Nov 25, 78 • 2117 • State-Georgetown • 299097

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978STATE299097_d.html.]

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ORIGIN NODS-00
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 /001 R
DRAFTED BY L/ARA:MKOZAK
APPROVED BY D:WCHRISTOPHER
L:MBFELDMAN
ARA:JBUSHNELL
JUSTICE:RKEUCH
S/S-O: TRREYNDERS
——————082143 252139Z /73

Z 252117Z NOV 78 ZFF4
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN FLASH
S E C R E T STATE 299097
NODIS FOR AMBASSADOR

E.O. 11652:
TAGS: CASC DREP (RYAN) GY
SUBJECT: PERSONAL EFFECTS
REF: (A) GEORGETOWN 3929; (B) STATE

1. WE HAVE CONSIDERED CAREFULLY BEST MEANS OF HANDLING TAPES AND DOCUMENTS IN YOUR POSSESSION. IN ORDER TO ASSURE THEIR USEFULNESS IN ANY CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, WE MUST BE IN A POSITION TO PRODUCE WITNESSES TO TESTIFY AS TO CHAIN OF CUSTODY FROM TIME DISCOVERED TO TIME OF TRIAL. ACCORDINGLY, AS INDICATED REF B, YOU SHOULD STORE MATERIALS IN SECURE AREA AND MINIMIZE ACCESS TO THEM (I.E. CHAIN OF CUSTODY IS MORE READILY ESTABLISHED IF ONLY A FEW PERSONS HAVE HAD ACCESS TO THE MATERIALS AND THERE IS ONE WITNESS

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WHO CAN TESTIFY THAT NO OTHER PERSON HAD ACCESS TO MATERIALS EXCEPT IN WITNESS’ PRESENCE.) YOU SHOULD MAINTAIN A COMPREHENSIVE LOG OF ALL ACCESS TO MATERIALS INCLUDING NAMES OF PERSONS HAVING ACCESS AND DATES, TIMES AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

2. AS YOU NOTE IN REF A, THESE MATERIALS MAY BE HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT TO BOTH GOG AND USG CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROCEEDINGS. ACCORDINGLY, WE WILL WISH TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH GOG AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE THAT BOTH GOVERNMENTS ARE IN A POSITION TO FULLY UTILIZE EVIDENCE THEY MAY CONTAIN. YOU ARE REQUESTED TO PROMPTLY CONTACT APPROPRIATE GOG OFFICIALS AND MAKE FOLLOWING POINTS:

A) IN COURSE OF GATHERING UP PERSONAL EFFECTS OF AMCITS, EMBASSY HAS OBTAINED TAPES AND DOCUMENTS WHICH APPEAR TO HAVE EVIDENTIARY SIGNIFICANCE FOR BOTH GOG AND USG LAW ENFORCEMENT PURPOSES. (YOU SHOULD DESCRIBE NATURE OF MATERIALS.) SIMILARLY, WE ASSUME THAT GOG AUTHORITIES HAVE MATERIALS IN THEIR CUSTODY WHICH WOULD BE OF VALUE TO BOTH GOVERNMENTS IN ENFORCING OUR RESPECTIVE CRIMINAL LAWS. WE BELIEVE THAT THE CLOSE COOPERATION BETWEEN OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS WHICH HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED THROUGHOUT THIS TRAGEDY SHOULD NOW BE EXTENDED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE REVIEW AND USE OF THESE EVIDENTIARY MATERIALS. SUCH COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENTS ARE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT TO ASSURE THAT THE EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF THESE MATERIALS UNDER OUR RESPECTIVE LEGAL SYSTEMS IS NOT COMPROMISED.

B) WITH RESPECT TO THE MATERIALS IN EMBASSY’S POSSESSION, WE SEE TWO POSSIBLE MODES FOR COOPERATION. FIRST, THE U.S. WOULD BE PREPARED TO SEND THE NECESSARY TECHNICAL

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EXPERTS TO GEORGETOWN TO REVIEW THESE MATERIALS IN COOPERATION WITH GOG AUTHORITIES. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WOULD BE PREPARED, FOR EXAMPLE, TO PROVIDE AN EXPERT ELECTRONICS ENGINEER FROM THE RADIO-TECHNICAL GROUP ALONG WITH NECESSARY EQUIPMENT TO ANALYZE TAPE AND PREPARE CERTIFIED COPIES FOR GOG USE. (WE WOULD ENVISION AT LEAST INITIALLY, SENDING THREE LEGATT TECHNICAL EXPERTS OR TWO LEGATTS AND ONE STENOGRAPHER. WE HAVE SUCH PERSONNEL READY TO TRAVEL TO GUYANA AT ANY TIME.) WE WOULD ALSO BE PREPARED TO PROVIDE EXPERTS TRAINED TO ANALYZE, COPY AND AUTHENTICATE MEDICAL AND PERSONNEL RECORDS. IN ADDITION TO PROVIDING THESE TECHNICAL EXPERTS, WE WOULD BE PREPARED TO PROVIDE LEGAL EXPERT TO DISCUSS EVIDENTIARY REQUIREMENTS UNDER OUR RESPECTIVE LEGAL SYSTEMS AND TO COOPERATE WITH GOG IN DEVELOPING PROCEDURES REGARDING USE OF THESE MATERIALS AT TRIAL (E.G. ARRANGEMENTS WHEREBY ORIGINALS OF TAPES AND DOCUMENTS, AND OFFICIAL WITNESSES TO TESTIFY REGARDING CUSTODY COULD BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR USE IN COURT PROCEEDINGS IN EACH COUNTRY.) AN ALTERNATIVE MODE OF PROCEEDING WOULD BE TO SEND THESE MATERIALS BACK TO THE U.S. FOR TECHNICAL ANALYSIS. WE WOULD INVITE GOG TO SEND REPRESENTATIVES TO COOPERATE IN THIS PROCESS. WHILE THIS PROCEDURE WOULD PROVIDE AN OPERATIONAL ADVANTAGE FOR US IN THAT OUR LABORATORY AND OTHER TECHNICAL FACILITIES COULD BE MORE READILY UTILIZED, IT WOULD MAKE COORDINATION WITH GOG AUTHORITIES MORE DIFFICULT.

C) ACCORDINGLY, WE WOULD STRONGLY PREFER THE FORMER ALTERNATIVE, BUT ARE WILLING TO DEFER TO GOG’S JUDGMENT IF THEY BELIEVE SECOND ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE PREFERABLE.

3. WE ASSUME THAT GOG MAY HAVE SOME RELUCTANCE WITH RESPECT TO FIRST ALTERNATIVE IN LIGHT OF THEIR SENSITIVITY

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OVER FBI PRESENCE. SHOULD THIS ISSUE AGAIN ARISE, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO INFORM THEM THAT WE ARE SENSITIVE TO THEIR POLITICAL PROBLEMS IN THIS REGARD AND WOULD MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO MINIMIZE FBI PRESENCE. FOR EXAMPLE, WE COULD EXPLORE POSSIBILITY OF USING DEPT OF JUSTICE ATTORNEYS OR PARALEGALS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH FBI TO REVIEW MEDICAL AND PERSONNEL RECORDS. HOWEVER, SOME OF THE TECHNICAL EXPERTISE REQUIRED WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO FIND OUTSIDE FBI, SUCH AS TECHNICAL TAPE ANALYSIS. WE WOULD, OF COURSE, BE PREPARED TO MINIMIZE PUBLICITY CONCERNING ASSOCIATION OF THESE TECHNICIANS WITH FBI AND WOULD EMPHASIZE THE TECHNICAL NATURE OF THEIR ASSISTANCE AND FACT THAT THEY WOULD BE WORKING IN FULL COOPERATION WITH GOG AUTHORITIES AND NOT OPERATING INDEPENDENTLY IN GUYANA.

4. FYI: IN EVENT GOG SHOULD NOT ACCEPT EITHER ALTERNATIVE APPROACH OFFERED AND SHOULD INSIST THAT YOU TURN MATERIALS OVER TO THEM, YOU SHOULD STATE THAT YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO DO SO AT THIS TIME AND WILL HAVE TO CONSULT WITH WASHINGTON. WE WANT TO RESERVE JUDGMENT WHETHER TO ULTIMATELY REFUSE SUCH A REQUEST SHOULD GOG PERSIST. SHOULD WE AGREE TO SUCH A REQUEST, WE WOULD WANT TO MAKE COPIES OF THE MATERIALS. IN VIEW OF THIS CONTINGENCY, JUSTICE IS ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN TAPE COPYING EQUIPMENT TO SHIP TO YOU IMMEDIATELY WHICH COULD BE OPERATED BY PERSONNEL ALREADY IN COUNTRY. END FYI.

5. OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO OBTAIN GOG CLEARANCE FOR THREE PERSON LEGATT GROUP MENTIONED IN PARA 2 TO ENTER COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY OR ALTERNATIVELY GOG CONCURRENCE TO REMOVE MATERIALS TO THE U.S. PLEASE KEEP US ADVISED OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS REGARD.

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6. GIVEN IMPORTANCE THIS ISSUE TO USG, YOU SHOULD TRY TO REACH GOG AUTHORITIES OVER WEEKEND. EARLY AUTHORIZATION WOULD PERMIT WORK TO BEGIN BY MONDAY.

CHRISTOPHER

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Originally posted on March 3rd, 2020.

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