[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 65 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE295999_d.html.]
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SCS-06 CA-01 FBIE-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 DODE-00 PA-02 TRSE-00 MCT-02 INRE-00 SY-05 USSS-00 SYE-00 H-02 AID-05 SS-15 SSO-00 NSCE-00 CCO-00 OC-06 JUSE-00 ICAE-00 CG-00 DOTE-00 L-03 AS-02 /075 R
DRAFTED BY ARA:GBROWN:JE
APPROVED BY ARA:JABUSHNELL
——————021726 222132Z /64
O 222106Z NOV 78
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY BOGOTA IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS STATE 295999
E.O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN, LEO), GY
SUBJECT: FBI INVESTIGATION
1. New York Times story Nov 22 on FBI investigation of murder of Congressman Ryan contained following with respect to Guyana:
Begin quote: The investigation was started under a 1971 law that gives the department jurisdiction to investigate congressional assassinations, according to Robert Havel, the spokesman. He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has already placed one agent “on the ground” in
PAGE 02 STATE 295999
Guyana, where Mr. Ryan was murdered and where more than 400 Americans in the People’s Temple sect committed suicide.
The agent, who will probably be joined by others, will be working with Guyanese authorities, Mr. Havel said. But under the authority of the Congressional Assassination Act, he said, the department can pursue investigations outside United States territory. End quote.
2. At noon briefing [Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John] Bushnell responded to questions on this subject as follows:
Begin quote: Q. Mr. Bushnell, the Justice Department is in progress on an investigation of violations of federal law involving the assassination of a congressman. Yesterday Guyanese authorities declined to admit to 10 FBI agents who were prepared to go down there. Are the Guyanese authorities cooperating with the one FBI agent on the spot in their current investigation or are they passing on to him the results of their investigation or allowing him to participate in that investigation?
A. This morning the Legal Attache from Caracas met with the Guyanese officials, met with the Guyanese police chief, investigating chief, in Georgetown. The last report I had was that he was still meeting with them, that he was cooperating in this investigation. We have made clear to the Guyanese that as in other areas, we are prepared to provide additional assistance, technical, investigative assistance to help them in Guyana. We are prepared to follow up with necessary interviews and investigations in the United States, but the full cooperation of the FBI will be available in this case. Until
PAGE 03 STATE 295999
the Legal Attache who is working with them and the Guyanese officials themselves assess precisely what sort of help is needed, what sort of expertise, the Guyanese have felt that it was premature to send down a general investigative team. It’s their investigation, the investigation in Guyana. They are a sovereign country and we are not trying in any way to take it over. I think, from the conversations that I have had and that our ambassador has had, that there will be additional specific requests for assistance from the FBI in aspects of this investigation. The investigation is, of course, making progress, as indicated by the fact that there has already been the first arrest and charge, and that we are expecting others to proceed fairly promptly.
Q. If I could follow up my own question, the thrust of your reply is that the FBI is prepared to cooperate with Guyanese authorities. What I asked was: are Guyanese authorities prepared to cooperate with the FBI in their investigation?
A. I think the answer is clearly yes in the fact that they are working right now with the FBI man. So that, not only are they prepared to cooperate, they are cooperating. End quote.
Christopher [Acting Secretary of State Warren Christopher]