Serial 365

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 365 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE299101_d.html.]

UNCLASSIFIED
PAGE 01
STATE 299101
ORIGIN ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SS-15 PA-02 SSO-00 SCS-06 DODE-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 SY-05 H-02 NSCE-00 INRE-00 FBIE-00 JUSE-00 /056 R
DRAFTED BY ARA/PRESS – WDIETERICH:LEE
APPROVED BY ARA – MR. BUSHNELL
S/S – TREYNDERS
——————082348 252159Z /20

O 252134Z NOV 78 ZFF4
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN NIACT IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS STATE 299101
E.O. 11652:
TAGS: CASC, GY
SUBJECT: PRESS GUIDANCE

Following is press guidance:

1. Quote: is it true that the survivors are coming into Charleston, and can you tell me when?

A. I can confirm that the present plan is to use Charleston as the point of entry into the US. I cannot give you any good idea about the timing except to say it will not be today. It may be well into next week.

2. Q. Will all the survivors be coming?

A. No. Five survivors, as you probably know, are now being held by the Guyanese police while they are conducting their investigation, others may not wish to

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leave Guyana.

3. Q. Is it possible that the survivors may be arriving in two or more groups?

A. Yes, that is quite possible.

4. Q. Why was Charleston chosen?

A. For logistical and transportation reasons it was decided to use a port of entry in the southeastern United States. The various federal agencies involved — the military, State, Justice, HEW and others — decided that on balance Charleston offered a reasonably convenient location for the survivor’s re-entry into the United States, as well as for caring for their immediate needs and helping them to arrange their further travel to whatever location they choose.

5. Q. Will the USG [U.S. Government] pay for their travel home?

A. No, but we understand that emergency loan funds from hew will be available for those for whom this is essential.

6. Q. What will happen to the survivors in Charleston? Will they be questioned, and by whom?

A. The survivors will be subject to normal re-entry procedures for American citizens returning from abroad. In addition, those who are willing will be interviewed by various federal officials concerning the tragic events in Jonestown.

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7. Q. Is it true that hew will be responsible for housing and transport and other needs the survivors may have?

A. HEW as well as officials of the state of South Carolina will be responsible for rendering whatever assistance may be necessary.

8. Q. Has the state of South Carolina offered $25,000 to the state department to be used to assist the survivors?

A. We have not heard that. It would not be necessary for South Carolina to offer funds to the State Department. The state government as well as HEW, will be assisting the survivors after their arrival in Charleston. End quote.

Christopher [Acting Secretary of State Warren Christopher]

UNCLASSIFIED