Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Communication Message Form
Classification: UNCLAS E F T O
FM DIRECTOR FBI
TO FBI SAN FRANCISCO (IMMEDIATE)
FBI MIAMI (IMMEDIATE)
FBI NEW YORK (IMMEDIATE)
FBI LOS ANGELES (IMMEDIATE)
FBI WASHINGTON FIELD (IMMEDIATE)
LEGAL ATTACHE CARACAS (IMMEDIATE)
UNCLAS E F T O
Title changed the Bureau assigned code word. Receiving offices insure code word used in all intra-Bureau communications. Do not use code word on communications that are to be disseminated to outside agencies. Title previously carried as “Unsubs: Congressman Leo J. Ryan – victim, CAS, FPC.”
Rebucals to receiving offices November 20, 1978.
Captioned investigation refers to the murder of
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Congressman Leo J. Ryan of California in Jonestown, Guyana, on Saturday, November 18, 1978, by unknown persons. The Bureau has designated this case a Bureau special. Investigation to receive top priority and the Bureau is to be advised of all pertinent developments.
Our effort in this investigation is directed towards developing evidence of a conspiracy to murder Congressman Ryan by unknown persons who conspired either in Guyana or the United States.
Deputy Secretary of State John Bushnell has advised this date that the Government of Guyana desires the assistance of the FBI in that country. U.S. Department of Justice and State Department concur. Accordingly, as per retelcals, SAC Miami and three SAs of the Miami office, with appropriate support personnel, are directed to travel to Georgetown, Guyana, by military aircraft. SAC Miami by return immediate teletype advise identity of agents and support personnel traveling to Guyana to include date of birth, Social Security number, make, model, caliber and serial number of weapons to be carried by agent personnel.
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Legat Caracas is also directed to Georgetown. Details of air travel to follow.
Upon arrival, SAC Miami is to assume supervision of FBI agents at scene and coordinate directly with U.S. Ambassador Burke at the scene and Guyanese law enforcement authorities.
SAC Miami will conduct interviews of any and all witnesses in Guyana who witnessed the shooting incident resulting in Congressman Ryan’s death. In addition, the Bureau has been advised that at present there are approximately seventeen people who resided in the compound operated by the Peoples Temple of Christian Disciples of God who have indicated to the U.S. Embassy their desire to return to the United States. These people, if available, are to be interviewed at the U.S. Embassy and appropriate indices checks made to determine identities. Coordinate with the U.S. Embassy to determine what arrangements will be made to fly these people to the United States and advise FBI HQ as soon as possible. Additionally, coordinate any investigation requested by the Guyanese government in the United States.
SAC Miami will be required to establish communication
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links with FBI HQ initially by telephone and as possible, through U.S. Embassy and/or military communications systems which have been established.
Agents in Guyana should coordinate with local authorities to develop physical evidence of the shooting, obtain pathological reports, photographs of the scene and current known whereabouts of sect leader Jim Jones.
San Francsico [Francisco] should immediately conduct interviews of the congressional staff of Mr. Ryan to develop for the record why Congressman Ryan whent [went] to Guyana, his exact arrival time, who accompanied him, etc.
Washington field to conduct the same investigation requested a San Francisco, with the Congressman’s Washington staff.
San Francisco should also develop information on the origin of the Peoples Temple of Christian Disciples of God. This background should include the following: (1) background on group; (2) why members of the group left the United States for Guyana; (3) when they left; (4) how many left; (5) how many, if any, returned to the United States and their identity;
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(6) also develop any information that shipments of weapons were sent from the San Francisco church to Guyana. Advise of status of contact with USA [United States Attorney] re search of church property.
SAC Miami take note of above San Francisco lead and conduct same inquiry re church at Guyana.
New York should continue contact with Mr. [deleted name], vice president, NBC news, to obtain any film footage in Jonestown, Guyana, and NBC requirements re subpoena for same, emphasizing that film may be of evidentiary nature.
In view of the shooting of Congressman Ryan and reported resulting mass suicides as well as threats which have been made against government officials, church members contacted in this case should be considered armed and extremely dangerous with suicidal tendencies.