Serial 123

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 123 of the FBI’s RYMUR release.

[The FBI deleted the name of reporter Ron Javers from this serial, but it was included in the State Department release. The deleted information has been indicated by red type.

[Also note that the document’s duplicate at Serial 127 includes some additional information that does not appear here.]

210358Z NOV 78
FM BALTIMORE (89-173) (P)
TO DIRECTOR IMMEDIATE
TO LOS ANGELES IMMEDIATE
TO SAN FRANCISCO IMMEDIATE
TO SAN JUAN IMMEDIATE
TO WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE IMMEDIATE
BT
UNCLAS

UNSUBS; US CONGRESSMAN LEO RYAN (DECEASED) –VICTIM, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH – DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, CAS [CONGRESSIONAL ASSASSINATION STATUTE ] -CONSPIRACY (A), FPC [FOREIGN POLICE COOPERATION], 00: SAN FRANCISCO.

Re Bureau telcal to Baltimore, November 19, 1978; Hyattsville R.A. telcal to Bureau, November 20, 1978.

For information of bureau and receiving offices, the following individuals, members of Congressman Ryan’s group, arrived at 9:03 PM Eastern Standard Time, November 19, 1978, Andrews Are Force Base, Camp Springs, Maryland, via US Air Force Medivac aircraft from

PAGE TWO BA (89-173) UNCLAS

Georgetown, Guiana [Guyana], and were hospitalized at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base (AAFB): K. Jacqueline Speier, aide to Congressman Ryan; Timothy F. Reiterman, reporter, San Francisco Examiner; Ronald A. Javers, reporter, San Francisco Chronicle; Stephen Sung, audio man, National Broadcasting Company (NBC); Carol Ann Boyd, affiliated with Concerned Relatives of Peoples Temple members. Extensive interviews conducted with all individuals except Speier whose injuries precluded interview. Speier transferred 11:45 AM, November 20, 1978, to University Hospital, Shock Trauma Unit, Baltimore, Maryland. Above interviews produced following information:

Congressman Ryan and party, including press and representatives of the Concerned Relatives of Peoples Temple (CRPT) members, proceeded to Guiana for the purpose of viewing conditions at Peoples Temple community settlement at Jonestown, Guiana and so that relatives might converse with member relatives and determine if they wished to return to US. Ryan’s group arrived Jonestown community Friday, November 17, 1978 and was received by Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones. Ryan and his aide, Miss Speier, were allowed to spend evening at the Jonestown community. Reporters and

PAGE THREE BA (89-173) UNCLAS

representative group of Concerned Relatives of the People’s Temple members spent Friday evening at Mike’s Disco, Port Kituma [Kaituma], Guiana. Attorneys Mark Lane and Charles Garry representing Peoples Temple also present during Friday and Saturday meetings with Ryan’s group.

On Saturday, after meetings, approximately 16 to 25 Temple member residents of Jonestown community, indicated desire to return to U.S. with Congressman Ryan. At first truckload of individuals the part of Jonestown, it became stuck in the mud. Brian had remained behind to facilitate the departure of and protect his present remaining Temple members who wanted to leave but who were unable to board truck. At this point, individuals on board truck noted a commotion in area where Ryan was located and upon returning, they noted Ryan and attorney Lane coming towards them. Ryan’s shirt was bloodied but he was not injured and he stated that a young white male had lunged at him with a knife and that Lane had wrestled the individual to the ground and the knife wielder was cut at that time. Ryan then joined the group in the truck and proceeded to airstrip at Port Kituma.

Two, planes, with capacity to limited to carry entire group, began loading for the trip to Georgetown, Guiana. Ryan and others

PAGE FOUR BA (89-173) UNCLAS

remained outside aircraft, checking individuals for weapons as their suspicions had been aroused that some incident might occur.

Larry Layton, white, male, short curly blond hair, age 25 to 30, 5’6” tall, 140 pounds, member of Peoples Temple and former close associate of Jim Jones, indicated desire to return to U.S. and boarded smaller of the two planes. It is noted that suspicions had been voiced by other departing Peoples Temple members re Layton’s sincerity In leaving the Jonestown settlement. If this plan was preparing to leave, a red tractor pulling a trailer occupied by several individuals, drove toward the aircraft. Subsequently, Byron commenced from the tractor and trailer and casualties resulted, including Congressman Ryan and others.

Layton allegedly utilized a handgun on board small airplane and may have wounded a member of the Parks family before being subdued and his weapon recovered. This weapon currently in possession of Richard Dwyer, US embassy official, Guiana. Layton reportedly detained by Guyanese authorities.

It is also noted that reporter [deleted name] [Ronald A. Javers] observed an unknown individual shoot Don Harris, NBC, at point-blank range after he, Harris, lay on the ground from a previous gunshot. [Javers]

PAGE FIVE BA (89-173) UNCLAS

also observed this individual shoot NBC cameraman Robert Brown in similar fashion.

Following departure of individuals responsible for shootings, survivors sought refuge with local Guyanese citizens. [Javers] advised that Dale and Edith Parks and family, Jim Bogue and family and Harold Cordell (25-year-old member of Peoples Temple and reportedly former head of security for Peoples Temple) and identified the following individuals as having been involved in the above mentioned shootings. It is noted that the Parks’, the Bogues and Cordell were all leaving for the US with Congressman Ryan. The following individuals were identified to [Javers] as follows: Tom Kice, white male, middle-aged, crewcut, armed with pistol, possibly .45 caliber; Albert Touchette, observed firing at the individuals outside the aircraft utilizing some kind of rifle; Joe Wilson, Negro, male, dark skinned, 21 to 23 years, then why revealed, 5’10” to 5’11”, with a sharp Indian-looking nose, observe shooting type of weapon: unknown. Wilson reportedly went to Port Kituma and indicated he was attempting to escape Jonestown and was not involved in this situation; Stanley Gieg, identified as driver of the tractor pulling trailer on which gunmen were riding.

PAGE SIX BA (89-173) UNCLAS

For info of Bureau, none of the individuals interviewed at Andrews Air Force Base has been interviewed by Guyanese authorities. Additionally, none of these individuals have personal information re specific plot directed towards Congressman Ryan. However, some information developed that former members were aware of revolutionary mass suicide pact among Peoples Temple members in event their organization was discredited. Also, information developed that some retaliatory action by Jones and a select few, would be taken against individuals responsible for their group being discredited.

Interview by Baltimore with Miss Speier will be conducted early evening, November 20, 1978, assuming her condition remains stable. Miss Speier currently suffering from extensive gunshot wounds in left shoulder, thighs and elbow of left arm, which will require extensive reconstructive surgery. As many as three projectiles may be present qithin [within] her body; however, at this time, hospital officials do not intend to surgically remove them pending improvement in her overall condition. Ronald A. Javers scheduled for surgery 9:00 A.M., November 21, 1978, Malcolm Grow Medical Center, AFB, for removal of projectile located in left shoulder. Baltimore will obtain projectile from attending surgeon on scene.

Armed and dangerous.

BT

Originally posted on May 20th, 2018.

Last modified on July 23rd, 2022.
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