Nov 25, 78 • 1624 • State-Georgetown • 298761 (SITREP 20)

[Editor’s notes:The full text of this text was taken from https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE298761_d.html.The online edition of this cable has portions of two additional paragraphs. The additional text is indicated by red type.

[This document appears as Serial 339 in the FBI RYMUR release and as State
Department cable 298761
in the State Department release.]

CONFIDENTIAL
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STATE 298761

ORIGIN ARA-15 INFO OCT-01 EUR-12 ISO-00 CIAE-00 INR-10 NSAE-00 PPT-01 TRSE-00 SCS-06 MCT-02 CA-01 SY-05 SYE-00 USSS-00 H-01 AID-05 SS-15 CCO-00 OC-06 DODE-00 NSCE-00 SSO-00 ICAE-00 INRE-00 L-03 AS-01 /084 R
DRAFTED BY ARA – SGIBSON:LEE
APPROVED BY ARA – MR. BUSHNELL
S/S – TREYNDERS
——————078102 251655Z /43

O 251624Z NOV 78
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO IMMEDIATE
FBI WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0042
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CINCSOUTHCOM QUARRY HTS CZ IMMEDIATE
CINCMAC SCOTT AFB IMMEDIATE
USREDCOM/RCJ2 MACDILL AFS FLA IMMEDIATE
UNCINCARRED FT MCPHERSON GA IMMEDIATE
CDR XVIIIABNCORPS FT BRAGG NC IMMEDIATE
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE//J-2//IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 298761
LONDON FOR MICHAEL FINLEY

E.O. 11652: GDS
TAGS: CASC, GY
SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT NO 20

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1. AS OF 0800 (EST), THE CURRENT COUNT, ACCORDING TO THE JOINT TASK FORCE COMMANDER, IS 794 BODIES, ALTHOUGH MORE MAY STILL BE FOUND IN JONESTOWN. AMBASSADOR BURKE AND THE COMMANDER WILL EVALUATE THE NEED FOR US MILITARY PERSONNEL TO REMAIN AT THE JONESTOWN AREA AND WILL INFORM THE DEPARTMENT OF THEIR DECISION.

2. ONE C-141 WITH 110 BODIES WILL ARRIVE AT DOVER AT 1130 (EST) TODAY, BRINGING THE TOTAL BODIES RETURNED TO 532. A SECOND FLIGHT IS DUE TO DEPART GEORGETOWN AT 1000 (EST). WHILE THERE IS A BOTTLENECK AS REGARDS TRANSFER CASES, ADDITIONAL CASES ARE EN ROUTE AND IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO REMOVE ALL BODIES FROM GUYANA BY TONIGHT. ALL SHOULD BE OUT BY TOMORROW.

3. THERE IS STILL NO WORD ON WHEN THE GUYANESE GOVERNMENT WILL PERMIT THE DEPARTURE OF THE SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE. GEORGETOWN RADIO ANNOUNCED THAT CHARLES BEIKMAN HAD BEEN FORMALLY CHARGED WITH THE MURDER (IN GEORGETOWN) OF SHARON AMOS AND HER CHILDREN. TOGETHER WITH LARRY LAYTON, THIS MAKES TWO PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBERS AGAINST WHOM CHARGES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT. THREE OTHERS ARE DETAINED AND UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS.

4. A SMALL CEMETERY CONTAINING FIVE GRAVES WAS LOCATED AT JONESTOWN. FIVE DEATHS HAD BEEN REPORTED TO EMBASSY CONSULAR OFFICERS EARLIER. TAGS INITIALLY PUT ON BODIES BY LOCAL OFFICIALS WERE PREPARED WITH WATER SOLUBLE INK, WHICH HAS SINCE BECOME UNREADABLE WITH THE RAIN.

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MANY BODIES PREVIOUSLY IDENTIFIED WILL HAVE TO BE IDENTIFIED AGAIN. A FINAL COUNT REVEALED 847 BEDS IN THE JONESTOWN COMPLEX.

5. THE DEPARTMENT HAS AUTHORIZED THE EMBASSY TO RETAIN AN ATTORNEY. INITIAL CONTACT WITH AN ATTORNEY WAS MADE YESTERDAY, BUT ARRANGEMENTS HAVE NOT YET BEEN WORKED OUT.

6. EMBASSY GEORGETOWN REPORTS THAT TWO BASIC PROBLEMS HAVE COMPLICATED RELATIONS WITH THE MEDIA — THE LACK OF US GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION FOR THE PRESS TO JONESTOWN AND DEFICIENCIES IN COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES. THE GUYANESE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION HAS ARRANGED SOME FLIGHTS TO JONESTOWN IN GOG AIRCRAFT, THEREBY LEADING TO CHARGES OF “FAVORITISM” FROM THOSE LEFT BEHIND.

7. MOST OF THE PARTS REQUESTED BY THE GUYANESE FOR THEIR HELICOPTERS HAVE BEEN LOCATED; HOWEVER, NO WAY HAS BEEN FOUND YET TO PAY FOR THESE ITEMS. DOD LAWYERS HAVE QUESTIONED THE LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR PROVIDING EQUIPMENT TO THE GUYANESE POLICE. WE WILL BE LOOKING INTO THE MATTER TODAY.

CHRISTOPHER

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NNN

Originally posted on March 3rd, 2020.

Last modified on March 30th, 2021.
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