Nov 18, 78 • 2330 • Georgetown-State • 3774

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03774_d.html.]

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ACTION H-03
INFO OCT-01 ARA-10 ISO-00 AS-02 SS-15 SSO-00 NSCE-00 CCO-00 AID-01 /032 W
——————089786 182340Z /15

Z 182330Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC FLASH 8061
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E.O. 11652: NA
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN LEO) GY
SUBJ: GODEL RYAN
REF: AMBASSADOR/HEWITT TELECON NOV. 17.

1. CODEL RYAN AS REPORTED REFTELCON TRAVELED TO PEOPLES TEMPLE SETTLEMENT AT JONESTOWN IN NORTHWEST GUYANA TO CHARTER AIRCRAFT LATE AFTERNOON NOV. 17. GROUP WITH CONGRESSMAN INCLUDED PRESS FROM NBS SAN FANRCISCO, WASHINGTON POST, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER. ALSO ABOARD AIRCRAFT WERE TWO LAWYERS REPRESENTING PT (MAR LAND AND CHARLES GARY), EMBASSY DCM AND REPRESENTATIVE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION. CODEL OVERNIGHTED JONESTOWN DUE TO LATE ARRIVAL. EMBASSY INFORMED MORNING NOV. 18 THAT GROUP WOULD BE LEAVING EARLY AFTERNNON BY CHARTER AIRCRAFT. MESSAGE WAS TRANSMITTED THROUGH AMATEUR RADIO LINK MAINTAINED BETWEEN PT OFFICER GEORGETOWN AND JONESTOWN.

2. AT 6 P.M. NOV. 18 AMBASSADOR SUMMONED TO OFFICE PRIME MINISTER. PRIME MINISTER INFORMED ABASSADOR THAT THERE HAD BEEN AN “INCIDENT” AT THE AIRSTRIP AT PORT KAITUMA. IT APPEARS THAT CODEL AND PARTY, ACCOMPANIED BY POSSIBLE NINE REPEAT NINE MEMBERS OF JONESTOWN COMMUNITY WHO WISHED TO DEPART, WERE FIRED UPON AT THE AIRSTRIP BY A TRUCKLOAD

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OF WHITE CIVILIANS AS THEY WERE BOARDING CHARTER AIRCRAFT TO RETURN TO GEORGETOWN. CHARTER PILOT WHO IS RETURNING TO GEORGETOWN AS THIS IS BEING DICTATED REPORTS THAT THERE MAY BE HEAVY CASUALTIES. HIS OWN PLANE WAS RENDERED INOPERATIVE AND BACK-UP PLANE WAS DAMAGED BUT ABLE TO TAKE OFF. THIS IS HOW HE IS RETURNING TO GEORGETOWN. PILOT STATES, THOUGH THIS IS STILL UNCONFIRMED REPEAT UNCONFIRMED, THAT AS MANY AS NINE OR TEN PEOPLE MAY HAVE BEEN SHOT TO DEATH ON THE AIRSTRIP AT PORT KAITUMA. ACCORDING TO PILOT THIS GROUP INCLUDES CONGRESSMAN RYAN.

3. PRIME MINISTER IS IN DIRECT CHARGE OF THE SITUATION. HE IS SENDING UNITS OF THE GDF TO MATTHEWS RIDGE, THE NEAREST AIRSTRIP CAPABLE OF TAKING AIRCRAFT AT NIGHT. AMBASSADOR IS STILL MEETING WITH PRIME MINISTER.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 8th, 2020.

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