[The text for this document was released in 2014 by the now-defunct Wikileaks website at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE293790_d.html. This URL may be available through the Wayback Machine.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
(GUYANA WORKING GROUP)
Situation Report No. IV
Situation in Guyana as of 1900 hours (EST), November 19, 1978.
In response to our offer of assistance, the Guyanese have asked for two helicopters (Embassy Georgetown is obtaining specifics). Communications equipment, a small airplane, outboard motor, sleeping bags, etc., are also sought for the police forces now on their way to Jonestown. The National Military Command Center is processing these requests, and supplies are expected to begin moving to Georgetown shortly.
At Ambassador Burke’s request, a second C-141 medevac flight is now scheduled to arrive in Georgetown shortly after daylight on November 20. The first medevac flight is scheduled to land at Andrews Air Force Base at 9:02 pm this evening and Assistant Secretary Watson and others will meet the plane. Embassy Georgetown reports that the five bodies from the attack November 18 at Port Kaituma have now been returned to Georgetown. The injured woman in the aircraft that escaped from the attack at Port Kaituma has now been identified. She is Monica Bagby who we presume is one of the Jonestown residents who chose to leave with Congressman Ryan. She is reported to be in serious condition in the Georgetown public hospital and under police guard.
The Guyanese police report that Sharon Amos, a Peoples Temple leader resident in Georgetown, killed her three children and committed suicide on November 18. The father of one of the children travelled to Georgetown with Congressman Ryan and is still in Guyana. The police also report that they have arrested in Georgetown an American Peoples Temple member in connection with the incident at Port Kaituma.
Embassy Georgetown has had no report of the Guyanese police and military expedition which left for Jonestown at 1300 Washington time, probably owing to lack of adequate communications equipment available to the expedition.
In two well-attended press briefings, Deputy Department spokesman Tom Reston provided virtually all available facts except the names of the wounded being evacuated in the C-141. Now that the wounded have been evacuated from Guyana, the press is also beginning to focus on the Peoples Temple, and is pushing for information about the Guyanese police and military on their way to Jonestown and about what is going on there.
(signed) Brandon Grove, ARA
Director, Guyana Working Group
The State Department cable of this text is labeled “STATE 293790.”