Serial 281

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 281 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03922_d.html.

[The initial release included several deletions in this cable, which are denoted below in red type.]

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ACTION SCS-06
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ISO-00 CA-01 H-01 FBIE-00 DODE-00
CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 INRE-00 SSO-00 PPT-01 /031 W
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O 242051Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8190
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E.O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC(PEOPLE’S TEMPLE)
SUBJECT: IDENTITY OF VESSELS BELONGING TO PEOPLE’S TEMPLE GROUP IN GUYANA

1. Embassy learned today that what are rumored to be two ships belonging to the People’s Temple group in Guyana, the “Cudjoe” and the “Marceline,” are actually the same ship. It is a 72 foot fishing trawler officially registered as the “Cudjoe”,” but People’s Temple members called it the “Marceline” after the Rev. Jim Jones’ wife. Apparently People’s Temple looked into the possibility of re-registering the ship under the name “Marceline” but decided the trouble and expense of such re-registry made it impractical.

2. Embassy has learned that People’s Temple has only one other ship, the “Albatross,” a 350 ton freighter, which was in Trinidad at the time of the mass suicide.

3. Embassy was advised the above by Clifford Allan Gieg who, together with Herbert Newell, sailed the “Cudjoe” down the River Kaituma on the morning of Saturday, 18 November. [information withheld by State Department] More on that follow. The information was confirmed by Tim Jones and Michael Touchette of the PT group being held at the Lamaha headquarters in Georgetown. To the best

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Of our knowledge Gieg has had no contact yet with the Lamaha group, and since the information that was given separately by both groups is identical it appears accurate.

4. In an interview with Conoffs [consular officers] today, Gieg advised us of the following: that he and Newell were ordered by an unnamed assistant to the Rev. Jones to sail the “Cudjoe” down the Kaituma River to the port of Mabaruma, near the river’s mouth. He and Newell sailed from the Jonestown area at 8:30 in the morning on Saturday, 18 Nov. They were not given any reason for the voyage when they received their orders to sail. Gieg said that he and Newell were the only persons on board the “Cudjoe” when it sailed from Jonestown. Gieg also said that he and Newell were taken into custody by Guyanese authorities some time after their arrival in Mabaruma. The exact date of their being taken into custody is not known at this time.

5. Guyanese authorities have confirmed that only two People’s Temple members were taken into custody from the “Cudjoe”. They do not think that any others were on board. They advise that the “Cudjoe” is currently in Georgetown in the custody of the Guyanese defense force.

6. Gieg and Newell have not previously been listed on our survivor’s list. Their addition brings the total number of PT members known to be alive in Guyana to 80. Separate cable follows on NOK [next of kin].

Burke [John Burke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana]

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