Nov 24, 78 • 0300 • Georgetown-State • 3900

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 249 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03900_d.html.]

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ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SCS-06 FBIE-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 PA-01 TRSE-00 MCT-02 CA-01 INR-10 INRE-00 SY-05 SYE-00 USSS-00 H-01 AID-05 SS-15 L-03 SSO-00 NSCE-00 CCO-00 OC-06 JUSE-00 NSAE-00 ICAE-00 CG-00 DOTE-00 SVC-00 PPT-01 INSE-00 /072 W
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O 240300Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8178
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 3900
E.O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC (PEOPLE’S TEMPLE)
SUBJECT: SEARCH AND RESCUE

THERE FOLLOWS AN OUTLINE OF SEARCH AND RESCUE ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED BY THE GOG [Government of Guyana] AND US MILITARY UNITS.

1. SINCE TUESDAY NOV 21 WHEN IT BECAME CERTAIN THERE WAS A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE APPROXIMATELY 475 PT WHO COULD BE ACCOUNTED FOR (ALIVE OR DEAD) AND THE REPORTED P MEMBERSHIP OF 800-1200, THE GUYANESE DEFENSE FORCE (GDF) HAS BEEN CONDUCTING GROUND SEARCHES ALONG JUNGLE TRAILS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF JONESTOWN.

2. STARTING WEDNESDAY NOV 22 THE GDF BEGAN USING AMERINDIAN GUIDES AND TRACKERS TO SUPPORT ITS GROUND TROOPS.

3. RECONNAISANCE [RECONNAISSANCE] SWEEPS BY USAF HELICOPTERS WHOSE PRIMARY MISSIGN WAS TO SUPPORT REMOVAL OF THE DEAD WERE AUTHORIZED FROM THE OUTSET OF US MILITARY AIR OPERATIONS.

4. ON THURSDAY MORNING NOV 23 A USAF OH-53 WITH A JOINT

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US/GDF CREW WAS COMMITTED TO FULL TIME SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS.

5. IT IS EXPECTED THAT ADDITIONAL HELICOPTERS SUPPORT UTILIZING BULL HORNS WILL AUGMENT THE DH-53 ON FRIDAY NOV 24 AS THE DOBY [body] REMOVAL PROJECT NEARS COMPLETION. WE INTEND TO CONTINUE AN EXPANDED SEARCH OPERATION, INCLUDING COMMUNICATIONS, MEDICAL AND OTHER SUPPORT, UNTIL ALL REASONABLE EFFORTS TO LOCATE STRAGGLERS HAVE BEEN MADE.

6. WE WILL BE DISCUSSING WITH THE GOG OFFERING OF REWARDS TO THE AMERINDIANS FOR FINDING AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE JUNGLE.

7. WE WILL CONTINUE TO COMPARE PASSPORT AND IMMIGRATION RECORDS AGAINST LISTS OF KNOWN DEAD AND KNOWN SURVIVORS TO ESTABLISH A VALID LIST OF UNACCOUNTED FOR PERSONS.

BURKE [John Burke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana]

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Originally posted on March 3rd, 2020.

Last modified on June 25th, 2022.
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