Leo Ryan Telegram to Jim Jones (Text)

Note: Rikke Wettendorff transcribed the document for this page. The editors of this website are deeply grateful for her invaluable assistance.

 November 1, 1978

Reverend Jim Jones
Peoples Temple
Box 893
Mission Village (Guyana)
South America

Dear 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