Serial 52

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 52 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978PORTO03343_d.html.

[Serial 52 is virtually duplicated at Serial 258, the text of which may be found here. The difference is that the duplicate releases the names that are withheld here, indicated below by the red type.]

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PORT O 03343 212119Z
ACTION SCS-06
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ISO-00 CA-01 H-01 SSO-00 CIAE-00
INR-10 NSAE-00 FBIE-00 JUSE-00 SYE-00 INRE-00
SY-05 /035 W
——————128431 212126Z /64

O 212018Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3260
INFO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE PORT OF SPAIN 03343
E. O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC, OREP, GY
SUBJECT: PRESENCE IN PORT OF SPAIN OF MEMBERS OF PEOPLES’ TEMPLE MOVEMENT.

1. Two members of the Guyana-based Peoples’ Temple movement, Charles Touchette and Richard Janaro (both American) came into the embassy November 21 after learning embassy was aware of their presence in Port of Spain and was making quiet inquiries regarding their whereabouts. Other members in the group are Mrs. Helen Swinney (American) and Philip Blakey (British). Four members arrived in Port of Spain November 5 aboard the ship “Albatross III” which has a cargo for Trinidad and Barbados. Declared purpose of visit to Port of Spain was to obtain supplies needed for the commune. Ship is expected to leave here at the end of this week. The visitors indicated that it is likely that two members will proceed with the cargo and two will remain in Port of Spain for an as yet undetermined period. They stated that there are no other members of the movement in Trinidad.

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PORT O 03343 212119Z

2. We intend to inform the ministry of external affairs at a senior level of the presence of these four in Port of Spain, indicating they appear worried but calm and peaceful.

3. The most urgent concern of these individuals is the welfare/whereabouts of their family members in Guyana. Family members are:

– Joyce Touchette-wife; Michele Touchette, daughter, aged 20; Albert Touchette, son, aged 22; all last known to be in Jonestown; second son Michael [name originally withheld by State Department] presently in Georgetown.
– Claire Janaro, wife, presently at Tower Hotel in Georgetdwn; Daren Janaro, son, aged 14, and Mauri Janaro, daughter, aged 15, both believed to have been in Jonestown.
Carol Blakey (American, nee Kearns), wife, last known to be in Jonestown.
– Cleave Swinney, husband, approximate age 60; Timothy Swinney, son, approximate age 40; both believed to have been in Jonestown.

4. Mr. Janaro and Mr. Touchette have not requested any assistance from the embassy other than current information of the situation in Guyana and information regarding their families.

5. Please advise us ASAP if there is any information we can pass on to them. Possibly John Adams, returning from TDY [Temporary Duty] in Georgetown, can bring some details, even if preliminary. Mr. Janaro and Mr. Touchette plan to return to the embassy shortly before noon tomorrow (Wednesday).

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PORT O 03343 212119Z

Fox [Richard J. Fox, Jr., American Ambassador to Trinidad]

(Declassify upon receipt)

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Originally posted on May 16th, 2018.

Last modified on July 17th, 2022.
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