Nov 22, 78 • 1540 • State-Georgetown • 295840

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE295840_d.html.]

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STATE 295840
ORIGIN PA-02 INFO OCT-01 ARA-15 ISO-00 SSO-00 /018 R
DRAFTED BY PA/PRS:MBADER:JE
APPROVED BY ARA:JABUSHNELL
S/S-O:SVALERGA
——————014301 221602Z /44

O 221540Z NOV 78 ZFF4
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN NIACT IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS STATE 295840
FOR VICTOR DIKEOS

E.O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN, LEO), GY
SUBJECT: MEDIA INTERVIEWS OF DICK MCCOY

HEREWITH FOLLOWS TRANSCRIPTS OF THREE DICK MCCOY INTERVIEWS AIRED BY ABC AND CBS NEWS:

(1) ABC-TV WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, TED KOPPEL (11/21)

KOPPEL: THE CALLS ARE COMING IN ROUND THE CLOCK, ANXIOUS RELATIVES CONTACTING THE GUYANA TASK FORCE EXPECTING THE WORST AND MOST TIMES HEARING IT. AND STILL THE NAGGING QUESTION, COULDN’T IT ALL HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. AS THE U.S. CONSUL IN GUYANA RICHARD MCCOY WENT INTO THE PEOPLES TEMPLE THREE TIMES.

MCCOY: IN ALL CASES THE INDIVIDUALS I TALKED TO IN PERSONAL, PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS DENIED ANY ALLEGATIONS OF MISTREATMENT.

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KOPPEL: WHEN YOU TALKED TO THESE PEOPLE WAS IT A MATTER OF SAYING, WELL, I’M WILLING TO TAKE YOU OUT BUT I CAN’T DO IT RIGHT NOW.

MCCOY: NO. WHEN I TALKED WITH THEM I ALWAYS TOLD THEM IF YOU WANT TO GO WE WILL GO RIGHT NOW. EVERY TIME I WENT TO JONESTOWN I WENT ACCOMPANIED BY A GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA OFFICIAL AND A GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA VEHICLE SO THAT I WAS NOT AT THE DISPOSAL OR AT THE MERCY, IF YOU WILL, OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE FOR TRANSPORTATION OR ANY OTHER ARRANGEMENTS. SO THAT THE PEOPLE REALIZED AT THAT POINT, IF WE WERE TO GO WE WERE GOING TO GO THEN.

KOPPEL: NONE OF THE PEOPLE, NOT ONE OF THE FORTY TO FIFTY PEOPLE INTERVIEWED BY RICHARD MCCOY TOOK HIM UP ON HIS OFFER TO GET THEM OUT.

(2) ABC-TV “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”, TED KOPPEL (11/22)

KOPPEL: THE FOCUS IS ON THE DEAD, AND INDEED THE STATE DEPARTMENT IS TRYING TO GIVE ANXIOUS RELATIVES AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE. BUT THE GUYANA TASK FORCE AT STATE IS TRYING TO TRACK DOWN EVERY POSSIBLE LEAD ON WHAT MAY HAVE HAPPENED TO THE MISSING WHO COULD STILL BE ALIVE. THIS MAN, RICHARD MCCOY, WAS U.S. CONSUL IN GUYANA.

MCCOY: I WAS DOWN THERE THREE TIMES. THE THREE TIMES I WENT IN I WENT IN BASICALLY FOR THE SAME REASON CONGRESSMAN RYAN WENT IN, AND ON NO OCCASION DID I EVER FEEL AFRAID FOR MY LIFE OR PERSONAL SAFETY. MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION

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WAS THE WORST THAT WOULD HAPPEN IS THAT THE CONGRESSMAN WOULD BE REFUSED ACCESS TO THE SITE. THE ISSUE IN THIS CASE WAS CREDIBILITY. WHO WAS TELLING THE TRUTH, PEOPLES TEMPLE ORGANIZATION OR PEOPLE THAT WERE CLOSE TO THE PEOPLES TEMPLE OR THE CONCERNED RELATIVES–WHICH WAS THE BASIC PROBLEM.

KOPPEL: AND YOU WERE NEVER ABLE TO REACH THEM?

MCCOY: NEVER ABLE TO SPOT IT.

KOPPEL: FOR THE MOMENT AT LEAST THERE IS NO TIME FOR CONJECTURE OR FOR THE MIGHT-HAVE-BEENS. ALL EFFORTS NOW ARE EXPENDED TOWARD FINDING THE MISSING AND ACCOUNTING FOR THE DEAD.

(3) CBS-TV MORNING NEWS, LEN TUCKER (11/22)

TUCKER: THE STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT WILL COMPLY WITH A GUYANESE GOVERNMENT REQUEST TO REMOVE BODIES FROM THE COUNTRY AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE. THE ONLY HOLDUP NOW IS GETTING ENOUGH AIRCRAFT INTO THE REMOTE JUNGLE AREA. JUST WHY THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT DECIDED NOT TO GO AHEAD WITH PLANS TO BURY BODIES THERE IS NOT CLEAR. BUT ONE STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL SAID, CAN YOU BLAME THEM? GUYANESE OFFICIALS WILL STILL HAVE TO FILL OUT DEATH CERTIFICATES, AND THERE IS SOME CONCERN HERE THAT A LISTING OF SUICIDE MIGHT DEPRIVE SURVIVORS OF SOME INSURANCE BENEFITS. AN AMERICAN OFFICIAL SAID THAT WHERE AUTOPSIES SHOWED PEOPLE DIED BY POISONING THE DEATH CERTIFICATE WILL LIST THAT AND NOTHING MORE. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN BUSHNELL SAID THE U.S. DID PASS ON TO THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT COMPLAINTS ABOUT CONDITIONS AT THE CAMP WHICH CAME FROM RELATIVES OF

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COMMUNE MEMBERS. AND DURING THREE VISITS TO JONESTOWN RICHARD MCCOY – WHO WAS THEN WITH THE EMBASSY IN GUYANA SOUGHT OUT PEOPLE THEY HAD RECEIVED MAIL ABOUT AND QUESTIONED THEM.

MCCOY: IN ALL CASES THE INDIVIDUAL SAID THAT THEY WERE NOT BEING HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL OR PHYSICALLY ABUSED, THAT THEY HAD COME TO GUYANA AND TO THE PEOPLES TEMPLE COMMUNE OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL, THAT THEY WERE THERE TO BUILD A NEW LIFE.

TUCKER: MCCOY SAID THAT SINCE THE MASSACRE HE HAS THOUGHT BACK TO THOSE VISITS AND IS CONVINCED THAT HE AND OTHER AMERICAN OFFICIALS WHO VISITED THE JONESTOWN COMMUNE DID ALL THEY COULD DO AT THE TIME.

CHRISTOPHER

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Originally posted on March 2nd, 2020.

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