Nov 29, 78 • 1925 • Georgetown-State • 3999

[Editor’s note: This document was released both as a State Department cable as part of its 1981 FOIA release, and as Serial 576 of the FBI’s RYMUR release. The text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE03999_d.html.]

CONFIDENTIAL
PAGE 01
GEORGE 03999 291959Z
ACTION SS-25
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SSO-00 /026 W
——————011129 292001Z /64

O 291925Z NOV 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIACT IMMEDIATE 8258
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 3999
EXDIS
FOR DEP. ASST. SECRETARY BUSHNELL
E.O. 11652: GDS
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN), GY
SUBJECT: OFFER OF US ASSISTANCE TO GOG IN ITS CRIMINAL EXAMINATION OF EVIDENCE RELATING TO THE DEATH OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN AND MASS MURDERS/SUICIDES AT JONESTOWN
REF: GEORGETOWN 3992

1. PRIME MINISTER [Forbes Burnham] SUMMONED THE AMBASSADOR TO HIS OFFICE AT 2:30 P.M. NOVEMBER 29 APPARENTLY UNAWARE OF MINISTER [Hamilton] GREEN’S EARLIER CONVERSATION WITH AMBASSADOR (REFTEL). PRIMIN PROCEEDED TO CONVEY SAME MESSAGE AS GREEN HAD GIVEN WITH ONE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE: PRIMIN [Prime Minister] WOULD LIKE THE TECHNICAL TEAM DOCUMENTED AS MEMBERS OF THE STAFF OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND NOT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION.

2. PRIME MINISTER BURNHAM, GOING ON TO DISCUSS THE ASSASSINATION OF CONGRESSMAN RYAN, AND THE JONESTOWN TRAGEDY, ASKED THAT IF IN ADDITION TO THE THREE-MAN TEAM TO WHICH THE GOG [Government of Guyana] HAS AGREED, THE U.S. COULD SEND A BALLISTIC EXPERT AND A PATHOLOGIST TO ASSIST THE GOG IN ITS INVESTIGATIONS OF THESE TWO MATTERS. AMBASSADOR PROMISED TO CONVEY THE REQUEST TO WASHINGTON. THE PRIME MINISTER THEN

CONFIDENTIAL
CONFIDENTIAL
PAGE 02 GEORGE 03999 291959Z

WENT ON TO ASK IF THE USG [U.S. Government] INTENDED TO CARRY OUT A FULL AUTOPSY ON REVEREND JIM JONES. WHAT HE APPEARS TO BE PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN IS WHETHER OR NOT JONES MAY HAVE BEEN SUFFERING FROM SOME FATAL DISEASE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. THE AMBASSADOR REPLIED THAT HE HAD NO INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT A FULL AUTOPSY ON JONES WAS EITHER POSSIBLE OR CONTEMPLATED AT THIS TIME. AMBASSADOR PROMISED, HOWEVER, TO ENQUIRE.

3. COMMENT: BURNHAM’S PREFERENCE THAT THE TECHNICAL TEMA BE DOCUMENTED EITHER AS MEMBERS OF THE STAFF OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND NOT THE FBI, IS BASED UPON HIS PERCEPTION OF LOCAL SENSITIVITIES. THAT IN FACT THE PERSONNEL MAY COME FROM THE BUREAU OBVIOUSLY CAUSES HIM NO IMPORTANT PROBLEM. HE PREFERS, HOWEVER, THAT THEY BE HANDLED AS “YOU HANDLE LEGAL ATTACHES IN EMBASSIES ABROAD.”

BURKE [John Burke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana]

CONFIDENTIAL
NNN

Originally posted on March 16th, 2020.

Last modified on July 1st, 2022.
Skip to main content