Memo in re: Arrival of the Party of Congressman Ryan and Others

AA-1-Q-2

8 November 1978

Memo in re: Arrival of the Party of Congressman Ryan and others

To: Carolyn Layton, Georgetown
From: Sarah Tropp, Jonestown

As you know, our information has it that US Congressman Leo [Ryan plans] to come to Guyana early next week for the express purpose of “inv[estiating] the Jonestown community, as part of a larger plan to use Peoples [Temple] as a vehicle to embarrass the government to Guyana. He will be [illegible word] representatives and certain members of the “Concerned Relatives,” and perhaps certain relatives of residents of Jonestown.

As you also know, when he asked to come, our community’s response was that we would be willing to see him if you came in the company of [illegible word] other persons we feel are sympathetic to, or at least not hostile to, our community so that a fair view of our community might be anticipated.

His reply to our reasonable request is that he is coming anyway. We are resolved not to permit the party to enter Jonestown under these conditions. Accordingly, and in the hope of preventing a serious incident, [illegible words] you see Minister Vibert Mingo, and make the following requests on our behalf:

1) That, if there is any reasonable way possible to do so, he make arrangements to notify us if the party is coming in on a plane from the US.

2) That he ask an appropriate official of the Guyanese Government, on our behalf, to serve the Congressman, upon his arrival at [illegible word] with several documents, including a Notice, Statement and Petition, copies of which we are transmitting with this memo. If arrangements cannot be made to effect this service at the airport, then arrangements should be made to do so at his hotel on the day of his arrival.

3) To refuse the assistance of the Guyanese Government in facilitating a visit of the party to the NWR [North West Region], including the use of government airplanes and ground transportation, and rest facilities.

4) To provide police protection for the boundaries of Jonestown (The Peoples Temple Lease of State Land for Mixed Farming Purposes) in order to prevent trespasses. This is in order that should any attempt to physically enter the area we will not be obliged to use self-help methods to restrain them. In this situation, it will be of the utmost importance that we have advanced notice of the instructions that are given local police, and that we meet with them in advance, so that the matter is clearly understood by all, and that there is no chance of any confusion or misunderstanding.

It is our conviction that when this arrangement is firmly established and when it is understood by all that the government will support the normal rights of the residents of Guyana to be safe in their homes from unwanted intrusions, that our communication of same to the Embassy of the USA will be sufficient to dissuade the Congressman from his foolhardy (or politically inspired) enterprise. This format will also minimize the possibility of adverse press coverage of the situation in the US press because there will be no actual events or incidents to cover.

[AA-1-Q-3 and AA-1-Q-4 are duplicates of AA-1-Q-2.]

Originally posted on November 28th, 2017.

Last modified on December 26th, 2021.
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