State Cable: 771114 GT-State

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[listing of agencies receiving informational copies on PDF]

O 141930Z NOV 77
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5667
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 2890
PASS ARA/CAR – TUMMINIA
CA FOR ASS’T SECRETARY WATSON

E. O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC: (KATSARIS, MARIA)
SUBJECT: W/W MARIA AND STEVEN KATSARIS
REF: GEORGETOWN 2425

A. Paragraph four of reftel reported problem that Steven Katsaris, father of Maria Katsaris had encountered in attempting to see his daughter last September, 1977. However, through the intercession of Mr. Lawrence [Laurence] Mann, Guyanese Ambassador to the United States, a meeting was arranged between the two in Georgetown on November 16. Ambassador Mann explained to Consul that he had pressured Jim Jones, titular head of the People’s Temple to have Maria meet with her father. Mann was concerned that the recent unfavorable press articles about the People’s Temple that have appeared in the U.S. and Katsaris’ discussions with the Vice President’s office and the California senatorial and congressional delegations about his failure to see his daughter would seriously affect Guyana’s image in the U.S. He [illegible word] this meeting

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to allay Stephen [Steven] Katsaris’ fears for his daughter’s safety and well-being and to scotch stories that members of the People’s Temple are being held against their will in Guyana.

2. The meeting took place at Mann’s Georgetown residence. According to the ambassador there was some initial [illegible word] over the location of the meeting. Maria Katsaris demanded that it be held at the chambers of the People’s Temple local attorney. Apparently, she also refused to meet at the Embassy because she thought her father could arrange to have her abducted. She was accompanied to the meeting by a member of the People’s Temple law firm and two other members of the People’s Temple.

3. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and throughout Maria was hostile toward her father. She answered him in curt short sentences and did not initiate any conversation except on one occasion to accuse him of allying himself with the quote enemies of the Temple unquote. She refused to meet alone with her father and did not respond to attempts by her father, Mann or the Consul to explain her hostility or distrust toward Katsaris.

5. When the meeting was over Mann expressed partial dissatisfaction with the proceedings. He could not understand the girl’s attitude about the arrangements for the meeting and is concerned that the father continues to believe that the People’s Temple has turned the girl against him. Mann is somewhat relieved that the girl appeared to be physically healthy

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and mentally alert. Mann confided to Consul he continues to be apprehensive about the effect of the problems involving the People’s Temple are having on Guyana’s image in United States. In this connection Mann states that he was recently contacted by a California attorney who informed him there are four to five child custody cases presently pending before the courts of California that will presumably be transferred to Guyana because the children are here. He indicated that he intends to visit Jonestown before he returns to the U.S. At that time he intends to emphasize to Jones that his organization must abide by the local courts’s decisions in these custody matters. Any attempts to do otherwise will seriously hurt the organization and erode its support here. Mann is worried that if Jones and some of his numbers are psychologically pressuring or otherwise mistreating individuals this will surface and Guyana will be the ultimate loser. He is unhappy with press reports in the U.S. that indicate the GOG is quote behind the People’s Temple unquote.

6. Katsaris in a later conversation with Consul corroborated Mann’s fears. He believes that his daughter while physically healthy has been psychologically turned against him by the organization. He was very grateful to Ambassador Mann for his assistance. Katsaris departed Guyana the afternoon of November 13 satisfied at seeing his daughter but discouraged by her attitude.

7. Post would appreciate Department informing Congressman Don E. Clauson that meeting was arranged and took place.

Burke

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Originally posted on February 5th, 2020.

Last modified on November 30th, 2020.
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