Serial 911

The White House
Washington
December 6, 1978

Memorandum for: Philip Heymann
Assistant Attorney General

From: Robert Lipshutz
Counsel to the President

Re: Guyana Matter

Attached for your information is a memorandum from a member of the White House staff, Charles O’Keefe, relating to this situation.

I do not have any further information about it, nor any knowledge about Dr. Hardat Sukhdeo.

Nevertheless, I felt that it was important to pass this along to you for your use in handling this entire matter.

Attachment

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Administratively confidential

The White House
Washington
December 6, 1978

Memorandum for Bob Lipshutz
From: Charles O’Keefe
Subject: Returning members of the People’s Temple

I received a telephone call yesterday from Dr. Hardat Sukhdeo, who is Chief of Psychiatry and Deputy Chairman for Clinical Services in the Department of Psychiatry at the New Jersey College of Medicine. He has just returned from Guyana and extensive conversations with the survivors from Jonestown.

Dr. Sukhdeo expressed his deep concern for the mental health of the survivors and indicated that he believes that many of them, in their present state of mind, pose a serious threat to both themselves and to society. He indicated that the survivors can be placed in three categories. The first being that group who were placed in the Park Hotel immediately after returning from Jonestown. He believes that this group of principally older members who are subjected to the subsequent media attention and were engaged in extensive dialogue with large numbers of non-members in the hotel, may have been thus benefited in the transition to an open society.

The second and third groups, about whom he is expressing most concern, are those who are currently in Park Hotel, who have been recently released by Guyanese officials (some 20-25 in number), and those still being held by the Guyanese in “Lamaha House” (some 40 in number).

Dr. Sukhdeo traveled from Georgetown to New York with the women who returned on Sunday evening and told me that they, as well as the remaining survivors are “absolutely brainwashed”, are dedicated to “restarting the movement”, and believe that “Jones is God” and “Jonestown was wonderful”. He said that they are firmly convinced that “US society is dangerous” and will be “harmful to them”. He said that these individuals who are “very paranoid” have been totally isolated from the time they entered Jonestown and have remained isolated

Administratively confidential

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from the outside world and with each other since they were taken from Jonestown and moved to Georgetown. He believes that if they move from this total isolation to open society they represent “potential time bombs”.

I’ve discussed his concerns with appropriate individuals at State, Justice, H.E.W. and Treasury. The purpose of this memo is to apprise you of his concerns, for any action which you may deem appropriate.

Administratively confidential

Originally posted on May 5th, 2019.

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