Sept 22, 78 • State-Georgetown • 241892

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE241892_d.html.]

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PAGE 01 STATE 241892
ORIGIN SS-25
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SSO-00 /026 R
DRAFTED BY ARA/CAR:R MCCOY:KC
APPROVED BY ARA:S A SHELTON
ARA/CAR: A HEWITT
S/S-ORCASTRODALE
——————008905 230903Z /10

P 222302Z SEP 78
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN PRIORITY
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EXDIS, FROM HEWITT TO AMBASSADOR BURKE

E.O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC, OREP, (RYAN, LEO)
SUBJECT: CONGRESSMAN LEO RYAN’S PLANNED VISIT TO PEOPLE’S TEMPLE IN GUYANA

1. CONGRESSMAN LEO RYAN (D-CALIFORNIA) ACCOMPANIED BY STAFFER MET AT HIS REQUEST ON SEPT. 15 WITH ASSISTANT SECRETARY VAKY, SALLY SHELTON, DICK MCCOY AND MYSELF TO DISCUSS PEOPLE’S TEMPLE ACTIVITIES IN GUYANA. RYAN IS CONCERNED ABOUT ALLEGATIONS THAT PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBERS ARE BEING HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL IN GUYANA. HE COMMENTED THAT HE HAD RECENTLY HAD MEETINGS WITH MRS. DEBBIE BLAKEY AND OTHER FORMER MEMBERS OF THE TEMPLE AND THAT THEIR STATEMENTS ABOUT CONDITIONS AT JONESTOWN HAS DEEPENED HIS CONCERN. RYAN STATED THAT HE PLANNED TO TRAVEL TO GUYANA SOMETIME AFTER NOVEMBER 10 WITH A PARTY OF ABOUT 8 PERSONS INCLUDING

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A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, MEDICAL DOCTOR, A MEMBER OF THE PRESS AND POSSIBLY SOME RELATIVES OF TEMPLE MEMBERS. RYAN WANTED THE SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE OF THE DEPARTMENT AND THE EMBASSY, SINCE HE NOW BELIEVES IT IS NECESSARY TO GET A FIRST-HAND VIEW OF THE CONDITIONS AT THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY.

2. MCCOY COMPREHENSIVELY OUTLINED EMBASSY’S PAST EFFORTS IN COPING WITH THE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY THE TEMPLE’S MOVE TO GUYANA, AS WELL AS HIS PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS AND CONCERN BASED ON HIS THREE VISITS TO THE COMMUNITY. RYAN FOUND NO FAULT WITH THE EMBASSY’S HANDLING OF THE MATTER, BUT INDICATED THAT STRONGER MEASURES ARE NOW REQUIRED.

3. AMBASSADOR VAKY ASSURED RYAN THE DEPARTMENT AND EMBASSY WOULD PROVIDE ALL POSSIBLE ASSISTANCE. HE ALSO DISCOURAGED RYAN FROM INCLUDING FRIENDS AND RELATIVES OF JONESTOWN RESIDENTS IN THE GROUP, AT LEAST ON THE FIRST VISIT. IT IS CLEAR RYAN INTENDS TO ATTEMPT TO VISIT JONESTOWN WITH OR WITHOUT OUR ASSISTANCE, BUT I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR ASSESSMENT OF POTENTIAL PROBLEMS THAT COULD ARISE FROM THIS VISIT. I BELIEVE MCCOY’S PRESENTATION WAS USEFUL IN ACQUAINTING RYAN WITH SOME OF THE PRACTICAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH A VISIT TO THE TOWNSITE. WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED OF FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS.

CHRISTOPHER

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Originally posted on February 11th, 2020.

Last modified on February 27th, 2020.
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