[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 480 of the FBI’s RYMUR release.
[The text for this document was released in 2014 by the now-defunct Wikileaks website at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE299149_d.html. This URL may be available through the Wayback Machine.]
INFO OCT-01 EUR-12 ISO-00 SS-15 SSO-00 SY-05 SYE-00 L-03 H-01 DODE-00 SCS-06 CA-01 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 INRE-00 PA-01 ICAE-00 SVC-00 PM-05 NSCE-00 /075 R
DRAFTED BY ARA:SGIBSON:JE
APPROVED BY ARA:JABUSHNELL
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O 261846Z NOV 78
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO IMMEDIATE
FBI WASHDC IMMEDIATE
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CINCSOUTHCOM QUARRY HTS CZ IMMEDIATE
CINCMAC SCOTT AFB IMMEDIATE
USREDCOM/RCJ2 MACDILL AFB FLA IMMEDIATE
USCINCARRED FT MCPHERSON GA IMMEDIATE
CDR XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS FT BRAGG NC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 299149
LONDON FOR MICHAEL FINLEY
E.O. 11652: GDS
TAGS: CASC, GY
SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT NO. 21
1. The last bodies were removed from the Jonestown area Saturday afternoon; a thorough search of the area was conducted before dark and no more bodies were discovered. The plane carrying the last of the bodies to the U.S. arrived at Dover AFB at 0310 (EST). A Dover military spokesman announced last night that 912 bodies had left Guyana. The body of one Guyanese citizen was held in Georgetown.
2. U.S. military retrograde operations have begun. The embassy and U.S. task force are in the process of establishing how much military support will be required in the next few days to support the GOG [Government of Guyana] in safeguarding assets found in the Jonestown area and support investigation activities. The Guyanese have requested U.S. helicopter support for 30 days to assist in maintaining necessary security in the Jonestown area. The embassy has been authorized to lease warehouse space in which to store the movable property and effects.
3. The trial for Larry Layton, who is charged with murder as a result of the shooting at Port Kaituma, has been set for January 15, 1979. No trial is yet set for Charles Beikman.
4. The police have stated that one elderly People’s Temple member is free to leave the country and he is departing today for New York on Pan American. The police have also indicated to the embassy that other members who are not directly connected with the murders of the Ryan party or the Amos family will be released, but their names will not be known until Monday, November 27, at the earliest. The remaining members will be asked to stay in Guyana until the preliminary hearing scheduled for December 6 or 7.
5. Arrangements are being made to airlift medical records recovered at Jonestown to Dover today. The embassy also reports that the GOG will today lend us their immigration cards bearing the fingerprints of the Jonestown dead, and these will be sent to Dover as soon as they are available.
6. Yesterday the Guyanese ruling party newspaper carried an editorial and cartoon accusing the United States of being involved in an international conspiracy to discredit the People’s Temple and its settlement in Guyana. Ambassador [John] Burke has protested to the Guyanese government saying that the vicious tone of the editorial was incomprehensible in view of the excellent record of cooperation between the U.S. and the GOG in coming to grips with a massive tragedy. The embassy speculates that the editorial was published in an attempt to support Deputy Prime Minister [Ptolemy] Reid, a principal supporter of the People’s Temple within the GOG.
Christopher [Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher]