Nov 24, 78 • 2215 (2115) • Georgetown-State • 3924

[Editor’s note: The text for this cable comes from https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03924_d.html.  Questions 5, 6, and 8 in the following document were not included. Whether these questions were deleted, or the cable misnumbered the entries is unknown.

[In addition, the time stamp may be incorrect, since a response to it was time-stamped 15 minutes earlier than the original.]

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O 242215Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8192
C O N F I D E N T I A L SSECTION 1 OF 3 GEORGETOWN 3924

E.O. 11652: GDS
TAGS: CASC AINF OREP GY
SUBJECT: CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION: CODEL RYAN – PEOPLES TEMPLE
REF: STATE 296009

1. EMBASSY INPUTS TO ASSIST DEPARTMENT IN REPLYING TO QUESTIONS IN CONGRESSMAN ZABLOCKI’S LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21TO SECRETARY ARE AS FOLLOS (NUMBERS KEYED TO CHAIRMAN’S QUESTIONS):

(1) THE EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN WAS NOT OF THE OPINION THAT CONGRESSMAN LEO RYAN AND HIS PARTY WOULD BE IN PHYSICAL DANGER DURING A VISIT TO THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AGRICULTURAL MISSION AT JONESTOWN AS LONG AS PRIOR PERMISSION FOR THE VISIT HAD BEEN SECRURED IN ADVANCE FROM THE PEOPLE TEMPLE. THIS POINT WAS MADE IN THE EMBASSY’S FIRST CABLE DEALING WITH THE PROSPCT OF A CODEL VISIT AND WAS REITERATED SEVERAL TIMES THEREAFTER BOTH IN WRITTEN FORM AND ORALLY TO THE CONGRESSMAN AND HIS STAFF. IT WAS CLEARLY IMPLIED THAT SHOULD THE CONGRESSMAN ATTEMPT TO FORCE ENTRY INTO JONESTOWN, UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCES COULD FOLLOW WHICH MIGHT BE LEGAL OR EVEN VIOLENT. AS HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE CLEAR THERE HAD BEEN SEVERAL VISITS TO JONESTOWN BY AMERICAN OFFICIAL S GOING BACK FOR AT LEAST THE LAST TWO AHD ONE/HALF YEARS. THESE VISITS HAD INVARIABLY BEEN PEACEFUL. FURTHERMORE, THE PEOPLES TEMPLE COMMUNITY HAD RECEIVED VISITS BY MANY

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OTHER OUTSIDERS, SUCH AS GUYANA GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, FOREIGN DIPLOMATS,AND PRIVATE CITIZENS,WITHOUT REPORTED INCIDENT. FOR EXAMPLE, THE LT GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA IS KNOW TO HAVE VISITED THE TEMPLE ON AT LEAST ONE OCCASION, AS WELL AS CABINE MEMBERS FROM THE GOG AND THIRD COUNTRY DIPLOMATS.

(2) THE ADVICE GIVEN TO THE CODEL FROM THE FIRST MOMENT THAT THE EMBASSY WAS APPRISED OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN’S TRIP TO GUYANA FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING JONESTOWN WAS CANDID AND COMPLETE. IT WAS WELL-KNOW THAT THE PEOPLES TEMPLE WAS SENSITIVE TO CRITICISM WHICH HAD APPEARED IN CERTAIN QUARTERS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES REGARDING ITS ACTIVITIES. THE REACTION OF THE TEMPLE WAS CLEARLY EVIDENT IN MANY PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS BY PEOPLES TEMPLE MEMBERS AND OTHER SPOKESMEN, MOST RECENTLY IN A PRESS CONFERENCE GIVEN BY ONE OF ITS LAWYERS, MR MARK LANE, ON A VISIT TO GEORGETOWN. THIS PRESS CONFERENCE WAS REPORTED ON FULLY TO THE DEPARTMENT BY CABLE FROM THE EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN WITH THE ADVICE THAT THESE REPORTS BE MADE DIRECTLY AVAILABLE TO CONGRESSMAN RYAN. IT WAS BECAUSE OF THIS GENERALLY WELL-KNOW MOOD OR ATTITUDE TOWARD CRITICISM THAT THE EMBASSY WAS SO INSISTENT THAT THE CODEL OBTAIN DIRECTLY FROM THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AN AGREEMENT TO RECEIVE THE CONGRESSMAN BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANY TRIP TO JONESTOWN. INSOFAR AS THE PRESENCE OF WEAPONS WAS CONCERNED, THE EMBASSY HAD NO HARD EVIDENCE THAT THERE WERE EXCEPTIONAL STORES OF WEAPONS IN THE COMMUNITY. IT WAS, OF COURSE, KNOWN THAT THE COMMUNITY DID POSSESS A CERTAIN NUMBER OF FIREARMS, BUT THIS IS NOT UNCOMMON IN THE PARTICULAR PART OF GUYANA IN WHICH JONESTOWN IS LOCATED. THE NORTHWEST REGION OF

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GUYANA OFFERS MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE HUNTING OF WILD GAME AND THE EMBASSY HAD BEEN TOLD BY THE PEOPLES TEMPLE THAT A PORTION OF THE COMMUNITY’S MEAT SUPPLY WAS OBTAINED BY HUNTING.

(3) THE EMBASSY DID NOT REQUEST THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA PROVIDE THE CODEL WITH SECURTY PROTECTION OR OTHER ASSISTANCE, NOR DID THE CODEL RAISE THE SUBJECT OF SECURITY PROTECTION.IT WAS FELT THAT AS LONG AS THE CODEL HAD THE PRIOR AGREEMENT OF THE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY TO A VISIT THERE WAS NO NEED FOR SUCH PROTECTION IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT SO MANY OTHER OUTSIDERS HAD PREVIOULSY VISITED THE COMMUNITY WITHOUT INCIDENT. AS A MATTER OF COURTESY, THE GOVERNMENT WAS INFORMED OF THE CODEL VISIT WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE CONGRESSMAN’S ARRIVAL AND THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF GUYANA RECEIVED CONGRESSMAN RYAN FOR AN HOURLONG MEETING THE DAY AFTER HIS ARRIVAL IN GEORGETOWN. THE FOREIGN MINISTER WAS MOST CORDIAL IN HIS RECEPTION OF THE CONGRESSMAN, AND, IN FACT THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER IN GUYANA ASKED FOR AN APPOINTENT WITH THE CONGRESSMAN PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE AND HAD ACTUALLY SCHEDULED AN APPOINTMENT WITH HIM FOR THE MORNING OF NOV 19. (THE CODEL’S ORIGINAL INTENTION WAS TO DEPART GUYANA ON THE AFTERNOON OF NOV 19). IN HIS MEETING WITH THE FOREIGN MINISTER CONGRESSMAN RYAN MADE BRIEF MENTION OF THE PURPOSE OF HIS VISIT, BUT MADE NO REQUEST FOR SECURITY AND, IN FACT, SPENT MOST OF THE HOUR WITH THE FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSSING BILATERAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES. FOR ITS PART, THE GOG SENT ALONG WITH THE CODEL ON ITS VISIT TO JONESTOWN AN OFFICIAL FROM ITS MINISTRY OF INFORAMTION (NEVILLE ANNIBOURNE) WHO WAS WITH THE CONGRESSMAN DURING HIS ENTIRE TIME IN THE JONESTOWN COMMUNITY. THIS OFFICER ACCOMPANIED THE

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CODEL INTO JONESTOWN, SPENT THE NIGHT THERE, AND LEFT WITH THE CODEL FOR THE AIRSTRIP THE FOLLOWING DAY. HAD SECURITY PROTECTION BEEN REQUESTED FROM THE GOG FOR THE CODEL, IT WOULD VERY LIKELY HAVE BEEEN PROVIDED THROUGH THE GOG MIGHT HAVE EXPRESSED SOME SURPRISE AS TO WHY PROTECTION WAS NEEDED TO ENABLE AN AMERICAN CONGRESSMAN TO MEET WITH AMERICAN CITIZENS.

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O 242215Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8193
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 2 OF 3 GEORGETOWN 3924

IT SHOULD ALSO BE RECALLED THAT THE CODEL TRAVELED TO PORT KAITUMA FROM GEORGETOWN IN COMPANY WITH TWO AMERICAN LAWYERS WHO WERE LEGAL REPRESENATIGES OF BISHOP JONES AND THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. IN FACT, THESE TWO ATTORNEYS WENT INTO JONESTOWN IN COMPANY WITH CONGRESSMAN RYAN IN ORDER TO NEGOTIATE THE TERMS OF ENTRY FOR THE PRESS AND “CONCERNED RELATIVES” GROUP ACCOMPANYING THE TO PORT KAITUMA. THESE MEN, WHO HAD VISITED JONESTOWN IN THE PAST, WERE PRESENT AT JONESTOWN FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF THE CODEL’S VISIT TO THE AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENT. THEIR PRESENCE APPEARED TO PROVIDE YET AN ADDITIONAL GUARTANTEE THAT THE VISIT BY CONGRESSMAN RYAN WOULD BE WITHOUT VIOLENCE.

(4) WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE CODEL’S ARRIVAL IN GEORGETOWN IT WAS EXPLAINTED TO THE CONGRESSMAN AND HIS STAFF THAT CATIONS BETWEEN GEORGETOWN AND PORT KAITUMA WERE PRIMITIVE AT BEST. IT WAS FURTHER EXPLAINED THAT THE ONLY COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN GEORGETOWN AND JONESTOWN WERE IN THE FORM OF AN AMATEUR RADIO LINK BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY AND ITS GEORGETOWN OFFICE. NO SPECIAL COMMUNICATIONS ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE FOR THE RYAN DELEGATION NOR WERE THEY REQUESTED BY THE CODEL. HOWEVER, ON THE AFTERNOON OF FRIDAY, NOV 17, WHEN THE CODEL WAS ON ITS WAY INTO

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JONETOWN, THE CONSUL WENT TO THE GEORGETOWN OFFICE OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AND USED THEIR SHORTWAVE FACILITIES TO CONFIRM THAT THE CONGRESSMAN AND HIS PARTY HAD BEEN ADMITTED TO JONESTOWN AND THAT THINGS WERE “GOING WELL”. THE EMBASSY WAS INFORMED THROUGH THIS CHANNEL THAT DUE TO ITS LATE ARRIVAL AT PORT KAITUMAN THE CODEL HAD ACCEPTED AN INVITATION TO STAY OVERNIGHT AT JONESTOWN. DURING THESE TRANSMISSIONS OVER THE SHORTWAVE LINK, OUR CONSUL SPOKE DIRECTLY WITH DCM DWYER WHO WAS ACCOMPANYING CODEL: THUS, THE MESSAGES WERE NOT PASSED THROUGH ANY PEOPLES TEMPLE INTERMEDIARY.

(7) THE EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN WAS NOT AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF EXTENSIVE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION IN JONESTOWN. AS STATED EARLIER, THE COMMUNITY WAS KNOWN TO HAVE A CERTAIN NUMBER OF FIREARMS AS WELL AS BOWS AND ARROWS WHICH THE COMMUNITY EXPLAINED WERE USED FORHUNTING GAME IN THE REGION, A NOT UNCOMMON PRACTICE IN THAT PARTOF GUYANA. ACCORDING TO THE GOG A TOTAL OF FOUR SEPARATE LICENSES HAD BEEN ISSUED TO MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY. IT NOW APPEARS THAT THERE MAY HAVE BEEN AS MANY AS THIRTY MORE WEAPONS WHICH WERE UNLICENSED, BUT THIS NUMBER WAS NOT KNOWN AT THE THE TIME OF THE CODEL VISIT. (IN THIS NATION WHICH HAS SO MUCH JUNGLE AND VIRGIN LAND MANY RESIDENTS POSSESS SPORTING GUNS.)

(9) AMERICAN CITIZENS RESIDENT IN GUYANA ARE SUBJECT TO THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF THAT GOVERNMENT JUST AS ARE ALL PRIVATE AMERICAN CITIZENS RESIDING ABROAD IN ANY SOVEREIGN NATION. IT WOULD BE BEYOND THE AUTHORITY OF THE EMBASSY TO INTRUDE ON OR ATTEMPT TO

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EXERCISE COTROL OVER SUCH CITIZENS. ITS ONLY FUNCTION VIS-A-VIS INDIVIDUALS IN THIS CATEGORY INVOLVES THE PROVISION OF CONSULAR SERVICES AND APPROPRIATE PROTECTIONS WHEN CALLED UPON BY THE INDIVIDUALS THEMSELVES.

(10) THE PEOPLES TEMPLE, AS IS WELL-KNOWN, HAS BEEN A SUBJECT OF CONTROVERSY WITHIN THE UNITED STATES AND MAY ARTICLES HAVE APPEARED IN THE PRESS BOTH FAVORABLE TO AND CRITICAL OF THE ORGANIZATION. ARTICLES IN THE LATTER CATEGORY OFTEN CONTAIN LETALLY UNSBSTANTIATED CHARGES AGAINST THE ORGANIZATION OF WHICH THE EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN WAS GENERALLY AWARE. THE EMBASSY HAS RECEIVED OVER A PERIOD OF TIME A LARGE AMOUNT OF CORRESPONDECE FROM PRIVATE CITIZENS IN THE US WHICH HAS BEEN STRONGLY SUPPORTIVE OF, AND ON OTHER OCCASIONS HIGHLY CRITICAL OF, THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. THE EMBASSY DID NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO CONDUCT ANY SORT OF INVESTIGATION OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE NOR WOULD IT HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATE OR EVEN LEGAL FOR THE EMBASSY TO ATTEMPT SUCH AN INVESTIGATION IN VIEW OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS AVAILABLE TO AMERICAN CITIZENS. ALL OF THE INFORMATION ON THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AVAILABLE TO THE EMBASSY WAS OF COURSE AVAIALBE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. DURING THE TWO DAYS HE WAS IN GEORGETOWN PRIOR TO HIS VISIT TO JONESTOWN, CONGRESSMAN RYAN REVEALED THAT HE AHD AN IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AND ITS ACTIVITIES IN THE US WHICH FAR EXCEEDED ANY SUCH KNOWLEDGE AVAIABLE TO THE EMBASSY IN GEORGETOWN.

(11) INSOFAR AS IS KNOWN TO THE EMBASSY, THE GOG HAS NEVER RECEIVED ANY OFFICIAL REQUEST TO INVESTIGATE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE CHURCH.

II. IN ADDITION TO THE FOREGOING THE EMBASSY HAS THE

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FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS AS TO POINTS WHICH MIGHT ASSIST IN PREPARING REPLIES TO SOME OF THE OTHER QUESTIONS POSED BY CHAIRMAN ZABLOCKI:

(A) IN PREPARING THE REPLY TO QUESTION 5 DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE SURE TO REVIEW GEORGETOWN 2087 OF SEPT 1, 1977, REPORTING ON CONSUL MCCOY’S FIRST VISIT TO JONETOWN, AND PARTICULARLY THE REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT JONES APPARENTLY PAID FOR THE REPATRIATION OF ONEOF THE JONESTOWN RESIDENTS NAMED BROUSSARD AT THAT TIME.

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O 242215Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8194
C O N F I D E N T I A L SSECTION 3 OF 3 GEORGETOWN 3924

(B) AS DEPARTMENT IS AWARE THE EMBASSY HAS LITTLE HARD EVIDENCE DOCUMENTING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE GOG AND ITS OFFICIALS WITH JIM JONES AND THE PEOPLES TEMPLE. IT IS OBVIOUS, HOWEVER, THAT APPROVAL FOR THE LOCATION OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AT JONESTOWN, AND THE CESSION OF A TRACT OF LAND THAT ARGE TO JIM JONES, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, INDICATE HIGH LEVEL INTERST IN AND APPROVAL OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IN GUYANA. THERE ARE PRESISTENT [PERSISTENT] RUMORS THAT DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER REID HAS BEEN THE PRINCIPAL PATRON OF THE PEOPLES TEMPLE AND ITS ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE GUYANESE CABINET. OTHER OFFICIALS REPORTEDLY CLOSE TO THE ORGANIZATION INCLUDE GUYANA’S AMBASSADOR TO WASHINGTON, LAURENCE MANN, A REID PROTEGE.

(C) IN ITS REVIEW OF THE FILES ON PEOPLES TEMPLE THE DEPARTMENT SHOULD TAKE PARTICULAR NOTE OF VARIOUS INTERVENTIONS BY ONE JOSEPH A MAZOR, A PROFESSIONAL PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR FROM SAN FRANCISCO. IN 1977 MAZOR HAD SEVERAL CONTACTS WITH THEN CONSUL MCCOY ON BEHALF OF CERTAIN CLIENTS IN CALIFORNIA WHO WERE CONCERNED ABOUT NEXT-OF-KIN AT JONESTOWN. MAZOR CAME TO GUYANA DURING SEPT OF THIS YEAR AND ACTUALLY PAID A VISIT TO JONESTOWN FROM SEPT 11 TO 13. ON HIS RETURN TO GEORGETOWN ENROUTE BACK TO THE US MAJOR MET WITH CONSUL ELLICE AND SHARED WITH HIM HIS IMPRESSIONS OF

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JONESTOWN. THE MEMCON INTERVIEW RESULTING FROM THIS INTERVIEW WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE DEPARTMENT BY SEPTEL. THE MAZOR CASE WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE SOME SIGNIFICANCE BECAUSE OF MAZOR’S PROFESSIONA AND THE FACT THAT HE HAD REPRESENTED NEXT-OF-KIN IN CALIFORNAI WHO WERE QUITE CRITICAL OF THE TEMPLE AND ITS ACTIVITIES.

(D) IN RECORDING EMBASSY GEORGETOWN CONTACTS WITH THE PEOPLES TEMPLE IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT FORMER AMBASSADOR MAX KREBS PAID A VISIT TO JONETOWN IN OCTOBER OF 1975. (THE PRECISE DATE IS UNCERTAIN; HOWEVER, AMBASSADOR KREBS MAY BE ABLE TO REMEMBER IT IF THE DEPARTMENT WERE TO CONTACT HIM AT HIS RETIREMENT ADDRESS.) ON THE BASIS OF CONVERSATIONS HERE, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE AMBASSADOR AND HIS WIFE MADE A VISIT IN COMPANY WITH TWO GUYANESE COUPLES. EMBASSY HOPES THATTHE FOREGOING INFORMATION WILL BE OF VALUE IN FRAMING THE DEPARTMENT’S REPLY TO CONGRESSMAN ZABLOCKI’S LETTER.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 3rd, 2020.

Last modified on December 30th, 2020.
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