Nov 17, 78 • Georgetown-State • 3761

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03761_d.html.]

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 01 GEORGE 03761 171524Z
ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 L-03 H-01 SCS-06 SS-15 CA-01 NSCE-00 SSO-00 /042 W
——————063209 171531Z /47

O 171450Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8052
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 3761

E.O. 11652: NA
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN LEO) GY
SUBJ: GODEL RYAN AND PEOPLE’S TEMPLE: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH “CONCERNED RELATIVES.”
REF: STATE 289798 AND PREVIOUS.

1. IN RESPONSE TO THEIR REQUEST, AMBASSDOR MET AFTERNOON NOV. 16 WITH FOURTEEN MEMBERS OF THE “CONCERNED RELATIVES” GROUP WHO HAD ARRIVED IN GEORGETOWN IN THE SMALL HOURS OF WEDNESDAY, NOV. 15, ABOARD THE SAME PANAM FLIGHT WHICH BROUGHT CODEL RYAN TO GUYANA. GROUP CLAIMS (WITH ONE EXCEPTION) TO HAVE CLOSE RELATIVES AT THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE COMMUNITY AT JONESTOWN WITH WHOM THEY HAVE BEEN DENIED CONTACT. THEY HAVE TRAVELED TO GUYANA IN COMPANY WITH CONGRESSMAN RYAN IN HOPE THAT THEY MAY BE PERMITTED TO VISIT JONESTOWN OR MEET WITH THEIR RELATIVES IN GEORGETOWN. SINCE THEIR ARRIVAL THEY HAVE SEPARATELY AND COLLECTIVELY BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE GEORGETOWN OFFICE, WITH THE PRESSMEN WHO ARRIVED WITH CODEL, AND WITH CONGRESSMAN RYAN AND HIS STAFFERS.

2. WHEN “CONCERNED RELATIVES” GROUP ARRIVED AT EMBASSY THEY WERE ACCOMPANIED BY AMERICAN PRESSMEN WHO HAD ARRIVED GEORGETOWN WITH CODEL. THROUGH THERE HAD BEEN

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 02 GEORGE 03761 171524Z

PRIOR UNDERSTANDING THAT METING WITH AMBASSADOR WOULD BE PRIVATE, GROUP’S SPOKESMAN ON ARRIVAL INSISTED THAT PRESS SHOULD BE INCLUDED. AMBASSADOR DECLINED TO MEET WITH GROUP WITH PRESS PRESENT ON GROUNDS THAT THERE WERE SENSITIVE LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS INVOLVED. GROUP THEN CAUCUSSED TO DECIDE WHETHER THEY WOULD ACCEPT MEETING ON THIS CONDITION AND EVENTUALLY AGREED TO MEET IN PRIVATE. ALSO IN ATTENDANCE WERE CONGRESSMAN RYAN, HIS TWO STAFFERS, DCM AND CONSUL.

3. MEETING OPENED WITH A SHOWING OF AMATEUR COLOR SLIDES OF JONESTOWN WHICH HAD BEEN TAKEN (WITH PEOPLE’S TEMPLE PERMISSION) DURING ONE OF THE CONSUL’S ROUTINE VISITS TO JONESTOWN. AMBASSADOR THEN BEGAN THE DISCUSSION WITH A STATEMENT IN WHICH HE OUTLINED BRIEFLY AN EMBASSY’S OBLIGATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS AMERICAN CITIZENS RESIDING ABROAD BOTH TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT. PRINCIPAL POINT WAS THAT ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS ENJOYED AN EQUAL CLAIM ON THE EMBASSY’ PROTECTION AND SERVICES BE THEY RESIDENTS OF JONESTOWN OR VISITING “CONCERNED RELATIVES.”

4. SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE GROUP PROCEEDED TO DESCRIBE ALLEGED CONDITIONS IN JONESTOWN AND TO EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT THEIR INABILITY TO MAKE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THEIR RELATIVES. AMBASSADOR THEN DESCRIBED FOR THE GROUP THE SERIES OF REGULAR CONSULAR FLIGHTS TO JONESTOWN WHICH HAD BEEN INSTITUTED SINCE HIS ARRIVAL DURING WHICH WELFARE/WHEREABOUTS INQUIRIES WERE LOOKED INTO ON BEHALF ON NEXT-OF-KIN, NOTING THAT IN EACH CASE TO DATE CONSUL HAD BEEN ABLE TO INTERVIEW PERSONALLY AND PRIVATELY THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED AND TO REPORT BACK TO NEXT-OF-KIN.

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 03 GEORGE 03761 171524Z

5. INDIVIDUALS IN THE GROUP WERE INCLINED TO DISMISS AS INCONCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL JONESTOWNIANS AND CONSUL, ALLEGING “BRAINWASHING” AND “CONDITIONING” TO EXPLAIN STATEMENTS FROM INTERVIEWEES THAT THEY WERE HAPPY IN JONESTOWN AND CONTENT TO REMAIN THERE. VARIOUS MEMBERS WITHIN THE GROUP THEN RETURNED TO A RECOUNTING OF ALLEGED CHARGES AGAINST THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE BOTH IN GUYANA AND THE UNITED STATES. AMBASSADOR ATTEMPTED TO RESPOND BY REITERATING THAT EMBASSY HAD NO POLICE OR ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OVER PRIVATE AMERICAN CITIZENS IN GUYANA AND THAT ONLY GUYANESE JUSTICE AND ADMINISTRATION HAD DIRECT APPLICATION.

6. SESSION WHICH LASTED AN HOUR-AND-A-HALF ENDED WITH AMBASSADOR PROMISING GROUP THAT IF THEY WOULD PROVIDE CONSUL WITH NAMES OF NEXT-OF-KIN HE WOULD MAKE CONTACT DURING HIS NEXT CONSULAR VISIT TO THE COMMUNITY. ALSO, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE GROUP, AMBASSADOR CALLED PEOPLE’S TEMPLE OFFICE IN GEORGETOWN IN AN EFFORT TO VERIFY STATEMENT WHICH SOME MEMBERS OF THE GROUP SAID THEY HAD BEEN TOLD WHEN THEY ATTEMPTED TO MAKE CONTACT: VIZ., THAT THE INDIVIDUALS SHOULD MAKE ARRANGEMENTS THROUGH THE EMBASSY TO MEET WITH THEIR RELATIVES AT JONESTOWN. IN RESPONSE TO HIS CALL AMBASSADOR WAS TOLD BY SPOKESMAN THAT PT HAD RECOMMENDED THAT “CONCERNED RELATIVES” SHOULD ARRANGE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THEIR NEXT-OF-KIN THROUGH THE EMBASSY, REFERRING TO THE REGULAR CONSULAR VISITATION. AMBASSADOR TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE CALL TO URGE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE REPRESENTATIVE EITHER TO PERMIT A VISIT BY “CONCERNED RELATIVES” TO JONESTOWN AS LONG AS THEY WERE PHYSICALLY IN GUYANA OR ARRANGE FOR NEXT-OF-KIN TO TRAVEL TO GEORGETOWN FOR MEETINGS IF FORMER COURSE WAS NOT POSSIBLE. PT SPOKESMAN PROMISED TO REFER THIS

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 04 GEORGE 03761 171524Z

REQUEST TO JONESTOWN. (DURING THIS CALL, PT SPOKESMAN FREQUENTLY MADE REFERENCE TO ALLEGED “HARRASSMENT [harassment]” PEOPLE’S TEMPLE WAS EXPERIENCING FROM CODEL THEY CITED CONGRESSMAN RYANS VISIT TO PEOPLE’S TEMPLE GEORGETOWN RESIDENCE EVENING NOVEMBER 15, / AMERICAN PRESSMEN/ THEY CHARGED THAT A JOURNALIST FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE HAD VAULTED THE FENCE AROUND THEIR COMPOUND AND FORCED HIS WAY INTO THE HOUSE MORNING OF NOVEMBER 16/, AND GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS OF “CONCERNED RELATIVES” HAD BEEN SHOWING UP AT THEIR GATE UNANNOUNCED SINCE THEIR ARRIVAL.)

7. MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR BROKE UP AFTER THIS THOUGH SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE GROUP MADE SEPARATE APPOINTMENTS WITH CONSUL FOR NOV. 17 TO ASK HIS ASSISTANCE IN CONTACTING THEIR RELATIVES WHEN NEXT HE IS IN JONESTOWN. SOME MEMBERS OF THE GROUP, HOWEVER, SAID THAT THEY WOULD BE GOING TO JONESTOWN WITH OR WITHOUT THE CONCURRENCE OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AND FORCE ENTRY IF NECESSARY.

BURKE

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
NNN

Originally posted on February 11th, 2020.

Last modified on December 26th, 2020.
Skip to main content