[The text for this document was released in 2014 by the now-defunct Wikileaks website at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE295786_d.html. This URL may be available through the Wayback Machine.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
(GUYANA WORKING GROUP)
Situation Report No. 13
Situation in Guyana as of 0630 Hours (EST), November 22, 1978
The majority (28 men) of the Graves Registration/Body Recovery Unit arrived in Georgetown during the night and 19 are now in Jonestown. The movement of men and material to Jonestown and Matthews Ridge is being accomplished by the three U.S. aircraft currently operational in country (one UH-1H, one OH-58 and one U-21) and Guyanese Defense Force aircraft. Reflecting yet another delay, the three HH-53 heavy helicopters are now due to arrive in Georgetown at 1300 EST. Rested crews will be in place and the aircraft can be put in immediate service.
Four additional Huey helicopters are on the way; the first two are scheduled to arrive in Georgetown at 0920 EST. The second two will be airlifted to Guyana later today.
There are currently 206 U.S. military personnel in country and there will be 300-350 by the end of the day.
The first ninety-six cases for body transfer (boxes suitable for stacking during shipment) will be sent from Richmond at 0900 this morning and will be in Guyana in time for the first bodies to be prepared and ready for shipment by 1630 est. The bodies will be transferred to Dover AFB Delaware.
Of the one hundred and seventy-four bodies thus far identified by Guyanese authorities, we have no next of kin information on seventy-three. We are attempting to ascertain next of kin through passport records and inquiries. We are in the process of notifying next of kin in the other cases.
Embassy Georgetown was unofficially informed last evening that Larry Layton will be arraigned by Guyanese authorities today and charged with murder, attempted murder and related charges. Three other People’s Temple Members, Timothy and Michael Carter and Michael Prokes, have been taken to the “lock up” in Georgetown and may also be charged. All known survivors from Jonestown are now in Georgetown with the exception of one individual who is in Port Kaituma awaiting transportation.
John A. Bushnell
Guyana Working Group
Senior Watch Officer