[The text for this document was released in 2014 by the now-defunct Wikileaks website at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE293776_d.html. This URL may be available through the Wayback Machine.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
(GUYANA WORKING GROUP)
Situation Report No. III
Situation in Guyana as of 1300 hours (EST), November 19, 1978.
In addition to the three confirmed dead named in SITREP II, the Government of Guyana has provided us with two names from the party attacked at the airstrip near the Peoples Temple on November 18: Gregory Robinson, San Francisco Examiner, and Patricia Parks, whom we presume was one of the Jonestown residents who elected to leave with Congressman Ryan. This makes a total of five known dead. Arrangements are being made by the Guyanese to perform autopsies, required under Guyanese law when a crime is involved, as soon as possible. An American medical pathologist, who accompanied a U.S. C-141 Medivac plane to Georgetown, stayed behind to help when the C-141 left earlier today with the wounded.
The medical evacuation aircraft is airborne with nine wounded. The seriously wounded are: Jackie Speier, Legislative Counsel to Congressman Ryan and S. Song of NBC T.V. Other wounded are Mrs. Beverly Oliver, a Concerned Relative; Mrs. Cathy Boyd, a Concerned Relative, and Anthony Katsaris, a Concerned Relative. We do not have as yet the names of the other wounded. Richard Dwyer, our Deputy Chief of Mission in Georgetown, was also wounded slightly, but is remaining at Port Kaituma. The White House is authorizing a second Medivac flight, should one prove necessary.
The National Military Command Center is sending a C-130 aircraft from Panama to bring six additional American foreign service consular, administrative and communications personnel, as well as our DCM from Panama, from our embassies at Panama City and Caracas. Another consular officer is flying to Georgetown from Trinidad. The C-130 will also bring a U.S. four-man military communications team to Guyana.
Our Ambassador to Guyana, John Burke, has told Prime Minister Burnham of Guyana that the United States is prepared to provide any necessary or useful assistance to Guyana to control the situation in the peoples temple area and prevent the loss of life. Prime Minister Burnham expressed his appreciation and will look into what assistance is needed or will be helpful.
Guyanese military forces commenced about 1300 Washington time to advance toward Jonestown. They are proceeding cautiously because of reports of armed Peoples Temple members in the area.
(signed) Brandon Grove, ARA
Director, Guyana Working Group
The State Department cable of this text is labeled “STATE 293776.”