State Department FOIA Documents on Microfiche

The State Department has released 59 microfiche pages representing its initial compilation of documents related to Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Each microfiche page contains 100 pages of documents, although not all microfiche pages are full. State offered the microfiche records as its response to requests for the agency’s complete listing of the Jonestown dead and for passport records recovered at the site of the mass deaths. As with the FBI’s release, there is much material that has been withheld under the FOIA’s exemptions. State has not yet responded to an appeal for review of these deletions. As with the FBI’s set of CD’s, there is no index or detailed guide to individual documents in the release of approximately 5000 pages. However, the State Department did create a catalogue for the microfiche pages under four broad areas. They are:

“Findings, Analysis and Investigation of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project” (6 microfiche pages)

“People Who Died In Jonestown” (1 page)

“Operations Reports, Memoranda and other Documents” (6 pages)

“Rebecca Moore, Peoples Temple and Jonestown” (50 pages)

The final, largest category includes the raw material which the State Department used in compiling the other three. The records include cables between the U.S. and the American Embassy in Guyana, requests for assistance from relatives of Jonestown residents, and Peoples Temple records gathered by State Department personnel. There is no indication why the category was named after Rebecca Moore.

The editors of the jonestown report are working to compile an index of State’s microfiche records. We have also filed an additional FOI request for documents which were not included in the original release. You can request any or all of the microfiche records through the following address: Office of IRM Programs and Services, Department of State, Room 1512, 2201 C St., N.W., Washington, DC 20520-1512. You may get a faster response if your letter notes that the records have already been released in response to FOIA Request #199804155, filed by Fielding M. McGehee III. The microfiche pages cost one dollar each, or $59 for a complete set.