The Detention of Ron Javers

The beginning of Leo Ryan’s trip to Guyana had an inauspicious start – Ron Javers, a reporter accompanying the congressman, was held in the capital city of Georgetown on a currency violation – and the incident put the leaders of Peoples Temple in a momentary panic. They had resisted the arrival of the congressman, but now that he was in the country, they wanted everything to go smoothly so that he would return home with no feathers ruffled. The decision of the host country to detain the reporter – however brief it might have been, whatever little influence the Temple had had upon that decision – would not play well anywhere, and the Temple knew it.

Javers was released after less than 24 hours in custody.

The single-page Temple inter-office memo, generated by the San Francisco office on Wednesday, November 15, 1978 has one or two other items related to the Ryan trip, but none more important than what turned out to be a temporary setback. It nevertheless reveals the sense of anxiety felt by the entire Temple community as the week progressed.

“Stateside Feedback Memo”, RYMUR 89-4286-I-1-b-1