Nov 26, 78 • 2115 • Georgetown-State • 3950

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03949_d.html.]

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ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 CA-01 ISO-00 DODE-00 L-03 SCS-06 SSO-00 /026 W
——————090526 262150Z /14

O 262115Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8220
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 3950

E.O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC (PEOPLE’S TEMPLE)
SUBJECT: DISPOSITION OF THE IDENTIFIED REMAINS OF GUYANESE CITIZEN JIMMY GILL

1. DURING A 24 NOVEMBER VISIT TO THE GROUP OF PT MEMBERS WHO WERE VOLUNTARILY STAYING AT EVE LEARY POLICE HEADQUART, A CONOFF WAS APPROACHED BY A GUYANESE CITIZEN WHO IDENTIFIED HIMSELF AS JOHNNIE GILL. GILL ADVISED THAT HIS BROTHER, JIMMY GILL, HAD BEEN IN JONESTOWN AT THE TIME OF THE MASS SUICIDE/ MURDER AND WAS AMONG THE DEAD. HE SAID HIS BROTHER HAD BEEN AMONG THE GROUP OF 174 BODIES THAT HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED FOR THE GUYANESE DEFENCE FORCES BY THE SURVIVORS OF THE JONESTOWN INCIDENT. HE ALSO SAID THAT ANOTHER BROTHER, JACKIE GILL, HAD VISITED THE JONESTOWN SITE AND HAD CONFIRMED THE IDENTIFICATION. JACKIE GILL WAS APPARENTLY IN TOUCH WITH US MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO WERE REMOVING THE BODIES FROM THE SITE AND HAD REQUESTED THAT HIS BROTHER’S BODY BE TURNED OVER TO THE FAMILY FOR A FUNERAL SERVICE AND BURIAL. JOHNNIE GILL, IN HIS CONVERSATION WITH THE CONOFF, WANTED TO CONFIRM HIS FAMILY’S DESIRE TO HAVE HIS BROTHER’S REMAINS TURNED OVER TO THEM FOR DISPOSITION.

2. UPON HIS RETURN TO THE EMBASSY, THE CONOFF PASSED JOHNNIE GILL’S REQUEST THROUGH APPROPRIATE CHANNELS. THE US MILITARY PERSONNEL AT TIMEHRI WERE REQUESTED NOT TO SHIP THE GILL REMAINS TO DOVER IF SUCH REMAINS COULD BE IDENTIFIED. ON

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SATURDAY EVENING, THE EMBASSY WAS ADVISED THAT THE GILL REMAINS HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED AT TIMEHRI. THE CONOFF, THROUGH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE GUYANESE POLICE, NOTIFIED THE GILL FAMILY, WHO LIVE IN THE PORT KAITUMA AREA. THE EMBASSY ALSO NOTIFIED APPROPRIATE GUAYANESE OFFICIALS THAT A GUYANESE CITIZEN HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED AMONG THE DEAD BY HIS FAMILY, AND THAT THE FAMILY WISHED TO CLAIM THE BODY.

3. SINCE THE GILL FAMILY IS AT PORT KAITUMA AND WILL ONLY ACCEPT DELIVERY OF THE REMAINS THERE, AND SINCE THERE ARE NO US MILITARY AIRCRAFT FLYING BETWEEN TIMEHRI AND PORT KAITUMA AT THIS TIME, THE EMBASSY ENLISTED THE ASSISTANCE OF POLICE COMMISSIONER BARKER TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM. BARKER ADVISED THE EMBASSY THAT HE WOULD HAVE A GUYANESE POLICEMAN CLAIM THE BODY AT TIMEHRI, AND THAT THE BODY WOULD BE RETURNED TO THE GILL FAMILY BY THE BUYANESE DEFENCE FORCE.

4. THE EMBASSY HAS THEREFORE INSTRUCTED THE US MILITARY PERSONNEL AT TIMEHRI TO REMAND CUSTODY OF THE BODY TO THE GUYANESE POLICE, FOR DELIVERY TO THE FAMILY.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 16th, 2020.

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