Serial 531

[Editor’s note: Text from https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03978_d.html.]

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GEORGE 03978 281511Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 FBIE-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00
SCS-06 CA-01 H-02 SY-05 SYE-00 USSS-00 JUSE-00
AID-05 PC-05 SS-15 NSCE-00 L-03 HA-05 PPTE-00
SSO-00 INRE-00 ICAE-00 PA-02 MCT-02 /077 W
——————110403 281515Z /44

O 281405Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8242
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 3978
FOR ARA/CAR: MESSRS HEWITT/MCCOY

E.O. 11652: NA
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN), GY
SUBJ: MISSION CONTACTS WITH JONESTOWN.

1. In researching mission files in an effort to document any and all mission contacts with Peoples Temple agricultural mission at Jonestown, we have discovered that Jonestown was visited by the Aid Rual [Rural] Development officer in Sept. 1977 during the course of a broader trip to the North West section of Guyana. Excerpts from his trip report reporting on the Jonestown visit are quoted below:

2. Quote:

We traveled by boat to Port Kaituma where we visited the
People’s Temple farm while waiting for our ride to Matthew’s Ridge with the regional minister.

We met Bishop Jim Jones and members of his staff and were conducted on a tour of the project facilities. This agricultural project was begun in 1973 on a government allocation of 3,824 acres in the North West District. Three hundred acres have been cleared and 280 acres are under cultivation. Housing for 700 (the current

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GEORGE 03978 281511Z

camp population) has been built and schools have been made (temporarily) of large tarpualins [tarpaulins] for the over 135 children ranging in age from 3-18 years. Various skills needed have been recruited so the farm is well staffed. A full time doctor is in attendance (a second one is needed as the present doctor is overworking himself). There are 7 R.N. nurses and 3 midwives.

Direct radio contact with the U.S. is maintained on a daily basis.

It would appear that in general the farm population is made up of about one third children, one-third working age and one-third old people. For the problems involved it would seem a bit heavy on the old people side. Oldest is a 106 year old woman and a 103 year old man. However, the 103 year old daily builds chairs and is healthy and active. However, the main burden here is on the health staff which appears adequate (except for the above mentioned single doctor).

Farm operations are good. Crops have been planted and haravested [harvested] of all indigenous foods, with good practical applications of processing and preserving of food products.

Bishop Jones and staff were highly appreciative of our interest. They asked our assistance in securing seed of the winged bean and other improved crops which they might use. This I will do. (N.B. in fact, seeds were never supplied.)

In the meantime, the level of operations, the quality of field work performed and results being achieved will serve as a model for similar development efforts in the hinterland.

Unquote.

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GEORGE 03978 281511Z

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

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Originally posted on March 26th, 2019.

Last modified on January 31st, 2020.
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