seeks instructions on Social Security checks
State
Text
800924
14??
Georgetown
4593 3627
GOG will take no further action on Layton
State
Text
800925
1853
Georgetown
4653 3656
Contents of crates will go to GOG and charities
State
Text
800930
2056
State
261698
Layton will not receive passport from US, may need escort from Guyana
State
Text
801001
1950
Georgetown
4751 3706
Discussion of passport for Layton
FBI
Text
801007
1730
Georgetown
4830 3744
Layton agrees to deportation
FBI
Text
801008
1339
Port of Spain
3054 (POS) 6736
Trinidad govt to be notified of Layton transit through airport
FBI
Text
801008
1610
Georgetown
4871 3758
Layton to be accompanied by two FBI agents
FBI
Text
801008
2324
State
269399
Layton will travel to US with his attorney, not FBI
FBI
Text
801009
1224
State
269658
Embassy to forward checks to State
State
Text
801009
1255
State
269870
Issuance of identity card for Layton
FBI
Text
801010
1237
Port of Spain
3088 6750
Layton may be detained in Guyana until lawyer paid
Text
801010
1335
Georgetown
4912 3774
Layton on board
FBI
Text
801010
1547
Port of Spain
3103
PamAm reports someone wants to board plane to see Layton
FBI
Text
801010
1715
Georgetown
4926 3666
Layton not on scheduled flight
FBI
Text
801017
1626
Georgetown
5036 3838
Checks sent to State
State
Text
801018
1245
Georgetown
5041 3842
Guyana court to consider merits of financial claim against Layton
FBI
Text
801021
1900
Georgetown
5071 3860
Court hearing on legal fees inconclusive
FBI
Text
801023
1250
Georgetown
5121 3376
Hearing fails to conclude claims against Layton for fees
FBI
Text
801025
1333
State
285209
Checks received
State
Text
801027
1331
Georgetown
5171 3913
Embassy visits Layton in prison, prepares travel docs
State
Text
801031
2055
State
291166, 6650
ABC TV requests interview with Doug Ellice
State
Text
801103
1921
Georgetown
5310 4009
Layton agrees that he owes Guyanese lawyer
State
Text
801106
2120
State
296634, 6707
States instructs employees not to talk about issues under litigation
State
Text
801110
1805
Georgetown
5432 4058
Restriction on Layton leaving country is lifted
FBI
Text
801112
1349
Georgetown
5449 4061
Layton travel arrangements
Text
801112
1815
Georgetown
5459 4071
Layton to be accompanied by marshals, but not in custody
FBI
Text
801114
0056
State
303499
Layton will not be in US Marshal custody on flight
FBI
Text
801114
1145
Georgetown
5487 4086
Layton departure postponed
FBI
Text
801114
1251
Port of Spain
3477 2774
Embassy wonders if Layton is traveling
FBI
Text
801114
1330
Georgetown
5492 3712
Layton is not traveling that date
FBI
Text
801114
1855
Georgetown
5515 4100
Layton travel plans
FBI
Text
801114
1947
Georgetown
5517 4102
Embassy stresses importance of not revealing Layton travel plans
FBI
Text
801118
1354
Georgetown
5548 4120
Embassy wishes to expel Layton ASAP
FBI
Text
801120
1916
Georgetown
5601 4158
Layton scheduled to leave following day
FBI
Text
Illegible
Illegible
Georgetown
5622 4163
Layton on board plane with three marshals
FBI
Text
Illegible
Illegible
Port of Spain
3592 6971
Flight scheduled to leave Port of Spain
FBI
Text
Illegible
Illegible
Port of Spain
3596
Flight leaves Port of Spain
FBI
Text
801201
1809
Georgetown
5703 4228
Layton’s expulsion done without fanfare
FBI
Text
801205
2009
State
323402
PPP charges dead PT members on voting rolls
State
Text
801205
2206
State
322358
State sets policies on release of info on Layton to Justice
FBI
Text
801210
1835
Georgetown
5859 4305
Embassy dismisses PPP charges
State
Text
       
1981
   
810307
1022
State
058256
State asks for consultation with GOG in litigation for recovering costs
FBI
Text
810317
1225
Georgetown
1355 5131
US seeks to document permission for FBI presence in Guyana
FBI
Text
810414
1034
Georgetown
1924 5402
Layton attorney in US asks GOG for statements of witnesses
FBI
Text
810422
1708
Georgetown
2058 5482
Layton attorney in US obtains docs from GOG
FBI
Text
810424
2150
State
106173
State tells Layton lawyer to make own arrangements for transporting docs
FBI
Text
810507
2153
State
Illegible
State transmits Serial 2617, Layton retraction of parts of confession
FBI
Text
810511
2003
State
121785
State transmits Serial 2620 telling Layton lawyer to contract US attorney
FBI
Text
810515
1304
Georgetown
2483 5726
Guyana police suggests names of witnesses for US trial
FBI
Text
810516
1203
State
128108
US Attorney requests six witnesses from Guyana
FBI
Text
810529
1318
Georgetown
2708 5867
Embassies in Georgetown, San Juan will work with FBI and GOG to provide witnesses
FBI
Text
810714
1420
Panama
6410, 5566
Contents of Temple safety deposit box turned over to Receiver
FBI
Text
810821
1816
State
223669
State gives contact info for witnesses
FBI
Text
       
1986
   
860110
0233
State
008400
FBI will interview Guyana witnesses
FBI
Text

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A Note on Sources

The cables at the basis of this research come from a variety of sources.

• The bulk of them came from the State Department itself, in response to a Freedom of Information request for documents on Jonestown and Peoples Temple. The request was made by Rebecca Moore and Fielding McGehee, who eventually became the managers of this website. Of the 5700 pages that State released in 1981, fully 3000 were cables dating from 1974 until 1981, most of them from November and December of 1978 and early 1979.

• The second most productive official source was the FBI, which released many State Department cables collected during the FBI’s investigation of the Leo Ryan assassination (RYMUR).

• In 2014, the State Department released thousands of agency files as part of a general declassification review. Hundreds of those related to Peoples Temple. They didn’t become widely available to the public, however, until 2015 and 2016, when Wikileaks put them online. While the resulting record was neither official nor complete – there are scores of cables that the State Department continues to withhold and that Wikileaks didn’t access – the texts that Wikileaks posted are accurate.

It should be noted that many cables contain information which was deleted under an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act. The majority of those cables were eventually re-released with the exemptions lifted. The more-recently declassified passages appear in red type of the text version of the cables.

The most commonly-used exemptions by State are:

b(1) = information the release of which would jeopardize national security
b(6) = information the release of which would violate an individual’s privacy

How to read this chart

This is a key to the meaning of the columns and the notations within them:

Columns 1 and 2 comprise the dates and times that the cables were sent. The dates are in the format of the last two digits of the year (74-79), the month (01-12) and the day. As an example, November 18, 1978 would be designated as 781118. The times are in Greenwich Mean Time, used internationally on all cables. They are included because – especially in the first few days after the tragedy – scores of cables were flashing back and forth between offices on a single day.

Columns 3 comprises the government agencies and embassies sending the cables. Abbreviations include:

State = State Department
Georgetown = U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana
POS = U.S. Embassy in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
CAR = U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela
PAN = U.S. Embassy in Panama City, Panama

Column 4 provides the cable identification number, unique to each document.

Column 5 presents a brief description of the cable’s contents. (The abbreviation “W/W” which appears on numerous cables means “Whereabouts and Welfare,” the State Department’s notation of the checks it makes on American citizens in foreign countries.)

Columns 6 and 7 provide links to the PDF and Text versions of the cables. The PDF indicates whether the cable came pursuant to the FOIA request of State or to the request for RYMUR documents.

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Originally posted on June 13th, 2022.

Last modified on June 22nd, 2022.
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