Dec 1, 78 • 2155 • Georgetown-State • 4069

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1978GEORGE04069_d.html.]

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ACTION ARA-15
INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SCS-06 H-01 CA-01 SS-15 L-03 SP-02 OMB-01 INR-10 DODE-00 CIAE-00 NSCE-00 SSO-00 INRE-00 /055 W
——————053300 012228Z /75 L

O 012155Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8310
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 4069

E.O. 12065: RDS 12/1/82 (BURKE, JOHN R.) OR-M
TAGS: CASC, OREP (RYAN, LEO), GY
SUBJECT: PT PROPERTY IN GUYANA
REF: GEORGETOWN 4014

1. AS REPORTED IN REFTEL, CONSULAR OFFICIALS HAVE ATTACHED SEALS TO PT PROPERTY IN JONESTOWN. SEALS HAVE ALSO BEEN ATTACHED TO 103 CRATES OF GOODS IN GEORGETOWN CONSIGNED TO PT.

2. AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED, PT WAS APPARENTLY INCORPORATED UNDER THE LAWS OF GUYANA ON JUNE 23 OF THIS YEAR AS THE “PEOPLES TEMPLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMPANY LTD.” IT IS NOT KNOWN AT PRESENT WHETHER PROPERTY AT JONESTOWN WAS ACTUALLY OWNED BY THIS CORPORATE ENTITY.

3. GOG HAS APPOINTED AN “ADMINISTRATOR” OF PT PROPERTY AND HAS INFORMED EMBASSY THAT IT INTENDS TO TAKE CERTAIN HEALTH MEASURES AT JONESTOWN IN ITS ROLE AS “CONSERVATOR” OF THE PROPERTY. GOG HAS NOT REFERRED TO CORPORATE ENTITY AND HAS DENIED THAT ANY PT MEMBERS WERE GRANTED GUYANESE CITIZENSHIP, AN ASSERTION INCONSISTENT WITH THE INCORPORATION OF THE GROUP BY FIVE PT MEMBERS. GOG HAS NOT CONTESTED EMBASSY CLAIM, REPRESENTED BY POSTING OF SEALS, ON BEHALF OF DECEASED

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US CITIZENS.

4. DISPOSITION OF PT PROPERTY IS VERY MUCH UP IN THE AIR AT PRESENT. FORMULATION OF US POSITION MUST AWAIT CONSULTATIONS WITH LOCAL COUNSEL, WHO HAS YET TO BE RETAINED. IT IS UNLIKELY, HOWEVER, THAT ANY PT PROPERTY OF VALUE CAN BE REPATRIATED PURSUANT TO 22 USC SEC. 1175 AND ART. 19 OF CONSULAR CONVENTION. IT WILL PROBABLY PROVE IMPOSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH THAT ANY OF THIS PROPERTY WAS OWNED BY DECEASED US CITIZENS, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF CORPORATE EXISTENCE OF TEMPLE.

5. THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO RESOLVE THIS COMPLICATED AND UNPRECEDENTED SITUATION MAY BE A RECEIVERSHIP PROCEEDING IN THE COURTS OF GUYANA. THIS MAY PROVIDE A FORUM FOR ALL PARTIES, INCLUDING LOCAL CREDITOR, US SURVIVORS, HEIRS OF DECEASED, AND BOTH GOVERNMENTS TO ASSERT CLAIMS AGAINST PROPERTY. DESIRABILITY OF THIS APPROACH IS ENHANCED BY LEGAL AND PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES OF ATTEMPTING TO REPATRIATE PT PROPERTY.

6. APPROACH OUTLINED IN PARA 5 MUST BE DISCUSSED WITH LOCAL COUNSEL. IF A RECEIVERSHIP PROCEEDING IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH GUYANESE LAW, EMBASSY REQUESTS AUTHORIZATION TO SUGGEST SUCH A PROCEDURE TO GOG.

BURKE

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Originally posted on March 17th, 2020.

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