Aug 25, 77 • Georgetown-State • 01981

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1977GEORGE02010_c.html. The PDF for this cable was not released.]

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PAGE 01 GEORGE 02010 251358Z
ACTION SCS-03
INFO OCT-01 ARA-10 ISO-00 SCA-01 L-03 H-01 PPT-01 /020 W
——————052062 252215Z /64

R 251100Z AUG 77
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5184
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 2010
FOR SCS AND ARA/CAR
E.O. 11652: GDS
TAGS: CASC, CPAS, CGEN, GY
SUBJECT: PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IMMIGRANTS
REF: GEORGETOWN 1981

1. CONSUL HAS DISCUSSED CONTENTS OF REFTEL ON AUGUST 23-24 WITH BOTH ATTORNEY GENERAL, DR. MOHAMMED SHAHABUDDEEN, AND CHIEF IMMIGRATION OFFICER, THEOPHILUS GEORGE. CONSUL REQUESTED ADVICE ON THE BEST WAY TO PROCEED IN MATTER AS WELL AS DETERMINING WHETHER CHILDREN MENTIONED IN REFTEL ARE IN GUYANA.

2. ATTORNEY GENERAL BELIEVED THAT BEST COURSE TO TAKE REGARDING THE RETURN OF CHILDREN TO PARENTS’ CUSTODY WAS TO RETAIN A LOCAL ATTORNEY WHO WOULD ENTER US COURT ORDERS INTO LOCAL COURTS, WHO IN TURN COULD THEN ISSUE ORDER FOR LOCAL ATTORNEY TO TAKE CHARGE OF CHILDREN AND SEE THEY WERE RETURNED TO THEIR PARENTS OR THE PARENTS’ AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE. GOG COULD ALSO TAKE POSITION THAT UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES CHILDREN COULD BE CLASSIFIED AS PROHIBITED IMMIGRANTS AND ORDERS COULD BE ISSUED TO EXPEL THEM. NATURALLY, IN THIS PROCESS GOG WOULD EXPECT BACKING FROM EMBASSY SO THAT THEY COULD NOT BE ACCUSED OF VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS OF CHILDREN.

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3. DR. SHAHABUDDEEN ALSO COMMENTED IN GENERAL ON STATUS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS IN GUYANA WHO ARE SUBJECT OF WARRANTS FOR ARREST IN THE UNITED STATES. HE NOTED THAT THERE IS NO EXTRADITION TREATY BETWEEN THE US AND GUYANA SO THAT THE ONLY JUDICIAL PROCEDURE THAT COULD BE UTILIZED TO ASSIST A FRIENDLY GOVERNMENT WOULD BE TO DECLARE THE INDIVIDUAL A PROHIBITED IMMIGRANT. THE GOG WOULD THEN REQUIRE HIS DEPARTURE FROM THE COUNTRY WITHIN THIRTY DAYS. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAUTIONED THAT IF THE INDIVIDUAL LEFT BEFORE THE THIRTY DAY PERIOD EXPIRED, HE WAS FREE TO GO ANYWHERE OR ON ANY FLIGHT. HOWEVER, IF HE STAYED PAST THE THIRTY DAY PERIOD, THE GOG COULD TAKE HIM INTO CUSTODY AND PLACE HIM ON A SPECIFIC FLIGHT, PRESUMABLY PAN AMERICAN, TO INSURE HIS RETURN TO US CUSTODY.

4. ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT GEORGE INFORMED CONSUL THAT HE HAS BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THIS NEW INFLUX OF PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IMMIGRANTS. HE SHOWED CONSUL FOLDER CONTAINING APPLICATIONS OF 14 RECENT ARRIVALS. IN THIS GROUP, 5 PERSONS WERE 65 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER. GEORGE BELIEVES SEVERAL IMMIGRANTS IN THIS GROUP MAY HAVE COMMITTED PASSPORT FRAUD. HE SHOWED CONSUL APPLICATIONS FROM A MARRIED COUPLE WHO APPEARED MUCH OLDER THAN THEIR STATED DATES OF BIRTH, AND THE APPLICATION OF ANOTHER PERSON WHOSE APPEARANCE ON HER PASSPORT PHOTO DID NOT MATCH THE PHOTO OF THE PERSON APPLYING FOR RESIDENT STATUS HERE. WHILE CONSUL DISCOUNTRED ALLEGATION ABOUT THE COUPLE, HE DID ADMIT THAT THE APPEARANCE OF OTHER INDIVIDUAL WAS DISSIMILAR.

5. GEORGE ALSO EXPLAINED THAT ALL IMMIGRANTS, INCLUDING

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THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IMMIGRANTS, WHO ARE AGED 14 OR OLDER MUST REGISTER IN PERSON AT THE CENTRAL IMMIGRATION OFFICE IN GEORGETOWN. GEORGE IS MAINTAINING A SEPARATE FILE ON THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN DISTURBED OVER THE ENTIRE AFFAIR EVER SINCE BISHOP JONES INDICATED LAST SPRING TO THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS THAT THE IMMIGRATION WAS PARTLY POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.

6. COMMENT: THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT SOME GOG OFFICIALS ARE DISTURBED OVER ENTIRE SCENARIO AND POTENTIALLY EXPLOSIVE ISSUE THAT COULD DEVELOP, ESPECIALLY OVER CHILD CUSTODY PROBLEMS. IN ANY EVENT, WE CAN EXPECT COOPERATION OF GOG TO ASSIST IN AMELIORATING PROBLEMS AS THEY ARISE.

7. ISSUE OF PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IMMIGRANTS HAS BECOME PROBLEM WITHIN GOG. AS INDICATED ABOVE, IMMIGARATION OFFICIALS ARE CONCERNED OVER THE GROUP; HOWEVER, JONES HAS CEMENTED GOOD RELATIONS IN GUYANA WITH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER PTOLEMY REID WHO, ACCORDING TO FONMIN WILLS, HAS DEFENDED THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IMMIGRATION. THE MATTER HAS BEEN GIVEN TO FONMIN WILLS TO HANDLE, BUT HE LACKS THE CLOUT TO OVERRULE REID IF THEIR VIEWS SHOULD DIFFER.

BLACKEN [John Blacken, Deputy Chief of Mission]

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Originally posted on February 4th, 2020.

Last modified on June 22nd, 2022.
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