The State Department Cables –
The Second Week

This is a listing of cables transmitted during the second week after the deaths in Jonestown – November 26 through December 2 – mostly by the State Department or one of its embassies.

Sunday, November 26, 1978
Monday, November 27, 1978
Tuesday, November 28, 1978
Wednesday, November 29, 1978
Thursday, November 30, 1978
Friday, December 1, 1978
Saturday, December 2, 1978

A key to the notations in the columns appears below the chart. A note on sources used in the compilation of this chart also appears below.

Sunday, November 26, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781126 0009 State 299113 Funds for survivors to return to US PDF Text
781126 0118 State 299116 Charleston prepares for arrival of survivors PDF Text
781126 0203 State 299118 Embassy wants to accompany military on final pass through JT PDF Text
781126 0330 Georgetown 3940 8214 Guyana requests military support to secure Jonestown PDF Text
781126 0330 Georgetown 3941 8210 Embassy lists survivor locations Text
781126 0335 Georgetown 3942 8213 Info on Chuck Beikman PDF Text
781126 0354 State 299132 Charleston prepares for arrival of survivors PDF Text
781126 0355 State 299133 Embassy seeks to hire local legal counsel   Text
781126 1233 Algiers 3353 9540 Report on Algerian press coverage PDF Text
781126 1505 Port of Spain 3396 3285 Albatross III departs Port of Spain PDF Text
781126 1512 Port of Spain 3397 3286 FBI agents visiting Barbados will be carrying guns PDF Text
781126 1543 FBI Tennessee jail inmate claims knowledge of Temple PDF Text
781126 1720 Georgetown 3945 8215 Health of survivor Edith Parks Text
781126 1731 Georgetown 3946 8216 Embassy to inform Secret Service of survivor movements PDF Text
781126 1830 Georgetown 3947 8217 James Reston Jr. arrives in Guyana PDF Text
781126 1835 FBI Calif. doctors and dentists urged to provide medical records PDF Text
781126 1845 State 299148 State poses questions from press PDF Text
781126 1846 State 299149 Situation Report 21: last bodies removed; Layton trial set; survivors leave PDF Text
781126 1858 State 299151 Schedule of survivors departing Guyana PDF Text
781126 1900 Georgetown 3948 8218 Embassy prepares death forms for Kaituma, Georgetown fatalities State Stoen Text
781126 2021 State 299154 GOG seeks helicopter PDF Text
781126 2040 Georgetown 3949 8219 Miguel de Pina’s departure PDF Text
781126 2109 FBI FBI reports no criminal record for Beikman and Layton PDF Text
781126 2115 Georgetown 3950 8220 Disposition of remains of Jimmy Gill PDF Text
781126 2130 Georgetown 3951 8221 Report on removal of final bodies at Jonestown PDF Text
781126 2140 Georgetown 3952 8222 Ambassador reports no contact with Jim Jones PDF Text
781126 2210 Georgetown 3953 8223 Embassy seeks to hire local legal counsel Text
781126 2215 Georgetown 3954 8224 GOG seeks helicopter PDF Text

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Monday, November 27, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781127 0022 Bridgetown 03455 FBI visiting Barbados will have to surrender weapons, PT members “undesired” PDF Text
781127 0032 State 300000 More names of JT dead PDF Text
781127 0050 State 300001 Contingency plans for military equipment in Guyana PDF Text
781127 0602 State 300009 Final body count removed from JT is 913; names of residents checked PDF Text
781127 1006 State 300010 Survivor Eugene Smith urged to contact mother-in-law PDF Text
781127 1320 Port of Spain 3399 3288 FBI agents en route PDF Text
781127 1351 USICA International media reaction PDF Text
781127 1527 Port of Spain 3400 3289 International media reaction PDF Text
781127 1715 Georgetown 3957 8227 Information sought on Hyacinth Thrash PDF Text
781127 1720 Georgetown 3958 8228 Media seeks answers on changing body count PDF Text
781127 1720 Georgetown 3961 8231 US offers assistance to GOG in criminal prosecutions   Text
781127 1835 Georgetown 3963 8234 Luckhoo declines to take Layton criminal case  PDF Text
781127 1918 State 300157 Options on replacing airplane engine damaged at Kaituma PDF Text
781127 1948 Port of Spain 3405 3292 International media reaction PDF Text
781127 1950 SSA Social Security checks will stop Dec 1 PDF Text
781127 2013 Caracas 11175 4784 Venezuela cannot assist with request for airplanes PDF Text
781127 2120 Georgetown 3967 8237 US discusses issuances of death certificates PDF Text
781127 2140 State 300237 HEW secretary denies writing letter of praise for Jim Jones PDF Text
781127 2145 Georgetown 3968 8238 Embassy drafts answers for congressional questions PDF Text
781127 2203 State 300272 Layton’s father asks if relatives can visit PDF Text
781127 2230 Georgetown 3969 Description of radio equipment taken from Lamaha Gardens PDF Text
781127 2235 Georgetown 3970 Guyanese police take custody of physical evidence (Layton gun, 32 guns, briefcase) PDF Text

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Tuesday, November 28, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781128 0019 State 300468 Cousin of Richard Janaro asks for contact PDF Text
781128 0245 State 300533 Relative of Rebecca Beikman asks for contact PDF Text
781128 0346 State 300585 Relatives of Tom Bogue ask about his condition PDF Text
781128 0733 State 300700 Sit Rep 23: Military rescue to be disbanded; US to assist in GOG investigations PDF Text
781128 1030 USICA International media reaction PDF Text
781128 1345 Georgetown 3971 8239 Linda Amos passport located PDF Text
781128 1405 Georgetown 3978 8242 AID Rural Development official visited JT in 1977 PDF Text
781128 1543 State 301042 Travel authorizations PDF Text
781128 1640 Georgetown 3979 8243 Statistical info on Jonestown bodies sought PDF Text
781128 1840 Georgetown 3985 8248 Info on seven elderly JT survivors PDF Text
781128 1944 State 301207 State seeks Dwyer statement PDF Text
781128 2015 Georgetown 3986 8249 Radio report claims Jones did not commit suicide PDF Text
781128 2017 Georgetown 3987 8250 Repatriation of elderly survivors PDF Text
781128 2040 State 301249 Guyanese death certificates issued for 34 bodies PDF Text
781128 2128 State 301288 Suicide note found on Jones’ body PDF Text
781128 2223 State 301364 Congressional visit to Guyana will not make demands on Embassy PDF Text
781128 2240 State 301377 Embassy authorized to spend money to support survivors PDF Text

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Wednesday, November 29, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781129 0059 State 301574 Transcript of State Department briefing, 11/28 PDF Text
781129 0309 State 301672 Transcript of State Department briefing, 11/27 PDF Text
781129 0405 State 301679 Suzanne Jones seeks contact with Stephan Jones PDF Text
781129 0406 State 301680 SitRep 24: Military leaves Guyana; elderly survivors prepare to leave PDF Text
781129 0412 FBI Sherwin Harris names survivors PDF Text
781129 1245 Georgetown 3992 8254 US extends offer of assistance to GOG in criminal matters PDF Text
781129 1440 Georgetown 3993 8255 NBC provides legal name of Don Harris PDF Text
781129 1925 Georgetown 3999 8258 US extends offer of assistance to GOG in criminal matters Text
781129 1936 State 302046 Dover makes 10 more identifications PDF Text
781129 1948 State 302056 State will seek repayment of repatriation loans PDF Text
781129 2005 Georgetown 4001 8264 GOG has letters of reference on behalf of Jones PDF Text
781129 2011 Bridgetown 3507 6830 Crew of Albatross interviewed by FBI PDF Text
781129 2020 Georgetown 4007 8263 No additional equipment needed for recovery PDF Text
781129 2030 Georgetown 4008 FBI will not conduct investigation or interview survivors in Guyana PDF Text
781129 2131 FBI Jim Cobb provides information to FBI PDF Text
781129 2210 Winnipeg 557 2450 Canadian woman believes daughter may have died at JT PDF Text
781129 2215 FBI LA investigator speaks to FBI PDF Text
781129 2341 State 302343 AFIP wants GOG autopsies PDF Text

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Thursday, November 30, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781130 0259 State 302459 Father asks daughter to call PDF Text
781130 0336 State 302465 GOG accepts offer of technical assistance PDF Text
781130 0337 State 302466 State informs Embassy of law on disposition of personal effects of JT residents PDF Text
781130 0539 State 302484 Transcript of State Department briefing, 11/29 PDF Text
781130 0540 State 302486 SitRep 25: Elderly survivors leave; autopsies scheduled at Dover; JT to be sealed off PDF Text
781130 0753 State 302585 Summary of understanding of events at Jonestown PDF Text
781130 0905 Fukuoka 0233 Relatives believes his sister and family were in Jonestown PDF Text
781130 0939 State 302950 Stephanie Jones father offers home in US PDF Text
781130 1130 Montevideo 4131 International press reaction PDF Text
781130 1405 Georgetown 4013 8267 Dwyer nears completion of report PDF Text
781130 1406 Georgetown 4014 8268 Status of legal issues in determining Jonestown’s future PDF Text
781130 1440 Georgetown 4015 8269 Status of Tom Bogue PDF Text
781130 1605 Georgetown 4016 8270 Question of some PT members had become Guyanese citizens PDF Text
781130 1610 Georgetown 4017 Description of Layton’s weapon PDF Text
781130 1703 Georgetown 4020 8272 Beikman has attorney in Guyana Text
781130 1705 Georgetown 4021 8273 Embassy urges caution in notifying families of relatives’ fate PDF Text
781130 1741 State 303080 Bodies cannot leave Dover without Guyanese death certificates PDF Text
781130 1800 Georgetown 4027 8276 Embassy buys airline tickets for five elderly survivors PDF Text
781130 1949 State 303199 State requests list of survivors PDF Text
781130 1950 State 303200 Dispositions remains of Touchette family PDF Text
781130 2005 Georgetown 4032 Leaders of SCLC plan fact-finding trip to Guyana PDF Text
781130 2010 Georgetown 4033 8280 Embassy receives bio info on NBC crew PDF Text
781130 2017 Georgetown 4034 8281 Joyce Parks identified as PT member who traveled to Venezuela PDF Text
781130 2021 Georgetown 4036 8283 Beikman will be allowed visits by family PDF Text
781130 2045 Georgetown 4037 8284 No one named Oolman died in Jonestown PDF Text
781130 2046 Georgetown 4038 8285 No one named Jokela or Honda died in Jonestown PDF Text
781130 2149 State 303312 State issues travel money for five survivors PDF Text
781130 2200 Georgetown 4041 8287 Richard Dwyer’s account of events in Jonestown PDF Text
781130 2211 State 303343 State withdraws request for aircraft from Venezuela PDF Text
781130 2253 State 303420 State considers hit squad rumors against President PDF Text

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Friday, December 1, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781201 0035 State 303668 Description of Justice Dept technical team PDF Text
781201 0202 State 303865 Daily State Dept press briefing has only one Jonestown question PDF Text
781201 0236 State 303996 SitRep 26: GOG appoints conservator; 5 PT members may have become Guyanese PDF Text
781201 0351 State 304036 Dover identifies 34 more bodies PDF Text
781201 1325 State 304388 Travel authorization for diplomat to provide assistance PDF Text
781201 1445 Port of Spain 3452 3321 Query on location of Albatross in Barbados PDF Text
781201 1500 Georgetown 4047 8293 FBI seeks access to materials which Embassy removed from JT Text
781201 1505 Georgetown 4048 8294 GOG expresses displeasure with some Embassy decisions PDF Text
781201 1523 Georgetown 4053 8298 Trial date set for Beikman trial PDF Text
781201 1830 Georgetown 4057 8301 No PT members were granted Guyanese citizenship PDF Text
781201 1855 Georgetown 4060 8304 Repatriation of remaining survivors PDF Text
781201 1948 State 304542 Michelle Touchette identified PDF Text
781201 2000 Georgetown 4064 8306 Embassy seeks to lease Venezuelan plane PDF Text
781201 2044 State 304594 Dover identifies 17 more bodies PDF Text
781201 2100 Georgetown 4066 8307 US discusses taking custody of Albatross PDF Text
781201 2101 Georgetown 4067 8308 Guyana knows time is getting short on death certificates PDF Text
781201 2105 Georgetown 4068 8309 Status report on Bogue and Bagby, still in hospital PDF Text
781201 2155 Georgetown 4069 8310 GOG and USG need to go to court on disposition of property at JT Text
781201 2155 State 304695 Unused military equipment at Dover to be returned to DOD PDF Text
781201 2212 State 304712 Military aircraft no longer  needed in Guyana PDF Text
781201 2215 Georgetown 4070 8311 MaryAnn Casanova authorizes relative to handle burial arrangements PDF Text
781201 2230 Georgetown 4071 8312 Several survivors released to return to US PDF Text

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Saturday, December 2, 1978

Date Time Origin ID Content PDF Text
781202 0038 State 304929 State assumes responsibility of JT remains, thanks DOD for service PDF Text
781202 0131 State 305018 State seeks info on whereabouts of Albatross PDF Text
781202 0231 FBI FBI interviews crew of Albatross PDF Text
781202 0327 State 305256 Funds granted to several JT survivors for return PDF Text
781202 0427 State 305302 State Dept briefing 12/1/78 PDF Text
781202 0552 State 305308 SitRep 27: Survivors returning; Embassy attaches seals to JT; US seeks reimbursement PDF Text
781202 1515 Georgetown 4075 8315 26 survivors in GT may leave PDF Text
781202 1612 State 305324 Status of survivors PDF Text
781202 1759 State 305327 Memo on funding of expenses PDF Text
781202 1915 Georgetown 4076 8316 Six survivors in GT may leave PDF Text

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A Note on Sources

The cables at the basis of this research come from a variety of sources.

• The bulk of them came from the State Department itself, in response to a Freedom of Information request for documents on Jonestown and Peoples Temple. The request was made by Rebecca Moore and Fielding McGehee, who eventually became the managers of this website. Of the 5700 pages that State released in 1981, fully 3000 were cables dating from 1974 until 1981, most of them from November and December of 1978 and early 1979.

• A smaller collection from the State Department came in response to another FOIA request, this one for what the agency had on the custody battle over John Victor Stoen, a battle waged by Timothy and Grace Stoen, primarily against Jim Jones.

• The second most productive official source was the FBI, which released many State Department cables collected during the FBI’s investigation of the Leo Ryan assassination (RYMUR).

• In 2014, the State Department released thousands of agency files as part of a general declassification review. Hundreds of those related to Peoples Temple. They didn’t become widely available to the public, however, until 2015 and 2016, when Wikileaks put them online. While the resulting record was neither official nor complete – there are scores of cables that the State Department continues to withhold and that Wikileaks didn’t access – the texts that Wikileaks posted are accurate.

It should be noted that many cables contain information which was deleted under an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act. The majority of those cables were eventually re-released with the exemptions lifted. The more-recently declassified passages appear in red type of the text version of the cables.

The most commonly-used exemptions by State are:

b(1) = information the release of which would jeopardize national security
b(6) = information the release of which would violate an individual’s privacy

How to read this chart

This is a key to the meaning of the columns and the notations within them:

Columns 1 and 2 comprise the dates and times that the cables were sent. The dates are in the format of the last two digits of the year (74-79), the month (01-12) and the day. As an example, November 18, 1978 would be designated as 781118. The times are in Greenwich Mean Time, used internationally on all cables. They are included because – especially in the first few days after the tragedy – scores of cables were flashing back and forth between offices on a single day.

Columns 3 comprises the government agencies and embassies sending the cables. Abbreviations include:

State = State Department
Georgetown = U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana
POS = U.S. Embassy in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
CAR = U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela
PAN = U.S. Embassy in Panama City, Panama

Column 4 provides the cable identification number, unique to each document.

Column 5 presents a brief description of the cable’s contents. (The abbreviation “W/W” which appears on numerous cables means “Whereabouts and Welfare,” the State Department’s notation of the checks it makes on American citizens in foreign countries.)

Columns 6 and 7 provide links to the PDF and Text versions of the cables. The PDFs which were provided through the second FOIA request for Stoen documents are noted.

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Originally posted on March 16th, 2020.

Last modified on July 24th, 2022.
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